UPDATE 1-European Factors to Watch-Equity futures steady after Crimea vote
LONDON, March 17 (Reuters) - European equity futures rose on Monday, steadying after losses last week with some investors expecting that threatened Western sanctions against Russia would be limited, after Crimea's Moscow-backed leaders declared a 96-percent vote in favour of annexation by Russia.
Western powers have said the vote in Ukraine's Crimea region, which came after Russia effectively occupied the region following the ousting in Kiev of former pro-Moscow Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich, is illegal and have added it will bring immediate sanctions against Russia.
However, some traders said they did not expect any immediate escalation in the tensions as Western powers and Russia settle down to negotiations concerning Crimea.
"Both sides will be fully aware that the other has the potential to cause a significant amount of pain for the other, which is why neither will want to throw the first punch. The reality is that we're likely to see a long drawn out stand-off between the two, which traders will eventually become bored of and move on to the next thing," said Alpari market analyst Craig Erlam.
Germany's DAX futures contract was up by 0.5 percent at 0730 GMT, the Euro STOXX 50 futures contract rose 0.3 percent while France's CAC futures edged up by 0.1 percent.
"People are not panicking. Much of the Crimea news had been priced in last week and the market is now just calming itself down," said Darren Courtney-Cook, head of trading at Central Markets Investment Management.
The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index, which rose 16 percent in 2013, closed down by 0.7 percent at 1,284.32 points on Friday - marking its lowest level since early February. The index also fell 3.2 percent over the week - marking its worst weekly loss since late January.
Europe bourses in 2014:
Asset performance in 2014:------------------------------------------------------------------------------ > GLOBAL MARKETS-Shares hit as Crimea vote to spur sanctions against Moscow > US STOCKS-Wall St ends lower on jitters over upcoming Crimea vote > Nikkei slips to 6-week closing low on Ukraine crisis; SoftBank soars > TREASURIES-Bonds edge higher on Ukraine tensions, low inflation > FOREX-Yen loses some ground but stays resilient on Crimea fears > PRECIOUS-Gold near six-month high on safe-haven bids amid Ukraine crisis
> METALS-London copper finds fragile calm, China worries cap gains > Brent holds above $108 on Ukraine tensions
Britain's Vodafone has agreed a deal to buy Spanish cable operator Ono for 7.2 billion euros ($10.03 billion), in the latest deal to rebuild its European operations.
ALLIANZ /UNIPOL :
Italian insurer Unipol agreed on Saturday to sell assets with premiums worth about 1.1 billion euros ($1.53 billion) to Germany's Allianz.
French ship supplier Bourbon said it had been informed of a proposed bid for the company by its main shareholder, Jaccar Holdings, conditional upon obtaining 50.1 percent of the capital and bank financing.
The carmaker said on Friday it would recall an unspecified number of vehicles proactively in China after months of consumer complaints over a potentially defective engine control component.
Swedish budget fashion retailer Hennes & Mauritz said on Monday its sales rose 11 percent in February, below a median forecast of 14 percent in a Reuters poll of analysts.
German industrial gases maker Linde said its 2016 operating profit would come in about 400 million euros ($557.00 million) lower than planned if exchange rates remained as unfavourable as they were at the end of last year.
ROYAL BANK OF SCOTLAND :
State-backed Royal Bank of Scotland is in advanced talks with the British government to buy back a "golden share," which would enable the lender to resume paying dividends, the Financial Times reported.
Germany's debt-burdened utility RWE has struck a deal to sell its oil and gas production arm DEA to a group of investors led by Russian tycoon Mikhail Fridman, valuing the unit at about 5.1 billion euros ($7.10 billion) including debt.
Italy's biggest bank by assets UniCredit plans to sell or float its Pioneer Investments asset management unit, valued at over 2 billion euros ($2.79 billion), as part of a wider disposal programme, the Financial Times reported.
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