Europe Factors to Watch-Shares set to edge up; Hugo Boss eyed

Wed Sep 3, 2014 2:19am EDT

PARIS, Sept 3 (Reuters) - European stocks were set to open slightly higher
on Wednesday, but still stuck in a range ahead of the European Central Bank's
policy meeting later this week, with investors split on whether the ECB will
unveil further immediate stimulus steps to stave off deflation.
    Shares in German retailer Hugo Boss will be in focus after an
investment company controlled by private equity investor Permira 
placed up to 7.9 million Hugo Boss shares, or 11.2 percent of the company's
total capital. The stock was down 4.5 percent in pre-market trade at Lang &
Schwarz. 
    European mining stocks will be in the spotlight as iron ore prices hit
two-year lows, as cash-strapped Chinese traders desert the market amid flagging
property sales and a growing supply glut. 
    At 0610 GMT, futures for Euro STOXX 50, for UK's FTSE 100,
for Germany's DAX and for France's CAC were up 0.3-0.4 percent.
    Dovish comments by ECB President Mario Draghi in late August sparked market
bets that the central bank is preparing to pump more liquidity into the system,
possibly via purchases of government or corporate bonds, a measure known as
quantitative easing (QE).
    However, sources from within the central bank told Reuters last week that
new action at its meeting this Thursday was unlikely but not impossible, and
that the barrier to QE was still "very high". 
    In a Reuters poll conducted last week, economists saw a 75 percent chance
that the ECB would buy asset-backed securities through a quantitative easing
(QE) programme. In the poll, 32 of 39 economists said the ECB would conduct QE
by March 2015. 
    While many market participants do not expect the ECB to take major easing
steps this week, further measures are considered a matter of 'when' and not 'if'
in the face of risks to euro zone growth posed by low inflation as well as the
Ukraine conflict.
    Investors have recently been buying bullish "call" options, ahead of the ECB
meeting, with the ratio measuring the number of negative "put" options versus
bullish "call" options on the euro zone's blue-chip Euro STOXX 50 index
 dropping in the past three weeks, down to 0.93 currently from 2.45
on August 8. 
    
    Europe bourses in 2014: (link.reuters.com/pad95v)
    Asset performance in 2014: (link.reuters.com/rav46v)
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  MARKET SNAPSHOT AT 0610 GMT: 
  
                                         LAST   PCT CHG  NET CHG
 S&P 500                             2,002.28   -0.05 %    -1.09
 NIKKEI                              15728.35    0.38 %    59.75
 MSCI ASIA EX-JP                       513.72    0.66 %     3.36
 EUR/USD                               1.3133    0.02 %   0.0002
 USD/JPY                               104.97    -0.1 %  -0.1000
 10-YR US TSY YLD                       2.425        --     0.01
 10-YR BUND YLD                         0.932        --     0.00
 SPOT GOLD                          $1,267.80    0.19 %    $2.40
 US CRUDE                              $93.22    0.37 %     0.34
 
  > GLOBAL MARKETS-ASIAN SHARES RISE, DOLLAR ON TOP OF THE HEAP 
  > US STOCKS-WALL ST ENDS MIXED, ENERGY SHARES FALL 
  > NIKKEI JUMPS TO 7-MONTH HIGH ON RENEWED "ABENOMICS" HOPES 
  > FOREX-DOLLAR CLIMBS AS YEN, STERLING SAG; EURO OFF LOWS FOR NOW 
  > PRECIOUS-GOLD STRUGGLES NEAR 2-1/2-MTH LOW AS STRONGER DOLLAR WEIGHS 
  > METALS-LONDON COPPER STEADY IN LOW VOLUMES, SUPPLY OUTLOOK DRAGS 
  > BRENT CLIMBS TOWARDS $101, PULLS AWAY FROM 16-MTH LOW 
    
    COMPANY NEWS:
    
    CREDIT SUISSE 
    Credit Suisse said it was investigating allegations of trader misconduct
reported in The Wall Street Journal on Tuesday. 
    
    DANONE 
    Danone said on Tuesday Chairman and Chief Executive Franck Riboud would
split his role after 18 years at the helm of the world's largest yoghurt maker,
which recently faced a series of setbacks in Asia and in Europe.
    Riboud, 58, who took over from his late father, Antoine Riboud, in 1996,
will remain as chairman and focus on the group's long-term strategy while
Emmanuel Faber, 50, the chief operating officer, will become CEO, effective Oct
1. 
    
    ENEL, ENI 
    Italy will go on with a plan to privatize state-owned companies, but its
Prime Minister Matteo Renzi does not see as a priority the sale of stakes in
energy companies Eni and Enel, he told financial daily Il
Sole 24 Ore. 
    
    UNICREDIT 
    UniCredit has shortlisted Lone Star and a consortium comprising Italy's
Prelios and Fortress Investment Group for the sale of its bad-loan management
unit, and is expected to pick a bidder by mid-October, five sources with direct
knowledge of the situation said. 
    
    SANOFI 
    The French drugmaker, developing the first vaccine against dengue fever,
said its product reduced disease cases by 60.8 percent in a large final clinical
trial. 
    
    ROLLS-ROYCE HOLDINGS 
    The United Kingdom's Serious Fraud Office plans to make more arrests in its
investigation against bribery allegations at jet-engine maker Rolls-Royce, the
agency's director David Green said in an interview to Bloomberg. 
    
    LLOYDS BANKING GROUP 
    The bank is considering having its registered office in London rather than
Edinburgh should Scots vote for independence, banking industry sources told
Reuters. 
    
    BIOMERIEUX 
    Diagnostics group bioMérieux reported first half results on Wednesday saying
it maintained its target to achieve 2014 contributive operating income before
non-recurring items of between 220 million and 245 million euros.
 
    
    GDF SUEZ 
    The regulated gas retail tariffs of France's GDF Suez are expected to
increase by 3.9 percent on Oct 1, French daily Le Figaro reports. GDF Suez could
not be immediately reached for comment. Since early 2013, regulated gas tariffs
change monthly and have been declining by 6.7 percent between January 1 and
September 1. 
        
    KERING 
    Kering, the French luxury group behind the Gucci and Yves Saint Laurent
brands, is creating a in-house eyewear division to tighten control over the
business and gradually take back all of it licences. 
        
    PUBLICIS 
    French advertising group Publicis said on Tuesday it had bought global
technology consultancy Norun from Quebecor Media for 125 million Canadian
dollars. In 2013, Nurun recorded revenue of 139 million Canadian dollars.
 
    
    UNITED INTERNET 
    German internet service provider said on Wednesday it had agreed to acquire
buyout group KKR's KKR.N 74.9 percent stake in cable group Versatel for about
586 million euros ($769 million) in cash. 
        
    JCDECAUX 
    JCDecaux said on Tuesday it has been awarded the main street
furniture contract for Stockholm. The financial terms of the 10-year contract
were not disclosed. 
        
    LATECOERE 
    French aerospace supplier Latecoere on Tuesday reported lower first-half
operating profit, despite higher revenues as it bore the cost of opening a
factory in Mexico and suffered a slowdown in the development of new aircraft.
 
    
    BOURBON 
    The oil services company reported on Wednesday first half results saying
strong cost controls helped offset a weak dollar. 

 (Reporting by Blaise Robinson; Editing by Atul Prakash)