European stocks head for higher open; Fed meeting in focus


LONDON — European stocks are expected to open higher Monday as global investors focus on this week’s upcoming Federal Reserve meeting.

London’s FTSE is seen opening 35 points higher at 6,792, Germany’s DAX up 44 points at 14,545, France’s CAC 40 up 15 points at 6,057 and Italy’s FTSE MIB 30 points higher at 24,126, according to IG.

European stocks look set to start the week on a positive note ahead of this week’s Federal Reserve meeting stateside, bucking a more mixed trend in Asia-Pacific markets where stocks traded mixed on Monday.

The Federal Open Market Committee is due to meet on March 16 and 17 and some analysts expect the U.S. central bank to revise up its GDP forecast, following a $1.9 trillion fiscal stimulus package that will send direct payments of up to $1,400 to most Americans.

The central bank on Tuesday and Wednesday’s Federal Open Market Committee meeting will also deliver its decision on interest rates. The bond market will likely take its cues from the Federal Reserve in the coming week.

Bond pros are also watching to see whether Fed officials will tweak their interest rate outlook, which now does not include any rate hikes through 2023.

U.S. stock futures moved higher in overnight trading and pointed to gains at the open on Monday, continuing last week’s rally that led the Dow and S&P 500 to record highs.

The coronavirus continues to cause concern. White House Chief Medical Advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci warned state leaders on Sunday that the nation’s battle with the coronavirus is still “not in the end zone,” and urged Americans to adhere to public health measures as Europeans experience new infection spikes.

In Europe, the Netherlands has become the latest country to suspend the use of the AstraZeneca/University of Oxford vaccine over concerns about possible side effects, despite the World Health Organization saying there is no link between the shot and an increased risk of developing blood clots.

On Friday, the head of Germany’s public health agency on Friday warned that a third wave of coronavirus infections has begun.

There are no major earnings or data releases in Europe Monday.

– CNBC’s Maggie Fitzgerald contributed reporting to this story.

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2021-03-15 05:57:00

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