European Factors to Watch-Shares to fall on unease over Syria
LONDON, Aug 27 (Reuters) - European shares were expected to fall on Tuesday on concerns that the United States was inching towards a possible military action against Syria over a suspected chemical weapons attack. The United States and its allies have met in Jordan for what could be a council of war, should they decide to punish Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, who has denied using chemical weapons and blamed rebels for staging such attacks. "An escalation in geopolitical tension is not good for investor sentiment. People might just be waiting for some clarity before they look to react," Keith Bowman, equity analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, said. U.S. shares fell late on Monday after U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said President Barack Obama "believes there must be accountability for those who would use the world's most heinous weapons against the world's most vulnerable people." "The apparent certainty that military action against Syria is on its way has traders highly uncertain about what the repercussions will be for igniting a powder keg in such an already volatile region," Capital Spreads dealer Jonathan Sudaria wrote in a note. "Traders will be shying away from risky assets until there is some clarity about the future path of military intervention from the West." A day after a public holiday in the United Kingdom, futures for Britain's FTSE 100 < were 0.4 percent lower. Futures for the Euro STOXX 50 , Germany's DAX and France's CAC were 0.4 to 0.5 percent weaker. IG Markets predicted Italy's FTSE MIB index to fall further and underperform the wider market. It saw the index declining about 0.8 percent on concerns about the stability of the ruling coalition, with Silvio Berlusconi's centre-right party threatening to bring down the government. Italian shares fell 2.1 percent on Monday, putting pressure on euro zone stocks, while the country's bond yields rose. Investors will keep a close eye on a slew of economic releases for hints about the timing of the U.S. Federal Reserve's likely move to start trimming its stimulus measures. Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago will release its Chicago Fed Midwest Manufacturing Index for July at 1230 GMT, ICSC/Goldman Sachs will announce chain store sales data for the week ended Aug. 21 at 1145 GMT, while Standard & Poor's will release the S&P Case/Shiller Home Price Index for June at 1300 GMT. In Europe, Germany's IFO business climate index for August is due to be released at 0800 GMT. The index is predicted to have risen to 107.0 from 106.2. Focus will also be on company results as the second-quarter reporting season is coming to an end. According to Thomson Reuters StarMine data, 92 percent companies on the STOXX Europe 600 have reported results, of which 45 percent have missed expectations, while the rest have met or beaten. In the previous quarter, 48 percent companies missed forecasts. On Tuesday, Chilean copper miner Antofagasta posted a 31.2 percent drop in first-half core profit, while offshore engineering firm Aker Solutions reported earnings short of expectations and said its order backlog and capacity utilisation fell. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- MARKET SNAPSHOT AT 0633 GMT LAST PCT CHG NET CHG S&P 500 1,656.78 -0.4 % -6.72 NIKKEI 13,542.37 -0.69 % -93.91 MSCI ASIA EX-JP 500.10 -1.19 % -6.02 EUR/USD 1.3363 -0.04 % -0.0005 USD/JPY 98.09 -0.42 % -0.4100 10-YR US TSY YLD 2.787 -- 0.00 10-YR BUND YLD 1.890 -- -0.01 SPOT GOLD $1,399.00 -0.38 % -$5.40 US CRUDE $106.17 0.24 % 0.25 > Geopolitical jitters unsettle Asia stocks; yen rises > Wall St ends lower after Kerry blasts Syria on chemical weapons > Nikkei flat in subdued trading; Syria tensions weigh > Government bond prices gain on weaker economic data > Yen edges higher as Syria jitters hit risk sentiment > Gold holds above $1,400, weak U.S. data helps > Copper in tight range after mixed China, US data > Brent tops $111 on rising tension over Syria attack COMPANY NEWS ANTOFAGASTA Chilean copper miner Antofagasta posted a 31.2 percent drop in first-half core profit as lower prices and higher costs offset the impact of higher production. PETROFAC British energy services firm Petrofac PFC.L reported an expected 12.5 percent fall in revenue on Tuesday, saying earnings would be heavily weighted to the second half due to the timing of key projects. AKER SOLUTIONS Offshore engineering firm Aker Solutions reported earnings short of expectations and said its order backlog and capacity utilisation fell as clients delayed or cancelled projects. DAIMLER Unveiling details of its China strategy in Beijing on Tuesday, Daimler's new China chief said the company would spend 2 billion euros over the next two years as it seeks to boost sales of Mercedes-Benz cars in China by a third to more than 300,000 cars a year by 2015. Related news E.ON The German utility is considering mothballing its nuclear power plants, German tabloid Bild reported, citing senior executive Mike Winkel. Power plants are only profitable if wholesale prices don't sink further below 35-36 euros per Megawatt-hour. Currently they barely cover the operating costs for the four E.ON nuclear plants. Related news VOLKSWAGEN The German carmaker is having some difficulty setting up its newest car plant in China, in Urumqi in the mainly Muslim populated western province of Xinjiang. While the plant will open this year, the body shop and the paint shop are not yet completed. Related news ACCOR Accor is set to appoint Sebastien Bazin, the French hotel group's vice-chairman, as its new chief executive, two sources close to the matter said on Tuesday, confirming earlier press reports.