European Factors to Watch-Shares to open steady, focus on U.S. shutdown
LONDON, Oct 3 (Reuters) - European shares headed for a steady open on Thursday after slipping in the previous session, with uncertainty over the impact of a prolonged U.S. government shutdown offset by strong economic data from China. Markets were cautious given the likely impact of the shutdown on talks to raise the U.S. debt ceiling by mid-October, with analysts saying failure to do this would push the world's biggest economy into default and hurt the pace of economic recovery. But expectations that some recent disappointing economic numbers would force the U.S. Federal Reserve to keep its policies loose for longer and an upbeat survey on China's huge services sector after a poor report on manufacturing earlier in the week were seen underpinning the market. Activity in China's services sector expanded at the fastest pace in six months in September as demand grew. The official purchasing managers' index (PMI) for the non-manufacturing sector rose to 55.4, the highest reading since March. "This is just another sign that the government's targeted stimulus efforts, which were announced a few months ago in order to combat the slowing growth in the economy and achieve its minimum 7 percent growth target, are having the desired effect on the economy," Craig Erlam, analyst at Alpari said in a note. At 0625 GMT, futures for the Euro STOXX 50, Germany's DAX and France's CAC were flat to 0.1 percent down. German Bund futures fall 15 ticks at the open to 140.17. After Wednesday's data showing private U.S. employers added fewer-than-expected jobs in September, investors would focus on U.S. weekly jobless claims, due at 1230 GMT, for the market's near-term direction. Economists forecast 313,000 new filings in the week ended Sept. 28, up from 305,000 in the previous week. In Europe, focus will be on services PMI data for September, with Frence's PMI numbers due at 0748 GMT, German final services PMI numbers out at 0753 GMT, the euro zone numbers at 0758 GMT and British services PMI data due at 0828 GMT. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- MARKET SNAPSHOT AT 0627 GMT LAST PCT CHG NET CHG S&P 500 1,693.87 -0.07 % -1.13 NIKKEI 14,157.25 -0.09 % -13.24 MSCI ASIA EX-JP 543.93 1.01 % 5.46 EUR/USD 1.3599 0.17 % 0.0023 USD/JPY 97.63 0.31 % 0.3000 10-YR US TSY YLD 2.626 -- 0.01 10-YR BUND YLD 1.817 -- 0.01 SPOT GOLD $1,311.69 -0.22 % -$2.95 US CRUDE $103.59 -0.49 % -0.51 > Dollar sandbagged by US politics, stocks resilient > Wall St ends lower on worries of prolonged shutdown > Nikkei nearly flat as U.S. government shutdown drags on > U.S. bonds gain on shutdown worries, jobs data > U.S. dollar founders as shutdown standoff takes toll > Gold holds gains on weak U.S. data, govt shutdown > Copper steady as stockpiles drop, but U.S. shutdown weighs > Brent slips below $109 as US shutdown drags on, stockpiles jump COMPANY NEWS BP The oil firm won a legal reprieve in its effort to force the administrator of a settlement related to the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill to tighten standards in assessing claims, potentially sparing the oil company billions of dollars of extra costs. DAIMLER Daimler's luxury brand Mercedes-Benz sold the most cars in one month in its history in September, German paper Bild reported on Thursday. STANDARD CHARTERED, HSBC Standard Chartered, DBS Group Holdings Ltd and HSBC have submitted first round bids for Societe Generale's Asian private bank valued at $600 million, people involved in the sale told Reuters. KPN, TELEFONICA Shareholders in Dutch telecoms group KPN have approved the 8.55 billion euro ($11.6 billion) sale of its German unit E-Plus to Spanish rival Telefonica, paving the way for KPN to step up investment and resume dividend payments. ACS The builder is planning to issue up to 1 billion euros worth of bonds which will convert into 4.5 percent of Iberdrola in shares so as to comply with a derivates contract. The convertible issue could take place as soon as this week, according to financial sources quoted by newspaper Expansion. DANONE The company said it was seeking full compensation from New Zealand dairy exporter Fonterra over a contamination scare involving a Fonterra ingredient used in milk formula produced by the French food manufacturer. AVIVA The British insurance group on Tuesday said the sale of its U.S. life and annuities business to Athene Holding Ltd had fetched $2.6 billion, above the $1.8 billion price announced in December. RIO TINTO The miner has agreed to give away the Blair Athol coal mine in Australia to Linc Energy, which plans to reopen the mine to expand its coal unit ahead of a spin-off, the two companies said on Thursday. LLOYDS BANKING GROUP Westpac Banking Corp has submitted a bid for Australian assets being sold by Lloyds, two sources said, lining up against competing offers from Pepper Australia and Macquarie Group. UNICREDIT Italy's largest bank by assets has submitted a preliminary offer to buy Poland's Bank BGZ and is sounding investors out on the possibility of selling its Ukrainian unit, Chief Executive Federico Ghizzoni said.
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