Europe Factors to Watch-Shares to pause, Crimea still in focus
LONDON, March 18 (Reuters) - European stocks were seen edging lower on Tuesday after strong gains in the previous session, with the market awaiting fresh cues following the initial relief that the crisis in Ukraine had not deteriorated.
The relatively peaceful passing of a referendum over the status of Crimea, which the West denounced as illegal, helped to buoy global equity markets on Monday. Gains were extended after the United States and Europe revealed sanctions that traders described as "modest", with the measures not seen as escalating the crisis in the short term.
The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index ended 1 percent higher at 1,297.45 points on Monday, rising for only the second time in seven sessions and halting a three-week slide.
Futures on European indexes turned slightly negative, however, after Russian President Vladimir Putin said he was moving forward with plans for Crimea's accession into Russia in a move that could provoke a sterner rebuke from the West.
"It's too early in my mind to be fully unwinding political hedges," Chris Weston, chief market strategist at IG, said in a note.
"We should hear more from Vladimir Putin today and this could be key for sentiment in today's session; however what's important is that he still doesn't recognise Ukraine as having a legitimate government, while he also feels he has the right to protect the Russian ethnic population in the east of Ukraine."
At 0727 GMT, futures for the Euro STOXX 50, Britain's FTSE 100 , Germany's DAX and France's CAC were between 0.1 percent and 0.3 percent lower.
Also in focus could be the German ZEW sentiment indicator, as investors continue to fret over signs of deflation in the euro zone, hoping that weaker data could prompt some stimulus measures from the European Central Bank. Continuación...