European Factors to Watch-Shares seen mixed at open
LONDON, May 15 (Reuters) - European shares were expected to open mixed on Wednesday as poor growth numbers from Germany and France curbed positive momentum generated by recent encouraging U.S. economic data and central bank support. Germany's economy only just skirted a recession in the first quarter, growing by a weaker-than-expected 0.1 percent, while France entered a shallow recession after contracting by 0.2 percent. "Austerity measures are biting and policy measures have not been enough to kick-start growth. Traders now will speculate over additional measures the European Central Bank could possibly employ," ETX Capital said in a note. "It's unlikely the poor euro zone GDP figures will be enough to trigger a correction alone as data from the U.S. so far appears to be reassuring investors." Euro zone GDP data is due at 0900 GMT. Company results on Wednesday were also mixed, with German steelmaker ThyssenKrupp posting a net loss for the fiscal second quarter through the end of March, utility RWE's core profit falling slightly in the first quarter and the London Stock Exchange reporting a 7 percent increase in full year revenue. At 0649 GMT, futures for Euro STOXX 50 were down 0.1 percent, UK's FTSE 100 futures rose 0.2 percent, Germany's DAX futures gained 0.1 percent and France's CAC futures were down 0.3 percent. On Tuesday, the FTSEurofirst 300 index of top European shares finished 0.5 percent stronger at 1,236.62 points, a closing high not seen since mid-2008. The index is up about 9 percent so far this year. Recent encouraging economic numbers have supported the market and attracted investors towards riskier assets. U.S. data showed on Tuesday that chain store sales rose last week, import prices fell in April and a gauge of confidence for small businesses rose last month to its highest level in six months. Investors will keep an eye on U.S. numbers for further signs of a recovery in the world's biggest economy. Important data to be released later in the day included weekly mortgage market index at 1100 GMT, New York Federal Reserve's Empire State Manufacturing Survey for May at 1230 GMT and industrial production and capacity utilisation for April at 1715 GMT. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- MARKET SNAPSHOT AT 0654 GMT LAST PCT CHG NET CHG S&P 500 1,650.34 1.01 % 16.57 NIKKEI 15,096.03 2.29 % 337.61 MSCI ASIA EX-JP <.MIASJ0000PUS 559.18 0.39 % 2.17 > EUR/USD 1.2908 -0.08 % -0.0010 USD/JPY 102.36 0.01 % 0.0100 10-YR US TSY YLD 1.963 -- -0.02 10-YR BUND YLD 1.390 -- 0.02 SPOT GOLD $1,412.76 -0.89 % -$12.63 US CRUDE $94.05 -0.17 % -0.16 > Nikkei breaks above 15,000 pts on weak yen, dollar resilient > Wall St jumps as banks lead indexes to new highs > Nikkei jumps to fresh 5-1/2 yr high, breaks above 15,000 > Bond prices fall as stocks draw buyers > Dollar remains buoyant, close to 4-1/2-yr high vs yen > Gold edges up as dollar eases; snaps 4-day decline > Copper up, supported by optimism over U.S. recovery > Brent holds above $102 as dollar eases, but supply outlook weighs COMPANY NEWS HSBC HSBC said on Wednesday it would target an additional $2 billion to $3 billion in cost savings between 2014 and 2016, as the bank axes jobs and sells non-core businesses with less than a year left in the first phase of its restructuring plan. JULIUS BAER Swiss private bank Julius Baer said assets under management rose 16 percent in the first four months of the year, boosted by client inflows from its buy of Merrill Lynch's non U.S. wealth management business. SMA SOLAR German solar company SMA Solar reported a lower than expected loss for the first quarter as it sold more solar inverters in the United States, Japan, Australia and Thailand. SCOR French reinsurer Scor said stable pricing, low payouts and a strong Asia performance helped it overcome Europe's economic woes to lift first-quarter profit. VIVENDI The entertainment-to-telecoms conglomerate posted a 17 percent drop in first-quarter operating profit on Tuesday as its SFR French mobile division was hit by fierce competition. ALLIANZ Surging revenue and profit at Allianz's ALVG.DE PIMCO asset management unit gave a strong boost to the insurer's overall performance in the first quarter, Allianz said on Wednesday. RWE Germany's No.2 utility RWE said its core profit fell slightly in the first quarter, hurt by sluggish wholesale energy prices and falling margins in power generation. SANOFI The drugmaker said it and Regeneron had begun recruiting test patients for two new trials of their sarilumab arthritis treatment. ROCHE U.S. health regulators on Tuesday approved a test developed by Roche for a specific gene mutation present in about 10 percent of non-small cell lung cancers, and said the company's drug Tarceva could be used as an initial treatment in patients with the mutation whose cancer has spread beyond the lungs.