European Factors to Watch - Shares seen little changed as earnings curb optimism
LONDON, Feb 6 (Reuters) - European stocks were seen opening little changed on Wednesday as disappointing updates from some industrial heavyweights and lingering concerns about Europe's peripheral economies kept investors on tenterhooks. Two brokers expected shares in Syngenta to open at least 1 percent lower after the world's largest agrochemicals company reported sales below their expectations. ArcelorMittal's, the world's largest steelmaker, made a net loss of $3.73 billion for the year, sending shares in its sending shares in its South Africa listing 3 percent lower. At 0743 GMT, futures for the Euro STOXX 50 and Germany's DAX and France's CAC were flat to 0.1 percent lower. Adding to the gloomy earnings picture, French builder Vinci warned of a flat 2013 for its construction and concessions businesses and Swedish lender Handelsbanken's reported a disappointing operating profit. . With nearly a fifth of the earnings season now behind us, 38 percent of companies in the STOXX Europe 600 index that have reported results so far have missed consensus expectations, Starmine data showed. The euro zone blue-chip Euro STOXX 50, which closed up 1 percent at 2,651.21 points on Tuesday, has been retreating from an 18-month high of 2,754.80 points hit a week ago as corporate and macroeconomic figures sent mixed signals and concerns mounted about the outcome of Italy's upcoming general elections and a corruption scandal in Spain. "Although European traders have been caught up in the global risk on rally, the foundations of the euro zone still remain weak and susceptible to sudden downside shocks," Jonathan Sudaria, a dealer at Capital Spreads, said in a trading note. "The political uncertainty in Spain and Italy was probably a timely reminder to traders that such risks still need to be priced in." -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- MARKET SNAPSHOT AT 0745 GMT: S&P 500 1,511.29 1.04 % 15.58 NIKKEI 11,463.75 3.77 % 416.83 MSCI ASIA EX-JP 0.04 % 0.20 EUR/USD 1.3537 -0.32 % -0.0044 USD/JPY 93.72 0.12 % 0.1100 10-YR US TSY YLD 2.011 -- 0.01 10-YR BUND YLD 1.642 -- -0.02 SPOT GOLD $1,672.20 -0.02 % -$0.40 US CRUDE $96.48 -0.17 % -0.16 > Asian shares recover on firm euro zone data, yen slips > Wall St bounces back after sell-off; results a boost > Japan's Nikkei rallies 3.5 pct to 52-month high > U.S. Treasuries slip as investors flock to riskier assets > Dollar rises above 94.00 yen, highest since May 2010 > Platinum hits 4-month high on global economy hopes > LME copper near 4-month top on upbeat US, euro zone data > Brent holds above $116 on US data, euro zone optimism COMPANY NEWS SYNGENTA The world's largest agrochemicals company said it will hike its dividend 19 percent after strong sales helped it post full-year net profit that beat expectations. VINCI The company warned of a flat year for its construction and concessions businesses after reporting what it called a "robust performance" in 2012 when its net profit edged up despite the difficult economic climate in Europe. DEUTSCHE BANK Italy's Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena would be happy with Deutsche Bank investing in the lender as "an industrial partner, if there was no one else", its chairman Alessandro Profumo said on Tuesday. Separately, European Central Bank Governing Council member Erkki Liikanen said European banks need to concentrate on getting the economy back to growth by lending to firms and households even as they face challenges. EADS The Airbus parent paved the way to getting its first independent chairman, as it unveiled proposals for a new board to include the former head of French defence group Thales. TOTAL, EDF French oil major Total said it picked a consortium led by Italian gas transport group Snam, including EDF, for exclusive talks on the sale of its TIGF gas network business. The chief executive of Total told a French court he had no knowledge that the French oil giant was buying illegally procured oil during the United Nations oil-for-food programme over a decade ago. RWE The utility is considering cutting the number of staff at its holding company in Essen, Germany by 200 to 250, Handelsblatt daily reported, citing company sources. It said the plan was still at an early stage. MONTE PASCHI, THYSSENKRUPP The steelmaker plans to streamline its business structure by reducing the number of business areas to five from seven and the number of central corporate functions to 13 from 20, Die Welt daily reported, citing an internal memo it obtained. VONTOBEL The Swiss bank said full-year net profit rose 15 percent, as the Swiss bank kept a lid on costs amid a rise in client fees and commissions. MARINE HARVEST Marine Harvest, the world's largest salmon farmer, expects its overall costs to increase over the next quarters due to higher raw material prices and increased production costs as it reported full fourth-quarter results that slightly beat analysts' expectations on Wednesday.