Europe Factors to Watch-Shares set to rise on ECB, China stimulus hopes

Mon Mar 31, 2014 1:24am EDT

PARIS, March 31 (Reuters) - European stocks were seen opening slightly
higher on Monday, adding to last week's strong gains, helped by speculation the
European Central Bank could ease policy while China might take steps to
stimulate its economy.
    Financial spreadbetters expected Britain's FTSE 100 to open around
11 points higher, or up 0.2 percent, Germany's DAX to open 43 points
higher, or up 0.5 percent, and France's CAC 40 to open 12 points higher,
or up 0.3 percent.
    All eyes will be on the euro zone inflation figures, due at 0900 GMT. A 
surprise fall in inflation for Spain and Germany on Friday raised pressure on
the ECB to take additional measures to ward off the threat of deflation. Annual
inflation in the euro zone has been in what ECB President Mario Draghi has
called the "danger zone" below 1 percent for five months. 
    Speculation of fresh stimulus measures in China also helped lift the mood.
Premier Li Keqiang sought to reassure markets that Beijing was ready to support
the cooling economy, saying the government had the necessary policies in place
and would push ahead with infrastructure investment. 
    Europe bourses in 2014: link.reuters.com/pad95v
    Asset performance in 2014: link.reuters.com/rav46v
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  MARKET SNAPSHOT AT 0518 GMT:
                                         LAST  PCT CHG  NET CHG
 S&P 500                             1,857.62   0.46 %     8.58
 NIKKEI                             14,797.27   0.69 %   101.24
 MSCI ASIA EX-JP                       468.15   0.30 %     1.38
 EUR/USD                               1.3753   0.01 %   0.0001
 USD/JPY                               102.86   0.07 %   0.0700
 10-YR US TSY YLD                       2.724       --     0.01
 10-YR BUND YLD                         1.551       --     0.00
 SPOT GOLD                          $1,295.11   0.12 %    $1.61
 US CRUDE                             $101.39  -0.28 %    -0.28
 
  > GLOBAL MARKETS-Asian stocks rise on hopes of China stimulus 
  > US STOCKS-Wall St ends higher but biotech selloff weighs 
  > Nikkei hits 2-1/2-wk high on China hopes, soft yen spurs exporters 
  > FOREX-Yen struggles, euro subdued ahead of inflation data 
  > PRECIOUS-Gold struggles below $1,300, hovers near six-week low 
  > METALS-London copper set for biggest monthly loss since June 
  > Brent holds above $107 as Europe tensions offset Iraq output 
    

 (Reporting by Blaise Robinson; Editing by Jacqueline Wong)