European Factors to Watch-Shares to fall, focus on tech stocks
LONDON, Jan 25 (Reuters) - European shares were expected to edge lower on Friday, with a cautious tone on spending from Samsung and a sharp drop in Apple shares seen hitting the tech sector, and some investors taking profits on a major index's 23-month highs. South Korea's Samsung Electronics turned cautious on spending for the first time since the global financial crisis as demand for computer chips wanes and the smartphone market slows. In the United States, Apple shares dropped more than 12 percent, a day after it posted revenue that missed Wall Street's forecast as iPhone sales were poorer than expected. At 0735 GMT, futures for Euro STOXX 50, Germany's DAX and France's CAC were 0.2 percent lower. Financial spreadbetters expected Britain's FTSE 100 to open as much as 0.3 percent lower. On Thursday, the pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index ended 0.3 percent higher at 1,171.06 points after hitting 1,171.78 earlier in the session, its best level since early March 2011. Bill McNamara, technical analyst at Charles Stanley, said the euro zone's blue chip Euro STOXX 50 index, which closed 0.5 percent higher at 2,722.96 on Thursday, has been struggling to move sharply higher after hitting highs earlier this month. "This range-trading has led to a fall-off in upside momentum which suggests that traders have become cautious about its short-term prospects, and while this is not necessarily fatal to the bull case, the index would probably have to climb above its recent trading high at 2,735 to show that the rally was still ongoing." "On the other hand, a dip below the recent trading low of 2,685 would strongly suggest that a retracement phase is underway, with an initial downside target of 2,625." Investors will focus on macroeconomic releases for hints about the market's near-term direction. Britain will find out later on Friday whether its economy shrank again late last year, raising the risk that it is heading for its third recession since the 2008 financial crisis. Forecasts from economists polled by Reuters centre on a 0.1 percent fall in gross domestic product (GDP) between October and December, compared with the previous quarter, when Britain briefly returned to growth. "We see some upside risks to our below consensus forecast for UK GDP as recent data on services and construction activity have been a touch stronger than expected. However, we suspect the Q4 GDP report will confirm that the UK underlying pace of growth remained subdued in 2012," Annalisa Piazza, Analyst at Newedge Strategy, said in a note. German Ifo business climate, due at 0900 GMT, is forecast to be 103.0, compared with 102.4 in the previous month, while in the United States, new home sales data for December is due at 1500 GMT. Economists forecast a total of 385,000 annualized units, compared with 377,000 in November. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- MARKET SNAPSHOT AT 0729 GMT LAST PCT CHG NET CHG S&P 500 1,494.82 0 % 0.01 NIKKEI 10,926.65 2.88 % 305.78 MSCI ASIA EX-JP 553.52 -0.66 % -3.69 EUR/USD 1.3408 0.25 % 0.0034 USD/JPY 90.47 0.15 % 0.1400 10-YR US TSY YLD 1.863 -- 0.01 10-YR BUND YLD 1.575 -- 0.00 SPOT GOLD $1,670.66 0.2 % $3.30 US CRUDE $96.13 0.19 % 0.18 * Asian shares down; Seoul hit by weak techs * Nikkei gains 2 pct on weak yen but headed to weekly loss * Yen hits new low, focus on Japan's reflationary policies * Copper inches up on solid U.S., China factory data * Brent holds just above $113 on promising US, China data * Bonds slip slightly in Asia after U.S. data COMPANY NEWS CREDIT AGRICOLE, BANKINTER French bank Credit Agricole said it raised 116 million euros ($155 million) by selling about a third of its 15.1 percent stake in Spain's Bankinter . The bank will make a net capital gain of 32 million euros from the sale of the 5.2 percent stake, the bank said on Friday. SOLARWORLD German solar group SolarWorld warned it would need to make a "serious adjustment" to its debt to remain a viable company. THYSSENKRUPP Credit rating agency Moody's cut ThyssenKrupp's debt to "junk" status, citing challenging market conditions and losses at the German steelmaker's mills in Brazil and the United States. JCDECAUX The outdoor advertising specialist said it beat its full-year sales growth forecast, helped by a 10 percent surge at its transport business in the fourth quarter. RENAULT Nissan Motor Co Ltd plans to build its next hatchback model at one of alliance partner Renault's French factories, Les Echos newspaper reported. EDF The French electricity utility said it had raised around 6.2 billion euros through several bond offerings this week across three currencies. VOLKSWAGEN The German carmaker is using new high-strength steel to make cars lighter and comply with strict emissions rules, confounding forecasts that aluminium would be the metal of choice for reducing weight. UBS Citi and UBS must arbitrate a healthcare group's claim stemming from $234 million in auction rate securities in a dispute over who is considered a "customer" for purposes of securities arbitration, a federal appeals court panel has ruled. For related news, click on LOGITECH Logitech's chief executive said his company will decide within 90 days whether to sell the video-conferencing arm it bought in 2009 for $405 million after this week writing down the unit's value by more than half.