European markets seen mixed amid Middle East tensions

European markets are set to open mixed Thursday morning, as investor sentiment was curbed by the threat of imminent U.S. military action in Syria.

The FTSE 100 is seen 13 points lower at 7,242, while the CAC is set to open 6 points higher at 5,278 and the DAX is expected to start 1 point lower at 12,291, according to IG.

In an incendiary tweet Wednesday, President Donald Trump said Russia should “get ready” for missiles to be fired into Syria. The U.S. president appeared to taunt the Kremlin for its support of Syrian President Bashar Assad, following a suspected chemical attack in the war-torn nation over the weekend. Both Damascus and Moscow have denied any responsibility. Trump’s comments elevated fears of a direct conflict over Syria with the two world powers backing opposing sides.

Meanwhile, heightened geopolitical tension in the Middle East prompted oil prices to surge to 2018 highs. Brent crude futures traded at $72.18, up 0.2 percent on Thursday morning, while WTI rose 0.4 percent to $67.10 — a level last seen in December 2014.

Back in Europe, euro area industrial production data for February are due to be released at around 10 a.m. London time.

On the corporate front, London-listed stock WH Smith is due to publish its latest interim results on Thursday morning. Source: CNBC

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