European Factors to Watch-Shares to rebound, but stay vulnerable
LONDON, April 18 (Reuters) - European shares were expected to bounce back on Thursday, with a sharp sell-off of nearly 4 percent in the previous four sessions prompting some investors to hunt for value, although sentiment remained fragile. Futures for the Euro STOXX 50, UK's FTSE 100, Germany's DAX and France's CAC were 0.2 to 0.5 percent higher, a day after the FTSEurofirst 300 fell 1.6 percent to a 3-1/2-month low on fresh concerns over the health of the global economy and a rout in commodities. "After a number of consecutive down days, some investors could be looking for bargain hunting," Keith Bowman, equity analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, said. "We have seen some disappointing company results and broader economic numbers are adding an element of caution in investors' mind. Apple's decline is another factor, which could have an impact on technology stocks." Apple slid more than 5 percent on Wednesday after falling below $400 for the first time since December 2011. A key supplier, chipmaker Cirrus Logic, gave a disappointing revenue forecast, fuelling worries about weakening demand for the iPhone and iPad. Analysts said the stock market remained vulnerable to further declines as major commodities such as gold, copper and oil fell further, while some companies disappointed on the earnings front and in their sales update. The Finnish ship and power plant engine maker Wartsila reported an unexpected fall in first-quarter operating profit due to weaker sales, while underlying sales growth at the world's top food group Nestle slowed to 4.3 percent in the first quarter. ID:nWEB0033N] In the United States, EBay on Wednesday gave a disappointing earnings forecast for the second quarter, while Bank of America posted revenue and profits that were below Wall Street expectations. "A bit of short covering and bargain hunting is set to bring out the buyers tentatively on the open, but as yesterday's sudden sell-off showed, it doesn't take much to bring out the bears in this current environment," Jonathan Sudaria, a dealer at Capital Spreads, said in a note. Resource-related equities could come under further pressure after copper prices fell as much as 4 percent on Thursday on persistent concerns about global growth. Aluminium dropped 1.1 percent and gold fell more than 1 percent. The STOXX Europe 600 basic resources index fell 2.4 percent in the previous session, taking this year's losses to more than 20 percent. European energy shares, which fell 1.9 percent on Wednesday, are down nearly 6 percent in 2013. On the macroeconomic front, focus will be on British retail sales data for March at 0830 GMT, U.S. weekly jobless claims numbers at 1230 GMT and Philadelphia Federal Reserve Bank's April business activity survey results at 1400 GMT. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- MARKET SNAPSHOT AT 0645 GMT LAST PCT CHG NET CHG S&P 500 1,552.01 -1.43 % -22.56 NIKKEI 13,220.07 -1.22 % -162.82 MSCI ASIA EX-JP 529.34 -0.42 % -2.24 EUR/USD 1.3049 0.16 % 0.0021 USD/JPY 97.90 -0.19 % -0.1900 10-YR US TSY YLD 1.692 -- -0.01 10-YR BUND YLD 1.236 -- 0.01 SPOT GOLD $1,377.55 0.08 % $1.05 US CRUDE $86.61 -0.08 % -0.07 * Risk assets slip on growth worries, gold tumbles * Nikkei retreats as blue-chips lose ground * Drop in Apple shares, weak profits drag Wall St lower * Yen slips vs dollar, eyes on risk sentiment * Brent holds near $98, off 9-mth low * Gold falls 1 pct as investors cut exposure * Copper tumbles below $7,000, sparks metals sell-off * Treasuries-Prices rise as stock slump spurs safety bid COMPANY NEWS NESTLE Underlying sales growth at the world's largest food group Nestle slowed to 4.3 percent in the first quarter, missing forecasts, as demand in emerging markets slowed further and cold spring weather hit bottled water and ice-cream sales. For more, click on: SYNGENTA The world's largest maker of crop chemicals said a strong fungicide sales in Latin America helped it shrug off the cold winter in the northern hemisphere to post solid first-quarter sales. For more, click on: WARTSILA The Finnish ship and power plant engine maker reported an unexpected fall in first-quarter operating profit due to weaker sales, particularly in power plants. ALLIANZ Europe's biggest insurer is in talks to buy the naming rights to a soccer stadium under construction in Brazil's largest city Sao Paulo, in what may become the first major soccer sponsorship deal in the country hosting the World Cup next year. COMMERZBANK Commerzbank, Germany's second-biggest lender, is in exclusive talks to sell its UK property business Eurohypo to private equity firm Lone Star and U.S. bank Wells Fargo & Co, the Financial Times reported, citing people familiar with the talks. TELEFONICA Spanish telecoms company Telefonica launched dollar-denominated debt worth $2 billion on Wednesday, including $1.25 billion in a 5-year bond and $750 million in a 10-year bond, Thomson Reuters news and markets analysis service IFR Markets reported. TELE2 The Nordic and emerging market telecoms operator Tele2 said it was on track to meet full-year guidance after posting first-quarter earnings marginally ahead of market expectations on Thursday in what was its first report since selling its Russia unit in a $3.5 billion deal. For more on the company, double click ERICSSON The Swedish telecom gear maker and operator Cellular One said late on Wednesday that Ericsson won an order to upgrade Cellular One's network to 3G and expand its existing number of base stations by 50 percent. For a full statement, double click FRESNILLO Mexican miner Fresnillo, the world's largest primary silver producer, said it would review all spending and exploration plans in the light of steep drops in gold and silver price. DEBENHAMS Britain's second biggest department store group forecast a better second half of the year after posting an expected 5.4 percent fall in first-half profit that was blamed on January snow.