(Adds futures prices, company news; updates snapshot table)
LONDON, April 29 European shares are expected to open flat to
slightly higher on Friday, on track to rise for the seventh session in a row,
though falls in Asian equities could weigh on sentiment and volumes were
expected to be thin as Britain's market is closed for a holiday.
By 0629 GMT, futures for the Euro STOXX 50 STXEc1, for Germany's DAX
FDXc1 and for France's CAC FCEc1 were flat to up 0.05 percent.
Britain's stock market is closed for a royal wedding holiday.
In Asia, the MSCI Asia ex-Japan index .MIAPJ0000PUS lost 0.5 percent as
traders took profit from recent gains, while Australian shares shed 1
percent on the back of falls in heavyweight mining firms.
The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 .FTEU3 index of top shares ended up 0.4
percent at 1,153.70 points on Thursday, its highest closing level in eight
Gains in recent weeks have helped the index rise 2.6 percent so far this
month, and it is on course to post its highest monthly gains since December
Investors were set to keep a close eye on April's euro zone inflation
figures at 0900 GMT, which are expected to come in at 2.7 percent year-on-year,
against the European Central Bank's target of close to 2 percent. Inflation has
been above that figure since December.
The ECB raised euro zone interest rates this month by a quarter of a
percentage point to 1.25 percent to address inflationary pressures being stoked
by high energy prices.
Further corporate earnings are likely to provide direction for equities.
Highlighting the strength of this season's corporate earnings, 58 percent of
companies on the STOXX Europe 600 index that have so far reported
earnings have posted in-line or above-forecast figures, with the rest coming in
below expectations, data from Thomson Reuters Starmine showed.
In the foreign exchange market, the dollar struggled at three-year lows
against a basket of currencies in Asia, remaining on track for its biggest fall
in 14 weeks.
----------------------MARKET SNAPSHOT AT 0622 GMT----------------------
LAST PCT CHG NET CHG
S&P 500 .SPX 1,360.48 0.36 % 4.82
NIKKEI .N225 9,849.74 1.63 % 157.9
MSCI ASIA EX-JP .MIASJ0000PUS 592.41 -0.30 % -1.79
EUR/USD EUR= 1.4832 0.05 % 0.0007
USD/JPY JPY= 81.53 -0.02 % -0.0200
10-YR US TSY YLD US10YT=RR 3.312 -- 0.00
10-YR BUND YLD EU10YT=RR 3.257 -- 0.01
SPOT GOLD XAU= $1,534.01 -0.06 % -$0.94
US CRUDE CLc1 $112.48 -0.34 % -0.38
* GLOBAL MARKETS-Ailing dollar boosts demand for commodities [ID:nL3E7FT021]
* US STOCKS-Dow transports hit record, lifting Wall Street [ID:nN28271549]
* TREASURIES-US 10-yr yield steady [ID:nL3E7FT0BR]
* PRECIOUS-Silver, gold near lifetime highs [ID:nL3E7FT028]
* METALS-ShFE copper falls after weak US data; LME shut [ID:nL3E7FT09E]
* Crude falls on fears slower U.S. growth may cut demand [ID:nL3E7FT0DJ]
Daimler posted stronger than expected first-quarter operating profit as its
passenger car business was boosted by demand from emerging markets such as
French energy company Total offered to pay up to $1.37 billion for a
majority stake in U.S. solar company SunPower Corp SPWRA.O, one of the biggest
moves ever by an oil and gas giant into the market for renewable
Saint-Gobain, the world's largest building materials company, posted a
stronger-than-expected 12.2 percent rise in first-quarter sales, helped by a
recovering building sector in Europe and a mild winter. [ID:nLDE73Q0ZR]
Norway's Yara reported first-quarter earnings well above expectations as
improved fertiliser prices more than compensated for increased energy costs.
DEUTSCHE BOERSE (DB1Gn.DE)
Nasdaq OMX (NDAQ.O) and IntercontinentalExchange (ICE.N) are poised to go
hostile in their bid for NYSE Euronext NYX.N after shareholders ratcheted up
pressure on the Big Board parent to get a better deal.[ID:nLDE73R15U]
French construction and concessions group Vinci said first-quarter sales
jumped sharply, boosted by acquisitions and its contracting business which
benefited from mild weather. [ID:nLDE73R26T]
The world's largest premium eyewear group, is looking to a positive 2011
after a strong start to the year in North America and key emerging markets,
echoing optimism among luxury peers.
First-quarter net profit rose 21 percent to 115 million euros, helped by
higher demand in the U.S., Asia and Latin America, the company said on Thursday.
Swiss medical device maker Synthes Inc wants to win market share after its
first-quarter sales met forecasts with a 7.8 percent rise, underscoring the
attractiveness of the group for Johnson & Johnson (JNJ.N).
Finland's top builder YIT posted smaller-than-expected earnings for the
January-March period on Friday but stuck to its previous view of clear profit
growth for the full year. [ID:nLDE73S02I]
DEUTSCHE BANK (DBKGn.DE)
The German government's bank levy will burden Germany's largest lender to
the tune of 70 million euros in 2011, Germany's Handelsblatt said, citing
financial and government circles.
Sanofi Aventis is reviewing the possible acquisition of Alli and Valda, two
of the 19 consumer healthcare products GlaxoSmithKline (GSK.L) is looking to
sell, Les Echos said on Friday, without citing any source. Sanofi has
repeatedly said it was looking to expand in the consumer healthcare sector.
French yellow-pages publisher PagesJaunes posted a 1 percent decline in
first quarter revenue and ket its 2011 financial goals. It also said it might
launch a bond issue to refinance its debt [ID:nASA020SL]
Heidelberg swung to an operating profit of 4 million euros in its 2010/11
financial year from a prior-year loss of 130 million. [ID:nLDE73R21F]
Billionaire Mukesh Ambani-controlled Reliance group is in talks to buy the
stake held by Bharti Enterprises in an Indian insurer joint venture with AXA
Group (AXAF.PA), the Economic Times reported on Friday. [ID:nL3E7FT0AG]
(Reporting by Harpreet Bhal)