(Adds details, company news, futures; updates snapshot)
PARIS, June 3 (Reuters) - European equities were set to inch higher on Wednesday, as investors awaited U.S. ADP employment and factory orders data for more insight on the economic outlook, one day after upbeat housing data fuelled further recovery hopes.
By 0623 GMT, futures for the DJ Euro Stoxx STXEc1, for Germany's DAX FDXc1 and for France's CAC FCEc1 were up between 0.1 percent and 0.2 percent, while financial spreadbetters expected Britain's FTSE 100 .FTSE to open up between 6 and 12 points.
"The U.S. pending home sales index has now improved for three months in a row, adding to the evidence that housing activity is finding a floor," Global Equities analysts wrote in a note.
"Improving economic data are gradually fitting with the current bull trend that has just started."
The FTSEurofirst 300 .FTEU3 index of top European shares, which hit a five-month high during Tuesday's session, has surged 37 percent since reaching a record low in early March, but is still down 46 percent from a multi-year high touched in mid-2007.
----------------------MARKET SNAPSHOT AT 0617 GMT----------------------
LAST PCT CHG NET CHG
S&P 500 .SPX 944.74 0.2 % 1.87
NIKKEI .N225 9,741.67 0.38 % 37.36
MSCI ASIA EX-JP .MIASJ0000PUS 401.80 1.18 % 4.67
EUR/USD EUR= 1.4287 -0.15 % -0.0021
USD/JPY JPY= 96.09 0.47 % 0.4500
10-YR US TSY YLD US10YT=RR 3.634 -- 0.02
10-YR BUND YLD EU10YT=RR 3.673 -- 0.02
SPOT GOLD XAU= $984.30 0.35 % $3.45
US CRUDE CLc1 $68.65 0.15 % 0.10
* Worst seen past for world economy, Australia surprises [ID:nL3620667]
* US STOCKS-Housing data lifts Wall St; Aetna slides late [ID:nL3524208]
* GLOBAL MARKETS-Asian shares near highs, dollar struggles [ID:nSP473504]
* Nikkei gains 0.4 pct as resource, chip shares rise [ID:nT30015]
* TREASURIES-Steady in Asia before Fed purchase, Bernanke [ID:nT250283]
* Dollar hits '09 lows vs Aussie, pound on risk appetite [ID:nT202742]
* Oil eases towards $68, rising inventory caps rally [ID:nSP471260]
* PRECIOUS-Gold rises on weak dollar, ETF unchanged [ID:nT189058]
* Copper up, LME ekes out gains above $5,000 [ID:nSP466150]
EUROPEAN STOCKS TO WATCH ON WEDNESDAY:
DAIMLER (DAIGn.DE), BMW (BMWG.DE), PORSCHE (PSHG_p.DE), VOLKSWAGEN (VOWG.DE)
U.S. auto sales fell nearly 34 percent in May from a year earlier, but aggressive discounting helped steady results for the battered industry, according to monthly results released on Tuesday. [ID:nN02511678]
Daimler's U.S. vehicle sales fell 33.4 percent in May, while BMW Group's U.S. car sales fell 27.7 percent, Porsche's U.S. car sales fell 27 percent, and Volkswagen's U.S. car sales fell 12.4 percent.
Chrysler, the U.S. car company in which Fiat is taking a 20 percent stake, said May sales in the United States fell 47 percent, the biggest fall among leading American car producers, as the industry's sales steadied. [ID:nN02511678]
Nissan Motor Co Ltd (7201.T), in which Renault has a significant stake, said U.S. sales in May were down 33 percent.
Bouygues posted a 55 percent fall in first-quarter operating profit, lagging analyst estimates, and cut its 2009 sales forecast to reflect a change in outlook for its TV channel and lower orders for its construction unit. The French construction-to-telecoms firm had an operating profit of 174 million euros ($247.3 million) in the three months to end-March, it said in a statement on Tuesday. [ID:nL2549162]
The oil major said it will close its final-salary pension scheme for new UK employees joining the company after April 2010. [ID:nL2297338]
The top mobile phone maker and wireless technology firm InterDigital wrapped up hearings on Tuesday at the International Trade Commission in a battle over four patents, InterDigital said. InterDigital filed the suit in 2007, accusing Nokia of infringing four patents for 3G mobile handsets. For details, see:[ID:nN02513997]
RIO TINTO (RIO.L)
The global miner may cut the size of its planned $7.2 billion issue of convertible bonds to Chinalco and raise more equity via a rights issue instead, the Australian Financial Review said. [ID:nSYD498993]
DEUTSCHE BOERSE (DB1Gn.DE)
Frankfurt's stock exchange operator Deutsche Boerse (DB1Gn.DE) said turnover on its electronic orderbook Xetra fell 38 percent in May to 89.8 billion euros ($127.6 billion). [ID:nL2439088]
The French luxury goods group Hermes confirmed its target for more or less stable 2009 sales at constant currencies and said the impact of the economic crisis on purchasing power was still a factor.
Chief executive Patrick Thomas told shareholders at the annual general meeting that it would be an "illusion" to think the group would be shielded from the effects of the crisis.
Credit insurer Euler Hermes (ELER.PA) has reduced cover to Arcandor suppliers, a German textile and fashion industry association said. Euler Hermes was not immediately available for comment. Related news [AROG.DE-E]
SWISS RE RUKN.VX
The world's second-largest reinsurer, has sold a $100 million catastrophe bond covering exposures ceded to it by property-casualty insurer Ace Limited ACE.N, investors said on Tuesday. For related news click on [ID:nL2051923]
(Reporting by Blaise Robinson)