"Traders would be foolish to make the mistake they made two weeks ago and go home long into the weekend, particularly with the situation on the ground in Ukraine so potentially fluid, and the Crimea referendum vote due on Sunday," says market analyst Michael Hewson.
However, U.S. stock futures are higher following sharp losses on Wall Street yesterday.
Euro Stoxx 50 -0.6%, London -0.4%, Paris -0.6%, Frankfurt -0.7%, Milan -0.5%, Madrid -0.7%.
U.S. stock futures: Dow +0.1%. S&P +0.2%. Nasdaq +0.2%
George Soros' "worst expectations" in regards to the EU have been "fulfilled," he says, and the bloc faces 25 years of Japanese-style stagnation. While Japan - being one nation - has survived, the EU may not.
Soros naturally blames the creditors (i.e., the Germans), and finds it alarming that the EU's banks - when they should be providing capital to boost growth - are instead hunkered down to try and pass the ECB stress test.
His comments come amid the launch of his latest book, "The Tragedy of the European Union."
The euro pops above $1.38 as Mario Draghi - in his post-ECB meeting press conference - gives no indication in the early-going of any consideration of further monetary ease. It had been thought declining inflation might prompt action, but Draghi calls the upside and downside risks to price developments broadly balanced over the medium-term.
Germany's Constitutional Court has decided to refer a complaint against the European Central Bank's Outright Monetary Transactions (OMT) program, which allows the ECB to buy sovereign debt in the secondary market, to the European Court.
The German court believes there are "important reasons to assume that it exceeds the European Central Bank's monetary policy mandate and thus infringes the powers of the member states, and that it violates the prohibition of monetary financing of the budget."
However, the court "also considers it possible that if the OMT Decision were interpreted restrictively," it could be legal.
The court is due to rule on the legality of the eurozone's permanent bailout scheme, the European Stability Mechanism, on March 18.
This is "huge," tweets Reuters Jamie McGeever. Is "Germany giving up (its) veto, opening (the) door to outright QE?"
The euro, which was bumbling fairly innocuously, has taken a bit of a dive and is -0.2% at $1.3564. The DAX is -0.1%. (PR)
Putting a dampener on any optimism that may have been engendered by more encouraging eurozone PMI data, Eurostat reports that retail sales volumes in the bloc slumped a greater-than-expected 1.6% on month in December after rising 0.9% in November. Consensus was for a drop of 0.5%.
On year, sales -1% vs +1.3% prior and forecasts of +1.5%.
Eurozone composite PMI rose to 52.9 in January (flash 53.2) from 52.1 in December.
Services PMI edged up to 51.6 (flash 51.9) from 51.
Spain's composite PMI hit a 6 1/2 year peak of 54.8.
Employment has stabilized over the past two months.
"Companies are reporting the strongest growth of business activity for two-and-a-half years, putting the economy on course to grow by 0.5% in the first quarter if this pace is sustained," Markit says.
"Spain and Ireland are now seeing robust growth, undergoing their strongest phases of expansion since 2007, while Italy is also returning to growth and France's business sector is also showing signs of stabilizing," Markit adds.
The BLDRS Europe 100 ADR Index Fund (Fund) is an exchange-traded fund based on the BNY Mellon Europe 100 ADR Index (Index). The Fund normally holds at least 95% of its total assets in Depositary Receipts that comprise the Index. The Index is capitalization weighted and designed to track the performance of approximately 100 European market-based depositary receipts. The portfolio is rebalanced and reconstituted quarterly.
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