LONDON (AP) -- Financial markets were leaden-footed Tuesday in the run-up to key economic events in Europe, the U.S. and China this week.
In the U.S., a run of economic data culminates on Friday with the publication of the delayed nonfarm payrolls report for October - a series of economic indicators that will go a long way to determining when the Federal Reserve will start to reduce its monetary stimulus.
In Europe, investors will be bracing themselves for the monthly policy meeting of the European Central Bank. Until last week's news that the annual inflation rate in the 17-country eurozone fell to just 0.7 percent in October, no change in policy was expected. Now, many economists think the ECB will either reduce its main interest rate to a record low of 0.25 percent or hint at future easing given that the central bank's main policy target is to keep inflation just below 2 percent.
And in China, leaders are scheduled to meet in Beijing from Nov. 9-12 to craft a new blueprint for the world's No. 2 economy as its state-led growth model runs out of oomph. Hopes are high that the plenum will announce changes to give private businesses a greater say in the economy but reforms will face resistance from officials and state companies who benefit from the status quo.