European Factors to Watch-Shares expected to open flat to lower

Fri May 30, 2014 2:45am EDT

(Adds futures prices, company news)
    LONDON, May 30 (Reuters) - European shares headed for a flat to slightly
lower open near multi-year highs on Friday, with investors seen treading
cautiously on the last trading day of the month and ahead of next week's crucial
European Central Bank policy meeting.
    Futures for the Euro STOXX 50, Britain's FTSE 100,
Germany's DAX and France's CAC were flat to 0.3 percent lower by
0633 GMT.
    "It's all about the ECB at the moment and this is likely to keep some
investors at bay just in case next week's stimulus plan is not as aggressive as
the market anticipates," IG said in a note.
    Reuters reported earlier this month that the ECB is preparing a package of
policy options for its June 5 meeting that includes cuts in all its interest
rates. 
    Investors will keep a close eye on banks after the Wall Street Journal,
citing people familiar with the matter, said on Thursday the U.S. Justice
Department was pushing BNP Paribas to pay more than $10 billion to
resolve a criminal probe into allegations the French bank evaded U.S. sanctions
against Iran and other countries for years. 
    BNP Paribas and the Justice Department declined to comment.
    "Beyond the uncertainty related to the potential financial settlement, the
key issues remain of the type of potential charges and impact on BNP Paribas'
operational capability," Citi said in a note.
    Citi removed BNP Paribas from its Focus List Europe citing the uncertainty,
but retained a "buy" rating on the shares.
    Investors' focus will also be on economic data for hints about the market's
near-term direction. Figures showed on Friday that German year-on-year retail
sales grew at their strongest rate in April since June 2012 as Easter fell later
this year than last. 
    Analysts said that equities had become vulnerable following recent sharp
gains to new highs and could slip in the absence of a fresh catalyst.
    The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index closed 0.1 percent higher
on Thursday at 1,379.05 points, within a whisker of this week's six-year high of
1,380.52 points.
    The U.S. S&P 500 index climbed to its third record closing high in
four sessions on Thursday as traders shrugged off data showing the economy
shrank in the first quarter and bet on improvement in the second quarter.
    
    Europe bourses in 2014: (link.reuters.com/pad95v)
    Asset performance in 2014: (link.reuters.com/rav46v)
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  MARKET SNAPSHOT AT 0635 GMT: 
  
                                             LAST      PCT CHG      NET CHG
 S&P 500                                 1,920.03       0.54 %        10.25
 NIKKEI                                  14632.38      -0.34 %       -49.34
 MSCI ASIA EX-JP                           487.88      -0.26 %        -1.25
 EUR/USD                                   1.3606       0.04 %       0.0005
 USD/JPY                                   101.60      -0.19 %      -0.1900
 10-YR US TSY YLD                           2.466           --         0.02
 10-YR BUND YLD                             1.366           --         0.01
 SPOT GOLD                              $1,256.41       0.06 %        $0.81
 US CRUDE                                 $103.41      -0.16 %        -0.17
    
  > Asian shares ride Wall Street optimism, dollar slips           
  > S&P 500 sets another record closing high on growth bets               
  > Nikkei extends rally into 7th day, longest win streak since Dec       
  > U.S. benchmark yields edge up from 11-month lows                    
  > Yen's advance vs euro, dollar stalls as investors take profits      
  > Gold poised for worst week in 2 mths, economic optimism dents appeal 
  > London copper heads for biggest monthly gain this year             
  > Brent holds above $110 on steep US gasoline stock drawdown           
    
    COMPANY NEWS
 
    BNP PARIBAS 
    The U.S. Justice Department is pushing BNP Paribas to pay more
than $10 billion to resolve a criminal probe into allegations that the French
bank evaded U.S. sanctions against Iran and other countries for years, the Wall
Street Journal reported on Thursday, citing people familiar with the matter.
    BNP Paribas and the Justice Department declined to comment.
 
    
    DEUTSCHE POST 
    DHL Express plans to start delivering documents and other items by
helicopter in Chicago and Charlotte, North Carolina, this year, buoyed by the
service's success in other cities, the new head of the company's U.S. unit said
on Thursday. 
    
    DEUTSCHE TELEKOM 
    Deutsche Telekom is willing to keep a minority stake in a deal to sell
T-Mobile US Inc to Japan's Softbank Corp, but other details
such as price and financing remain to be worked out, according to sources
familiar with the situation. 

    SIEMENS, ALSTOM 
    Siemens is "comfortable" with the way the Alstom bidding process has gone so
far and will continue to weigh up the risks and opportunities, its chief
executive said on Thursday. 
    Separately, Siemens AG's chief executive said the European giant will cut
11,600 positions as the company reduces costs by about 1 billion euros ($1.36
billion), Bloomberg reported on Friday. 
    
    AIR FRANCE KLM 
    Gol Linhas Aereas SA  has approved a capital increase of
up to 185.8 million reais ($82.9 million), opening the door for an investment by
Air France KLM SA as Brazil's No. 2 airline bolsters its international
connections. 
    
    NOVARTIS, ROCHE 
    Italy said on Wednesday it was seeking more than a billion euros in damages
from multinational drug companies following a ruling by the country's antitrust
authority that their policies had been detrimental to Italy's national health
service. For more, click on:  
    Separately, a federal judge on Thursday refused to dismiss a U.S. government
lawsuit accusing Novartis AG of civil fraud for having conducted two illegal
kickback schemes to boost sales of drugs covered by Medicare and Medicaid.

    HOLCIM 
    Brazil's antitrust watchdog Cade fined six cement makers a combined 3.1
billion reais ($1.4 billion) for fixing prices for two decades and ordered the
companies to dispose of many assets, in a harsh decision that the biggest one
said it will challenge in courts. Holcim, which has been fined around 204
million Swiss francs ($227 million), said it would appeal the decision. For
more, click on: 
    
    TOTAL 
    Total is suspending design and engineering work on its C$11 billion ($10.15
billion) Joslyn oil sands mine in northern Alberta and laying off up to 150
Canadian staff by the end of the year as it looks to reduce costs at the
project. 
    
    ASTRAZENECA 
    After thwarting a $118 billion takeover approach from Pfizer,
Britain's AstraZeneca will again take the spotlight this weekend when
the biggest annual medical meeting for cancer doctors convenes in Chicago.
 
    
    STATOIL, LUNDIN PETROLEUM, DET NORSKE, A.P.
MOELLER MAERSK 
    The startup of Norway's $20 billion Johan Sverdrup oil field, the country's
largest industrial project in decades, will not be delayed by a political
dispute over its source of power, Prime Minister Erna Solberg told Reuters on
Wednesday.

    AIRBUS 
    Canada signaled on Thursday it is likely to make a decision in the next few
weeks on whether to replace its aging CF-18 fighter jets with F-35 stealth
fighters from Lockheed Martin Corp or hold an open competition among
aircraft makers. The Eurofighter Typhoon, built by Airbus among others, is a
competitor. 
    
    HUGO BOSS 
    The fashion house wants to grow its womenswear business by a double-digit
percentage and get 80 percent of its overall sales from its own retail stores by
2020, the group's CEO Claus Dietrich Lahrs said in an interview with
Handelsblatt. Related news 
    
    TECNICAS REUNIDAS 
    Spanish oil engineering company Tecnicas Reunidas said on Thursday it had
won a $2.7 billion contract to expand Peru's Talara refinery. 
    
    REPSOL 
    Spain's environment ministry on Thursday backed the exploration by oil major
Repsol of three oil fields off the Canary Islands. 
    

 (Reporting by Atul Prakash, editing by Tricia Wright)
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