European Factors to Watch-Shares set to rally on dovish Fed comments
LONDON, July 11 (Reuters) - European stocks were expected to rally at the open on Thursday on rising expectations the Federal Reserve will maintain its ultra-loose monetary policy, which has supported equities, for longer than expected. At 0627 GMT futures for the Euro STOXX 50, Britain's FTSE 100 , Germany's DAX, and France's CAC were up 1.5-1.7 percent. The Fed's chairman, Ben Bernanke, said late on Wednesday that the bank would pursue a "highly accommodative policy ... for the foreseeable future", adding the current unemployment rate of 7.6 percent may overstate the health of the labour market and interest rates would not automatically be raised when the unemployment hits the Fed's 6.5 percent target. Stock markets and U.S. Treasuries, which recently sold off on concerns the Fed may start to dial back its monthly bond-buying programme in light of a healthier labour market, were boosted by Bernanke's comments. Asian stocks and U.S. index futures rose on Thursday as investors piled into assets offering higher returns in the face of falling U.S. Treasury yields, while the dollar weakened against a basket of currencies . "The fruitless game of trying to out-think the Fed has just been proven again," Justin Haque, a pan-European trader at Hobart Capital Markets said. "They hold all the data, therefore they hold all the controls. Yet again, in both the (stock) indexes and the dollar, the combined doubting forces of the intelligentsia waiting for a correction have been proved wrong." He expected Britain's FTSE 100, which closed 0.1 percent lower at 6,504.96 points on Wednesday, to hit 6,800 by next month and the euro zone Euro STOXX 50 index, which shed 0.2 percent to 2,659.71 points, to rise to 2,700. The Euro STOXX 50 fell 12.5 percent between late may and late June on concerns about a tighter monetary policy, although it has roughly recouped half that drop on the back of better U.S. data and supportive comments by Fed officials. Charts showed the index was now testing a resistance at 2,684 points, corresponding to the upper end of a "bearish gap" opened on June 19-20, when the Bernanke unveiled a timetable to reduce the Fed's stimulus programme. A break of that level may open the way for the index to rise towards its May's high at 2,852. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- MARKET SNAPSHOT AT 0627 GMT: LAST PCT CHG NET CHG S&P 500 1,652.62 0.02 % 0.3 NIKKEI 14,472.58 0.39 % 55.98 MSCI ASIA EX-JP 516.96 3.1 % 15.53 EUR/USD 1.3082 0.83 % 0.0108 USD/JPY 98.67 -0.97 % -0.9700 10-YR US TSY YLD 2.570 -- -0.10 10-YR BUND YLD 1.611 -- -0.04 SPOT GOLD $1,292.51 2.28 % $28.87 US CRUDE $107.34 0.77 % 0.82 > Asian shares hit 3-week high on Bernanke's dovish comments > Wall St flat after Fed minutes, but Bernanke lifts futures > Nikkei edges up in choppy trade after Bernanke's dovish tilt > TREASURIES-Bond prices rise after Bernanke remarks > Dollar tumbles after dovish Bernanke trip up bulls > Gold climbs to 2-1/2 week high on Fed stimulus hopes > Copper hits one-week high after dovish Fed comments > Brent near 3-month peak as dollar wilts on Fed stance COMPANY NEWS AUTOS Eight more cities in China, the world's biggest auto market, are likely to announce policies restricting new vehicle purchases, an official at the automakers association said, as Beijing tries to control air pollution. ALLIANZ Europe's biggest insurer expects to cash in on growing corporate demand for insurance against computer hacking and internet breakdowns, it said on Wednesday. AXA, CNP ASSURANCES, BNP PARIBAS, CREDIT AGRICOLE France has launched a double-pronged effort to harness insurers' deep pockets to boost lending to underfunded small- and mid-sized companies (SMEs), seeking to ease their longtime reliance on bank funding. DEUTSCHE BANK Vincent and Robert Tchenguiz, who are suing Britain's Serious Fraud Office (SFO) over a botched investigation into the property tycoon brothers, were dealt a setback on Wednesday when Deutsche Bank objected to the disclosure of some SFO documents. DNB Norway's largest bank DNB warned of weakening loan demand in its home market, especially in the in the corporate sector, as it reported second-quarter results that beat expectations. Its net profit fell to 3.80 billion Norwegian crowns ($620.1 million) from 4.61 billion at the same time last year, beating the 3.67 billion seen in a Reuters poll of analysts. For more on the company, double click GETINGE Medical technology group Getinge is due to publish its second-quarter results at around 0630 GMT. Adjusted earnings before interest, tax and amortisation (EBITA) are seen easing 1 percent to 1.01 billion Swedish crowns ($149.5 million), according to a Reuters poll of analysts. For the full poll, double click For more on the company, double click AIR LIQUIDE The specialty chemicals group said it had acquired two Polish companies, Help! and Ventamed, which specialise in home oxygen treatments in Poland. No financial details were given. JCDECAUX The group said it was awarded an exclusive 10-year contract to operate outdoor advertising within three airports in Abu Dhabi, without giving financial details. HEINEKEN The Dutch brewer will divest its Finnish Hartwall business to Danish beverages group Royal Unibrew, the company said on Thursday. SAIPEM A court may rule on company's corruption probe in Nigeria on Thursday. EADS South Korea is set to decide next week whether to proceed with an auction on supplying 60 next generation fighter jets worth 8.3 trillion won ($7.31 billion) after rounds of failed bidding, a defence official said on Thursday.