LONDON Jan 31 European shares headed for a steady open on
Friday, with mixed company results and persistent concerns about emerging market
currencies prompting investors to trade cautiously on the last day of the month.
At 0738 GMT, futures for the Euro STOXX 50, Britain's FTSE 100
, Germany's DAX and France's CAC were down 0.1 percent to
up 0.1 percent.
The fourth-quarter earnings season, which gathers pace in Europe, will be in
the spotlight after Electrolux posted a bigger than expected fall in
fourth-quarter core earnings.
The world's second-biggest home appliances maker, however, raised its
outlook for Europe, saying it now expected long-suffering demand there to grow
slightly this year.
In another major earnings announcement, Britain's BT returned to
quarterly revenue growth for the first time in 4-1/2 years, driven by record
customer demand for superfast broadband and its growing new sports TV service.
According to StarMine SmartEstimates, which focus on up-to-date predictions
of the historically most accurate analysts, STOXX Europe 600 companies are on
average seen missing consensus quarterly profit forecasts by 2.5 percent.
Analysts said that investors were expected to remain cautious, with the
situation in emerging markets still fragile even after some central banks took
action to try to prop up tumbling currencies.
"Emerging market volatility is going to be our companion for a while and may
have a slightly negative impact on earnings as some companies will have to take
currency losses on some of the assets denominated in foreign currencies,"
Philippe Gijsels, head of research at BNP Paribas Fortis Global Markets, said.
"Nevertheless, we do not think this will be powerful enough to derail the
overall positive earnings picture."
The FTSEurofirst 300 index closed 0.3 percent firmer at 1,294.26
points after a choppy session on Thursday. It is down 1.7 percent this month and
on track to end the month in negative territory after gaining in the previous
The index has fallen more than 5 percent since hitting a 5-1/2-year high
last week on jitters over currency turmoil in emerging markets that could affect
the pace of the global economic recovery, and has turned negative for the year
after climbing more than 16 percent in 2013.
> Asian stocks slip, yen pushes higher
> Wall St rallies on Facebook and GDP; Amazon sinks late
> Nikkei bounces as upbeat earnings, solid U.S. growth improves mood
> Bond prices fall as emerging market fears ease
> Dollar at one-week high after U.S. GDP; euro hits the skids
> Gold set to snap 5-week rally on U.S. data, weak China demand
> London copper set for 3.5 pct monthly fall as China growth slows
> Brent holds near $108 on demand hopes, but faces monthly fall
Britain's BT returned to quarterly revenue growth for the first time in
four-and-a-half years on Friday, driven by record customer demand for superfast
broadband and its growing new sports TV service.
World number two home appliances maker Electrolux raised its outlook for
Europe, saying it now expected long-suffering demand there to grow slightly this
year after posting a bigger than expected fall in fourth-quarter core earnings.
The company is dropping plans to invest in a refinery in China, three
sources with direct knowledge said, the fourth refining project in recent months
to fall foul of a slowdown in growth in the world's second-largest economy.
Spain's second-biggest bank posted a smaller than expected fourth quarter
loss of 849 million euros ($1 billion) on Friday, after it took charges from the
sale of a 5 percent stake in China's CITIC Bank Corp.
Spain's third-biggest bank Caixabank on Friday posted a net profit of 503
million euros ($682 million) for 2013, more than double 2012 earnings as charges
on soured property deals fell.
The truck maker's decision to cut its annual dividend this week has stirred
up renewed opposition from Sweden's small shareholders' association and minority
owners who question the intentions of Volkswagen which together with
MAN SE hold nearly 90 percent of votes and about 60 percent of capital
in Scania, daily Svenska Dagbladet reported.
Swiss machinery manufacturer Sulzer has agreed to sell its coatings unit
Metco to peer Oerlikon
Daimler is open to broadening its cooperation with alliance partner Renault
and Nissan to include other small cars, and to new projects with electric car
maker Tesla Motors, Chief Executive Dieter Zetsche said on Thursday.
The world's biggest luxury group posted an 8 percent rise in like-for-like
full-year sales as buoyant duty-free and cosmetics revenue helped offset lower
demand for cognac in China and Louis Vuitton handbags.
The carmaker and alliance partner Nissan raised their joint savings
goal, vowing to deepen cooperation in vehicle development and production as the
race for global scale intensifies among carmakers.