European Factors to Watch-Shares seen steady, focus on elections
LONDON, May 23 (Reuters) - European shares are expected to open steady on Friday, with investors seen avoiding strong bets ahead of Ukrainian and European election results. Financial spreadbetters predicted Britain's FTSE 100 to open flat, Germany's DAX to gain about 9 points, or up 0.09 percent, and France's CAC 40 to open flat. Ukraine said more than a dozen servicemen were killed on Thursday in a clash with pro-Russian separatists, fuelling security concerns ahead of a presidential election on Sunday seen as crucial for its fragile democracy. "With the intensifying violence in the Ukraine, fears are that a presidential election will merely polarise the two sides and could be a trigger for an escalation of fighting," Jonathan Sudaria, dealer at Capital Spreads, said. "With the (European Union) voting already underway, concerns are brewing that the corridors of power in Brussels could be full of eurosceptic, anti-establishment parliamentarians." The EU's marathon parliamentary election kicked off on Thursday when Britain and the Netherlands voted, with right-wing, anti-EU parties expected to attract a surge of protest votes in many countries on a low turnout. Analysts said there were concerns the EU elections could destabilise some euro zone governments at home. In Italy, for example, a poor result for Prime Minister Matteo Renzi's party could weaken his drive for swift reforms that he promised when he took power in a party coup. Europe bourses in 2014: (link.reuters.com/pad95v) Asset performance in 2014: (link.reuters.com/rav46v) ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ MARKET SNAPSHOT AT 0519 GMT: LAST PCT CHG NET CHG S&P 500 1,892.49 0.24 % 4.46 NIKKEI 14484.32 1.02 % 146.53 MSCI ASIA EX-JP 487.55 0.07 % 0.34 EUR/USD 1.365 -0.03 % -0.0004 USD/JPY 101.74 0.02 % 0.0200 10-YR US TSY YLD 2.554 -- 0.00 10-YR BUND YLD 1.412 -- 0.00 SPOT GOLD $1,294.60 0.09 % $1.10 US CRUDE $103.81 0.07 % 0.07 > Asian shares scale 1-yr highs on hopeful global economic signs > Wall St rises as small-caps rally; HP shares off late > Nikkei rallies to 1-month high on China, U.S. optimism > Bond prices edge lower on stronger U.S. housing, factory data > Dollar better bid after data, euro hobbled by rate cut view > Palladium poised for best week in 2 months on supply fears > LME copper flat, nickel eyes 3.5 pct weekly gain > Brent steady above $110 as economic growth, Libya support (Reporting by Atul Prakash; Editing by Sudip Kar-Gupta)
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