Europe Factors to Watch-Shares to gain on stimulus hopes
* Adds detail, company news; updates snapshot table LONDON, July 27 (Reuters) - European shares were set to extend the previous day's rally on Friday, driven by hopes of strong action by the European Central Bank after President Mario Draghi pledged to take all necessary steps to protect the euro zone from collapse. Expectations have grown that the ECB could decide in its policy meeting next week to start buying bonds again or support struggling euro zone countries via the back door, while recent poor data could prompt the U.S. Federal Reserve to launch more stimulus measures to support the economy. Global shares rallied, Spanish and Italian bond yields fell sharply and the euro climbed after Draghi's comments on Thursday. Fellow ECB policymaker Ewald Nowotny said on Wednesday that giving Europe's permanent rescue fund a banking licence so that it could draw on central bank funds had its merits. Draghi said that within its mandate, the ECB was ready to do whatever it took to preserve the euro and that the moves would be enough. The central bank has already cut interest rates to record lows and offered banks unlimited liquidity. Cameron Peacock, analyst at IG Markets, said Draghi's comments would raise the bar for the U.S. central bank, which will also have a policy meeting next week. Friday's U.S. growth data could determine the market's near-term direction, he added. The U.S. Commerce Deptartment will release at 1230 GMT its advance (first) Q2 estimate for gross domestic product (GDP). Economists forecast a 1.5 percent annualized pace of growth, compared with a 1.9 percent rate in the final (third) Q1 estimate. Futures for Euro STOXX 50, Germany's DAX and France's CAC were up 0.4-0.5 percent. Financial spreadbetters earlier predicted Britain's FTSE 100 to rises as much as 0.5 percent. The FTSEurofirst 300 jumped 2.4 percent on Thursday after falling more than 4 percent over the previous four trading days. But it is still on track to end the week in negative territory after seven straight weeks of advances. U.S. shares rose 1.4 to 1.7 percent on Thursday. MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan climbed 1.8 percent on Friday, while Japan's Nikkei average was up 1.1 percent. Investors will also keep a close eye on company earnings. According to Thomson Reuters StarMine data, of the 35 percent European companies on the STOXX Europe 600 index that have reported second-quarter results so far, 53 percent have beaten or met expectations, while 44 percent have missed analysts' predictions. Results on Friday were mixed. French food group Danone said a tougher economic climate in Southern Europe and in recession-hit Spain and higher raw material costs weighed on first-half profitability, while Renault said Europe's auto-market slump hit first-half profit. However, Total posted a 2 percent rise in second-quarter adjusted net profit as new project start-ups and improved refining offset disruptions at some of its other projects. MARKET SNAPSHOT AT 0641 GMT LAST PCT CHG NET CHG S&P 500 1,360.02 1.65 % 22.13 NIKKEI 8,566.64 1.46 % 123.54 MSCI ASIA EX-JP 477.43 2.38 % 11.09 EUR/USD 1.2296 0.12 % 0.0015 USD/JPY 78.29 0.12 % 0.0900 10-YR US TSY YLD 1.461 -- 0.02 10-YR BUND YLD 1.356 -- 0.03 SPOT GOLD $1,618.61 0.2 % $3.22 US CRUDE $90.10 0.79 % 0.71 * ECB's Draghi warms risk appetite, shares rally * Nikkei gains 1.4 pct as ECB comments spark short-covering * Draghi-sparked rally helps S&P break losing streak * Euro takes breather after Draghi sparks short-covering * Gold steady, heads for best week since mid-June * Copper edges up after Draghi; eyes US data * US 10-yr notes dip, eye ECB after Draghi's pledge * Brent trades over $105; supported by ECB comments COMPANY NEWS DANONE French food group Danone warned that trading would remain tough in Southern Europe in the second half of the year amid a deepening euro-zone debt crisis and said it was betting on robust emerging markets to support its growth. LAFARGE The company reported improved second-quarter sales and operating profit on Friday, but net income plunged as the French cement maker took a 200 million-euro hit to cut the value of its Greek assets. MICHELIN French tyre maker Michelin said first-half net profit rose 37 percent as price increases helped to offset the slump in Europe's auto market and broader economy and confirmed that it expects a full-year rise in operating income. ASSA ABLOY The Swedish lock maker, the world's biggest, reported earnings before interest and tax of 1.89 billion Swedish crowns ($275.23 million), up from a year-earlier 1.62 billion and mostly in line with the market's average forecast of 1.85 billion. NOKIA Nokia is due to end talks with Finnish union leaders on Friday. Helsingin Sanomat reported the ailing mobile phone maker will likely go ahead with its previously-announced plan to lay off 3,700 workers in its home base as part of 10,000 cuts worldwide. BMW The world's largest premium carmaker dropped its demands for compensation in the hundreds of millions of euros and is now willing to accept less than 100 million from PSA for exiting their hybrid components joint venture, German stock letter Platow Brief reported late on Thursday. RENAULT The company said Europe's auto-market slump hit first-half profit and burned operating cash, but stuck to its full-year goal of positive cash flow at the core car-making division. DEUTSCHE BANK German markets regulator Bafin said it was too early to draw conclusions about a global interest rate rigging scandal, adding that a probe of Deutsche Bank was still ongoing. E.ON A 5 billion euro ($6.2 billion) project to build a coal-fired plant in Chile could fall through following a negative decision by a court in Santiago de Chile, daily Financial Times Deutschland reported. LINDE The industrial gases producer posted a 6.2 percent rise in first-half adjusted earnings before interest, tax, amortisation and depreciation (EBITDA) - its operating profit - in line with consensus. ENDESA Spanish utility Endesa, which is majority controlled by Italy's Enel posted a 10.7 percent decline in net profit to 1.1 billion euros on Friday. ROYAL DUTCH SHELL The oil major said it is in talks to buy into liquefied natural gas producer InterOil Corp's Papua New Guinea exploration licenses and LNG terminal. GLENCORE One of the world's largest commodities suppliers has won approval from Australian regulators for its C$6.1 billion ($6 billion) takeover of grain handler Viterra Inc.
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