• The Fed is scheduled to start a two-day monetary policy meeting on Wednesday stateside, when investors will look for clues about potential rate cuts.
  • Investors will be monitoring simmering tensions between Washington and Tehran, after acting U.S. Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan announced Monday that 1,000 troops will be deployed to the Middle East, citing concerns about a threat from Iran.

European stocks traded lower Tuesday morning as investors awaited a speech from European Central Bank President Mario Draghi, ahead of this week’s crucial U.S. Federal Reserve meeting.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 was down 0.4% in early deals, auto stocks leading the losses with a 1.1% drop while only a handful of sectors traded in positive territory.

Central banks are in focus this week. Draghi is set to speak at 9 a.m. BST, while Fed is scheduled to start a two-day monetary policy meeting on Wednesday stateside, when investors will look for clues about potential rate cuts.

Asian markets were mostly higher Tuesday, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index adding 0.7% while only Japanese indexes slipped into the red.

Investors will be monitoring simmering geopolitical tensions after acting U.S. Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan announced Monday that 1,000 troops will be deployed to the Middle East, citing concerns about a threat from Iran. Fears of a confrontation between Iran and the U.S. have mounted since last Thursday, when two oil tankers were attacked, which Washington has blamed on Tehran.

Back in Europe, the six remaining Conservative party hopefuls to replace British Prime Minister Theresa May will face a second round of voting by secret ballot Tuesday, with Brexiteer Boris Johnson the clear frontrunner despite refusing to participate in Sunday’s live television debate.

German chipmaker Infineon has launched an accelerated capital increase to raise 1.5 billion euros ($1.68 billion) towards its planned acquisition of Cypress Semiconductor. Infineon shares fell more than 5% in early deals as markets reacted to the news.

Swedbank announced Monday that it had suspended the CEO and CFO of its Estonian business following a money-laundering investigation. Sweden’s oldest bank has gone through a turbulent period since being linked to money laundering at Danske Bank which has said its Estonia branch was used to move 200 billion euros of suspicious funds between 2007 and 2015. Swedbank shares traded 1.5% lower during the morning session.

In terms of individual stocks, London-listed pan-African insurance group Old Mutual climbed to the top of the European blue chip index, rising 3.1% after firing its suspended CEO Peter Moyo over conflict of interests.

At the other end of the Stoxx 600, Danish hospital equipment maker Ambu plunged more than 16% in early trade after cutting its outlook.

Source: CNBC