Europe Factors-Shares set to gain on earnings optimism

Thu Apr 21, 2011 2:40am EDT

(Adds futures prices, company news items, updates snapshot table)
 LONDON, April 21 (Reuters) - European shares were set to rise for the third
straight session on Thursday, mirroring hefty gains on Wall Street, on growing
optimism for corporate earnings and encouraging signs of an improving economy.
 By 0638 GMT, futures for the Euro STOXX 50 STXc1 rose 0.8 percent.
Germany's DAX futures FDXc1 gained 0.8 percent and France's CAC 40 futures
FCEc1 put on 0.6 percent.
 Trading volumes, however, were expected to be thin as the Easter holiday
break approached. 
 U.S. and European corporate earnings are expected to dominate the trading
session, with technology shares likely to be in the spotlight once again after
iPhone maker Apple Inc's (AAPL.O) results surged past forecasts after markets
closed. [ID:nLDE73K02B]
 The STOXX Europe 600 technology index .SX8P rose 2.7 percent on Wednesday
after forecast-beating revenue from U.S. bellwether Intel (INTC.O).
 Investors will look to results from major firms from both sides of the
Atlantic on Thursday, including Nokia (NOK1V.HE), Morgan Stanley (MS.N) and
General Electric (GE.N), to gauge the strength of the recovery in corporate
 Highlighting the strength of this season's corporate earnings, 83 percent of
70 companies on the S&P 500 .SPX that have so far reported earnings have
posted in-line or above-forecast figures, with the rest coming in below
expectations, data from Thomson Reuters StarMine showed.
 The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 .FTEU3 index of top shares ended at a
one-week closing high on Wednesday, up 1.9 percent to 1,137.81 points, on upbeat
corporate earnings.
 On Wall Street, the Dow industrials .DJI hit their highest in almost three
years on big earnings surprises. Several U.S. manufacturers' results also
pointed to a recovering global economy. [ID:nN20131601]
 Heavyweight mining shares were expected to draw strength from on surging
commodity prices, with gold powering to a lifetime high for a fifth consecutive
session on the back of a sharply weaker dollar and silver rising to its highest
in more than three decades.
 Analysts said equity market could suffer from a bout of weakness later in
the session as traders lock in profits on the last trading session for the week,
with the FTSEurofirst 300 index up 0.5 percent so far this week as shares
rebounded from sharp falls on Monday. 
 "The prospect of some late session profit taking shouldn't be ignored ... as
traders look to lock in some of the recent gains although there's no shortage of
fresh directional news expected either," said Cameron Peacock, market analyst at
IG markets, referring to major macroeconomic data due later in the session
including the German Ifo business climate index and monthly UK retail sales
among others.
 Lingering concerns over Greece's debt situation could keep further gains in
check, with speculation gathering pace that debt restructuring for the highly
indebted country was imminent. Greek banking stocks .FTATBNK fell sharply on
Wednesday, while the cost of insuring Greek five-year government paper hit
record highs.
  The Greek finance minister, however, said he considered Greece's debt --
expected to hit about 160 percent of GDP in 2012 -- "totally sustainable", and
that a restructuring was out of the question. [ID:nLDE73J1AU]
----------------------MARKET SNAPSHOT AT 0548 GMT----------------------  
                                  LAST        PCT CHG        NET CHG 
S&P 500                  .SPX  1,330.36        1.35 %           17.74 
NIKKEI                  .N225  9,687.46        0.84 %           80.64 
MSCI ASIA EX-JP .MIASJ0000PUS    596.12        1.16 %            6.83 
EUR/USD                  EUR=      1.4609      0.64 %          0.0093 
USD/JPY                  JPY=     81.94       -0.69 %         -0.5700 
