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

Wed Aug 20, 2014 2:27am EDT

PARIS, Aug 20 (Reuters) - European stocks were set to dip on Wednesday,
halting a sharp two-day rally as investors take a breather ahead of the U.S.
Federal Reserve's minutes of its July policy meeting which could give insight on
the outlook for interest rates.
    The impact from tensions between the West and Russia over the conflict in
Ukraine were visible again on the earnings front on Wednesday, with Danish
brewer Carlsberg saying its operating profit would decline compared
to 2013 due to deteriorating conditions in its Eastern Europe segment including
Russia, which contributes a large portion of its profits. 
    Rival Heineken posted better-than-expected first-half operating
profit, as it sped up cost savings and grew volumes in all regions except for
Central and Eastern Europe, but said it expected the growth to slow in the
second half. 
    Fighting in Ukraine and sanctions against Russia, a major energy supplier to
Europe, have muddied the forecasts of a number of multinationals including
Henkel, Adidas and Rheinmetall. 
    At 0625 GMT, futures for Euro STOXX 50, for UK's FTSE 100,
for Germany's DAX and for France's CAC were flat to down 0.1
percent.
    The FTSEurofirst 300 index of top European shares has gained 1.8
percent so far this week, as worries over tensions between Russia and Ukraine
abated.
    The Fed is set to releases the minutes from its July 29-30 policy meeting at
1800 GMT. The minutes could shed further light on how the central bank plans to
eventually exit from its extraordinary monetary stimulus, and could also show
whether there is a growing divide between 'hawks' and 'doves' over when to raise
interest rates.
    
    Europe bourses in 2014: (link.reuters.com/pad95v)
    Asset performance in 2014: (link.reuters.com/rav46v)
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  MARKET SNAPSHOT AT 0625 GMT: 
                                         LAST   PCT CHG  NET CHG
 S&P 500                             1,981.60     0.5 %     9.86
 NIKKEI                              15454.45    0.03 %     4.66
 MSCI ASIA EX-JP                       512.71    0.11 %     0.54
 EUR/USD                               1.3304   -0.11 %  -0.0015
 USD/JPY                               103.17    0.27 %   0.2800
 10-YR US TSY YLD                       2.405        --     0.00
 10-YR BUND YLD                         1.000        --     0.00
 SPOT GOLD                          $1,295.29       0 %    $0.00
 US CRUDE                              $95.09    0.65 %     0.61
 
  > GLOBAL MARKETS-STOCKS STEADY AFTER U.S. DATA, DOLLAR HOLDS GAINS 
  > US STOCKS-WALL ST EXTENDS RALLY, LIFTED BY APPLE AND HOME DEPOT 
  > NIKKEI RISES FOR 8TH DAY AS STRONG U.S. DATA, WEAK YEN BOOST MOOD 
  > FOREX-DOLLAR HITS 11-MONTH HIGH, STAYS FIRM AFTER SOLID HOUSING DATA 
  > GOLD STRUGGLES BELOW $1,300 ON STRONG U.S. DATA, HIGHER STOCKS 
  > METALS-SHANGHAI COPPER EDGES LOWER TOWARDS KEY CHART LEVEL 
  > BRENT HOLDS NEAR 14-MONTH LOW ON PLENTIFUL SUPPLY 
    
    COMPANY NEWS: 
    HEINEKEN 
    The world's third largest brewer, on Wednesday reported better-than-expected
first half operating profit, as it sped up cost savings and grew volumes in all
regions except for Central and Eastern Europe. 
    
    CARLSBERG 
    The Danish brewer said its 2014 operating profit would decline compared to
2013 due to deteriorating conditions in its Eastern Europe segment including
Russia, which contributes a large portion of its profits. 
    
    GLENCORE 
    Commodity trader and miner Glencore said on Wednesday it will launch a share
buy-back programme of up to $1 billion as it posted a forecast-beating 8 percent
rise in first-half core profit. 
    
    BALFOUR BEATTY, CARILLION 
    British engineering company Balfour Beatty on Wednesday rejected Carillion's
third merger proposal, saying it failed to address its concerns over risks to
the business. 
        
    STANDARD CHARTERED 
    British banking company Standard Chartered Plc will pay a $300 million
penalty and suspend or exit some important businesses after failing to weed out
risky transactions that could be linked to money laundering. 
    
    READSOFT 
    Lexmark International Technology has raised its bid for Sweden's
ReadSoft to 57 Swedish crowns ($8.29) per share and said it holds 52.2 percent
of voting rights in the company after buying shares from Readsoft's founders
Lars Appelstal and Jan Andersson at that price. 
    
    SANOFI 
    The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the company's Cerdelga drug
to treat patients with type 1 Gaucher disease, a rare genetic disorder.
 
    
    ATOS, BULL 
    Atos pronounced its friendly takeover offer for fellow IT services firm Bull
 successful having won control of 84.25 percent of the company's shares
earlier this month, and said Atos chief Thierry Breton would take over as Bull's
chairman ahead of its full integration into Atos. The deal was announced in May.
 
    
    SWISSCOM 
    Telecoms group Swisscom nudged up its guidance for full-year core profit, as
a rising number of customers offset falling prices and helped it post
better-than-expected profit in the second quarter. 
    
    NOVARTIS 
    Novartis said it had signed an a deal to exclusively license its
experimental drugs for tuberculosis (TB) to the Global Alliance for TB Drug
Development. 
    
    ANTOFAGASTA 
    The Chilean miner named insider Diego Hernandez as its new chief executive
to take over the running of the company from Jean-Paul Luksic, who retains his
role as chairman but in a non-executive capacity. 

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