LONDON, April 11 European stocks were seen opening lower on Friday, tracking a retreat in global equities and setting local indexes on course for their first weekly loss in a month.
Japanese shares sank to six-month lows on Friday while the U.S. Nasdaq suffered its biggest drop in 2-1/2 years the night before, heightening investor anxiety about a broader pullback after several equity indexes around the world hit multi-year-highs in recent weeks.
At 0616 GMT, futures for the Euro STOXX 50, Britain's FTSE 100 , Germany's DAX and France's CAC were down between 0.7 percent and 0.8 percent.
The euro zone Euro STOXX 50 index was set to suffer its first weekly loss in a month as it retreated from 5-1/2 year highs and "overbought" conditions hit last Friday, as shown by its seven-day Relative Strength Index, a momentum indicator.
The four European indexes were already down between 0.6 percent and 2.5 percent this week as three consecutive weekly gains, coming on top of a stellar performance in 2013, prompted investors to take some money off the table.
"There was no news catalyst for (the U.S.) sell off and the market action was orderly, steady and sustained," Jonathan Sudaria, a dealer at Capital Spreads, wrote in a trading note.
"(It was) not the kind of flash in the pan knee jerk reaction you see to a headline or economic data release, but more symptomatic of the big money deciding that this point in the market cycle is a good place to liquidate."
With recent market falls largely put down to profit taking, many analysts expected the market's uptrend to resume in the coming weeks.
"The recent pullback is a buying opportunity", said Philippe Delabarre, a technical analyst at Trading Central in Paris.
He highlighted prices were still supported by an ascending trend line connecting the index's lows between September 2013 and last month and as long as the market did not break below this line, currently at 2,970 points, the index should head towards 3,440, a high last seen in the summer of 2008.
Geopolitical tensions were set to further dampen investor appetite before the weekend after Russian president Vladimir Putin warned the country's gas supplies to Europe could be disrupted if Moscow cuts the flow to Ukraine over unpaid bills, drawing a U.S. accusation that it is using energy "as a tool of coercion".
The world's largest chemical company, BASF, threw its weight behind Russia's South Stream pipeline project to carry natural gas to Europe while bypassing Ukraine and called Gazprom a reliable supplier.
Executives at BP sought to calm shareholders' concerns over the British oil major's large exposure to Russia as they said the firm can help enhance relations between Russia and the West and is talking to politicians across the world.
Europe bourses in 2014: link.reuters.com/pad95v
Asset performance in 2014: link.reuters.com/rav46v > Japan stocks spooked to 6-mth lows by Wall St retreat > Nasdaq drops 3 pct, worst day since November 2011 > Nikkei tumbles to 6-month low, Fast Retailing sinks > U.S. bonds rally on stock rout, Fed view > Yen boosted as sliding shares dampen risk appetite > Gold near 2-1/2 week high, set for best week in a month > LME nickel near 1-year high, eyes 9th weekly gain in ten > Brent drops towards $107 as supply outlook improves
The company said it would not pay a dividend after posting its first loss in 14 years. It reported a net loss of 19.4 million euros and predicted net profits of 20-25 million for 2014.
Banks will not have to hold as much capital as feared to cover trading losses, global regulators said on Thursday in their latest easing of rules to avoid crimping economic recovery.
The carmaker said it would voluntarily recall more than 156,000 vehicles in the United States, including its popular 3 Series compact sedan, to check for potentially defective bolts that could lead to engine damage.
Fragrance and flavour maker Givaudan confirmed its mid-term growth targets after strong demand for its fine fragrances used in perfumes and its flavours in emerging markets helped first-quarter sales rise 5.7 percent.
PRISA, MEDIASET SPAIN
Credit Suisse on Thursday said it had received a mandate from Spain's Prisa to place a 3.69 percent stake the company holds in the local unit of Italy's Mediaset with institutional investors.
German hospitals operator Rhoen-Klinikum, which has sold about two thirds of its assets to peer Fresenius, is looking for takeover targets to focus on larger hospital complexes, its Chief Financial Officer Jens-Peter Neumann was quoted as saying by daily Handelsblatt.
CONERGY SOLARWORLD SMA Solar
The European Union has cleared the imposition of hefty duties on Chinese imports of glass used in solar panels, claiming they receive illegal subsidies and are sold at unfairly low prices that threaten European manufacturers.
(Reporting By Francesco Canepa; Editing by Alistair Smout)