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European stocks are seen opening flat to slightly higher on Friday after the previous session's sell-off, with Germany's Ifo business climate index likely to shed light on the outlook for Europe's biggest economy.
Financial spreadbetters expect Britain's FTSE 100 to open around 2 points, or 0.03 percent, lower, Germany's DAX to open 8 points, or 0.1 percent, higher, and France's CAC 40 to open 10 points, or 0.25 percent, higher.
European stocks sank on Thursday, with the FTSEurofirst 300 index losing 2.1 percent, on worries over a possible scaling back of U.S. economic stimulus measures.
Japanese stocks turned negative on Friday and the yen reversed early losses, keeping intact worries that the Nikkei's largest one-day drop in two years may be the start of a bigger rout.
In a sign that many are still spooked by Thursday's eye-watering 7.3 percent Nikkei drop, share markets elsewhere in Asia extended their decline to a fresh one-month low.
Japanese government bonds plunged on Thursday, taking yields to their highest in a year and leading a selloff in bonds globally after Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke's remarks sparked worries of a reduction in U.S. monetary stimulus.
Bernanke's comments, suggesting the Fed's massive bond purchases could be scaled back in the next few policy meetings if the economy improves further, triggered a reaction across a swathe of markets, lifting the dollar to a three-year high versus a basket of currencies and the U.S. 10-year Treasury yield to the highest in two months.
European shares are expected to retreat on Thursday, with a poor factory activity survey from China and concerns the U.S. Federal Reserve could decide to cut its bond purchases in the next few meetings hurting sentiment.
Stocks rose on Tuesday, with the Dow and the S&P 500 closing at new all-time highs as Federal Reserve officials' comments eased some concerns that the central bank could start reducing its stimulus program.
Today, investors will be parsing testimony by Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke before a congressional panel, the Joint Economic Committee. The minutes of the Fed's latest policy-setting meeting will be released on Wednesday afternoon.
Asian stocks rose on Wednesday following a positive lead from Wall Street, with Japan's Nikkei reaching a fresh 5-1/2 year high and clinging to its gains as the Bank of Japan stood pat after unleashing massive stimulus last month.
European stock index futures pointed to a mixed open on Wednesday, with the market's month-long rally taking a breather ahead of U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke's testimony before Congress.
The dollar inched higher versus a basket of currencies on Tuesday but stayed below a three-year high, as investors ponder if Bernanke might reveal the timing of any wind-down at his appearance before the Joint Economic Committee before Congress takes its Memorial Day recess.
Spot gold fell 0.4 percent to $1,388.09. Gold drifted lower on outflows from exchange-traded funds and as the dollar firmed, putting pressure on bullion which has lost nearly a fifth of its value this year.
Brent crude edged up 0.1 percent to $104.86 a barrel.
Global equity markets had mostly pushed higher on Monday, driven up by a flurry of merger and acquisition activity, with MSCI's all-country world equity index .MIWO00000PUS touching its highest level since June 2008.
U.S. stocks ended little changed on Monday, but both the U.S. benchmark S&P 500 index and the Dow briefly hit all-time intraday highs.
European shares were likely to retreat on Tuesday, with concerns that the U.S. Federal Reserve might begin slowing its bond purchases seen prompting investors to take some profits from the market's rally to five year highs.
The yen edged higher on Monday after Japan's economics minister said further weakness in the yen could harm households, while Asian shares rose in response to U.S. equities rallying on upbeat economic data.
Gold tumbled 1.5 percent to a one-month low of $1,338.95, pressured by expectations the Fed could soon halt its asset buying program.
Brent crude edged up 0.1 percent to $104.70 a barrel.
A rally in auto stocks and strong U.S. data helped European shares set a 5-year high on Friday and record their fourth consecutive weekly gain, with cyclical shares leading risers.
U.S. consumer sentiment rose more than epxected in early May to the highest in nearly six years as Americans felt better about their financial and economic prospects. April's leading indicator also beat estimates.
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