Europe seen lower as Greece, Russia weigh

European equities are expected to open lower Monday as negotiations over Greece’s bailout program continue and the crisis in Ukraine escalates without a peace deal in sight.

The FTSE (FTSE International: .FTSE) is seen opening lower by 33 points at 6,820, the German DAX (XETRA: .GDAXI) down 89 points at 10,757 and the French CAC (Euronext Paris: .FCHI) down 39 points at 4,652.

European market sentiment remains pessimistic with an unresolved Greek bailout program crisis brewing.

The Greek government is under pressure to find a solution to its immediate funding situation as its current bailout ends at the end of February. Last week, Greece’s prime minister and finance minister went on a whirlwind tour of Europe to drum up support for a renegotiation of the conditions of its bailout — to mixed success.

There is still a tranche of bailout funds it has not received, but Prime Minister Alexi Tsipras has said he will not ask for more loans and on Sunday reiterated his pledge to dismantle the country’s “cruel” austerity program .

Greece’s international lenders – the troika comprising the European Central Bank, European Commission and International Monetary Fund — are not ready to release the funds until Greece makes a commitment to continue with the conditions of its bailout, including austerity policies.

Meanwhile, German Chancellor Angela Merkel is to meet President Barack Obama in Washington on Monday to discuss a solution to the growing crisis in Ukraine where violence between pro-Russian separatists and the Ukraine military has escalated, forcing many civilians in the east of the country to flee their homes.

There have been calls in the U.S. for the country to arm Kiev but European leaders are seeking a diplomatic solution to the conflict. There are plans for Russian President Vladimir Putin to meet the leaders of Germany, France and Ukraine in Minsk to progress peace talks on Wednesday.

Greece and Russia are likely to be hot topics when finance ministers from the group of 20 nations (G-20) meet in Istanbul Monday to discuss the global economy and concerns over growth.

In Asia, equities traded mixed on Monday following a weak trade report from China over the weekend.

Earnings are due from Mediobanca and Raifessen. There are no major data released Monday.

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