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European markets head for lackluster open ahead of NATO summit focused on Ukraine

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LONDON — European stocks are expected to open slightly higher on Thursday with regional investors keeping a close eye on developments in Ukraine, and key meetings of NATO, EU and G-7 leaders in Brussels.

The U.K.’s FTSE index is seen opening 7 points higher at 7,460, Germany’s DAX 8 points higher at 14,296, France’s CAC 40 up 16 points at 6,583 and Italy’s FTSE MIB also up 16 points at 23,706, according to data from IG.

Global markets will be closely following high-profile meetings in Brussels on Thursday with a NATO summit, a meeting of EU leaders, and a Group of Seven summit taking place.

The war in Ukraine is top of the agenda as Russia’s invasion continues. U.S. President Joe Biden is attending the meetings and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is expected to join the NATO summit via videolink.

NATO’s Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said Wednesday that the Western military alliance’s leaders are expected to commit “major increases” in troops along its eastern flank when they meet to discuss Russia’s war on Ukraine. More sanctions on Russia could also be announced, Biden has indicated.

Elsewhere, Asia-Pacific markets struggled for direction on Thursday as yesterday’s 5% jump in oil prices took a pause. Meanwhile, U.S. stock futures were little changed on Wednesday night as investors recovered from losses during the regular trading session.

Daimler Truck and Poste Italiane report earnings on Thursday while flash euro zone composite purchasing manager’s index data is due.

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