European Factors to Watch-Shares seen up, focus on central banks
LONDON, July 29 (Reuters) - European shares were set to edge higher on Monday on positive mergers and acquisitions news and as investors bet major central banks will offer reassurance that their monetary policies will remain accommodative for the foreseeable future. The U.S. Federal Reserve, the European Central Bank and the Bank of England all hold policy meetings this week. The market's initial focus will be the Fed's two-day meeting, starting on Tuesday, for more clarity on when it could start slowing its $85 billion monthly bond purchases. "Markets are looking for policy hints rather than changes this week. All eyes on whether QE3 tapering any closer by the Fed, but we still believe more data needed before the call is made, especially with non-farm payrolls on Friday," Mike van Dulken, head of research at Accendo Markets, said. "M&A perking up optimism after the Publicis-Omnicom tie-up over the weekend and the Perrigo-Elan deal this morning. China data weakness after recent GDP likely to keep open the debate on slowing." Analysts said there were concerns that manufacturing surveys from China later this week would point to more weakness in the world's second-biggest economy. On the mergers and acquisitions front, global ad agencies Publicis and Omnicom planned a mega merger in a $35.1 billion deal, while U.S. generic drugmaker Perrigo agreed to buy Elan for $8.6 billion. Other media companies, including WPP and Havas, were likely to gain. At 0649 GMT, futures for Euro STOXX 50, Britain's FTSE 100, Germany's DAX and France's CAC were 0.2 to 0.3 percent higher. The FTSEurofirst 300 index of top European shares closed 0.3 percent lower at 1,205.19 on Friday. The index, which is up 4.6 percent so far this month, is headed for its best monthly performance since mid-2012. U.S. stocks erased losses late in Friday's session to close slightly higher. Investors will keep a close eye on more company results after the French food group Danone said Europe showed early signs of stabilisation in the second quarter, while Dutch delivery group TNT Express swung to a second-quarter operating loss of 280 million euros ($371.4 million). According to Thomson Reuters StarMine data, out of 35 percent of the STOXX Europe 600 companies that have reported second-quarter results so far, 55 percent have met or beaten profit forecasts. In the United States, 52 percent S&P 500 companies have reported results, of which 73 percent have met or beaten and the rest have missed predictions. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- MARKET SNAPSHOT AT 0652 GMT LAST PCT CHG NET CHG S&P 500 1,691.65 0.08 % 1.4 NIKKEI 13,661.13 -3.32 % -468.85 MSCI ASIA EX-JP 519.23 -0.9 % -4.73 EUR/USD 1.3268 -0.08 % -0.0010 USD/JPY 97.84 -0.42 % -0.4100 10-YR US TSY YLD 2.549 -- -0.02 10-YR BUND YLD 1.655 -- -0.01 SPOT GOLD $1,326.46 -0.51 % -$6.83 US CRUDE $104.25 -0.43 % -0.45 > Japanese stocks lead Asia lower as yen firms > Wall St wipes out losses late to end with slim gain > Nikkei falls below 14,000 as exporters drag on strong yen > TREASURIES-Prices gain, Fed meeting in focus > Dollar retreats ahead of Fed meet, hits 1-mth low on yen > Gold slips after three-week gain, Fed meeting eyed > Copper hits 3-week low on weak China demand outlook > Brent little changed above $107, weak demand weighs as dollar supports COMPANY NEWS PUBLICIS A proposed mega-merger between global ad agencies Publicis and Omnicom could bring rival accounts such as Coca-Cola and PepsiCo under one firm, underscoring the scale of the $35.1 billion deal and the potential conflicts it raises. ELAN U.S. generic drugmaker Perrigo agreed to buy Elan for $8.6 billion on Monday, ending a takeover battle over the Irish company which put itself up for sale last month. DANONE The French food group said Europe showed early signs of stabilisation in the second quarter notably in the core dairy division, and it kept its full-year 2013 profit and sales outlook. TNT Dutch delivery group TNT Express swung to a second-quarter operating loss of 280 million euros ($371.4 million) because of goodwill impairments and said the rest of the year would remain tough in its main markets. ABERDEEN ASSET MANAGEMENT Aberdeen Asset Management said clients pulled 3.4 billion pounds ($5.23 billion) from its range of funds in the three months to end-June, more than analysts had forecast. JCDECAUX The outdoor advertising group reported on Monday a 5.5 percent rise in first-half net profit and said it expects a slight decrease in organic revenues in the third quarter. BARCLAYS, LLOYDS BANKING GROUP Barclays will this week say how it plans to meet tougher UK rules on capital, while strong earnings from Lloyds will pave the way for Britain to sell some of its shares in the bank. Barclays' advisers have sounded out investors about a possible 4 billion pound ($6.15 billion) rights issue, the Sunday Times reported. NOVARTIS Teva Pharmaceutical Industries' $4 billion-a-year multiple sclerosis drug Copaxone will lose its patent protection in 2014 because of a ruling from a U.S. appeals court, making it potentially prey to cheaper generics, developed by Novartis and others. For related articles, click on ERAMET The mining group recorded a loss in the first half of 2013, hit by a drop in nickel prices, and said its operating results in the second-half would be worse. SIEMENS Chief Executive Peter Loescher is to leave the company four years before the end of his contract, after the engineering group last week issued its second profit warning this year. Separately, the company is probing its China operations as sales and orders in the world's second-largest economy have failed to grow, Wirtschaftswoche reported without citing the source of the information. Related news POLYMETAL Russian precious metals miner Polymetal expects to record a non-cash impairment charge in its first-half financial results due to lower commodity prices, it said on Monday. COMMERZBANK Several German banks face new write-offs and may need to raise more capital ahead of next year's planned European bank stress tests, Der Spiegel reported, without citing sources. RYANAIR Cutbacks by rivals and extra charges for choosing seats helped low-cost airline Ryanair meet forecasts with profit of 78 million euros ($103 million) in the three months to June, the Irish airline said on Monday. BMW Rolls-Royce, the German automaker's U.K. ultra-luxury brand is mulling to increase production and the number of dealerships as growing demand may push sales to about 4,000 vehicles this year from 3,575 in 2012, Wirtschaftswoche reported, citing CEO Torsten Mueller-Oetvoes. Related news PRAKTIKER As many as 4,000 jobs could be lost at the home improvement retailer and its Max Bahr chain following insolvency filings, Bild reported, citing the group's deputy board chairman. AIR FRANCE-KLM The carrier is in talks with German turnaround specialist Intro Aviation to sell its CityJet regional airline, Hans Rudolf Woehrl, co-founder of Intro Aviation, said.