Europe Factors to Watch-Stocks set to rally on new Italian gvt
PARIS, April 29 (Reuters) - European stocks are set to climb on Monday, adding the previous week's sharp gains with Italian stocks seen rallying after a coalition government was named over the weekend, putting an end to two months of political impasse. At 0613 GMT, futures for Euro STOXX 50, for UK's FTSE 100, for Germany's DAX and for France's CAC were up 0.2-0.6 percent, while financial spreadbetters expect Italy's FTSE MIB to surge 178 points, or up 1.1 percent. Over the weekend, Italian centre-left politician Enrico Letta was sworn in as Italy's new prime minister. He named a coalition government, and said his priorities would be the economy and unemployment, as well as trying to turn Europe away from austerity to focus more on growth and investment. Italian shares have been underperfroming this year, with the MIB up 1.8 percent year-to-date while the FTSEurofirst300 is up 5.5 percent, as February's inconclusive election revived worries over the pace of economic reforms for the debt-stricken country and weighed on local equities. Italian shares feature among the cheapest stocks in Europe, with the broad MSCI Italy index trading at 9.4 times expected earnings for the next 12 months, while the STOXX Europe 600 trades at 12.3 times expected earnings. "There has already been a strong move in Italian yields of late, with the ten-year trading under 4 percent last week. Perhaps you could make a case that the market was positioning for a favourable political outcome here," IG Chief Market Strategist Chris Weston wrote in a note. The FTSEurofirst 300 index of top European shares surged 3.8 percent last week. It was the index's best weekly gain in five months, lifted by speculation of an interest rate cut by the European Central Bank at its policy meeting on Thursday, following lower-than-expected macro data from Germany. A Reuters poll of 76 economists showed a narrow majority of 43 expected a rate cut of 25 basis points, taking the ECB's main refinancing rate to a record low of 0.50 percent. However, market rates, such as that for bank-to-bank lending, are already so low that such an easing might have no more than a symbolic impact. "Interest rates are already extremely low, lowering them further might improve confidence a bit, but what the European economy needs is measures to lower taxes and really boost credit," said David Thebault, head of quantitative sales trading at Global Equities. Investors will also keep an eye on further corporate results on Monday, with earnings from companies including Volkswagen and Luxottica due. Out of the 34 percent of the STOXX 600 companies that have posted quarterly earnings so far, only 46 percent have met or beaten earnings forecasts, a sharp contrast with results from the United States where 74 percent of S&P 500 companies have met or beaten forecasts, according to Thomson Reuters StarMine data. For the bulk of European companies that still have to report results, StarMine 'SmartEstimates' - which favours top-rated analysts - predict an average profit miss of 1.6 percent. Japanese and Chinese markets were closed for a public holiday on Monday. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- MARKET SNAPSHOT AT 0612 GMT LAST PCT CHG NET CHG S&P 500 1,582.24 -0.18 % -2.92 MSCI ASIA EX-JP 545.65 0.05 % 0.28 EUR/USD 1.3055 0.2 % 0.0026 USD/JPY 97.60 -0.47 % -0.4600 10-YR US TSY YLD 1.665 -- 0.00 10-YR BUND YLD 1.214 -- 0.01 SPOT GOLD $1,470.00 0.51 % $7.50 US CRUDE $92.64 -0.39 % -0.36 > GLOBAL MARKETS-Shares up; markets look for central bank largesse > Wall Street dips after GDP but finishes week higher > FOREX-Dollar falls broadly after U.S. GDP disappoints > Gold rises 1 percent, holds near one-week high > METALS-London copper drifts down; policy-easing hopes lend support > Brent slips under $103 on murky global economic outlook COMPANY NEWS: MONTE DEI PASCHI Shareholders gather in Siena for their annual meeting. An Italian judge has rejected an order to seize around 1.8 billion euros of assets from Nomura as part of a probe into suspected fraud involving the troubled lender, legal sources said on Saturday. Il Sole 24 Ore said on Saturday the bank could put up for sale its foreign branches, 17 in France and 8 in Belgium, which have a book value of 160 million euros. It is not the first time the bank tries to sell these assets, the paper added. SAIPEM The auditors of the oil services company found failings in the internal control system of the company, according to a letter by the company's internal audit committee published on the company website on Friday. TELECOM ITALIA The telecoms operator could float its valuable Italian fixed-line network on the stock market to keep it separate from any possible tie-up with Hutchison Whampoa, an Italian newspaper said in a report on Saturday. SIEMENS Siemens will likely tweak downward its profit outlook when it releases its quarterly report on Thursday, German daily Handelsblatt said, citing industry sources. Siemens outlook for 2013 is for a net profit of 4.5 to 5 billion euros and will likely say on Thursday that the lower end of that range is realistic. Related news: SANTANDER Spain's biggest bank Santander is in exclusive talks with U.S. private equity firms Warburg Pincus and General Atlantic LLC to sell a stake in its asset management business, three people familiar with the discussions said. ENEL The company said on Friday in documents for its AGM that if it fails with plans to sell 6 billion euros of assets by the end of 2014 it could streamline investments and look at other disposals in order to meet its debt targets. FINMECCANICA Italian prosecutors investigating allegations of corruption in the sale of 12 helicopters to India believe their evidence is strong enough to warrant an urgent trial without preliminary proceedings, a legal source with direct knowledge of the situation said. DAIMLER, RENAULT Daimler has started talks with French rival Renault on a joint production of a vehicle at the plant in Duesseldorf, German daily Rheinische Post said on Monday, citing a Daimler spokeswoman. Related news Renault-Nissan hopes to receive final approval from Beijing by the summer to build its first Renault plant in China, Chief Executive Carlos Ghosn said. DEUTSCHE TELEKOM, OTE Greece's biggest telecom operator OTE, which is controlled by Deutsche Telekom, has agreed to sell its Bulgarian unit Globul to Norway's Telenor for 717 million euros. SABADELL, LLOYDS British bank Lloyds has agreed to swap its Spanish retail banking business for a 1.5-2.0 percent stake in Banco Sabadell, Expansion reported, citing unnamed sector sources. NOVARTIS The U.S. government announced its second civil fraud lawsuit against Novartis AG in four days, accusing a unit of the Swiss drugmaker of paying multimillion-dollar kickbacks to doctors in exchange for prescribing its drugs. CREDIT SUISSE Belgium has pared back its public debt with the sale of the structured credit portfolio held by its 'bad bank', Royal Park Investments, to U.S. private equity firm Lone Star and Credit Suisse, the finance ministry said.