European Factors to Watch-Shares to edge lower, focus on ECB, U.S. data

Thu Nov 7, 2013 2:46am EST

LONDON, Nov 7 (Reuters) - European stock index futures
pointed to a slightly lower open on Thursday, with investors
seen avoiding strong bets before a European Central Bank rate
decision and major data releases that could set the market's
near-term direction.
    The ECB is likely to leave interest rates at a record low at
1245 GMT, though there is an outside chance of cut after
surprisingly weak euro zone inflation data. The Bank of England
also holds a policy meeting later in the day. 
    "There is a lot for investors to digest today and tomorrow,
with some potentially choosing to take profit," Keith Bowman,
equity analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, said. "For now, whilst
markets are making progress, investors are questioning how much
of the good economic and corporate news is already priced in."
    The U.S. July-September GDP data, due at 1330 GMT, and
Friday's nonfarm payrolls report for October will be scrutinised
for insight into the economic effects of last month's government
shutdown and the timing of the Federal Reserve's eventual move
to trim its stimulus.
    "With two central banks, a U.S. GDP and jobs report all due
out, we were always bound to see some nervous trading," IG
Markets said in a note.
    At 0735 GMT, futures for the Euro STOXX 50,
Britain's FTSE 100, Germany's DAX and France's
CAC were down 0.1 to 0.2 percent.
    The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index closed 0.4
percent higher at 1,296.58 points on Wednesday after setting a
new five-year of 1,300.18 points. The index has climbed more
than 14 percent so far this year.
    Thursday is a busy day for earnings, with nearly 200
European companies announcing results. ArcelorMittal,
the world's largest steelmaker, reported higher profit than
expected in the third quarter and declared it was through the
bottom of the cycle. 
    French technology consultancy Capgemini kept its
full-year sales and profitability goals, while German auto parts
and tyre maker Continental AG raised its full-year
profit margin target after adjusted operating earnings jumped
almost a fifth.  
    According to Thomson Reuters StarMine data, 64 percent of
firms on the STOXX Europe 600 have reported results so
far, of which 49 percent have met or beaten earning expectations
and only 34 percent firms have reported above forecast revenues.
    That contrasts with 58 percent beating or meeting earnings
numbers in the previous quarter and 62 percent reporting above
forecast profit numbers in the same quarter last year. On the
revenue front, 57 percent and 55 percent of companies
respectively reported forecast-beating numbers in the second
quarter of 2013 and the third quarter of 2012.
     
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  > Asia stocks subdued, euro rebounds to 1-week high ahead of
ECB   
  > Dow, S&P 500 end higher on Microsoft, Europe data           
           
  > Nikkei pauses after earnings flurry, small cap stocks rise  
           
  > TREASURIES-Prices mixed as investors look to future Fed
clues         
  > Euro fights back as ECB looms; Aussie tumbles on jobs data  
         
  > Gold steady on Fed stimulus hopes, fund inflow              
         
  > Copper near four-week lows; payrolls, China meet eyed       
        
  > Brent slips to 4-month low below $105 ahead of ECB, US data 
          
    
    COMPANY NEWS
    
    COMMERZBANK 
    The bank posted a 15 percent rise in quarterly net profit as
it set aside less cash to cover ailing loans held in its
restructuring division, saying the strategic overhaul of the
group was on track. 
    
    ARCELORMITTAL 
    The world's largest steelmaker reported higher profit than
expected in the third quarter, boosted by increasing iron ore
shipments and cost savings, and declared it was through the
bottom of the cycle. 
    
    SOCIETE GENERALE, CREDIT AGRICOLE 
    French banks Societe Generale and Credit Agricole agreed to
an asset swap on Thursday in a bid to narrow their business
focus as they prepare to woo investors in a tough economic
environment. 
    
    SIEMENS 
    Germany's Siemens expects earnings growth to accelerate in
its current financial year as new Chief Executive Joe Kaeser
steps up efforts to catch more profitable rivals and cost cuts
start to bear fruit. 
   
    SWISS RE 
    The world's second largest reinsurer, said on Thursday it
was open to paying a special dividend as net profit fell less
than expected. For more, click on 
      
    EDF 
    The French state-controlled utility said its nine-month
sales rose 6.9 percent, partly because of government-approved
power price increases, and confirmed its full-year growth
targets. 
    
    NATIXIS 
    France's fourth-biggest listed investment bank reported a 38
percent rise in third-quarter profit as cost savings and robust
capital-markets trade offset economic weakness. 
    
    BNP PARIBAS 
    BNP Paribas confirmed it had placed an unbinding offer to
buy Bank BGZ, the Polish subsidiary of Dutch lender
Rabobank, BNP said on Thursday. 
 
    REPSOL 
    Spanish oil major Repsol reported a 22 percent fall in
third-quarter adjusted net profit from a year ago, hit by
production outages in Libya and a steep decline in refining
margins. 
    
    CAPGEMINI 
    French technology consultancy Capgemini kept its full-year
sales and profitability goals on Thursday as revenue returned to
positive growth in the third-quarter amid improving demand in
Europe, notably in its core French market. 
    
    CONTINENTAL AG 
    German auto parts and tyre maker Continental AG 
raised its full-year profit margin target after adjusted
operating earnings jumped almost a fifth. 
    
    NESTLE 
    The world's biggest food group Nestle said on Thursday it
was selling its Jenny Craig weight management businesses in
North America and Oceania to private equity firm North Castle
Partners for an undisclosed sum. 
 
    TELEFONICA DEUTSCHLAND 
    The company reported a drop in its operating income, dragged
lower by promotions to add mobile subscribers in the highly
competitive German mobile market. 
    
    SKANSKA 
    The Nordic region's biggest builder posted a rise in
third-quarter operating earnings and order intake roughly in
line with expectations on Thursday as construction activity
edged higher on both sides of the North Atlantic.
 
    
    OMV 
    Austrian oil and gas group OMV cut its forecast for 2013
production on Thursday, saying it now expected this to fall due
to problems in Libya, Yemen, New Zealand and Austria.
 
    
    TATE & LYLE 
    British sweetener maker Tate & Lyle reported lower profit
for the first half of its fiscal year, citing cold spring
weather in the United States that hurt demand for soft drinks.
 
    
    TALVIVAARA 
    The Finnish nickel miner said it was in advanced talks to
secure financing and avoid bankruptcy after a series of
production disruptions, including a waste water
leak. 
    
    ADIDAS 
    Adidas continued to lose ground to larger rival Nike in
Europe in the third quarter, putting pressure on the sports
apparel group to make the most of sales opportunities offered by
next year's soccer World Cup in Brazil. 
    
    HEIDELBERGCEMENT 
    HeidelbergCement warned it would be much more difficult to
reach its full-year targets due to currency headwinds as
underlying earnings for the third quarter missed expectations.
A couple walks along the rough surf during sunset at Oahu's North Shore, December 26, 2013. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

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