LONDON Feb 12 European equity futures rose on Wednesday, buoyed by better-than-expected Chinese trade data and by overnight gains on Wall Street after authorities agreed to extend the United States' borrowing authority.
The euro zone's blue-chip Euro STOXX 50 futures contract rose 0.3 percent by 0725 GMT, Germany's DAX futures contract rose 0.4 while France's CAC futures advanced by 0.2 percent.
Many investors have expressed concerns about a possible economic slowdown in China, but data on Wednesday showed that the value of China's overall imports and exports climbed around 10 percent last month from a year ago and beat expectations, raising optimism over the world's second-largest economy.
Traders also said European markets would be helped by a strong close overnight on Wall Street, after Congress agreed to advance legislation extending U.S. borrowing authority and the Federal Reserve's new chief Janet Yellen held off from making any changes to its schedule for trimming stimulus.
"We're firmer this morning on the back of Yellen and the China data," said Darren Courtney-Cook, head of trading at Central Markets Investment Management.
Among major companies reporting results, French bank Societe Generale swung back to a profit but oil major Total reported lower profits.
According to Thomson Reuters StarMine data, out of the companies on the pan-European STOXX 600 index to have reported fourth-quarter results so far, 59 percent have posted earnings that have either beaten or met market estimates. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ > GLOBAL MARKETS-Yellen, upbeat China trade report buoy risk assets
> US STOCKS-Relief over debt ceiling, Fed lift Wall St for 4th day > Nikkei climbs to 1-1/2 week high helped by Fed, Chinese data > TREASURIES-Long yields highest in 2 weeks, boosted by Yellen > FOREX-Aussie rises on upbeat China trade data; U.S. dollar steady > PRECIOUS-Gold falls back as stocks rally; Yellen keeps losses in check
> METALS-London copper climbs on Yellen, China data tops forecasts > Brent edges higher toward $109 on strong China trade data
The German insurer took an 8.33 percent stake in Bayern Munich football club for 110 million euros.
Separately, Allianz's Pimco Total Return Fund increased its holdings of U.S. government-related securities in January to notch a modest gain for the month after Treasuries prices rose.
The German luxury auto maker will pursue deeper cost cuts than an initially targeted 2 billion euro ($2.74 billion)in savings by 2014 as a way to raise profits at its Mercedes car division, Chief Executive Dieter Zetsche said on Tuesday.
The world's third-largest brewer forecast higher beer sales in Africa, Asia and Latin America after problems in some emerging markets in 2013, but said that their weak currencies could eat into its revenues.
The Dutch financial services group recorded underlying net profit of 3.255 billion euros ($4.45 billion) for 2013, 22 percent better than its 2012 performance and ahead of analysts' expectations.
The State-backed British bank is handing out 395 million pounds ($651.12 million) in bonuses for last year, including an award of just under 2 million pounds to its chief executive, Sky News reported, without citing sources.
RECKITT BENCKISER :
The household products group posted a rise in annual earnings.
The French bank pledged on Wednesday to return more capital to shareholders in 2014, after a swing to a fourth-quarter profit capped a long-running push to boost the strength of its balance sheet.
The French oil major posted a 19 percent drop in fourth-quarter adjusted net profit to 2.47 billion euros ($3.38 billion) on Wednesday, hit by shrinking refining margins and delays at key oil fields such as Kazakhstan's Kashagan.