European stocks are expected to open higher Monday even as investors continue to focus on political developments in the region amid Catalonia's push for independence from Spain and British Prime Minister Theresa May's efforts to stabilise her leadership and right the country's stalled Brexit negotiations.
Britain's FTSE 100 will likely be the sole regional benchmark in the red at the start of trading Monday, according to financial bookmakers IG, as weaker oil prices keep some of the index's heavyweights on the back foot and investors keep a sharp eye on the pound, which is marked at 1.3108 against the U.S. dollar into the start of the London trading session.
Europe's markets, however, look ready to kick-off with week on an optimistic note, with Germany's DAX performance index priced to rise around 0.16% at the opening bell and France CAC-40 set for a 0.28% gain. Markets in Spain, however, will likely again take center-stage as Catalonia's referendum, and the independence debate it has spawned, continues to unsettle investors with exposure to Europe's fourth-largest economy.
The euro, however, appears to have regained some of last week's lost poise and is trading at 1.1735, up modestly from Friday's close, at the start of the European trading session, helped in part by the searing pace of manufacturing activity in German, the region's largest economy, which rose 2.6%, the most in six years, over the month of August.
Overnight in Asia, holidays in Japan and South Korea kept broader market liquidity thin, but didn't stop China's CSI 300 benchmark from rising 1.9% to the highest levels since late 2015 as investors returned from the country's Golden Week celebrations and bid up banking stocks in the world's second-largest economy in delay reaction to changes in reserve requirements laid down last week by the People's Bank of China.
Early indications from Wall Street futures suggest a positive open for markets, as well, although volumes are likely to be affected by Columbus Day closures at the CME Group which will keep options activity muted.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average is called 19 points, or 0.08% higher at the opening bell, which the S&P 500 is looking to add around 2.25 points, or 0.09%, at the start of trading later today.