LONDON Feb 21 German Bund futures opened higher on Thursday as investors sought safe-haven assets after stock markets fell on signs that the U.S. Federal Reserve's enthusiasm for more bond-buying stimulus may be waning.
The latest minutes from the Federal Open Market Committee, which sets U.S. monetary policy, showed officials discussed slowing or stopping Fed bond purchases, which have underpinned global appetite for risk assets.
Bund futures rose 48 ticks to 142.90, reversing a fall seen on Wednesday but staying in a narrow band before Italian elections this weekend which are seen as determining the outlook for euro zone debt.
Thursday's focus falls on flash estimates of business activity during February, which are expected to show a marginal improvement across the currency bloc, and an auction of Spanish bonds.
"Flash (Purchasing Managers' Index) data will be the pick for today. We're likely to move up and down the range a bit, but going into this weekend I think it will hold," a trader said, adding that a cautious market tone might make investors more sensitive to weak data than strong.
Spain sells up to 4 billion euros of debt, split across bonds maturing in 2015, 2019 and 2023. France will also sell up to 10.5 billion euros of nominal and inflation-linked bonds.