European Factors to Watch-Shares to halt slide as Syria strike seen delayed
By Francesco Canepa LONDON, Aug 29 (Reuters) - European stocks are seen opening little changed on Thursday, finding some technical support after a three-day slide as the threat of an imminent attack on Syria appeared to be delayed, although the lingering prospects of a wider Middle Eastern conflict sapped appetite for stocks. At 0623 GMT, futures for the Euro STOXX 50, Britain's FTSE 100 , Germany's DAX and France's CAC were between flat and 0.1 percent higher. U.S. President Barack Obama made the case for a limited military strike but he faced obstacles from British allies and U.S. lawmakers, which could delay any imminent action. "There appears to be some prevarication over possible military strikes on Syria resulting in less angst in markets," Credit Agricole said in a note. The euro zone Euro STOXX 50 index has fallen 4 percent in the past two weeks, weighed down by expectations of a dialling back in U.S. monetary stimulus, political tensions in Italy and escalating tensions in the Middle East, which have boosted oil prices this week. The index staged a late recovery on Wednesday, as oil companies led a recovery in global shares, but 30-minute charts still suggested further losses were likely. Philippe Delabarre, a technical analyst at Paris-based Trading Central, said the Euro STOXX 50 was supported by Wednesday's low at 2,720 points and then at 2,715, the 38.2 percent retracement of the rise between June 24 and August 16. But he cautioned fresh losses were on the cards as 30-minute charts Euro STOXX 50 was still trading below its 50-period moving average. "Expect choppy price action with a bearish bias," Delabarre said. > GLOBAL MARKETS-Asian shares rise, Syria worries cap gains > Wall St rebounds as energy stocks rise over Syria > Nikkei rebounds on weaker yen, set to end 3-day losing run > U.S. bond prices dip after 3 days of gains > Yen off three-week highs but markets still cautious on Syria > Gold eases after 5-day rally, Syria eyed > London copper drifts as dollar rises > Brent falls below $116 after 2-day surge COMPANY NEWS VODAFONE Verizon Communications Inc is in advanced talks to buy Vodafone Group Plc's 45 percent stake in their U.S. joint venture for about $130 billion, Bloomberg reported late on Wednesday, citing people with knowledge of the matter. CARREFOUR The world's second-largest retailer reported a 4.9 percent rise in first-half recurring operating profit as a sharp improvement in earnings at its core French business offset weakness in Spain, Italy and Asia. WPP The world's biggest ad group said like-for-like revenue rose 5 percent in July, the strongest rate this year, and said it saw a "slight increase" in its full-year forecast. VIVENDI The company experienced continued pressure at its SFR telecom unit in the second quarter and posted financial results on Thursday shorn of two business units sold in the quarter. PERNOD RICARD The French spirits maker said it had hit its full-year target of around 6 percent organic profit growth from continuing operations, despite an ongoing slowdown in China, and raised its dividend. ESSILOR The world's largest maker of lenses said organic sales growth accelerated in the second quarter and forecast a full-year rise in sales of close to 7 percent. ZURICH Zurich Insurance said its chairman, ex-Deutsche Bank AG head Josef Ackermann, will step down immediately, following what appeared to be the suicide of the insurer's financial chief earlier this week. ABENGOA Spanish renewable energy and engineering firm Abengoa posted on Wednesday a 11 percent drop in first-half net profit from a year earlier to 67 million euros. FRAPORT Business at Frankfurt airport was "very good" in August, while reservations for the winter were modestly positive, the airport operator's Chief Executive Stefan Schulte told German newspaper Boersen Zeitung. DEUTSCHE TELEKOM TELEFONICA DEUTSCHLAND EU telecoms chief Neelie Kroes has scrapped a draft proposal to cut wholesale roaming fees by as much as 90 percent, a European Commission document seen by Reuters showed, following criticism from major telecom companies.
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