European markets to open lower on geopolitical tensions, weak Chinese data

European markets were expected to open lower Monday morning as investors digest an escalation of tensions in the Middle East following an attack on Saudi oil production.

The FTSE 100 was seen around 23 points lower at 7,344, the DAX was expected to open down around 96 points at 12,372 and the CAC was set to slip around 38 points to 5,617, according to IG data.

Oil prices surged overnight after drone attacks at the weekend hit major oil production facilities in Saudi Arabia, effectively wiping out 5 percent of global supply. Brent crude hit its highest intra-day percentage gain since the start of the Gulf War in 1991, and was trading around 10% higher Monday morning.

President Donald Trump said the U.S. is “locked and loaded” and was waiting to hear from Saudi Arabia as to the next steps, sparking fears of imminent military confrontation.

Asian stocks were mixed Monday afternoon after data revealed Chinese industrial output for August grew at its slowest pace for 17.5 years. Chinese Premier Li Kequiang said it is “very difficult” for China’s economy to grow at a rate of 6% or more, due it its high starting base and a turbulent international backdrop.

Back in Europe, U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Sunday reiterated that the next few days would be key to securing a Brexit deal as he prepares to meet with European leaders.

Meanwhile in Italy, reports suggested that former Prime Minister Matteo Renzi is planning to break away from the ruling Democratic Party (PD) to set up a new centrist movement, complicating the new coalition between the PD and the anti-establishment Five Star Movement (M5S).

In corporate news, Axel Springer is planning layoffs as part of a cost-cutting effort after U.S. investment firm KKR became its largest shareholder, the German media group’s chief executive said in an interview published Sunday by the Sueddeutsche Zeitung.

After the board of the London Stock Exchange (LSE) rejected a proposed $36.6 billion takeover offer from Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing (HKEX), the Asian trading house has arranged meetings with LSE investors in a bid to curry favor, raising the prospect of a hostile takeover, according to Reuters.

Benetton holding company Edizione, which has a controlling 30.25% stake in Italian infrastructure giant Atlantia, expressed its dismay on Sunday following allegations of safety violations by Atlantia. Police on Friday revealed that evidence of falsified safety reports had been discovered as part of a probe of a deadly bridge collapse in Genoa last year.

Source: CNBC