UK markets closed

LIVE MARKETS-Opening snapshot: subdued start ahead of Fed

* STOXX 600 down 0.2% in early deals after hitting 6-week highs a day earlier * Hopes of trade deal, dovish Fed limiting losses * UK housebuilders rise after strong Berkeley results * Saga sinks as tour operator warns on Brexit Welcome to the home for real-time coverage of European equity markets brought to you by Reuters stocks reporters and anchored today by Thyagaraju Adinarayan. Reach him on Messenger to share your thoughts on market moves: thyagaraju.adinarayan.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net OPENING SNAPSHOT: SUBDUED START AHEAD OF FED (0726 GMT) European stocks are slightly lower with banks, mining and auto sectors making gains, while defensives such as consumer staples and utilities are in red. A build-up to Fed? After Draghi's dovish comments yesterday, hopes are running high for the Fed to follow suit later this evening. Chip stocks are rallying today pinning hopes on a potential China-U.S. trade deal. Siltronic is making a solid come back with 4% gains, a day after sliding 7% yesterday on its profit warning. British housebuilders are among top gainers today with Berkeley Group leading the pack after its annual profits comfortably beat estimates. Berkeley is rising 3.4% and is the top gainer on FTSE 100. Just East is off 4.5% and the biggest faller on the UK blue chip index after UBS downgraded the stock to "neutral". As expected, Saga shares are sliding 7%, hitting all-time lows after the company says its tour operations still being hurt by UK political uncertainties. Here's your opening snapshot: (Thyagaraju Adinarayan) ***** WHAT'S ON OUR RADAR: SAGA, BERKELEY, STEINHOFF, ADYEN (0656 GMT) It's a lull in continental Europe, but there is some action in the UK with corporate companies continuing blame Brexit and/or political uncertainties for poor results. What's the impact? Saga says its tour operations business is still being hit by political uncertainties, housebuilder Berkeley Group has reported a 21% drop in pretax profit and Whitbread's like-for-like revenue per available room in the UK fell 6% in Q1. Traders are calling Saga and Whitbread shares 2-3% lower, while Berkeley shares are called 2-5% higher as their results comfortably beat estimates. The Berkeley share move could be a positive read-across and provide some relief for the battered British housebuilding sector. Steinhoff International's Frankfurt-listed shares are seen falling as much as 10% after the South African retailer reported a 1.2 billion euro ($1.34 billion) loss for 2018, in a much-delayed earnings report, revealing the impact of an accounting fraud put at $7.27 billion. Dutch fintech firm Adyen seen 2% down after some pre-IPO investors placed shares at 670 euros -- a 3% discount to yesterday's closing price. UK headlines: UK housebuilder Berkeley annual profit slumps Brexit uncertainty hurts demand at Whitbread UK's Saga warns on hit to tour operations (Thyagaraju Adinarayan) ***** CALM AFTER THE STORM (0619 GMT) European stock futures indicate a flat open after a massive rally yesterday as investors are on the side-lines waiting to see if the Fed follows in the footsteps of the ECB. Meanwhile, for anyone still recovering from the Draghi shock, you're not alone: ECB policymakers were divided on Tuesday, with some feeling powerless, after Draghi hinted at new stimulus measures that had yet to be discussed by the ECB's Governing Council. Corporate news looks very light this morning but it would be interesting to watch if the trade-sensitive stocks continue to rally pinning hopes on a trade deal when Trump and China's Xi meet in G20. The Philadelphia Semiconductor index rose 4.4% overnight on hopes of a trade deal. A report that Deutsche Bank chief Christian Sewing is planning a major overhaul of top management, including replacing the finance chief, is making big headlines. Key headlines: EXCLUSIVE-Left in the dark, ECB policymakers divided on stimulus options Dish Network nearing $6 bln deal for T-Mobile-Sprint assets Scandal-hit Steinhoff posts narrow $1.3 bln loss in delayed 2018 results Qantas adds 10 Airbus jets to order, will take 36 A321XLRs (Thyagaraju Adinarayan) ***** EUROPEAN SHARES SEEN SLIGHTLY HIGHER (0528 GMT) European stocks are seen extending gains after a solid rally on Tuesday. All eyes are on Jerome Powell now as the market is keenly watching if he will follow the lead of his European counterpart Mario Draghi and open the door to future rate cuts at the policy meeting later in the day. The Fed is scheduled to release a statement at 1800 GMT on Wednesday, followed by a press conference by Powell shortly after. Financial spreadbetters IG expect London's FTSE to open 10 points higher at 7,453, Frankfurt's DAX to open 11 points up at 12,342, and Paris' CAC to open 4 points higher at 5,513. (Thyagaraju Adinarayan) ***** ($1 = 0.8934 euros) (Reporting by Danilo Masoni, Helen Reid, Josephine Mason and Thyagaraju Adinarayan)