European Factors to Watch-Shares to edge higher, focus on earnings
LONDON Oct 30 (Reuters) - European shares were likely to edge higher on Wednesday, helped by record closing highs on Wall Street on expectations that the Federal Reserve will delay trimming its stimulus for several months.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500 ended at life-time peaks on Tuesday after data supported the view that the Fed will keep its bond buying programme intact in Wednesday's policy announcement.
A majority of U.S. primary dealers said in a Reuters poll that the recent government shutdown and standoff over raising the U.S. debt ceiling had significantly impacted the likely timing of stimulus reduction. The Fed is set to release a statement at 1800 GMT after a two-day meeting.
"Risks related to the past few weeks' fiscal debate and the effects of the federal government shutdown are not easy to identify at the current juncture," Annalisa Piazza, analyst at Newedge Strategy, said in a note.
"As such, we rule out policymakers will consider the chances of tapering in the current uncertain scenario, even more uncertain than what it was back in September."
At 0722 GMT, futures for the Euro STOXX 50, Britain's FTSE 100 , Germany's DAX and France's CAC were flat to 0.2 percent higher, a day after the FTSEurofirst 300 ended 0.4 percent firmer.
The market is also expected to get support from some positive earnings reports, with Norwegian oil major Statoil reporting third-quarter operating results above expectations and Finland's Pohjola Bank posting a 64 percent rise in quarterly pretax profit.
According to Thomson Reuters StarMine data, about one-third of the STOXX Europe 600 companies have announced results so far, of which 53 percent have met or beaten earnings expectations. However, on the revenue front, only 30 percent companies have met or beaten predictions.
Major U.S. companies announcing results on Wednesday include General Motors Company, Visa Inc., Automatic Data Processing, Starbucks and Kraft Foods Group.
German unemployment report for October is due at 0855 GMT, while the euro zone's business climate data will be released at 1000 GMT. Across the Atlantic, Automatic Data Processing (ADP) releases its employment report at 1215 GMT, with economists expecting the creation of 150,000 jobs in October, down from 166,000 in the previous month.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------- > Asian shares creep ahead, count on Fed being benign > Dow, S&P 500 end at highs on stimulus hopes, IBM > Nikkei hits 1-wk high on Fed outlook, SoftBank up on earnings hopes > TREASURIES-Prices little changed on mixed data as Fed meets > Dollar hits 1-week high as markets price for Fed to hold policy > Gold eases ahead of Fed news, market wary over stimulus outlook > Copper rises above $7,200 ahead of Fed decision > Oil slips below $109 on Libyan export hopes; Fed in focus
The bank's profits fell 26 percent in the latest quarter from a year ago after earnings at its investment bank more than halved due to a slowdown in capital markets.
French drugmaker Sanofi warned on its 2013 profit again as it reported lower-than-expected quarterly results, hit by a sharp slowdown in China, lower generic sales in Brazil and a manufacturing issue at its Toronto vaccine plant.
Norwegian oil major Statoil reported third-quarter operating results above expectations as output exceeded forecasts and said it would spend more on exploration in 2013 than it earlier planned.
Europe's largest maker of navigation devices beat forecasts for third-quarter net profit on Wednesday and raised its full-year outlook.
Norwegian insurer Storebrand posted second-quarter earnings far ahead of expectations on Wednesday and said costs cuts were driving results.
ERSTE GROUP BANK
The bank confirmed its full-year outlook for lower profit and risk provisions on Wednesday, saying it still expected central and eastern European economies to improve.
Britain's second biggest clothing retailer edged up its year profit guidance after posting third quarter sales a touch above expectations.
The drugmaker said it was advancing its experimental biotech drug benralizumab into final-stage clinical trials for severe uncontrolled asthma.
Airbus kept its 2013 goals for the A380 despite a dearth of orders, but struck a more cautious note for future years, saying it would not on average deliver fewer than 25, which is below the level built into its longer-term financial targets.
The Finnish bank reported a 64 percent rise in quarterly pretax profit, helped by growth in its non-life insurance business.
BOLLORE, BLUE SOLUTIONS
French electric car battery maker Blue Solutions set a 14.50 euro price tag on shares in its planned stock market flotation, the top of the indicative price range, valuing the company at 418 million euros. The shares start trading on Euronext Paris on Wednesday.
The postal network is heading for an even more debilitating shutdown on Nov. 4 after 5,500 staff in the Post Office said that they were to follow 115,000 of their former co-workers at the Royal Mail out on strike, The Guardian reports.
J SAINSBURY, TESCO
Sainsbury will take its spat over price comparisons with Tesco to Britain's high court, challenging a ruling by the advertising watchdog in favour of its rival.
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