European Factors to Watch-Shares to edge higher, focus on Ifo

LONDON, March 25 Tue Mar 25, 2014 3:40am EDT

LONDON, March 25 (Reuters) - European stocks were seen edging higher at the open on Tuesday, mirroring a late recovery on Wall Street and supported by speculation of fresh economic stimulus from China, although gains were likely to be kept in check by expectations of more weak data from Germany.

The odds of Beijing intervening to support the sluggish Chinese economy were seen narrowing following a slew of data that points to the weakest growth for China since the global financial crisis.

At 0733 GMT, futures for the Euro STOXX 50, Britain's FTSE 100 , Germany's DAX and France's CAC were up by between 0.3 percent and 0.5 percent.

Investors will also monitor the situation in Russia, which was warned by U.S. President Barack Obama and major industrialised allies that it faced damaging economic sanctions if President Vladimir Putin takes further action to destabilise Ukraine following the seizure of Crimea.

The Dow Jones industrial average and the S&P 500 cut their losses in late trade on Monday, showing lingering investor appetite for shares and setting up European indexes for a small rebound after a slide on the previous day.

Frankfurt's DAX index fell 1.7 percent on Monday after German composite figures showed growth slowed from February's 33-month high, fuelling speculation that Germany's closely watched Ifo business morale index, due to be published at 0900 GMT on Tuesday, would also disappoint.

Consensus expects the index to come in at 111 points.

"The Ifo estimates are quite high, despite the concerns about Russia, which is a huge market for companies like (German car maker) BMW," said Markus Huber, senior sales trader at Peregrine & Black, who has a short position on the DAX.

"Long term we're still positive but short term it looks like the market wants to go down a little bit."

Analysts at Societe Generale said they expected the Ifo to mirror the PMIs and fall to 110.9 and Credit Agricole flagged downside risk to its forecast of 111.4 points.

Europe bourses in 2014: link.reuters.com/pad95v

Asset performance in 2014: link.reuters.com/rav46v

> Global shares on defensive, China stimulus hopes offer comfort > US STOCKS-Tech leads Wall St lower as Ukraine casts a shadow > Nikkei drops on soft U.S. manufacturing, Ukraine woes > TREASURIES-Curve flattens on Fed hike speculation, before supply > Dollar off recent highs, hampered by doubts about U.S. growth > PRECIOUS-Gold off 1-month low, but US rate hike fears cap gains > London copper flat; hopes for China stimulus support > Brent slips toward $106.50 on soft US, China manufacturing

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