Europe Factors to Watch-Shares set to halt rebound; Ukraine eyed

Thu Apr 17, 2014 2:31am EDT

PARIS, April 17 (Reuters) - European stocks were set to open steady on
Thursday, halting the previous session's rebound as lower-than-expected results
from Google and IBM and a warning by SAP over the
negative impact of a strong euro eclipsed dovish comments from the head of the
U.S. Federal Reserve.
    Investors were also reluctant to chase stocks higher ahead of long Easter
weekend and as tensions in Ukraine continued to rise.
    Ahead of a meeting of Foreign ministers from Russia and the West in Geneva
on Thursday, separatists flew the Russian flag on armoured vehicles taken from
the Ukrainian army on Wednesday, humiliating a Kiev government operation to
recapture eastern towns controlled by pro-Moscow partisans. 
    "With no one quite clear what is going on the ground in the Ukraine
following numerous reports of gun battles, mass defections, building
occupations, and tank thefts; it's unlikely that traders will want to put on
large positions going into a long weekend when the expectations for the talks
are so low," Capital Spreads trader Jonathan Sudaria wrote in a note.
    Shares in European spirits makers will be in the spotlight after Remy
Cointreau warned full-year operating profit would plunge by between 35
percent and 40 percent after cognac sales sank 32 percent in the fourth quarter
due to a Chinese government crackdown on ostentatious spending. 
    The day's focus will also be on the impact from the strength in the euro
currency, with German business software maker SAP warning that it expected the
hit from volatile exchange rates to worsen in the second quarter.
 
    At 0627 GMT, futures for Euro STOXX 50, for UK's FTSE 100,
for Germany's DAX and for France's CAC were up 0.1 percent to
down 0.1 percent.
    Shares in Internet giant Google lost around 4 percent after hours in New
York as first-quarter revenue missed estimates, while shares of IBM also lost 4
percent after it reported its lowest quarterly revenue in five years.
    Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen reaffirmed the Fed's commitment to keep
interest rates low, even after ending its bond-buying program, as long as
inflation remains below target and unemployment elevated. The dovish comments
helped fuelled a rally on Wall Street. 
    Europe bourses in 2014: link.reuters.com/pad95v
    Asset performance in 2014: link.reuters.com/rav46v
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  MARKET SNAPSHOT AT 0626 GMT: 
                                         LAST  PCT CHG  NET CHG
 S&P 500                             1,862.31   1.05 %    19.33
 NIKKEI                             14,417.53      0 %    -0.15
 MSCI ASIA EX-JP                       480.98     0.30     1.46
 EUR/USD                               1.3841    0.2 %   0.0027
 USD/JPY                               102.00  -0.22 %  -0.2200
 10-YR US TSY YLD                       2.625       --    -0.01
 10-YR BUND YLD                         1.485       --     0.00
 SPOT GOLD                          $1,301.20  -0.09 %   -$1.20
 US CRUDE                             $104.13   0.36 %     0.37
 
  > Global Markets-Asian stocks struggle higher, lack conviction 
  > US Stocks-Wall St gains on Yellen comments and Yahoo; BofA falls 
  > Nikkei flat in choppy trade as profit-taking offsets U.S. optimism 
  > FOREX-Yen grinds lower as global stocks rally, dollar holds steady 
  > Gold holds above $1,300 on Ukraine; fund outflows pose risk 
  > Copper up 2nd day on china growth; nickel near 14-month peak 
  > Brent holds near $110 on Ukraine crisis 
    
    
    COMPANY NEWS:    
    SAP 
    German business software maker SAP warned on Thursday that it expected the
negative impact of volatile exchange rates to worsen in the second quarter as
the strong euro weighs on its financial results. 
    
    AUTO MAKERS
    Europe's car sales recovery may be taking hold, according to registrations
data published on Thursday, but confidential industry surveys show the price war
is raging on. 
    
    PUBLICIS 
    Advertising agency Publicis, which is merging with larger rival Omnicom
OMC.N, achieved 3.3 percent revenue growth on a comparable basis in the first
quarter, helped by strong digital sales and an uptick in China and Europe.
 
    
    BP 
    BP said the U.S. Coast Guard on Tuesday ended patrols and operations on the
final three shoreline miles in Louisiana, bringing to a close the four-year
cleanup of the Gulf Coast following the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. 
    
    VOLKSWAGEN, SCANIA 
    Sweden's Investor AB said on Wednesday it was turning down a 200 crown per
share bid by Volkswagen for Swedish truckmaker Scania. 
    
    ACTELION 
    Actelion, Europe's biggest biotech company, signalled it might raise its
guidance for earnings growth at mid year as it posted first-quarter earnings
that beat expectations. 
    
    CARREFOUR, AXA, BNP, KLEPIERRE 
    The French retailer completed the purchase of Klepierre's shopping centres
located in France, Spain and Italy for about 1.98 billion euros. It also
announced the formation of CARMILA, a company which owns a portfolio of 171
shopping centres, in which Carrefour will hold a 42 percent stake alongside
partners including AXA and BNP Paribas. 
    
    TELECOM ITALIA 
    Telecom Italia investors on Wednesday elected Giuseppe Recchi as chairman in
a board renewal that for the first time puts independent directors in charge of
overseeing Italy's largest phone group. 
    
    THYSSENKRUPP 
    The steelmaker has agreed a 2 billion euro, three-year revolving credit
facility to replace an existing 2.5 billion euro facility that was due to mature
in July, banking sources said on Wednesday. 
    
    BASF 
    The European Commission on Wednesday urged Germany to take urgent steps to
regulate polymer producers under the bloc's Emissions Trading System or face
being sued over the breach of EU law. 
    
    PROSIEBENSAT.1 
    The German broadcaster carried out a refinancing that will lead to an
improved pretax cash flow and financing costs of around 50 million euros over
four years, it said on Wednesday. 
    
    BANCA POPOLARE DI MILANO 
    Banca Popolare di Milano said on Wednesday rejection of corporate governance
reforms by its shareholders over the weekend would not delay plans it has for a
capital increase of 500 million euros. 
    
    SAIPEM 
    An Italian court has ruled that Pietro Varone, former chief of oil service
firm Saipem's engineering business, was improperly dismissed in connection with
corruption allegations in Algeria, according to a court document seen by
Reuters. 
    
    TUI AG 
    The travel and tourism group's stake in Hapag-Lloyd will drop to 13.9
percent in two stages as part of the container shipping company's tie-up with
Vapores, announced late Wednesday. 

 (Reporting by Blaise Robinson; Editing by James Regan and Sudip Kar-Gupta)
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