LIVE MARKETS-Futures point to lacklustre trading


Welcome to the home for real time coverage of European equity markets brought to you by Reuters stocks reporters and anchored today by Helen Reid. Reach her on Messenger to share your thoughts on market moves: FUTURES POINT TO LACKLUSTRE TRADING (0709 GMT) European stock futures have opened modestly higher this morning, with only slight gains pointing to muted trading as investors await U.S. CPI data. FTSE futures are lagging the rest, down 0.1 percent ahead of the Spring Statement at 1230 GMT. Here’s SocGen’s economists’ take ahead of the statement: “The OBR will present updated economic and (better) fiscal forecasts. Mr Hammond´s speech will be very short, however, because he will only acknowledge and welcome the improved forecasts but will not make any policy changes.” Policy tweaks will have to wait for the Autumn Budget. (Helen Reid) ***** EARLY MORNING COMPANY HEADLINE ROUND-UP (0657 GMT) While U.S. inflation is likely to focus the attention of investors today, there’s also a lot of company results with OMV, Iliad, Wacker Chemie and Geberit among the firms reporting. And RWE’s promised its shareholders higher dividends after its deal to break up Innogy with E.ON. Here’s a quick round-up of the morning company headlines so far: RWE pledges higher dividends after Innogy break-up deal Telecoms group Iliad dials up higher annual profits Austria’s OMV aims to increase core profit by 70 pct by 2025 Wacker Chemie sees 2018 earnings growing faster than sales French bank Natixis buying into 3 M&A boutiques, bolsters China presence Geberit sees decent construction market in 2018 Under pressure, ING scraps plan to raise CEO pay (Helen Reid) ***** MORNING CALL: STOCKS TO STALL AS INVESTORS EYE INFLATION FIGURES (0624 GMT) Good morning and welcome to Live Markets. European stocks are called to open slightly lower this morning as investors await inflation figures from the U.S. and an update on the UK’s public finances. Asian shares lost momentum overnight, trading hesitantly after a weaker session on Wall Street saw the S&P 500 and Dow slip, while the Nasdaq hit a new record high thanks to a boost in tech stocks. The biggest data point on everyone’s minds today is U.S. CPI (1230 GMT) which could inform investors further on the probable pace of Fed rate rises this year. Today’s Spring Statement from Chancellor Philip Hammond is being called a “non-event” by some. “The only area of real interest could be the updated OBR economic and public spending forecasts, which could provide a small injection of volatility into the pound,” says Jasper Lawler of LCG in a morning note. He’s expected to announce a small improvement in the UK’s slow economic growth outlook. Spreadbetters call the DAX 13 points lower at 12406, the CAC 40 down 5 points at 5272, and the FTSE 100 13 points lower at 7202. (Helen Reid) ***** (Reporting by Danilo Masoni, Kit Rees, Julien Ponthus, Helen Reid)


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