Europe Factors to Watch-Shares set to rise, all eyes on ECB

Thu May 8, 2014 2:21am EDT

PARIS, May 8 (Reuters) - European stocks were set to rise on Thursday
following dovish comments from U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen and
better-than-expected Chinese trade figures.
    Gains could be limited, however, ahead of the European Central Bank (ECB)
interest rate decision and news conference, due later in the day.
    The ECB is expected to take heart from signs of life in the euro zone
economy and keep interest rates unchanged, resisting pressure to act in the face
of a stronger euro currency and persistently low inflation. 
    "Expectations are pretty low for any sort of action today despite continued
calls for further easing from bodies such as the OECD," Michael Hewson, chief
market analyst at CMC Markets, wrote in a note.
    "While inflation pressures are on the low side it still isn't immediately
apparent what a rate cut would achieve, given that the only form of easing that
might have an effect, namely QE (quantitative easing), still remains a long way
away at the moment, if it happens at all."
    At 0614 GMT, futures for Euro STOXX 50, for UK's FTSE 100,
for Germany's DAX and for France's CAC were up 0.2-0.3 percent.
    Data on Thursday showed that China's exports and imports returned to slight
growth in April, sending a positive signal for the world's second-biggest
economy after a weaker-than-expected start to 2014. 
    In Europe, data showed German industrial output fell more than forecast in
March as construction and manufacturing did worse than in the previous month but
the Economy Ministry said on Thursday the outlook for the sector remained
bright. 
    On Wall Street on Wednesday, investor sentiment was also lifted by Yellen's
testimony to Congress, where she repeated her stance that the U.S. economy was
still in need of lots of support given the "considerable slack" in the labour
market. 
    Europe bourses in 2014: (link.reuters.com/pad95v)
    Asset performance in 2014: (link.reuters.com/rav46v)
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  MARKET SNAPSHOT AT 0613 GMT: 
    
                                         LAST  PCT CHG  NET CHG
 S&P 500                             1,878.21   0.56 %    10.49
 NIKKEI                              14163.78   0.93 %   130.33
 MSCI ASIA EX-JP                       475.06   0.48 %     2.25
 EUR/USD                               1.3914   0.03 %   0.0004
 USD/JPY                               101.72  -0.18 %  -0.1800
 10-YR US TSY YLD                       2.623       --     0.03
 10-YR BUND YLD                         1.473       --     0.00
 SPOT GOLD                          $1,291.23   0.18 %    $2.29
 US CRUDE                             $100.65  -0.12 %    -0.12
 
  > ASIAN SHARES UP ON YELLEN COMMENTS, CHINA TRADE DATA 
  > DOW, S&P GAIN ON YELLEN; NASDAQ ENDS DOWN FOR 2ND DAY 
  > NIKKEI up ON YELLEN COMMENTS; NINTENDO HIT BY LOSS 
  > EURO OFF HIGHS AHEAD OF ECB; AUSSIE BUOYED BY UPBEAT DATA 
  > GOLD HOLDS BELOW $1,300 ON EASING UKRAINE CONCERNS 
  > NICKEL HITS 2 YEAR TOP ON GORO MINE HALT, CHINA DEMAND 
  > BRENT HOLDS STEADY NEAR $108; CHINESE TRADE DATA SUPPORTS 
    
    COMPANY NEWS:    
    EURONEXT
    Euronext, which is being spun off by IntercontinentalExchange, will
be listed on three of its exchanges in a stock market listing scheduled for
June, a source familiar with the matter said on Wednesday. 
    
    ADECCO 
    The staffing company said net income rose to 110 million euros ($153.15
million) in the first quarter as revenue growth continued to pick up in Europe.
 
    
    FIAT CHRYSLER 
Short selling on Fiat Chrysler shares has been banned for Thursday's trading
session until 2200 GMT, Italian market regulator Consob said on Wednesday
following steep losses in the car maker's share price. Fiat Chrysler's shares
fell sharply on Wednesday as analysts questioned whether the carmaker could
achieve Chief Executive Sergio Marchionne's new targets - and how his ambitious
expansion plan would be funded. 
    
    VALLOUREC 
    The French pipes and tubes maker is to step up cost saving measures as its
profits are hurt by the strong euro currency and a slowdown in orders from the
Middle East energy sector, still the main driver of demand growth.
 
    
    PIRELLI 
    The tyre maker will reach its full-year targets despite a
weaker-than-expected outlook for the Russian market, Chairman and CEO Marco
Tronchetti Provera said on Wednesday. 
    
    VIVENDI 
    Etisalat expects to complete its purchase of 53 percent of Maroc
Telecom from France's Vivendi on May 14, the United Arab Emirates
operator said on Thursday. 
    
    ORANGE 
    The French telecoms group on Wednesday said it had filed two complaints with
the Spanish authorities against former local giant Telefonica for
breaching competition rules. 
    
    DIA 
    The Spanish supermarket chain said on Thursday adjusted net profit rose 9.7
percent in the first quarter from a year earlier to 40.1 million euros ($55.8
million), boosted by stronger sales at home and in emerging markets. 
    
    NESTLE 
    Mondelez International Inc and competitor D.E Master Blenders 1753
are merging their coffee businesses in a deal aimed at taking on market leader
Nestle SA. 
    
    GDF SUEZ 
    The French government has awarded a 4 billion euro ($5.57 billion) tender to
build and run two offshore windfarms to a consortium led by French gas and power
group GDF Suez, French Energy Minister Segolene Royal said on Wednesday.
 
    
    AIRBUS 
    Airbus is on track to get safety certification for its latest jetliner, the
A350, by "the end of the summer" as planned, Europe's top air safety regulator
said on Wednesday. 
    
    LANXESS 
    The synthetic rubber specialist said late on Wednesday it was selling new
shares equivalent to 10 percent of its equity to fund restructuring measures.
Lanxess also said it could seek a strategic partner for its rubber division.
 
    
    PRISA, TELEFONICA 
    Prisa, the indebted Spanish group that publishes El Pais newspaper, on
Wednesday said its board had accepted the offer from Telefonica to buy the 56
percent it owns in the pay-TV firm Distribuidora de Television Digital (DTS). 

 (Reporting by Blaise Robinson; Editing by Anand Basu and Sudip Kar-Gupta)
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