Europe Factors to Watch-Shares set to fall after Chinese data
PARIS, Jan 6 (Reuters) - European stocks were set to retreat on Monday, mirroring losses in Asia following data that showed growth in Chinese services industries slowed sharply last month. Europe's telecom sector will also be in the spotlight after Telefonica said it was not part of a vehicle studying a potential joint offer for Brazilian wireless operator TIM Brasil, a unit of Telecom Italia. Shares in Telecom Italia surged last week on speculation of an offer from Telefonica for its Brazilian unit. At 0624 GMT, futures for the Euro STOXX 50, for Germany's DAX and for France's CAC were down 0.1-0.2 percent. Futures for Britain's FTSE 100 bucked the trend, rising 0.1 percent. China's HSBC/Markit Economics services Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) dropped to 50.9 in December, its lowest since August 2011, from 52.5 in November, adding to data showing the world's second-biggest economy lost steam in late 2013. The data sent China's CSI300 index down 2.5 percent and hitting a five-month low. Japan's Nikkei average slid more than 2 percent in its first trading day of 2014, as foreign hedge funds unwound positions in futures and large-cap stocks. Investors also awaited a raft of data on Europe's services sector on Monday, including Germany's services PMI, seen at 54, and France's services PMI, seen at 47.4. "The overall mood is still quite bullish on the market, but there's this nagging concern over the divergence between France and pretty much the rest of the euro zone in terms of economic recovery," a Paris-based trader said. "If the French economy doesn't improve soon, Europe's stock market rally could stall." Following an 18 percent rally in 2013, the euro zone's blue-chip Euro STOXX 50 index has lost 0.4 percent so far this year. The index's next major support level is at 3,035.72 points, representing its 50-day moving average. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ MARKET SNAPSHOT AT 0619 GMT: LAST PCT CHG NET CHG S&P 500 1,831.37 -0.03 % -0.61 NIKKEI 15,908.88 -2.35 % -382.43 MSCI ASIA EX-JP 457.48 -0.62 % -2.86 EUR/USD 1.3582 -0.04 % -0.0005 USD/JPY 104.34 -0.46 % -0.4800 10-YR US TSY YLD 2.991 -- 0.00 10-YR BUND YLD 1.944 -- 0.00 SPOT GOLD $1,240.55 0.36 % $4.39 US CRUDE $94.14 0.19 % 0.18 > GLOBAL MARKETS-Asian shares hit 2-wk low on China services PMI > US STOCKS-Wall St closes flat after Fed comments > Nikkei drops more than 2 pct as profit-taking hits large caps > FOREX-Yen edges higher, gets respite from recent selloff > PRECIOUS-Gold climbs to near 3 week high as stock markets dip > METALS-Copper edges away from 10-day lows on bargain hunting > Brent tops $107 in rebound; gains limited by Libyan supply COMPANY NEWS: TELECOM ITALIA, TELEFONICA Spanish telecoms group Telefonica said on Monday it was not part of a vehicle studying a potential joint offer for Brazilian wireless operator TIM Brasil, a unit of Telecom Italia. GERMAN AUTOMAKERS Figures for the U.S. car market in December showed Daimler sales up 17.0 percent, VW down 22.7 percent, Audi up 14.6 percent and BMW Group up 0.3 percent from the year-earlier month. ALLIANZ Allianz's Pimco Total Return Fund, the world's largest bond fund, saw its assets sink by a record $41.1 billion last year after a mistaken bet on U.S. Treasuries resulted in the fund's worst annual performance in nearly two decades. ENI The Italian oil major will start a planned share buyback programme worth up to 6 billion euros ($8 billion) on Monday, the company said on Friday. MONTE DEI PASCHI DI SIENA CEO Fabrizio Viola met with officials from the Bank of Italy, papers said on Saturday, adding that the meeting was more of a "technical than political nature". No other details were given. FIAT Fiat has given Rome guarantees that the automaker will invest in plants in Italy and keep a strong presence in the country, Il Sole 24 Ore on Sunday quoted Industry Minister Flavio Zanonato as saying. EFG INTERNATIONAL EFG International AG said it has agreed a deal for Falcon Private Bank's activities in Hong Kong including 800 million Swiss francs ($884.81 million) of assets, which the Abu Dhabi-owned group has decided to exit. AREVA The French state-controlled nuclear group has closed its two uranium mines in Niger for a month of maintenance while it negotiates with the government over the renewal of its licences, a company spokesman said. TECHNIP The oil services group said it won two ultra-deep water contracts from Brazil's Petrobras for the supply of flexible pipes for the Sapinhoa Norte field and I5 at Lula field, located in the Santos Basin pre-salt area. A.P. MOLLER-MAERSK, EURONAV Belgian crude oil shipping group Euronav will buy 15 very large crude carriers (VLCCs) from Denmark's Maersk Tankers, a unit of A.P. Moller-Maersk, for $980 million. Maersk Tankers said in November it planned to focus on the smaller product tanker segment.