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Europe Open: DAX Set To Underperform; U.S. Bank Earnings Eyed

By Peter Nurse - European stock markets are expected to open marginally lower Tuesday, as investors take a cautious view ahead of the start of the earnings season.

Futures for the U.K.'s FTSE 100 index were trading 2 points, or 0.1%, lower by 02:20 ET (07:20 GMT), futures for France's CAC 40 were 1 point, or 0.1%, lower, while the Dax futures contract underperformed, trading down 24 points, or 0.2%.

European earnings results will begin in earnest next week, but there are a number of U.S. reports due this week, starting today with banking giants JPMorgan Chase (NYSE:JPM), Citigroup (NYSE:C) and Wells Fargo (NYSE:WFC). The banks are often taken as a rough proxy for the health of the broader economy, and are thus likely to set the tone of the overall earnings season.

Sentiment received another boost overnight as the U.S. revoked its decision, taken last summer amid tensions between the two economic superpowers, to call China a currency manipulator - just days before the two countries are set to sign phase one of a trade deal.

The news helped raised optimism ahead of the U.S. and China signing the first phase of their trade deal on Wednesday. This phase one deal would prevent any further tit-for-tat tariffs and roll back some existing U.S. tariffs in Chinese goods.

Elsewhere, crude oil was largely unchanged as investors kept a wary eye on tensions in the Middle East as well as the potential trade deal between China and the U.S. However, gold futures lost ground as investors left the safe haven amid positive signs on the trade deal.

U.S. Crude Oil WTI Futures traded flat at $58.00 by 2:15 AM ET (07:15 GMT). International Brent Oil Futures also rose 0.1% to $64.25. Gold futures for February delivery on New York’s COMEX fell 0.6% to $1,542.05.

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