European Factors to Watch-Shares seen lower, focus on data
LONDON, May 17 (Reuters) - European stocks were expected to edge lower on Friday, mirroring losses on Wall Street, following comments from some U.S. central bank officials saying the Federal Reserve could begin easing up its monetary stimulus this summer. John Williams, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, said on Thursday the Fed could end bond purchases later this year, Dallas Fed President Richard Fisher said the Fed should withdraw its targeted support of the housing sector now, while Philadelphia Fed president Charles Plosser said the central bank should dial back its asset buying. However, analysts said that losses in share prices could be limited as some recent poor U.S. data might prompt the Fed to keep its stimulus measures in place for a longer period than indicated by U.S. central bank officials. The Philadelphia Federal Reserve's figures on Thursday showed factory activity in the mid-Atlantic region contracted and the Commerce Department reported a 16.5 percent drop in U.S. housing starts in April. New claims for jobless benefits also unexpectedly jumped last week. "The stock market is driven by liquidity and sooner or later this must end, but the Fed is not going to take any chances. They are going to clearly signal the timing of retreat for the asset purchases, so the market won't be shocked," Koen De Leus, senior economist at KBC, in Brussels, said. "In the near term a correction would be healthy, but on the whole the market is well supported by the huge amount of liquidity that is pumped into the system by the central banks. There is not much that can derail this rally. Enjoy the ride, but protect the downside." At 0635 GMT, futures for Euro STOXX 50, Germany's DAX and France's CAC were 0.1 to 0.4 percent lower. The FTSEurofirst 300 index of top European shares ended flat at 1,245.45 points on Thursday after setting a new five-year high at 1,247.57. However, the index, which is up nearly 10 percent so far this year, is headed for its fourth straight weeks of gains. Investors will focus on more data later in the day for hints about the market's near term direction. Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan will release preliminary May consumer sentiment index at 1355 GMT, while the U.S. Conference Board will release April leading economic indicators at 1400 GMT. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- MARKET SNAPSHOT AT 0627 GMT: LAST PCT CHG NET CHG S&P 500 1,650.47 -0.5 % -8.31 NIKKEI 15,138.12 0.67 % 100.88 MSCI ASIA EX-JP 558.55 -0.17 % -0.93 EUR/USD 1.2859 -0.17 % -0.0022 USD/JPY 102.47 0.22 % 0.2300 10-YR US TSY YLD 1.876 -- 0.00 10-YR BUND YLD 1.327 -- 0.00 SPOT GOLD $1,381.70 -0.29 % -$3.99 US CRUDE $95.21 0.05 % 0.05 > Dollar firmer on Fed remarks, Asian shares mixed > Nikkei eases on wariness over recent steep gains, exporters suffer > Wall Street slips after Fed comments, but Cisco surges > Prices gain on weak U.S. economic data, low inflation > Dollar near 10-mth high as Fed dove hints at QE wind-down > Gold falls on stronger dollar, heads for worst week in a month > Copper eyes first weekly drop in four on China woes > Brent slips towards $103 on demand growth worries, stronger dollar COMPANY NEWS VOLKSWAGEN, DAIMLER, BMW Europe's ailing car market snapped a streak of 18 straight months of declines last month, expanding slightly thanks to robust demand in the UK, calendar effects and a historically weak April last year, according to data from ACEA. Related news DEUTSCHE BANK, COMMERZBANK Supervisors across the European Union will examine the way that top banks classify and value loans and other assets to ensure that the stress tests they conduct do a better job of finding any problems. SIEMENS Investors who had filed a legal complaint against Siemens spinning off its lighting business Osram have withdrawn their lawsuit, according to a formal announcement in the Electronic Federal Gazette, a publication of the German Justice Ministry. Separately, Siemens's South African unit has won the contract to supply 46 wind turbines to power utility Eskom's 100 megawatt Sere wind farm, it said on Thursday. TELIASONERA Sweden's biggest operator said it would invest around 5 billion crowns ($753 million) a year in its home market to 2015 to build out coverage and capacity in its 4G and 3G networks across the country. NOVO NORDISK The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has imposed the Danish insulin producer to tell on the packaging of its diabetes drug Victoza, that some patients taking the drug have had severe inflammation of the pancreas, daily Beringske Tidende reported. SANOFI The drugmaker said a late-stage Phase III study carried out on its myelofibrosis treatment showed positive results. WM MORRISONS Britains' No. 4 supermarket Wm Morrisons said on Friday it has agreed a long term deal with online grocer Ocado OCDO.L to enable Morrisons.com to start grocery deliveries to customers by January 2014.