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