PARIS Feb 19 European stocks were set to dip in early trade on
Wednesday as investors combed through a raft of company results, seeking clues
on the outlook for corporate profits and on the potential damage caused by sharp
currency swings in emerging markets.
The auto sector will be in focus after French carmaker PSA Peugeot Citroen
unveiled a 3 billion euro ($4.1 billion) capital tie-up with China's
Dongfeng and said the cash injection would buy time for a recovery
after losing another 2.32 billion in 2013.
At 0725 GMT, futures for Euro STOXX 50, for UK's FTSE 100,
for Germany's DAX and for France's CAC were flat to 0.2 percent
Lafarge, one of world's biggest cement makers which derives 58
percent of its sales from emerging markets, said sales and profit took a hit
from volatile currencies in the fourth quarter, although it stuck to its cost
savings and debt reduction targets, betting on continued growth in emerging
markets and a recovery in North America and Europe.
Brewer Carlsberg said operating profit rose 8 percent in the
fourth quarter as improved margins in Western Europe and continued Asian growth
offset sluggish sales in Eastern Europe.
In the banking sector, France's Credit Agricole said it will
propose paying a dividend for the first time since 2010 as it swung to a profit
and exceeded its own targets to strengthen its balance sheet.
European shares have been supported by relatively good corporate results in
the current earnings season, with 58 percent of companies reporting in-line or
better-than-expected profits, according to Thomson Reuters Starmine.
Europe bourses in 2014:
Asset performance in 2014:------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> GLOBAL MARKETS-Asia stocks in hesitant mood; euro holds gains
> S&P 500 ticks up on M&A; Nasdaq extends winning streak
> Nikkei slips on profit-taking, yen hurts exporters
> FOREX-Euro hits 7-week high, dollar hampered by soft U.S. data
> Gold eases from 3-1/2 month highs, but economy woes lend support
> METALS-London copper slips, China tightening worries weigh
> Brent holds above $110, WTI near 4-month top on winter boost
PSA PEUGEOT CITROEN
PSA Peugeot Citroen announced a 3 billion euro ($4.1 billion) tie-up with
China's Dongfeng Motor Group as the French carmaker posted a further
loss for 2013.
The French lender said it will propose paying a dividend against its 2013
results for the first time since 2010 as it swung to a profit and exceeded its
own targets to strengthen its balance sheet.
Carlsberg's operating profit rose 8 percent in the fourth quarter as
improved margins in Western Europe and continued Asian growth offset sluggish
sales in Eastern Europe.
Lafarge's sales and profit took a hit from volatile currencies in the fourth
quarter but the French cement maker stuck to its cost savings and debt reduction
targets on Wednesday, betting on continued growth in emerging markets and a
recovery in North America and Europe.
Vodafone said shareholders would receive 0.026 shares in Verizon
Communications for each Vodafone share they own as part of their payout
for the $130 billion sale of the group's stake in Verizon Wireless.
The lender is seeking buyers for a Hong Kong consumer finance business worth
$500 million to $700 million, according to people familiar with the matter, as
the Asia-focused lender sells off peripheral businesses.
Clariant said its fourth-quarter net profit was virtually unchanged from a
year earlier, as currency swings and higher spending hit.
Atos forecast revenue growth, and improved operating margins and free cash
flow this year, and said it aimed to list its Worldline unit on the stock market
to accelerate its development and take part in the consolidation of the European
The European Union antitrust regulator objects to Telefonica's proposed 8.6
billion euro bid for KPN's German unit in its current form, two people familiar
with the matter said.
German defence group Rheinmetall reported a 21 percent drop in 2013
underlying operating profit due to restructuring costs that still beat even the
most optimistic analyst estimate in a Reuters poll.
The defence company is in talks with U.S. conglomerate GE for the
sale of its engineering unit Ansaldo STS. Finmeccanica would like to
sell to GE also certain activities of loss-making train-maker Ansaldo Breda. The
remaining activities of Ansaldo Breda would be placed in a 'bad company', says
Corriere della Sera.