Good morning.

Markets in Europe are called to open higher this morning. Oil slid for a third day as the threat of military strikes against Syria receded. Emerging-market currencies weakened and Asian stocks declined before the U.S. Federal Reserve’s policy meeting.

The Federal Reserve will probably start to scale back on its massive bond-buying program this week and will try to help ease the market impact of the taper. The Fed's long-awaited two-day September meeting begins Tuesday and it's widely expected that central bank policymakers will announce that it is starting to reduce its $85-billion-a-month asset purchases. At the conclusion of its meeting on Wednesday, the Fed will provide interest rate guidance and economic projections, and Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke will hold a news conference.

Stock to watch: Deutsche Lufthansa

Deutsche Lufthansa AG Chief Executive Officer Christoph Franz announced his surprise departure to become chairman at Swiss drugmaker Roche Holding AG, leaving the airline in limbo in the middle of a turnaround. Franz, 53, said he informed Chairman Wolfgang Mayrhuber today that he’s not available for an extension of his contract,

D which expires on May 31 next year. Lufthansa will consider internal and external candidates to succeed Franz, who will take over from Franz Humer at Basel-based Roche, where the airline CEO has been a member of the board since 2011.

Franz, who lives in Zurich after leading Lufthansa’s Swiss subsidiary, has been commuting to the group’s operational headquarters in Frankfurt since becoming CEO in 2011. He embarked on a savings program that included 3,500 job cuts and a fleet renewal using more fuel-efficient models to raise the operational profit to 2.3 billion euros ($3 billion) in 2015.


• U.K. Offers $5.3b Lloyds Stake Five Years After Bailout

• Axa CEO Invites Taper as End of ‘Financial Repression’

• Asian Stocks Decline Before Fed Policy Meeting

• UBS Wins Approval of $120m Lehman Investor Settlement

• Barclays Refunding Interest Incorrectly Charged to Customers

• Danone Baby Formula Brand Probes Allegations on Payments to China Doctors

• Merkel SPD Rivals Vow Transaction Tax in a Grand Coalition

• Air France Regional Bases Said to Face Cuts Amid Competition

• Post to Buy Glencore U.S. Pasta-Making Unit for $370m

• TCI Urges EADS to Transfer Dassault Stake to Shareholders: FT

• Fortum Said to Start EU1.5b-EU2b Sale of Finland Grid: Reuters

• Qatar Holding Said to Suspend Versace Bid, Reuters Says

• Kerry Says U.S. Isn’t Wavering on Goal of Ending Assad’s Rule

• Paris Set to Outdo London Shard With Russian Skyscrapers Plan

• Novartis Unit Alcon Says Doesn’t Tolerate China Violations

EARNINGS All times CET, estimates where available:

• Mediobanca (MB IM) afternoon, FY GAAP loss-shr EU0.15

• Investec (INVP LN) 8am, 2Q trading update

• Zodiac Aerospace (ZC FP) post-mkt, FY sales EU3.9b

• Debenhams (DEB LN) 8am, 4Q trading

• Galliford Try (GFRD LN) 8am, FY adj. and GAAP EPS GBP0.70

• Imagination Technologies (IMG LN) 8am, 1Q IMS

Good day and happy trading!

Kristian Camenzuli