Europe Factors to Watch-Shares set to bounce off 1-week lows
PARIS, June 27 (Reuters) - European stock index futures pointed to a higher open on Wednesday, although gains and volumes could be capped ahead of this week's EU summit, with investors sceptical it will deliver any strong new measures to support the euro zone's debt-stricken countries. Late on Tuesday, Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti promised to press for joint action by European Union countries to help ease pressure on Italian bonds, and repeated his call for the European Financial Stability Facility and the European Stability Mechanism to be used. German Chancellor Angela Merkel rejected the idea of mutualising debt - favoured by France, Italy and Spain -, saying Europe would not share total debt liability "as long as I live", although Germany appeared ready to budge on giving the euro zone's rescue funds more flexibility. At 0627 GMT, futures for Euro STOXX 50, for Germany's DAX and for France's CAC were up 0.5-0.7 percent. European stocks ended nearly unchanged on Tuesday following a sharp three-session sell-off, with trading volumes quickly drying up ahead of the summit. "The clear drop in volumes, which means real buyers have moved on the sidelines, is a sign that things remain fragile and the risk of seeing indexes revisiting the 2012 lows is still high," Aurel BGC chartist Gerard Sagnier said. But despite Tuesday's lacklustre session, signs that investors were positioning themselves for a rebound in stocks in the coming weeks have emerged in the derivatives market. The put/call ratio of Euro STOXX 50 options, a ratio of the trading volume of put options versus call options used to gauge investor sentiment, has fallen to 0.75, a level not seen in nearly two months, signalling that an increasing number of investors are positioning themselves to benefit from a potential rally in underlying equities. The Euro STOXX 50 volatility index - Europe's main gauge of anxiety known as the VSTOXX - has also sharply fallen this month, down 27 percent since a peak on June 4, breaking the usually strong negative correlation with stocks. The last time there was such a drop in the correlation between the volatility index and underlying equities was in mid-December, at the start of a 20 percent rally in euro zone stocks that lasted three months. Mining shares will be in the spotlight on Tuesday after Qatar, Xstrata's second largest shareholder, threw a huge roadblock in the way of Glencore's $30 billion takeover of the miner with a surprise demand on Tuesday for better terms. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- MARKET SNAPSHOT AT 0634 GMT LAST PCT CHG NET CHG S&P 500 1,319.99 0.48 % 6.27 NIKKEI 8,730.49 0.77 % 66.5 MSCI ASIA EX-JP 469.33 0.85 % 3.95 EUR/USD 1.2489 -0.01 % -0.0001 USD/JPY 79.57 0.08 % 0.0600 10-YR US TSY YLD 1.630 -- 0.00 10-YR BUND YLD 1.522 -- 0.01 SPOT GOLD $1,568.64 -0.2 % -$3.14 US CRUDE $79.13 -0.29 % -0.23 GLOBAL MARKETS-Shares up, euro pressured as EU summit eyed US STOCKS-Wall St bounces back but Europe woes linger Nikkei flat as sluggish blue-chips offset speculatives METALS-Copper down ahead of EU summit; China demand eyed Brent slips below $93, EU doubts counter N.Sea supply cut FOREX-Euro inches up, but hopes dashed for EU summit Gold ticks up in thin trade; deflation worry lingers COMPANY NEWS: XSTRATA, GLENCORE Qatar, Xstrata's second largest shareholder, threw a huge roadblock in the way of Glencore's $30 billion takeover of the miner with a surprise demand on Tuesday for better terms. SALZGITTER The steelmaker said profits will fall sharply this year and forecast its steel division would slip into a loss as customers hold back on orders in light of economic turbulence. COMMERZBANK The bank said it would wind down its ship financing and commercial real estate units as it seeks to cut back on risky, capital-intensive activities. RENAULT The car maker plans to sell more than 50 percent of its vehicles outside Europe by next year, up from 48 percent, Chief Operating Officer Carlos Tavares said during a press conference in Seoul. BNP PARIBAS The French bank has lost two of its top Geneva-based bankers in commodity trade finance, it confirmed, dealing a further blow to one of the sector's major lenders. ROCHE Roche Holding AG said it was overhauling its research operations by closing the 80-year-old New Jersey facility where Valium was discovered, cutting 1,000 jobs and replacing its drug research chief. PORSCHE, VOLKSWAGEN Investors claiming that Porsche SE misled them about plans to take over Volkswagen in 2008, will take to German courtrooms on Wednesday, pushing for more than 4 billion euros in damages. FRESENIUS, RHOEN-KLINIKUM The period for Rhoen-Klinikum shareholders to accept a 22.50 euros a share offer from Fresenius for the hospital operator ends at midnight. TOTAL Gazprom, Russia's gas export monopoly, is expected to give up some or all of its rights to market the gas from the giant Shtokman gas field under a new shareholder agreement likely to be signed by the end of the year, a source involved in the negotiations said. NOVARTIS Five pharmaceutical giants including Novartis AG and Sanofi SA remain in the running for Amylin Pharmaceuticals Inc, as the auction of the diabetes drugmaker with a market value of $4.5 billion enters the last leg, according to people familiar with the matter. VEOLIA French state owned bank Caisse des Depots et Consignations, a 50 percent owner in Veolia Transdev, has rejected a turnaround plan for the transport firm saying it lacks ambition, French newspaper Les Echos reported.