European shares are set for a slightly higher open on Friday as investors monitor events in Ukraine and look ahead to the releases of key data from the euro zone.
Inflation figures for the 18 countries using the euro are due at 10:00 a.m. London time on Friday. Economists predict a number of 0.3 percent for August, lower than July’s 0.4 percent. The metric is a key gauge for the European Central Bank (ECB) in deciding policy.
Expectations are running relatively high that the ECB will act at its September 4 meeting, after President Mario Draghi sounded a dovish note at his Jackson Hole speech last Friday. On Thursday afternoon, official data revealed that German inflation was unchanged in August.
Geopolitical tensions will also be watched Friday. Global stocks closed lower in the previous session as Ukraine accused Russia of invading the country following a fresh offensive into the coastal town of Novoazovsk.
The accusation came after NATO warned that Russia has moved “well over 1,000 troops” into Ukraine, releasing photos purporting to show troop movement in the region. President Barack Obama said that the United States is not currently planning any military intervention but added that he had agreed with German Chancellor Angela Merkel to consider additional sanctions on Russia.
U.S. stocks declined overnight with the heightened tensions in Ukraine and the S&P 500 halted a three-day winning streak to end below 2,000 points. In Asia on Friday, equity markets were mostly lower.
This weekend, European leaders are due to meet in Brussels to negotiate new rules within the Union. The EU’s foreign policy chief is expected to be announced as well as a new president of the European Council. Leaders are also due to discuss ongoing events in Ukraine at the summit.
On the economic front, an August house price index for the U.K. is due at 7:00 a.m. London time, German retail sales for July are expected at 7:00 a.m. London time and unemployment data for the euro zone are due alongside the inflation reading at 10:00 a.m. London time.
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