European Factors to Watch-Shares set to open mixed, off 2008 high

LONDON, April 9 Wed Apr 9, 2014 2:33am EDT

LONDON, April 9 (Reuters) - European stocks were seen broadly steady on Wednesday after two sessions of falls, although stalling momentum meant a key index was unlikely to be able to bounce back towards multi-year highs after losing ground this week.

Financial spreadbetters expected Britain's FTSE 100 to open 2 to 4 points higher, or up as much as 0.1 percent, Germany's DAX to open 8 to 10 points lower, or down as much as 0.1 percent, and France's CAC 40 to open 7 points lower, or down 0.2 percent.

"These marginal gains and losses seen in three of Europe's major indices is quite reflective of the overall mood in the markets at the moment," Craig Erlam, market analyst at Alpari, said in a note.

"Investors aren't exactly feeling negative about the outlook for the global economy, or the markets for that matter, but they are being very cautious right now."

The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 closed down 0.2 percent at 1,333.28 points on Tuesday, posting its second straight day of losses following a streak of nine straight positive days - its longest winning streak since October.

The index is down 1.4 percent so far this week, and is set to snap a three-week rally which saw the index post its highest close since May 2008 on Friday.

Appetite for stocks was boosted by a recovery on Wall Street overnight, although rising gold and oil prices demonstrated the market's vulnerability to continued tension over the situation in Ukraine, where the United States accused Russian agents and special forces on Tuesday of stirring separatist unrest.

Alcoa kicked off U.S. earnings season on Tuesday, reporting earnings ahead of expectations, even as revenues missed forecasts.

"There are a number of reasons to be cautious right now, whether that be corporate earnings season, which people are fairly pessimistic about, or the ongoing crisis in the Ukraine that has flared up again this week," Erlam said.

Stocks that are sensitive to a squeeze in consumer spending could be in focus, after British retailers slashed prices at their fastest rate since 2006, while airline Deutsche Lufthansa reports traffic numbers.

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

Asset performance in 2014: (link.reuters.com/rav46v) ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ > GLOBAL MARKETS-Asia rides Wall St rebound, firm yen hits Tokyo > US STOCKS-Wall St snaps 3-day losing streak as tech rebounds > Nikkei at 2-week low after BOJ quells stimulus hopes > TREASURIES-Prices gain after solid three-year note auction > FOREX-Dollar takes a dive, yen up as BOJ dashes stimulus hopes > PRECIOUS-Gold near 2-wk high; Ukraine tensions support > METALS-Copper holds near one-week high, weaker dollar supports > Brent holds steady above $107 on Ukraine; U.S. oil stocks surge weighs

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(Reporting by Alistair Smout; Editing by Atul Prakash)

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