April 25, 2013 / 6:45 AM / 4 years ago

Europe Factors to Watch-Shares set to pause; earnings flurry in focus

8 Min Read

PARIS, April 25 (Reuters) - European stocks are seen slightly lower on
Thursday, taking a breather following strong gains made in the past two
sessions, with investors scanning through corporate results to see the impact of
the region's economic downturn.
    At 0636 GMT, futures for Euro STOXX 50, for UK's FTSE 100,
for Germany's DAX and for France's CAC were down 0.1-0.2
    AstraZeneca's sales fell by a bigger-than-expected 13 percent in the
first quarter, while Banco de Sabadell, Spain's fifth-biggest bank,
posted forecast-beating profit, boosted by trading gains and a drop in operating
    Out of the 22 percent of the STOXX 600 companies that have posted quarterly
earnings so far, about 53 percent have met or beaten profit expectations,
contrasting with results from the United States where nearly three quarters of
S&P 500 companies have met or beaten forecasts so far in the earnings season,
according to Thomson Reuters StarMine data.
    The telecom sector will be in the spotlight again after sources said Verizon
Communications Inc has hired advisers to prepare a possible $100 billion
bid to take full control of Verizon Wireless from joint venture partner Vodafone
Group Plc, while a media report said BT has begun looking for a
mobile phone partner. 
    The euro zone's blue-chip Euro STOXX 50 index has surged 4.9
percent so far this week, on track to record its biggest weekly gain since
November, boosted in part by rising expectations of an interest rate cut by the
European Central Bank following weaker-than-expected German macro data.
    "Indexes are clearly back into a positive momentum, and are heading for the
year's highs. But we need to break above these levels for the rally to continue
towards 2011 highs," Aurel BGC chartist Gerard Sagnier said.
    "Meanwhile, every dip will be an opportunity to get in."
 MARKET SNAPSHOT AT 0635 GMT                            
                                         LAST  PCT CHG  NET CHG
 S&P 500                             1,578.79      0 %     0.01
 NIKKEI                             13,926.08    0.6 %    82.62
 MSCI ASIA EX-JP                       545.14   0.79 %     4.29
 EUR/USD                               1.3035   0.15 %   0.0020
 USD/JPY                                99.12  -0.35 %  -0.3500
 10-YR US TSY YLD                       1.708       --     0.01
 10-YR BUND YLD                         1.248       --     0.01
 SPOT GOLD                          $1,445.90   1.06 %   $15.10
 US CRUDE                              $91.81   0.42 %     0.38
  > GLOBAL MARKETS-Asian shares up, weak durable orders stall dollar 
  > US STOCKS-Wall St ends mostly flat, Procter, AT&T tumble 
  > Nikkei inches up to near 5-yr highs on weak yen; Canon, Nintendo sag 
  > FOREX-Euro bounces back from Ifo-inspired lows on shortcovering 
  > PRECIOUS-Gold rises to 1-week high, cenbank purchases aid 
  > METALS-Copper at 1-week high as shorts cover on policy-easing hopes 
  > Brent climbs above $102, hits 10-day peak on US demand hopes 
    AstraZeneca's sales fell by a bigger-than-expected 13 percent in the first
quarter as patent expiries sent revenue from key medicines skidding lower,
underscoring the turnaround challenge facing Britain's second biggest drugmaker.
    Spain's biggest domestic lender on Thursday said its net profit jumped by
700 percent to 335 million euros ($435 million), boosted by purchases of smaller
banks Banca Civica and Banco de Valencia which had a positive accounting impact.
    The euro zone's biggest on Thursday posted a 25.9 percent drop in net profit
from a year ago to 1.205 billion euros ($1.6 billion), missing analyst forecasts
in a Reuters poll. 
    Verizon Communications Inc has hired advisers to prepare a possible
$100 billion cash and stock bid to take full control of Verizon Wireless from
joint venture partner Vodafone Group, two people familiar with the matter told
Reuters on Wednesday.
    The telecoms company has begun looking for a mobile phone partner, a
potential sign that it could reunite with O2, the Financial Times reports.
    The French carmaker reported an 11.8 percent drop in first-quarter revenue
on Wednesday and predicted the European market would contract 5 percent this
year, a downward revision of its previous forecast. 
    Italian oil and gas giant Eni stuck to its growth forecast for the year
after production fell almost 5 percent in the first quarter due to disruptions
in Libya and Nigeria. 
    The French oil services group reaffirmed its full-year earnings growth
targets on Thursday after it posted a 3.6 percent rise in first-quarter net

    Monte dei Paschi had to put up more than 2.8 billion euros ($3.65 billion)
by way of collateral for two loss-making derivatives trades at the centre of an
investigation of alleged fraud at Italy's third-biggest lender. 
    A judge has denied Deutsche Bank's bid to dismiss a lawsuit by the city of
Los Angeles accusing it of letting hundreds of foreclosed properties fall into
disrepair and illegally evicting low-income tenants, a representative for the
city's attorney said on Wednesday.
    The world's largest maker of corrective eye lenses confirmed its target for
like-for-like sales growth including bolt-on acquisitions of more than 7 percent
this year and a high level of profitability. 
    The home appliances maker reported a fall in core operating profit for the
first quarter that was bigger than expected and said conditions in the
crisis-hit European market would remain tough.
The French group has received two binding offers from Gulf companies for a 53
percent stake in Maroc Telecom IAM.CS, the first tangible sign of progress in
the French media and telecom conglomerate's efforts to remake itself.
    The world number two truck maker posted a surprise rise in orders intake on
Thursday amid signs key markets were pulling out of a deep slump that pushed its
earnings to a deeper-than-expected fall in the first quarter.
    The German bottling machine maker said on Wednesday it would place 1.4
million of its treasury shares, or about 4.5 percent, of its capital stock.
The specialty chemicals and life sciences group on Thursday confirmed its
earnings target for 2013 and said it was proceeding with restructuring programme
aimed at boosting profitability.
    Finnish stainless steelmaker said it plans to cut up to 2,500 jobs globally,
as the company struggles with weaker prices.
    French spirits maker posted weaker-than- expected third-quarter sales on
Thursday as growth slowed in its key Chinese market, and it stuck with a target
for slower full-year profit growth.
    The Swedish specialty steel maker on Thursday posted a first-quarter
operating loss in line with expectations and said it expected some recovery in
the second quarter led by the U.S. and Latin America.

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