European Factors to Watch-Shares set to extend sell-off
PARIS, Aug 28 (Reuters) - European stocks are set to fall on Wednesday, extending the previous session's sell-off, as the prospect of military strikes against the Syrian government within the next few days rattles investors. The United States and its allies were preparing for strikes against Syria, which would be the most aggressive action by Western powers in the Middle East nation's 2 1/2 year civil war. Concerns over the possible wider consequences of a U.S.-led military strike knocked Asian stocks to a seven-week low on Wednesday while pushing oil prices to six-month high and safe-haven gold to a more than three-month high. The euro zone's blue-chip Euro STOXX 50 index sank 2.6 percent on Tuesday to a near one-month low in brisk volumes, while Wall Street's S&P 500 dropped 1.4 percent. Charts show a technical bearish reversal pattern triggered on Tuesday on the Euro STOXX 50, called a "head and shoulders", with a downward target of 2,645, or 3.8 percent lower than Tuesday's closing level of 2,749.27. A similar bearish figure was triggered on France's CAC 40. Before reaching that target, the index will find support at 2,718 points, representing its 50-day moving average as well as the 38.2 percent Fibonacci retracement of its rally from late June to mid-August, and at 2,675, the 50 percent retracement of the rally, chartists said. "There was a clear acceleration in volumes when the pattern was triggered, and we could now see a quick retracement of half of the recent rally," said Alexandre Tixier, technical analyst at TradingSat, in Paris. "This should bring good entry points on a number of stocks, so the idea is to get ready to buy the dip, because the long-term bullish trend is intact." Italian banks will be in the spotlight after both Banco Popolare and Banca Popolare di Milano posted quarterly results. Popolare posted a jump in first-half net profit, while Pop Milano swung to a profit from a loss in the same period a year ago. The two mid-sized Italian lenders also reported slower growth in bad debts, pointing to a tentative recovery in the euro zone's third-biggest economy. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- MARKET SNAPSHOT AT 0624 GMT: LAST PCT CHG NET CHG S&P 500 1,630.48 -1.59 % -26.3 NIKKEI 13,338.46 -1.51 % -203.91 MSCI ASIA EX-JP 493.15 -1.28 % -6.40 EUR/USD 1.3379 -0.1 % -0.0013 USD/JPY 97.31 0.3 % 0.2900 10-YR US TSY YLD 2.731 -- 0.02 10-YR BUND YLD 1.837 -- -0.01 SPOT GOLD $1,429.21 0.93 % $13.17 US CRUDE $111.11 1.93 % 2.10 > GLOBAL MARKETS-Asian shares sag, oil at 6-mth peak on Syria > Wall St posts worst day since June on Syria concerns > Nikkei falls to 2-month low on Syria concerns, rising yen > FOREX-Yen sets 2-week high vs dollar on Syria uncertainty > PRECIOUS-Gold trades near highest since May on Syria tensions > METALS-London copper edges up as Syria worries weigh on dollar > Oil up more than $2 on possible Syria strike, Brent above $117 COMPANY NEWS: BANCO POPOLARE Italian lender Banco Popolare posted a first-half net profit of 156 million euros, up more than five times compared to a year ago, helped by a writeback on its Agos Ducato unit impairment. BANCA POPOLARE DI MILANO The bank posted a first-half net profit of 105.6 million euros, helped by higher fees and trading gains, and said it would revise its business plan by October and then set the timing of a planned capital increase. ACCOR Europe's largest hotel group posted a 6.4 percent drop in first-half operating profit amid a tough economic climate in Europe but said summer business was robust and that the trend should continue in the second half. BOUYGUES The conglomerate said group sales this year could be down slightly or flat compared with 2012 as the group cut its revenue goal for its struggling telecom unit. HOLCIM The world's largest cement maker by market value said on Wednesday it would swap various assets with Mexican peer Cemex with the aim of boosting operating profit by at least 20 million euros. ROCHE Roche's experimental eye drug helped slow the progression of an advanced form of age-related macular degeneration (AMD), the drugmaker said, potentially boosting its chances in the lucrative eye drug market. TECHNIP A consortium of National Petroleum Construction Company (NPCC) and Technip have won a 6.2 billion dirham ($1.6 billion) contract to develop an offshore oil field in Abu Dhabi, the CEO of NPCC said.