Europe Factors to Watch-Shares to retreat from 3-month highs
LONDON, Sept 11 (Reuters) - European shares were likely to edge lower on Wednesday, with investors taking a breather after a strong rally and taking some profits from three-month highs, although ebbing concerns about a U.S.-led military attack on Syria were seen limiting losses. U.S. President Barack Obama pledged on Tuesday to explore Russia's proposal for Syria to place its chemical weapons under international control and said he had asked Congress to postpone a vote on authorising military action. At 0628 GMT, futures for the Euro STOXX 50, Britain's FTSE 100 , Germany's DAX and France's CAC were flat to 0.1 percent lower. The FTSEurofirst 300 index ended 1.3 percent firmer on Tuesday at 1,243.60 points, the highest since late May. It is up 9.6 percent this year partly on improving economic outlook. Data from China, the United States and Europe have all suggested that the global economy is gathering steam. The market's technical outlook remained positive, with a broad rally on Tuesday improving its medium-term outlook. The euro zone's blue chip Euro STOXX 50 rose 1.9 percent to 2,851.40 points in the previous session, while the broader STOXX Europe 600 index climbed 1.3 percent to 309.80. "The STOXX 600 index is in a technical bull market. It was in a trend-confirming consolidation during the last month on expectations that it will break to the upside," Achim Matzke, strategist at Commerzbank, said, but added the index might face resistance at around 310-314, its high in May. He said the Euro STOXX 50 could struggle to convincingly break the resistance level of 2,850, an area where it failed last month. "But our expectations are that it will be able to cross the level this time." Investors will keep a close eye on U.S. macroeconomic numbers for hints about the timing of the Federal Reserve's likely move to start reducing its stimulus measures. Focus will be on the U.S. mortgage market index for the week ended Sept. 6 , due at 1100 GMT, and wholesale inventories for July at 1400 GMT. In the United Kingdom, ILO unemployment numbers are due at 0830 GMT, with the market predicting the rate to remain unchanged at 7.8 percent. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- MARKET SNAPSHOT AT 0640 GMT: LAST PCT CHG NET CHG S&P 500 1,683.99 0.73 % 12.28 NIKKEI 14,425.07 0.01 % 1.71 MSCI ASIA EX-JP 534.04 -0.25 % -1.32 EUR/USD 1.3251 -0.12 % -0.0016 USD/JPY 100.32 -0.07 % -0.0700 10-YR US TSY YLD 2.955 -- -0.01 10-YR BUND YLD 2.026 -- 0.00 SPOT GOLD $1,367.51 0.29 % $3.92 US CRUDE $107.05 -0.32 % -0.34 > Asian stock rally takes a breather, yen in the doldrums > S&P 500 gains for 6th straight session, Apple falls > Nikkei hits 7-week high as Syrian crisis worries ease > U.S. yields rise as Syria jitters ease, China data > Yen slides as diplomacy eases Syria tensions, China optimism > Gold hits 3-week low as easing Syria tensions dent safe-haven appeal > Copper rises on China demand hopes, improved risk appetite > Brent steady after 2-day fall as Syria tension eases COMPANY NEWS: ROYAL DUTCH SHELL An 8.3 billion pound ($13 billion) project to build a refinery and petrochemical plant in eastern China involving Royal Dutch Shell has been shelved after losing political support, the Telegraph newspaper reported, citing sources. TESCO The retailer is to lend U.S. billionaire Ron Burkle's Yucaipa investment company 80 million pounds ($126 million) to take the loss-making Fresh & Easy stores off its hands, marking the end of a six-year attempt to crack the U.S. market. KINGFISHER Europe's biggest home improvements retailer met forecasts with a 1.6 percent fall in first-half profit as a better second quarter was not enough to fully offset the impact of poor weather in the first quarter. DAIMLER Auto group Daimler expects the profit margin at its Mercedes-Benz luxury car business to improve further next year thanks to a rejuvenated model range, its chief executive told Reuters on Tuesday. Related news BMW BMW expects vehicle sales in its domestic market to remain at the same level this year as in 2012, Germany chief Roland Krueger told Reuters on Tuesday. Related news SOCIETE GENERALE The French bank is eyeing a 10 percent core capital ratio under tougher Basel III rules by end-2013, higher than its official target of 9.5, its deputy chief executive said. GAS NATURAL Spanish bank La Caixa is studying reducing its more than 34 percent stake in Gas Natural, Expansion reports on Wednesday. The lender wants to remain the top shareholder in the company, according to the report, and could reduce its holding to around 20 percent.