European Factors to Watch-Higher start expected on Chinese imports boost
LONDON, April 10 (Reuters) - European equity indexes were expected to open mostly higher on Wednesday as Chinese trade data suggested domestic demand from the world's second-biggest economy was gathering pace. Futures for the Euro STOXX 50, Germany's DAX, France's CAC were between 0.3 percent and 0.5 percent higher at 0625 GMT. Britain's FTSE 100, which was Tuesday's standout performer with a 0.6 percent rise, was seen opening broadly flat, according to financial spreadbetters. Ex-dividend factors were set to shave 0.6 index points off the UK benchmark, according to Reuters calculations. Chinese imports surged much more than expected in March, indicating stronger domestic demand and showing China's economic recovery remained on track. "The import number...suggests there's a strong domestic economy," Ioan Smith, director at Knight Capital, said. "People are looking for signs that China is turning into a consumption economy." The Chinese data partly mitigated the subdued sentiment that has capped European equity markets over the past week, as three separate U.S. jobs reports came in worse than expected, cooling investor optimism about the health of the world's largest economy. After the recent weak U.S. economic reports, investors were set to scrutinise the minutes of last week's policy meeting of the U.S. Federal Reserve, due for publication at 1800 GMT, for reassurance that the U.S. central bank will keep the taps of its economic stimulus programme wide open. The euro zone Euro STOXX 50 index has retreated 5.5 percent from its March high as a financing crisis in Cyprus and, more recently, disappointing U.S. economic data led some investors to take profit on a 13 percent rally since mid-November. Thirty-minute charts showed the index was pulling back towards its April 5 low at 2,567 points, implying a 1.1 percent downside from Tuesday's close at 2,595.13 points. "Yesterday, prices confirmed a bearish configuration, a rising wedge pattern," Philippe Delabarre, a technical analyst at Paris-based firm Trading Central, said. "Therefore, as long as 2,615 (the top of the recent rising wedge) is resistance, look for 2,586 and 2,567." -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- MARKET SNAPSHOT AT 623 GMT LAST PCT CHG NET CHG S&P 500 1,568.61 0.35 % 5.54 NIKKEI 13,288.13 0.73 % 95.78 MSCI ASIA EX-JP 531.01 0.41 % 2.15 EUR/USD 1.3078 -0.02 % -0.0003 USD/JPY 99.06 0.04 % 0.0400 10-YR US TSY YLD 1.752 -- 0.00 10-YR BUND YLD 1.281 -- 0.02 SPOT GOLD $1,588.30 0.23 % $3.60 US CRUDE $93.85 -0.37 % -0.35 > Asian shares up on record Wall St close, China trade data > Dow ends at another record close as cyclicals rally > Nikkei advances further on BOJ stimulus > Longer-dated U.S. Treasuries drop pre-sale > Yen sticks close to 4-year low vs dollar > Gold gains on Japan policy; firm equities may weigh > LME copper slips from two-week top; China data supports > Brent steadies above $106 supported by China's growth COMPANY NEWS VEDANTA RESOURCES The firm reports a fall in full year zinc production, though output of other metals and oil and gas picks up. ROCHE An experimental Roche drug that spurs the immune system to fight cancer appeared to be safe and demonstrated anti-tumor activity against a variety of cancers in a small early stage study, researchers said on Tuesday. SIEMENS The engineering conglomerate's businesses have "not become easier", Siemens CEO Peter Loescher told newspaper Handelsblatt. "The short-cycle businesses, too, are lacking momentum," he was quoted as saying. LUFTHANSA March traffic figures due at 1100 GMT. Lufthansa is studying the purchase of "several dozen" long-distance twin-engined jets, Nico Buchholz, executive vice president of group fleet management, told Reuters. "We will be focusing next on the 200-300 seat segment with the aim of making a decision by the end of the year," he said. VOLKSWAGEN The carmaker and its Chinese joint ventures sold 598,100 cars in mainland China and Hong Kong in the first three months of 2013, up 23.7 percent from a year earlier. MAN, the truckmaker controlled by Volkswagen, continues to be "in a difficult situation," the head of MAN's commercial vehicles division, Anders Nielsen, told daily Handelsblatt. EADS Weeks after approving $12 billion in plane orders, Lufthansa is studying a further purchase of "several dozen" long-distance twin-engined jets as it continues to modernize its fleet, Nico Buchholz, executive vice president of group fleet management, said. Separately it announced a benchmark sized 10-year senior unsecured notes via Citigroup, Barclays, JP Morgan and Morgan Stanley, RBS. L'OREAL The world's biggest cosmetics group is unlikely to be significantly affected by the slowdown in China, which saw the country post its slowest GDP growth since 1999 last year, its chief executive said. TELECOM ITALIA Telco, the holding company that owns more than one fifth of Telecom Italia, said on Tuesday it has had no contacts with Hutchison Whampoa over possible integration between Telecom Italia and the Hong Kong-based group. The holding company of the Italian telecoms group also denied any contacts on the issue with Telecom Italia. Austria's Raiffeisen Bank International RBIV.VI forecast on Wednesday that provisions for bad loans would be steady in 2013 and its net interest income would be flat in what it called "tense" markets. CREDIT SUISSE Outgoing Deutsche Bank finance expert Charlotte Jones will join Swiss bank Credit Suisse as head of group finance and investor relations in July, according to a memorandum seen by Reuters on Tuesday.