Europe seen lower as ECB watched

European shares are expected to open in negative territory on Monday as investors’ concerns over the euro zone grow.

The euro hit a near-nine-year low versus the U.S. dollar on Monday, falling below $1.20, as expectations grow that the European Central Bank (ECB) might instigate further monetary easing in order to boost the euro zone’s economy. Markets are now awaiting the outcome of the bank’s monetary policy committee meeting on January 22.

Germany has so far been resistant to any proposal that the central bank could start purchasing government bonds, known as quantitative easing (QE), as part of a stimulus program.

In Asia,stocks were mixed on the first trading day of the week, as a raft of sluggish manufacturing surveys released across Europe and Asia over the past week reduced risk appetite. At midday, Tokyo andHong Kong shares rebounded above the flatline but Sydney retreated into the red.

Continued turmoilin the oil markets is doing little to help global market sentiment too. U.S. crude futures extended declines to a third day on Monday, down 39 cents at $52.30 a barrel while Brent crude for February delivery was trading at $55.61 a barrel.

Data releases on Monday include German retail sales, Portugal’s business and consumer confidence figures and German and Russian inflation data. There are no major earnings due.

 Varchev Traders

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