European Factors to Watch - Shares seen lower on mixed earnings
LONDON, Nov 1 (Reuters) - European stocks are expected to open a touch lower on Thursday, in what is expected to be a light session due to national holidays in part of mainland Europe, with mixed results from UK heavyweights capping sentiment. At 0736 GMT, futures for the Euro STOXX 50 were down 0.4 percent, contracts on Germany's DAX were down 0.1 percent and futures on France's CAC were down 0.2 percent. Financial spreadbetters expected Britain's FTSE 100 to open 3 to 10 points higher. While all major European markets were open, trading volume was expected to be thin, due to public holidays in France, Italy, Spain and parts of Germany for All Saints day. World No. 2 oil company Royal Dutch Shell suffered a 15 percent fall in current cost of supply profits in the third quarter, while Lloyds Banking Group took another 1 billion pound ($1.6 billion) hit to compensate UK customers to whom it mis-sold loan insurance, dragging it to third quarter loss. Commodities trader Glencore said its closely watched marketing operations performed "strongly" in the third quarter, boosted by trading in agriculture and metals, though it warned tough global economic conditions would not improve any time soon. "We've had a fairly mixed bag of results and then there are still the underlying concerns about the euro zone and China," Richard Hunter, head of equities at Hargreaves Lansdown Stockbrokers, said. Asian shares fell on Thursday but losses were curbed as the region's factory activity surveys mostly improved, with China's official and private sector manufacturing PMIs confirming a recovery in the growth trend even if it lacked punch. Official and private sector factory surveys showed China's economy is finally regaining some traction, but they still pointed to a sluggish recovery with the HSBC survey recording its 12th straight month of slowing growth. "Despite some pundits championing the barely visible increase as a sign that the world's number two economy is averting a hard landing or even a landing of any kind, traders are a little more sceptical," Jonathan Sudaria, a night dealer at Capital Spreads, said in a note. "With China's major export market Europe hitting another unemployment rate all-time high only yesterday, it's difficult to see any sustained pick up in the Chinese data." Euro zone unemployment rose to new record highs of 11.6 percent in September, data from the European statistics office Eurostat showed on Wednesday. The euro zone blue-chip Euro STOXX 50, down 12.35 points or 0.5 percent to 2,503.64 points on Wednesday, recorded a 2 percent gain in October, but was still around 3.5 percent off a 6-month high hit in mid-September. Capping investors' appetite for equities was a gloomy outlook for the European economy and mixed earnings from European companies. With half of the European earnings season now behind us, 44 percent of the companies that have reported so far have missed consensus estimates. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- MARKET SNAPSHOT AT 735 GMT LAST PCT CHG NET CHG S&P 500 1,412. 0.02 % 0.22 6 NIKKEI 8,946. 0.21 % 18.58 7 MSCI ASIA -0.09 % -0.46 EX-JP EUR/USD 1.2928 -0.23 % -0.003 USD/JPY 79.97 0.26 % 0.2100 10-YR US 1.702 -- 0.01 TSY YLD 10-YR BUND 1.459 -- -0.02 YLD SPOT GOLD $1,719 -0.01 % -$0.24 81 US CRUDE $86.35 0.13 % 0.11 > GLOBAL MARKETS-Asian shares fall, China bucks trend > Wall St ends flat, tech shares dip after Sandy shutdown > Nikkei ticks up after China PMI data, Panasonic plunges > TREASURIES-Prices climb on month-end trades after megastorm > Yen crawls toward 4-month low vs dollar, euro steady > PRECIOUS-Gold flat as investors await US data, election > LME copper inches up on China data, set to climb for 3rd day > Brent edges down on US fuel demand concerns after Sandy COMPANY NEWS ROYAL DUTCH SHELL The world's No. 2 oil company suffered a 15 percent fall in current cost of supply profits in the third quarter as the impact of lower crude prices and charges outweighed stronger margins in refining. GLENCORE The commodities trader said its closely watched marketing operations performed "strongly" in the third quarter, boosted by trading in agriculture and metals, though it warned tough global economic conditions would not improve any time soon. LLOYDS BANKING GROUP The bank took another 1 billion pound ($1.6 billion) hit to compensate UK customers mis-sold loan insurance, taking its charge for the scandal to 5.3 billion pounds and dragging it to third quarter loss. LEGAL & GENERAL The British insurer said its quarterly sales rose by nearly a third, helped by strong demand for protection policies as more companies and individuals seek cover against financial risk. BT The telecoms group cut its revenue outlook on Thursday after European corporate customers slashed spending and changes in regulation, resulting in a consecutive miss on sales in the second quarter. SWISSCOM Swisscom will charge 50 million Swiss francs against its fourth-quarter earnings in connection with 100 job cuts next year, the telecommunications firm said on Wednesday. PROSIEBENSAT.1 ProSiebenSat.1 has attracted three offers worth more than 1.3 billion euros ($1.7 billion) for its Nordic TV channels, two people familiar with the matter said on Wednesday, which may help to reduce the group's debt. FRAPORT The airport operator hopes to sell its 10 percent stake in Delhi airport by the second or third quarter of next year, Kai Zobel, Fraport's vice-president for global investments, told the Economic Times of India. Fraport would be interested in a stake in Navi Mumbai airport, he was also quoted as saying. SALZGITTER Executive-board member Johannes Nonn is leaving the company to become chief of Salzgitter competitor Schmolz + Bickenbach, German paper Financial Times Deutschland reported, without saying where it obtained the information. TELENOR The Norwegian telecoms operator has opened the door to a potential sale of its $6.4 billion stake in Vimpelcom, the world's sixth-largest telecom group by subscribers, the Financial Times reported. Chief Executive Jon Baksaas told the newspaper it would be "realistic" and "pragmatic" over any offer from Russia's Altimo group, Vimpelcom's biggest owner. RENAULT The French automaker said it plans to open negotiations with unions next week as it presses for a nationwide deal on pay and conditions to improve productivity. SANOFI Medical journal The Lancet warned that the French drugmaker's experimental multiple sclerosis drug Lemtrada may be too costly for patients and health insurers once it gets approved by regulators. CARREFOUR The French retailer said on Wednesday that it has finalised the sale of its operations in Malaysia for an enterprise value of 250 million euros ($323.95 million)to Japanese retailer Aeon.