European Factors to Watch-Shares to extend gains, U.S. data eyed
LONDON, Dec 7 (Reuters) - European shares were set to extend gains from the previous day's 18-month closing highs on Friday, with hints of renewed efforts to avert U.S. austerity measures improving sentiment ahead of non-farm payrolls data. The White House and Republicans in Congress signalled on Thursday they had resumed private talks on breaking the stalemate over the "fiscal cliff" of scheduled tax rises and spending cuts from January. "The outcome of the 'fiscal cliff' issue will have a decisive impact on the equity market. It's really a close call whether they will manage an agreement this year or it might get postponed to the next year," Tammo Greetfeld, equity strategist at UniCredit in Munich. "If the stalemate continues in early 2013, then it would be negative for the equity market." Futures for Euro STOXX 50, Germany's DAX and France's CAC w ere flat to 0 .2 percent higher. Financial spreadbetters earlier pr edicted Britain's FTSE 100 to open as much as 0.2 percent higher. Investors will focus on U.S. non-farm payrolls data, which is expected to show an addition of 93,000 jobs in November, probably dented by superstorm Sandy, against October's gain of 171,000. The figures, due at 1330 GMT, are also likely to show that the unemployment rate holding steady at 7.9 percent. "Any big positive surprises would naturally be bullish," Jonathan Sudaria, dealer at Capital Spreads, said in a note. "However, if the figure is a gigantic miss, this will solidify the expectation that the Fed will expand the scope of QE3 to include outright monthly purchases of long-term treasuries at next week's FOMC meeting," he said, referring to the third round of quantitative easing. Investors will keep a close eye on regional stocks. Italian stocks, which bucked the trend in the previous session and fell 0.8 percent on political uncertainties in the debt-laden country. Silvio Berlusconi's party withdrew its support for Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti on Thursday, raising the risk of a snap election, but President Giorgio Napolitano said he would work to avoid a crisis. In Germany , Bundesbank cut its growth outlook for next year on Friday as the euro zone debt crisis takes its toll on the bloc's largest economy, but added that the country would return to its growth path soon. The Bundesbank now expects Germany's economy to grow 0.7 percent this year, down from an earlier forecast of 1.0 percent, and 0.4 percent next year, down from a June forecast of 1.6 percent. [I D:nF 9E8LP01U] The FTSEurofirst 300 index of top European shares finished 0.7 percent higher at 1,131.85 points on Thursday, the highest close since late May 2011. The index is up about 13 percent so far this year and has gained nearly 20 percent from multi-month lows in June. The euro zone's blue-chip Euro STOXX 50 index ended 0.4 percent higher at 2,603.41 after setting a new 2012 high of 2,617.83 and briefly breaching its March high of 2,611, which has proved to become a strong resistance level. MARKET SNAPSHOT AT 0726 GMT LAST PCT CHG NET CHG S&P 500 1,413.94 0.33 % 4.66 NIKKEI 9,527.39 -0.19 % -17.77 MSCI ASIA EX-JP 0.32 % 1.72 EUR/USD 1.296 -0.05 % -0.0007 USD/JPY 82.40 0.01 % 0.0100 10-YR US TSY YLD 1.584 -- 0.00 10-YR BUND YLD 1.299 -- 0.00 SPOT GOLD $1,702.2 0.21 % $3.62 US CRUDE $86.63 0.43 % 0.37 * Asia shares edge higher, focus on U.S. Jobs * Nikkei edges up to 7-month high ahead of U.S. jobs * Apple's gains lift tech in quiet day before jobs data * LME copper little changed, traders eye U.S. data * Downbeat ECB knocks wind out of euro bulls * Gold inches up; headed for 2nd week of losses * Brent steady above $107; heads for worst week since Oct * U.S. 10-year yields near 3-week lows before jobs data COMPANY NEWS YARA Norway's Yara will buy the Brazilian fertilizer business of commodities giant Bunge in a deal valued at $750 million, the firms said on Friday. ALCATEL, GEMALTO Telecom equipment maker Alcatel-Lucent will be dropped from France's blue chip CAC 40 index after 25 years and be replaced by smart card maker Gemalto, said market operator NYSE Euronext. DEUTSCHE TELEKOM Deutsche Telekom said late on Thursday that it will cut dividends for the next two years by almost a third, as investments at home and in the United States, where it has been losing market share, eat away cash. BG GROUP The energy firm is exploring selling more assets linked to it $20 billion natural gas development in Australia, in yet another move to unlock capital that would help finance its spending commitments, according to the Financial Times. NOKIA Rival Research In Motion Ltd outlined a program of incentives to encourage its biggest customers to run its soon-to-launch line of BlackBerry 10 devices, seeking to persuade corporations and government users to stick with its secure smartphones. VIVENDI, BOUYGUES TELECOM Vivendi's SFR telecom unit and Bouygues Telecom have decided to attack France Telecom's Orange for its "predatory strategy" on quadruple play offer, joining a consumer group's complaint which had alleged excessive cancellation penalties, French daily Les Echos reported. BMW BMW of North America will recall 29,800 X5 utility vehicles with diesel engines to replace an engine part that could break and cause a loss of power steering, federal safety officials said Thursday. VIVENDI Gulf telecom operator Qtel has hired J.P. Morgan Chase to advise it on a potential bid for Vivendi's Maroc Telecom, said four people familiar with the matter. IMPREGILO Italy's biggest builder approved a 2013-2015 business plan on Thursday which envisages revenues rising 10 percent to above 3.3 billion euros ($4.3 billion) and a high dividend payout.
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