By Francesco Canepa
LONDON, April 18 European shares were expected to open
fractionally higher on Wednesday, according to financial spreadbetters, taking a
breather after a two-day bounce that has set a key euro zone index on course to
snap a streak of four consecutive weekly losses.
Financial spreadbetters expected Britain's FTSE 100
to open 2 to 4 points higher, or as much as 0.1 percent,
Germany's DAX to open 8 to 9 points higher, or as much as 0.1 percent,
and France's CAC-40 to open 8 points higher, or as 0.2 percent.
The euro zone blue-chip Euro Stoxx 50 index recorded its biggest
daily gain year to date on Tuesday a s it rose 65.86 points, or 2.9 percent,
boosted by a well-received Spanish debt auction, an upbeat German economic
sentiment reading and positive U.S. corporate earnings releases.
"The big question on most people's lips as we approach the 'sell in May and
go away' seasonal period, is, can it last?," said Cameron Peacock,
market analyst at IG Markets.
"We have already seen a marked increase in volatility to start the second
quarter, which normally signals that markets are at an inflection point, unsure
what to do next. Don't expect that uncertainty to subside any time soon."
So far this week, the Euro Stoxx 50 has regained 75.54 of the 101.03 points
dropped last week, when concerns about Spain's ability to reduce its deficit
rocked European equities, and was on course to record its first weekly gain in a
The Bank of Spain on Tuesday approved all 135 Spanish banks' plans to boost
capital but said some may face difficulties meeting tough requirements set by
the government to clean up the sector and reassure investors its ailing lenders
would not need international help.
Basic resources shares were under scrutiny on Wednesday as the world's
biggest miner, BHP Billiton, posted sharp drops in iron ore and coal
production for the first quarter of 2012 due to bad weather and labour unrest,
following a similar report by rival Rio Tinto on Monday.
Mexico's Fresnillo, the world's largest primary silver producer,
was due to publish a trading update.
LVMH, the world's biggest luxury goods group, said Wednesday that
first-quarter revenue rose 25 percent on the back of particularly strong growth
in Asia and the United States.
In the food & beverage sector, the world's third-largest brewer,
Heineken NV, was due to report first quarter results, expected to show
a 3.8 percent rise in revenues, according to the average estimate of a Reuters
Swiss food giant Nestle SA is near a deal to buy Pfizer's
baby formula business to for at least $9 billion, outstripping Danone
and Mead Johnson Nutrition Co, the Wall Street Journal reported on
On the macro front, the Bank of England will publish minutes to the April
meeting, when interest rates and the quantitative easing target were left
MARKET SNAPSHOT AT523 GMT
LAST PCT CHG NET CHG
S&P 500 1,390.7 1.55 % 21.21
NIKKEI 9,653.6 2 % 188.94
MSCI ASIA <.MIASJ0000P 1.04 % 5.35
EUR/USD 1.3113 -0.11 % -0.0014
USD/JPY 81.38 0.64 % 0.5200
10-YR US TSY 2.007 -- 0.01
10-YR BUND 1.760 -- 0.01
SPOT GOLD $1,651. 0.16 % $2.72
US CRUDE $104.43 0.22 % 0.23
Shares buoyed by easing worries over Spanish debt
Nikkei rallies on U.S. earnings, Spain debt sale
Yen slips as risk currencies stage bounce
Gold flatlines, fragile euro weighs
Copper rises as Europe fears ease, Wall St rallies
Brent stable at $118 as euro zone concerns ease
Bonds ease on Spain debt demand, stock gains