European stocks were little changed, near a five-year high, as investors awaited Sunday’s federal elections in Germany. U.S. index futures and Asian shares were also little changed.
The Stoxx Europe 600 Index were unchanged at 315.06 as of 9:52 a.m. in London. The equity benchmark has risen 1.2 percent this week, extending its rally so far this year to 13 percent, as the Federal Reserve refrained from reducing its monthly asset purchases.
In Germany, an INSA opinion poll published yesterday showed the opposition Social Democrats climbing one percentage point to 28 percent, 10 points behind Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union and its sister party the Christian Social Union of Bavaria. Both main groups fell short of a majority with their preferred coalition partners in the poll.
Some polls show the Free Democrats, the junior member of the governing coalition, struggling to reach the 5 percent threshold they need to enter parliament, meaning that Merkel may have to form a government with another party.
Trading in Europe may be more volatile than usual today as futures and options contracts expire in a process that some traders call quadruple witching.
The Stoxx 600 climbed to its highest level since June 2008 yesterday after the Fed said in a statement that it needs to see more evidence of lasting improvement in the U.S. economy before slowing the pace of its bond-buying program.
The European Commission publishes its gauge of euro-area consumer confidence at 4 p.m. in Brussels today. The index of household sentiment climbed to minus 14.5 in September from minus 15.6 in August, according to the median estimate of economists.
Adidas slipped 4.5 percent to 78.89 euros after cutting the low end of its profit forecast for 2013 by 7.9 percent. The world’s second-largest sporting-goods maker cited the euro’s strength, a glitch in a Russian distribution site and weakness in the global golf market.
Direct Line (DLG) lost 2.5 percent to 212.6 pence. RBS sold 300 million shares at 210 pence apiece in its third sale of a stake in the insurance company, according to a statement. The bank, which is owned by the U.K. government, now owns 28.5 percent of Direct Line. RBS dropped 1 percent to 365.2 pence.
FTSE 100 6,623.35 -2.04 -0.03%
CAC 40 4,209.23 +3.19 +0.08%
DAX 8,701.87 +7.69 +0.09%
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