European futures are indicating a higher open, following a positive session in Asia overnight with the FTSE indicating a 20 point higher open. With a light economic calendar, markets are likely to remain subdued ahead of Janet Yellen’s testimony later today. This could give investors valuable insight into how the Federal Reserve plans to approach tapering and interest rates over the next couple of years.
The Federal Reserve has already chosen to slow the pace of its bond-purchases twice, reducing its monthly buying from $85 billion to $65 billion. With a worse than expected payroll figure on Friday and a deteriorating economic data, the Fed could use this to ease of tightening.
UK financial stocks are likely to be in the limelight after Barclays reported full-year profit that missed analyst estimates. Profits in 2013 declined 37 percent as stricter regulation put pressure on its fixed –income business. Pre-tax profit fell to £2.52 billion from £3.99 billion a year earlier, with analysts expecting a £2.99 billion consensus. Chief Executive Office Antony Jenkins will continue to eliminate jobs to remove £1.7 billion pounds of costs by 2015. Despite the miss, Barclays have announced they have increased the bonus pool by 10% to £2.38 billion.