LONDON, March 26 European stocks were seen rising at the open on
Wednesday, buoyed by increasing signs of life in the U.S. economy, with a key
index set to continue a rally off a one-week closing low back towards multi-year
At 0720 GMT, futures for the Euro STOXX 50, Britain's FTSE 100
, Germany's DAX and France's CAC were 0.3-0.5 percent
Stock markets in Europe were broadly expected to track gains made in Asian
and U.S. trade, where buoyant U.S. consumer confidence and house prices helped
to fuel gains.
The two reports were the latest in a series of positive data releases from
the United States, supporting the view that bad weather rather than inherent
economic weakness affected weaker reports earlier this year.
"Concerns around the three C's (cold, Crimea, China) are dropping off as the
effect of the US winter subsides, the Crimean conflict is no longer affecting
markets and China has seen stimulation bets ramping up," Evan Lucas, market
strategist at IG, said in a note.
"This will mean markets will continue to push higher in the short term, with
the US and China currently driving most market reactions; and signs of stability
or growth will be equity and commodity supportive."
Growing bets that China will act to stimulate its economy and an increased
resilience to uncertainty over relations between Russia and the West over Crimea
helped to support European equity markets on Tuesday.
The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 rose 1.3 percent in the previous
session, bouncing off a one-week closing low set at the start of the week.
The index remains 3 percent off its closing high in February, however, which
was its highest close since May 2008.
Economic confidence in Europe also held up despite ongoing concerns about
Russian intervention in Ukraine, with market research group GfK finding that
German consumer morale held steady at its highest reading since January 2007.
The reading comes on the back of comments from European Central Bank
President Mario Draghi and Bundesbank President Jens Weidmann that stimulus from
the euro zone's central bank was not out of the question as the euro zone still
battles with deflationary pressures.
The unexpected intervention from Weidmann, whose Bundesbank had previously
expressed scepticism about such measures, also helped to boost European shares
"While talk is cheap, the ECB will ultimately need to back its words with
credible measures, with the standard toolbox running on empty," Anatoli
Annenkov, senior European economist at Societe Generale, said in a note.
Europe bourses in 2014: link.reuters.com/pad95v
Asset performance in 2014: link.reuters.com/rav46v
> GLOBAL MARKETS-Asia shares hit 2-wk highs on upbeat U.S. data
> US STOCKS-Wall St rebounds; biotech shares snap losing streak
> Nikkei up slightly in choppy trade, Kirin Holdings soars
> TREASURIES-Solid demand, but light dealer purchases
> FOREX-Euro steadies after ECB clarifies monetary policy stance
> PRECIOUS-Gold rebounds from near 6-week low
> METALS-Copper slips after sharp rise on China stimulus hopes
> Brent rises above $107 on supply concerns, strong US data
LLOYDS BANKING GROUP
Britain sold 4.2 billion pounds ($6.9 billion) of shares in Lloyds Banking
Group to cut its stake in the country's largest retail bank to 25
percent and put it on course for a complete exit in the next year at a profit.
German prosecutors widened an investigation to include a second Deutsche
Bank board member in another twist to the lender's legal battle with heirs of
late media mogul Leo Kirch that included a search of the bank's headquarters on
The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration on Tuesday ordered an immediate fix
to the latest version of Boeing Co's BA.N 747-8 plane, saying a software glitch
could cause it to lose thrust when close to landing and fly into the ground.
Lufthansa said it was checking to what extent its fleet of 11 747-8s was
Standard & Poor's has removed Generali from its Credit Watch list after
ascertaining that Italy's biggest insurer would not exhaust its regulatory
capital even if its home country were to default on its debt.
Italy's biggest TV broadcaster Mediaset said on Tuesday advertising
trends for this year were difficult to predict after beating 2013 profit
expectations thanks to higher-than-expected cost cuts.
The retirement homes group said full-year 2013 revenues rose by 12.5 percent
to 1.608 billion euros ($2.22 billion) on the back of brisk organic growth of
7.1 pct and the contribution made by acquisitions, especially in international
EBITDA earnings before rents (EBITDAR) advanced by 17.1 percent to 433.2
With a growth pipeline of 8,339 beds under development and a proven ability
to generate new projects, the company said it "boasts impressive growth
The French utility and the water-and-waste-management company said they had
agreed how to split up their Dalkia energy-services joint venture after months
Syngenta AG said that grain prices have played a role in China's
rejection of U.S. corn shipments containing an unauthorized, genetically
modified trait developed by the company.
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The broker tug-of-war between Morgan Stanley and UBS Wealth Americas
in Florida continued this month as veteran adviser David Behar jumped
to Morgan Stanley after nine years with UBS.
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The Swedish banking group said late on Tuesday it and Handelsbanken Pension
Foundation and Handelsbanken Pension Fund had reorganized their holdings in
investment group Industrivarden and hygiene group SCA.
Handelsbanken said as a result of the transactions it controls 10.46 percent
of votes in Industrivarden and 10.15 percent of votes in SCA. The two companies
have long had close connections with Handelsbanken and share several board
Business daily Dagens Industri said the move was to enable Handelsbanken to
get round new EU rules on how many board positions bank board members are
allowed to have.
Dagens Industri wrote that Handelsbanken's increased stake in the two
companies could lead investors to see it as an investment firm rather than a
bank. Investment firms often trade at a discount to the value of their holdings
and the paper reckoned Handelsbanken shares could fall 3-4 percent on opening.
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The Danish shipping and oil group is preparing a divestment of offshore
service company Esvagt of which it controls 75 percent, daily Borsen wrote,
based on a source who has knowledge of the matter.
Esvagt operates a fleet of 37 units ranging from anchor handling, tug,
supply, tanker assist vessels - to oil recovery-, survey- and rescue vessels.
Sources told the newspaper valuation of Esvagt could be between 2 and 3 billion
Danish crowns ($369 -$554 million).
A spokeswoman from A.P. Moller-Maersk declined to comment in a mail to
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(Reporting by Alistair Smout; Editing by Atul Prakash)