10-YR US TSY YLD    US10YT=RR      3.412        --               0.00 
10-YR BUND YLD      EU10YT=RR      3.312        --               0.00 
SPOT GOLD                XAU= $1,508.00        0.66 %           $9.85 
US CRUDE                 CLc1   $112.16        0.64 %            0.71 
 * GLOBAL-Dollar hits 3-yr low; gold, Asian stocks march on [ID:nL3E7FL06T]
 * Dow ends near 3-yr high, Apple jumps after earnings      [ID:nN20187810]
 * Nikkei extends gains on strong U.S. earnings             [ID:nL3E7FL0A4]
 * Bond prices slip, but renewed gains seen likely          [ID:nLDE73K01P]
 * Dollar hits 3-year low, may slide towards all-time low   [ID:nL3E7FL0CZ]
 * Gold roars to all-time high for fifth straight session   [ID:nL3E7FF020]
 * LME copper steady ahead of long weekend, ShFE up         [ID:nL3E7FL070]
 * Brent rises above $124 on weak dollar, US stockpile drop [ID:nL3E7FL05O]
 BP (BP.L) 
 On the first anniversary of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, BP sued Transocean
(RIGN.VX), seeking at least $40 billion in damages and other costs from the
owner of the Deepwater Horizon rig. [ID:nN20203453]
 Dutch chemical group AkzoNobel reported a strong start to 2011, reporting a
10 percent rise in first-quarter core profit as it raised prices and cut costs
to offset higher raw materials expenses. [ID:nLDE63L2KS]
 The Dutch telecom group issued a profit warning for 2011, citing poor
performance in its domestic market, and said it would cut 20-25 percent of its
Dutch workforce. [ID:nLDE73K06E] 
 Schneider Electric SA's chief executive essentially ruled out a takeover of
Tyco International Ltd (TYC.N) by saying the French engineering giant does not
plan any purchases larger than a "few billion euros" over the next year.
 French catering and vouchers group Sodexo raised its fiscal 2011 sales goals
on Thursday after a stronger-than-expected first half. [ID:nLDE73K01X]
 Europe's largest hotel group said it expected demand for hotel rooms to
continue growing despite unrest in the Middle East and Japan's earthquake, as it
posted robust first-quarter sales. [ID:nLDE73H13D] 
 Anglo American posted a 37 percent drop in first quarter coal output from
its Australian operations due to bad weather. [ID:nLDE73K075]
 Chief Executive Rene Obermann told German daily Frankfurter Allgemeine
Zeitung that the sale of T-Mobile to AT&T (T.N) cut the number of shares
entitled to a dividend, and raised the valuation of Telekom. 
 This, combined with a contribution from the AT&T stake and lower debt levels
amounts to gains of around 1.5 billion euros ($2.18 billion) per year, he added.
 Vodafone chief executive Vittorio Colao said the British-based mobile phone
operator would consider listing its Indian business if it won a battle with
Indian authorities over a $2.6 billion tax bill, the Financial Times said.
 The oilfield services company said it would raise its dividend payout when
it reached its debt target. [ID:nWEA6021]
 A probe has been launched into the handling of insurer Prudential's failed
$35.5 billion bid for AIA (1299.HK), the Financial Times said on Thursday.
 The mid-tier lender aims to launch its capital increase of up to 1.2
billion euros ($1.75 billion) at the end of September, Chairman Massimo
Ponzellini said in an interview published on Thursday. [ID:nLDE73K03U] 
 The ad group will grow faster than the market this year despite the drag
from Japan's earthquake and Middle East unrest, its chief executive said, adding
that 5 percent growth was a conservative aim. [ID:nLDE73J1ZS] 
 The French engineering group said it had struck an agreement with Shanghai
Electric Group (2727.HK) to establish a joint venture combining both companies'
power plant boiler divisions. [ID:nN20202723] 
 The drinks group posted a 12.4 percent rise in fiscal 2011 full-year sales
after demand for its cognac rose by a fifth, driven by China and Russia.
 (Reporting by Harpreet Bhal)

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