European Shares Set To Open Higher

European stocks look set to open a tad higher on Monday as investors look ahead to key central bank meetings later this week.

Federal Reserve policymakers will gather on Wednesday for the last time this year to decide whether to raise interest rates for the fourth time amid headwinds to U.S. growth in 2019.

The Fed is widely expected to raise interest rates by another quarter point, but the central bank’s accompanying statement and forecasts will be closely scrutinized for clues about future rate hikes.

The Bank of Japan and the Bank of England will hold their monetary policy meetings on Thursday.

Brexit developments also remain in focus after Prime Minister Theresa May attacked one of her predecessors – accusing Tony Blair of “undermining” the Brexit talks by calling for another referendum.

She reportedly called his comments an “insult to the office he once held” and said MPs could not “abdicate responsibility” to deliver Brexit by holding a new poll.

According to pre-released text, May will urge MPs today not to “break faith with the British people” by demanding a second referendum.

Asian stocks are trading mostly higher after China said it would temporarily suspend additional 25 percent tariffs on U.S.-made vehicles and auto parts starting January 1, 2019.

Meanwhile, North Korea on Sunday condemned the Trump administration over its latest sanction measures for alleged human rights abuses and warned of a return to “exchanges of fire”.

Gold edged lower as the dollar held near a 19-month high on heightened concerns of a global economic slowdown.

U.S. crude oil futures for January edged up slightly in Asian trade after falling by 2.6 percent to $51.20 a barrel on Friday.

U.S. stocks succumbed to heavy selling pressure on Friday as disappointing industrial output and retail sales data from China sparked fresh fears that the global economy is slowing.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average tumbled 2 percent, and the S&P 500 dropped 1.9 percent to close at their lowest levels in seven and eight months, respectively, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite shed 2.3 percent.

European markets also ended firmly in the red on Friday, with disappointing Chinese data, weak data from the euro zone and ECB President Mario Draghi’s warning that risks were moving to the downside keeping investors nervous.

The pan-European Stoxx Europe 600 index eased 0.6 percent. The German DAX and the U.K.’s FTSE 100 fell around half a percent while France’s CAC 40 index declined 0.9 percent.