LONDON, March 7 European shares headed for a steady open on
Friday, with investors seen avoiding strong bets ahead of U.S. jobs data that
could provide fresh hints about the health of the economy and set the market's
U.S. non-farm payrolls are forecast to have risen by 149,000 in February, up
from the weather-depressed gains of 113,000 in January. Analysts said
expectations may have been lowered by the soft ADP private-sector jobs report
and ISM services sector survey released earlier this week.
The widely-tracked jobs report could also provide clues about the U.S.
Federal Reserve's likely move to further trim its stimulus, analysts said.
"A disappointing number will be neglected by investors as February was still
adversely impacted by winter weather," Ruland Research analyst Heino Ruland,
"In the near term, I am quite bullish for equities. It becomes clearer by
the day that growth resumed in the euro area, even though below potential
growth, which means that interest rates will begin rising but stay comparatively
low thereby increasing the relative attractiveness of equity valuations."
IG expected the jobs number to rise to 185,000, higher than the market
consensus, while KBC saw the figure at 200,000.
"Consumption and investments are still strong, and since the weather was a
little bit better than last month, a rebound is possible. However, the risks on
this number is more on the downside than on the upside," Koen De Leus, senior
economist at KBC, in Brussels, said.
At 0720 GMT, futures for the Euro STOXX 50, Britain's FTSE 100
, Germany's DAX and France's CAC were flat to 0.1 percent
European shares gave up their gains on Thursday after the European Central
Bank chose not to take action to inject more liquidity into the region's
financial system, disappointing some investors. The FTSEurofirst 300
ended the day flat at 1,344.56 points.
The markets have been volatile in the past sessions following political
tension in Ukraine, with investors staying cautious in buying riskier assets
such as equities.
President Barack Obama on Thursday ordered sanctions on people responsible
for Moscow's military intervention in Ukraine's Crimea Peninsula, including
travel bans and freezing of their U.S. assets, and said a referendum by the
region to join Russia would violate international law.
Europe bourses in 2014:
Asset performance in 2014:---------------------------------------------------------------------------
> Asian shares up, mood cautious before U.S. jobs data
> S&P 500 ends at record on jobless data; payrolls eyed
> Nikkei rises to fresh 5-week high on strong US data, ECB decision
> Bond prices fall as Ukraine crisis calms, payrolls awaited
> Euro clings to post-ECB gains, U.S. jobs data eyed
> Gold steady, set for 5th week of gains on safe-haven demand
> Nickel in longest winning streak since 2010 on Indonesia ban
> Brent climbs toward $108.50 on Ukraine crisis; US data eyed
The European plane-maker has ordered increased inspections of A380 wings
after discovering unexpected levels of metal fatigue during testing on a factory
mock-up, industry sources said on Thursday.
Separately, China's Juneyao Group, the parent of Juneyao Airlines, is in
talks with planemaker Boeing and Airbus about acquiring more than 20 more
planes in a deal that may be worth more than $1.8 billion, its chairman said on
France's Numericable does not intend to raise its bid that values Vivendi's
telecom unit SFR at 14.5 billion euros excluding synergies because it believes
it is better than a rival offer, said two people close to the situation.
Bouygues, the group with a telecoms arm which has made an indicative offer
for rival SFR, is aiming to complete the deal without having to cut staff, its
head told Les Echos in an interview published on Friday.
Swiss drugmaker Novartis said on Friday a final stage test of Jakavi, used
to treat patients with a rare blood cancer, had met its primary endpoint and
improved two key measures of disease control in patients.
The company expects to turn a profit with trucks in India in 2017, board
member Wolfgang Bernhard told Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung in an interview
published on Friday Related news
The company plans to increase investment in the United States and hire more
workers in the country, Chief Executive Joe Kaeser told Handelsblatt, without
being more specific. Related news
Fraport, the operator of Frankfurt airport, said on Friday it expected net
profit to rise slightly in the current year after falling more than 6 percent in
2013, as passenger growth improves.
Finland's financial industry watchdog issued a warning to the Finnish
subsidiary of Nordea, the biggest bank in the Nordic region, for repeated delays
in transmitting bank payments.
THE SWISS NATIONAL BANK
The central bank reported a loss for 2013, as profit from its foreign
currency reserves failed to offset a decline in the valuation of its gold
holdings after the price of the precious metal slumped last year.
An Italian appeals court will decide on Friday whether to uphold a ruling
that found four international banks, including UBS, guilty of fraud and
mis-selling of derivatives to the city of Milan, in a case that highlighted the
opaque finances of many Italian municipalities.
German diversified chemicals maker Evonik plans to top up its annual
dividend by almost 9 percent even after sounding a cautious note about this
year's earnings outlook.
French energy group Total aims to raise around 750 million euros ($1.04
billion) from selling its liquefied gas unit TotalGaz, French daily Les Echos
reports on Friday, citing unidentified sources.
Italian cement maker Italcementi's rights-issue plan envisages
also a mandatory conversion of saving shares into ordinary ones and the launch
of a takeover bid for its French unit Ciments Francais, the company said.
The company said it has initiated - as LVMH has done - a process with a view
to converting its legal status from that of a French public limited-liability
company to that of a European Company.