European Factors to Watch - Shares to edge up on U.S. data expectations

Fri Mar 15, 2013 3:20am EDT

LONDON, March 15 (Reuters) - European stocks were seen opening higher on
Friday, mirroring gains on Wall Street and in Asia, as investors positioned for
another batch of strong U.S. economic data.
    Futures for the Euro STOXX 50 , Germany's DAX 
 and France's CAC  were flat-to-0.1 percent higher at 0720
GMT.
    Traders cautioned share prices could be volatile on Friday as quarterly and
monthly futures and options expired, which means some investors will be
rebalancing their portfolios.       
    The indexes rallied on Thursday and the pan-European FTSEurofirst 300
 rose to levels not seen since August 2008, boosted by upbeat corporate
updates and U.S. weekly unemployment benefits numbers.
    A recent string of strong U.S. economic data, including an estimate-beating
payrolls report last week, has raised market expectations that manufacturing
data on Friday will also come in north of economists' estimates, helping sustain
the rally further.
    "U.S. data will continue to reveal improvement, leaving the positive tone to
markets underpinned," Credit Agricole wrote in a note.
    It expected March's Empire manufacturing survey and University of Michigan
confidence index to beat consensus expectations by 1 point and 0.5 point,
respectively, coming in at 11 and 78.5, from previous readings of 10.04 and
77.6.
    The bullish market mood was reflected across regions and asset classes, with
Asian shares rising overnight, the U.S. Dow Jones making
a new record high late on Thursday and copper and oil prices also
edging up. 
    The FTSEurofirst 300 and national indexes had stepped into "overbought"
territory on the 14-day Relative Strength Index, a momentum indicator, which was
leading some traders to take profit on their stocks and could limit gains early
on Friday.
    But technical charts showed the trend was still up, with Britain's was FTSE
extending a streak of higher daily lows and highs.    
    "(The FTSE 100) has not turned yet and the rising lows pattern is intact,"
Trevor Neil, portfolio manager and technical analyst at BETA Group. "I am
holding my longs."   
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 MARKET SNAPSHOT AT 710 GMT                                       
                                               LAST      PCT CHG    NET CHG
 S&P 500                                   1,563.23       0.56 %       8.71
 NIKKEI                                   12,560.95       1.45 %     179.76
 MSCI ASIA EX-JP                             546.04      -0.25 %      -1.38
 EUR/USD                                     1.3027       0.18 %     0.0023
 USD/JPY                                      95.99       -0.1 %    -0.1000
 10-YR US TSY YLD                             2.035           --       0.00
 10-YR BUND YLD                               1.476           --       0.00
 SPOT GOLD                                $1,592.94        0.2 %      $3.14
 US CRUDE                                    $93.21       0.19 %       0.18
 

  > Asian shares rebound on record Dow close, U.S. data 
  > US STOCKS-Dow ends up for 10th day, S&P nears record high      
  > Nikkei hits new 4-1/2-year high, logs 4th weekly gain          
  > Long-dated U.S. Treasury prices slip as labor market improves  
  > Dollar rally dulls, yen holds firm after BOJ chief gets nod    
  > Gold lingers around $1,590, heads for 2nd weekly gain          
  > Copper edges up as U.S. data sustains global growth hopes      
  > Brent rises above $109 on demand revival hopes                 
    
    COMPANY NEWS
    
    INVESTMENT BANKS  
    JPMorgan Chase kept its top spot for investment banking revenues
last year while Citigroup and Barclays made the biggest
improvement compared with 2011, a study showed on Thursday.
    Industry analytics firm Coalition said JPMorgan's investment banking
revenues of $24.1 billion put it ahead of second-placed Goldman Sachs and
a trio of banks shared third place - Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Citi
and Deutsche Bank. Barclays ranked sixth.
    
        
    DEUTSCHE BOERSE 
    Deutsche Boerse's ISE unit was dealt a blow in a fight over whether rival
exchange CBOE had used ISE's patented electronic trading technology without
permission. ISE said it would immediately appeal pre-trial rulings that had
favored CBOE and that forced ISE to cease pursuit of the case. 
    Related news 
    
    LINDT & SPRUENGLI 
    Swiss luxury chocolate maker Lindt & Spruengli said strong demand
for its sweet treats in Europe and the United States pushed its net profit and
profitability up in 2012, meeting forecasts and allowing the group to raise its
dividend.
    
    UNICREDIT 
    UniCredit, Italy's biggest bank by assets, could announce the sale of its
Kazakhstan unit ATF Bank as early as Friday, 3 sources familiar with
the matter said. 
    
    BANCA POPOLARE MILANO 
    The cooperative lender is planning a capital increase of 500 million euros
before the summer to repay state-backed Tremonti bonds, the weekly il Mondo
said. It said the bank consortium include Mediobanca, JP Morgan, Barclays and
Deutsche Bank.
       
    ENI 
    Italian oil firm Eni connected east Africa's gas riches to energy-hungry
China on Thursday with the sale of a 20 percent stake in its Mozambique offshore
project to Chinese oil company CNPC. 
    
    ITALIAN POLITICS
    Italy's centre-left alliance made a final bid for an accord with the
anti-establishment 5-Star Movement on Thursday as the divided political parties
prepared for their first encounter in parliament since feb's deadlocked
election. 
    Italy's parliament convenes on Friday almost three weeks after last month's
inconclusive election, with the parties still deadlocked over how to form a
government in the euro zone's third largest economy. 
    
    DEUTSCHE TELEKOM 
    MetroPCS shareholder P. Schoenfeld Asset Management LP, which has been
opposing the company's merger with Deutsche Telekom's T-Mobile USA, urged
shareholders to vote against the deal. 

    
    TALVIVAARA  
    Finnish state's stake in Talvivaara could be doubled to about 18 percent
along with its commitment to subscribe shares in the miner's rights issue,
government official said.
    "If... other shareholders would not use their right to subscribe shares, it
(the government stake) could increase to somewhere around 18 percent," minister
Heidi Hautala told the parliament on Thursday.
    
    NH HOTELES 
    The hotel group is planning to axe 600 jobs to save up to 7 million euros a
year, El Economista reported on Friday, citing company and union sources. 
    
    RETAIL
    Spain's largest retailer Corte Ingles has cut prices at its supermarket by 5
percent, adding to a 20 percent price cut last year in an attempt to compete
with cheaper rivals, Spanish media reported, citing comments by the head of the
company's food division, Victor del Pozo.
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