European Factors to Watch-Shares seen lower; focus on earnings
LONDON, July 18 (Reuters) - European shares were set to open marginally lower on Thursday, with some disappointing earnings reports hurting sentiment and prompting investors to trade cautiously before the release of more results from major companies. Mobile telecom gear maker Ericsson posted second-quarter operating profit well below expectations on Thursday, while Finnish ship and power plant engine maker Wartsila reported an unexpected fall in second-quarter operating profit. European technology stocks might come under pressure after the world's biggest chipmaker Intel cut its full-year revenue forecast late on Wednesday and said it was scaling back capital spending following weaker personal computer sales and economic weakness in China. Germany's SAP AG also blamed slowing economic growth in China as it trimmed on Thursday its outlook for 2013 software revenue. The focus will be on results from major European and U.S. companies including Nokia, Morgan Stanley, Microsoft and Google . "We have seen some earnings disappointments, which could be used as an excuse to take some profits and bring the overall market lower. This is probably what we are going to see this morning," Philippe Gijsels, head of research at BNP Paribas Fortis Global Markets in Brussels, said. At 0647 GMT, futures for the Euro STOXX 50, Britain's FTSE 100 , Germany's DAX and France's CAC were 0.2 to 0.3 percent lower. The FTSEurofirst 300 index closed 0.6 percent higher at 1,198.71 points on Wednesday, helped by reassurances from the U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke that the central bank will be flexible in its stimulus-trimming plans. The euro zone's blue chip Euro STOXX 50 closed 0.6 percent higher at 2,681.88 points in the previous session just below some strong resistance levels. The rally stalled at its uptrend line joining lows of mid-2012 and April 2013 and near its 100-day moving average at 2,683.75 points. A clear break of the 100-day average might push the index higher towards its 50-day moving average at around 2,702. The index is expected to find support at around 2,664, its 23.6 percent retracement of a rally from June last year to a high in May 2013. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ MARKET SNAPSHOT AT 0647 GMT LAST PCT CHG NET CHG S&P 500 1,680.91 0.28 % 4.65 NIKKEI 14,808.50 1.32 % 193.46 MSCI ASIA EX-JP 516.05 -0.49 % -2.55 EUR/USD 1.3105 -0.14 % -0.0019 USD/JPY 100.19 0.62 % 0.6200 10-YR US TSY YLD 2.480 -- -0.01 10-YR BUND YLD 1.528 -- -0.01 SPOT GOLD $1,277.51 0.17 % $2.12 US CRUDE $106.39 -0.08 % -0.09 > Asian shares fall on China, Intel; dollar steady after Bernanke > Wall St gets a lift from Bernanke's flexible Fed view > Nikkei hits 8-week high after Bernanke says QE timing is flexible > U.S. yields fall as Bernanke curbs bond-buying worries > Dollar edges up after Bernanke comments, seen staying firm > Gold ticks up, Fed keeps up pressure with stimulus view > Copper hits one-week low on Fed stimulus pullback plans > Brent slips as dollar weighs, stays above $108 on US stocks draw COMPANY NEWS ERICSSON The mobile telecom gear maker posted second-quarter operating profit well below expectations on Thursday hurt by lower sales, a weaker than expected margin and currency headwinds. For more on the company, click on SAP AG Germany's SAP on Thursday trimmed its outlook for 2013 software revenue, blaming slowing economic growth in China and customers' move to cloud-based services. WARTSILA The Finnish ship and power plant engine maker reported an unexpected fall in second-quarter operating profit as shipping companies held off ordering new ships. NOKIA Nokia is expected to report at 1000 GMT a steep fall in quarterly handset sales, led by a 24 percent drop in shipments of basic mobile phones to 56 million units, according to a Reuters poll. PUBLICIS The world's third-biggest advertising agency saw sales growth accelerate sharply to 5 percent in the second quarter, helped by robust demand for online marketing services and strength in North America. AKZO NOBEL The company said its performance improvement programme was on track to be completed in 2013, delivering 500 million euros EBITDA benefit a year. CARREFOUR Europe's largest retailer said sales improved at its core French hypermarkets and in China in the second quarter, further reassuring investors about head Georges Plassat's ability to revive the group. HERMES The French luxury group posted a 16 percent rise in second-quarter sales at constant exchange rates and forecast full-year revenue could slightly exceed its mid-term growth target of 10 percent. REMY COINTREAU The spirits maker said first-quarter organic sales fell 2.3 percent to 263.7 million euros because of one-off factors in China that hurt cognac demand. ACTELION Actelion raised its full-year guidance on Thursday and said it expected to return to profit growth this year as benefits from its cost-savings programme kick in faster than expected and sales of its marketed products hold up. SKANSKA The Nordic region's biggest builder posted a slightly higher second-quarter operating profit than expected and said competition on its markets was intense, mainly from new international competitors. NORSK HYDRO One of the world's biggest aluminium makers said it expected solid demand growth and weak prices this year as it reported a smaller-than-expected drop in April-June core earnings. TELE2 Nordic and emerging market telecoms group Tele2 on Thursday posted second-quarter core earnings in line with forecasts as the Swedish mobile market continued to shine.