(Adds futures, further company news)
LONDON, July 10 European stocks were seen opening steady on
Thursday as investors digested strong earnings from luxury brand Burberry and a
weaker update from Primark's owner AB Foods.
At 0631 GMT, futures for the Euro STOXX 50, Britain's FTSE 100
, Germany's DAX and France's CAC were between 0.1 percent
higher and 0.1 percent lower.
Burberry posted a 12 percent rise in like-for-like retail sales
for its fiscal first quarter to June 30, which traders described as very strong.
Associated British Foods increased its profit forecasts after a
strong third-quarter performance but traders highlighted weakness at its sugar
According to minutes from the last Federal Reserve meeting released on
Wednesday, the central bank acknowledged the recent strengthening in the U.S.
economy but suggested it was unlikely to raise policy rates until the second
half of 2015.
The absence of a more hawkish message from the Fed eased worries over
interest rate rises and helped Wall Street snap a two-day slide on Wednesday,
while driving U.S. Treasury yields lower.
"Overall, due to the lack of fresh insight, analysts mainly feel this
implies the minutes were more dovish than anything else," Stan Shamu, market
strategist at spreadbetter IG, said in a trading note.
China's imports and exports data for June missed market forecasts, but
caused limited reaction in regional markets as it reinforced expectations that
Beijing will have to unveil more stimulus measures to stabilise the economy and
meet its 2014 growth target.
Commerzbank was once again in focus as sources said the German
lender was expected to pay between $600 million and $800 million to resolve U.S.
investigations. The penalty was previously reported to be more than $500
Europe bourses in 2014: (link.reuters.com/pad95v)
Asset performance in 2014: (link.reuters.com/rav46v)
> FED RELIEF LIFTS ASIAN STOCKS, DOLLAR SLIPS
> WALL ST RISES AFTER FED MINUTES ON 'EASY MONEY' EXIT
> NIKKEI FLAT AS POOR MACHINERY DATA OFFSETS FED OPTIMISM
> U.S. BOND PRICES RISE AS FED HINTS NO HURRY TO HIKE RATES
> FOREX-DOLLAR TRIPS OVER FED MINUTES, AUSSIE EYES JOBS TEST
> GOLD UP ON WEAKER DOLLAR; INDIA BUDGET EYED FOR IMPORT DUTY CUT
> LONDON COPPER STEADY, ALUMINIUM NEAR 13-MTH PEAK
> BRENT INCHES DOWN TOWARD $108 ON WEAK U.S. GASOLINE DEMAND
The British luxury brand warned that if exchange rates remained at current
levels, that would have a "material impact on profits" as it posted a 12 percent
rise in like-for-like retail sales for its fiscal first quarter to June 30.
EURO ZONE BANKS
The European Central Bank aims to keep banks on a tight leash in the final
phase of a balance sheet health check in October, giving them just 48 hours to
review the test results before publishing them, two persons familiar with the
matter told Reuters on Wednesday.
The lender is expected to pay between $600 million and $800 million to
resolve investigations into its dealings with Iran and other countries under
U.S. sanctions, sources familiar with the matter said.
Separately, a Frankfurt court heard on Wednesday that the lender's foreign
exchange traders routinely performed trades of a type forbidden by the bank
before two of them were fired for acting against clients' best interests.
For the second time in nine days, the French bank pleaded guilty on
Wednesday to conspiring to violate U.S. sanctions, as part of a nearly $9
billion settlement in which BNP admitted to breaking embargoes against Sudan,
Cuba and Iran.
An experimental drug from Sanofi and Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc
significantly reduced skin lesions and itching in adult patients with atopic
dermatitis, a chronic form of eczema that is poorly controlled by standard
drugs, the companies said on Wednesday.
Airbus is sprinting to line up preliminary orders for a revamped
version of its A330 jet and is on stand-by to make an announcement as early as
next week's Farnborough Airshow, but no decision has been taken, people familiar
with the matter said.
Central European airline Wizz Air is not in talks with potential buyers, a
company spokesman was quoted as saying by business website Portfolio on
Wednesday, denying media reports that Air France KLM was in advanced talks to
buy the budget carrier.
Chief Executive Carsten Spohr is due to hold an investor presentation in
London, a day after unveiling his new strategy for the airline.
French unions at struggling ferry operator SNCM tentatively agreed to wind
down a strike over restructuring plans after Prime Minister Manuel Valls
threatened imminent action to break up their blockade of ports in Marseille and
Shareholders in Lafarge Wapco, the Nigerian unit of French cement maker
Lafarge, on Wednesday approved a $1.35 billion deal combining its Nigerian
businesses with Lafarge's wholly-owned South African subsidiary.
Volkswagen-owned Bugatti has developed the blueprint for a 2015 follow-up
model to the $1.7 million limited-series Veyron that may sell out this year, two
sources at VW group with knowledge of the matter said.
(Reporting By Francesco Canepa; Editing by Tricia Wright)