Stock markets in Europe and the US have started off the week on the back foot. In Europe, traders took the bank stress test results in stride, particularly since some details had come out on Friday, but were spooked by Germany IFO business survey results which were below expectations. This ramped up concerns again that the engine of the continental economy may sputter and stagger into a recession. Growth concerns not only pulled stocks down but knocked crude oil down about 1%, sending WTI crude to test its key $80.00 level once again and Brent toward a retest of $85.00. US stocks, meanwhile, have been unable to continue building on last week’s gains. With the FOMC decision on ending QE3 coming on Wednesday, traders don’t appear interested in pushing stocks much higher than they already are and some profit-taking appears to be underway ahead of the meeting. Despite the speculation that QE3 may be continued which sparked the relief rally of the last ten days, this appears to be a single voice not a movement. At this point it looks like QE3 will end but the FOMC may stay dovish in the statement and leave the door open to keeping interest rates low for some time yet. US Dollar action also suggests this may be the result. The greenback has been holding on to most of its rally gains but doesn’t appear to be inclined to press on any further either. Gold is steady but JPY and NZD have been rallying while NOK and SEK have been trailing today. Technology stocks could be active again today with Apple at all-time highs in response to last week’s earnings while Twitter tests $75 ahead of tonight’s earnings and Facebook tests $80.00 ahead of tomorrow night’s earnings. Corporate News Merck $0.90 vs street $0.88 Economic News Economic reports released overnight and this morning include: European Bank stress tests out of 130 banks, 25 failed, but only 13 of those still need to raise capital, mainly in Italy Germany IFO business climate 103.2 vs street 104.5 Germany IFO current 108.4 vs street 110.0 Germany IFO expectations 98.3 vs street 99.2 UK CBI sales 31 vs street 25 Economic reports due later today include: 9:45 am EDT US flash service PMI street 57.8 10:00 am EDT US pending home sales street 2.2% After 4:00 pm EDT Twitter earnings street $0.01 on sales of $350M