Shares, stocks and corporate news: What you need to know before the open

Total shares: 488
Europe markets are poised to open higher this morning, ahead of the European Central Bank's (ECB) policy meeting which takes place in Cyprus tomorrow.
 
The FTSE is seen opening up 9 points at 6,898, with the German DAX up 15 points at 11,295 and the French CAC up 14 points at 4,883.
 
Tomorrow's meeting will see the release of updated macroeconomic forecasts for the Eurozone, and ECB president Mario Draghi is widely expected to provide more details about the central bank’s quantitative easing (QE) programme first announced in January.
 
Investors will also have one eye on Greece, amid confusion over whether it's in talks for a third bailout. Spain's economy minister Luis de Guindos had said Eurozone countries were mulling a new rescue plan worth between 30-50bn, but this was refuted by European Union officials.
 
In other news, the UK government is set to sell its stake in Eurostar for £757.1m, as part of the coalition’s pledge to raise £20bn from asset sales by 2020.
 
South African businessman Dave King - who owns 14.5 per cent of Rangers’ shares - yesterday claimed he had recorded a “landslide victory” in his bid to wrest control of Rangers’ boardroom.
 
And challenger bank Aldermore is set to debut on the stock market next week with a valuation of between £600m and £660m, City A.M. understands.

Corporate news

  • Greggs said total sales rose 5.5 per cent to £804.0m amid its increased focus on the food-to-go market.
  • ITV said full year jumped eight per cent to £2.6bn, and its profits grew by 18 per cent to £730m.
  • Carillion's full year revenue was unchanged at £4.1bn while underlying pre-tax profit fell 1 per cent to £172.9m.

Data in focus

  • Eurozone services PMI for Feb (9.00am)
  • UK services PMI for Feb (9.30am)
  • Europe retail sales for Jan (10.00am)
  • US services PMI for Feb (2.45pm)
  • Federal Reserve's beige book (7pm)

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