Europe Factors to Watch-Stocks seen mixed in shortened session
PARIS, Dec 24 (Reuters) - European stocks were seen opening mixed on Tuesday, halting a sharp four-session rally while trading during the shortened session will be quiet with many stock markets such as Germany, Switzerland and Italy closed for the Christmas break. London's stock market will close at 1230 GMT on Tuesday, while Euronext markets in Paris, Amsterdam, Lisbon and Brussels will close at 1300 GMT and Madrid's market will also close at 1300 GMT. U.S. equities rose on Monday, sending both the Dow and S&P 500 to all-time highs, as a distribution deal by Apple Inc with China Mobile boosted the technology sector. Japan's Nikkei share average hit a peak above 16,000 for the first time in six years, with the index on track for its best annual rise since 1972. The FTSEurofirst 300 index of top European shares has gained 14.4 percent so far this year, boosted in part by massive liquidity from central banks as well as an improvement in economic data from both Europe and the United States. "The rally should continue next year, Europe has still a big potential for a catch-up rally versus Wall Street. However, France's economic outlook is a big question mark for next year," Saxo Bank sales trader Andrea Tueni said. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ MARKET SNAPSHOT AT 0724 GMT: LAST PCT CHG NET CHG S&P 500 1,827.99 0.53 % 9.67 NIKKEI 15,889.33 0.12 % 18.91 EUR/USD 1.3687 -0.06 % -0.0008 USD/JPY 104.17 0.07 % 0.0700 10-YR US TSY YLD 2.931 -- 0.00 10-YR BUND YLD 1.882 -- 0.00 SPOT GOLD $1,198.15 -0.05 % -$0.65 US CRUDE $98.72 -0.19 % -0.19 > GLOBAL MARKETS-Nikkei outshines Asian shares, clears 2013 peak > US STOCKS-Dow, S&P hit record highs; Apple's China deal lifts techs > Tokyo's Nikkei share average closes up 0.12 pct > FOREX-Dollar steadies after upbeat U.S. consumption data > PRECIOUS-Gold back below $1,200 on strong U.S. data, taper worries > METALS-Copper gains, LME stocks at lowest in nearly 11 mths > Brent stays above $111 on S.Sudan conflict COMPANY NEWS: EIFFAGE The construction and concessions company said it finalised the disposal of two companies dedicated to the public-private partnerships of the Annemasse and Rennes hospitals to Meridiam Infrastructure for a global valuation of 272 million euros. AXA The French insurer said it agreed to sell its life and savings operations in Hungary to Vienna Insurance Group in a deal that will see it take a 40 million euro hit to full-year net income. LAGARDERE, PUBLICIS Lagardere said it planned to buy out the 49 percent stake held by Publicis in Regie 1, the media agency for Europe 1, to give it full control. SPANISH UTILITIES Spain's government will on Friday pass a decree to change the way electricity prices are set, a move that could hit utilities such as Iberdrola , Endesa and Gas Natural. TULLOW OIL British explorer Tullow Oil said on Tuesday a well it drilled off the coast of Norway failed to find oil or gas.