April 24, 2013 / 5:31 AM / 5 years ago

Europe Factors to Watch-Shares seen up on monetary easing hopes

LONDON, April 24 (Reuters) - European stocks are set to open higher on
Wednesday, consolidating the previous session's gains after hopes for further
monetary easing and good earnings reports buoyed stocks in the United States and
Asia overnight.
    At 0632 GMT, futures for Euro STOXX 50, for UK's FTSE 100,
for Germany's DAX and for France's CAC were 0.1-0.2 percent
    The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 saw its best day of the year on
Tuesday, gaining 2.4 percent for its biggest gain since August 2012 following
strong earnings reports and as weak German data raised hopes of a euro zone rate
    "European equities are set to open higher tracking a strong close in the
U.S. and firm gains in Asia as an expectation of further monetary easing
continues to fuel the bullish mood," Jonathan Sudaria, a trader at Capital
Spreads, said.
    Eyes will be on the German Ifo business climate indicator at 0800 GMT, which
is expected to dip to 106.2 versus 106.7 in the previous month. A surprisingly
weak PMI reading from Germany on Tuesday saw the German DAX 
underperform, but also gave rise to speculation that the European Central Bank
may cut interest rates as early as next week.
    "With regards to data, less is more and with a number of central banks
poised to do more equities, they should find buyers on data disappointment,"
said Chris Weston, chief market strategist at IG Index, in a trading note.
    Charts also pointed to near-term strength, after major share indexes,
including the euro zone's blue chip Euro STOXX 50, broke above their
50-day moving averages, marking a 50 percent retracement of their recent fall.
    The index rose 3.1 percent to 2,662.88 points to also close above its
100-day moving average at 2,653.81.
    The earnings season continues in earnest, with gains in the prior session
aided by good company reports. Wednesday's earnings proved more mixed, as both
Barclays and Daimler missed forecasted profits, while Credit
Suisse managed to beat analyst expectations.
    So far this earnings season, 51 percent of STOXX 600 companies have
beaten or met expectations, with 74 percent doing so on the S&P 500,
Thomson Reuters StarMine data shows.  
                                    LAST       PCT CHG  NET CHG
 S&P 500                            1,578.78   1.04 %   16.28
 NIKKEI                             13,843.46  2.32 %   313.81
 MSCI ASIA EX-JP                    540.12     1.01 %   5.41
 EUR/USD                            1.3003     0.04 %   0.0005
 USD/JPY                            99.58      0.12 %   0.1200
 10-YR US TSY YLD                   1.715      --       0.01
 10-YR BUND YLD                     1.265      --       0.01
 SPOT GOLD                          $1,428.50  1.15 %   $16.26
 US CRUDE                           $89.73     0.62 %   0.55
  > Asian shares rise on firm US earnings, soft money outlook 
  > Wall St jumps after recovery from Twitter-led drop 
  > Nikkei vaults to nearly 5-year highs, aided by weak yen 
  > U.S. Treasuries surge briefly after false explosion tweet 
  > Euro steady near 2-week low, eyes on German Ifo survey 
  > Gold rebounds 1 pct but outlook clouded by ETFs, dollar 
  > Copper up as shorts cover; weak data curbs gains 
  > Brent holds above $100, weak economic outlook cap gains 

    British bank Barclays said first-quarter profit fell a quarter from
a year ago after a rise in losses in its European business and a hefty bill for
the cost of a restructuring plan by its new chief executive.
    The carmaker said it will seek labour concessions from French unions to help
meet turnaround targets after sales fell a further 6.5 percent in the first
    The company reported lower first-quarter sales, slightly short of
expectations, because of price pressure in mobile in France and weaker demand
from corporate clients, but limited margin erosion through cost control.
    Etisalat said it would make a "binding offer" during the day to
buy Vivendi's 53 percent stake in Morocco's Maroc Telecom.
    Swiss industrial group ABB posted a smaller-than-expected net profit in the
first-quarter, down 3 percent at $664 million as clients shied away from big
industrial investments and U.S. growth slowed. 
    For related news, click on 
    Credit Suisse said first-quarter net profit rose on the year, lifted by an
improved performance from its investment bank, and flagged a cash dividend.    
    For related news, click on 
    * The Swiss pharma group Novartis named Harry Kirsch as new Chief Financial
Officer, taking over from Jon Symonds, and reported Q1 core earnings of $1.32
per share, slightly ahead of estimates.
    * The U.S. government filed a civil fraud lawsuit against Novartis on
Tuesday, accusing a unit of the Swiss drug maker of causing the Medicare and
Medicaid programs to pay tens of millions of dollars in reimbursements based on
fraudulent, kickback-tainted claims
     For related news, click on 
    The automaker scrapped its earnings forecast on Wednesday after
first-quarter profit plunged more than half amid the protracted slump in cars
and trucks markets. 
    Related news 
    The chairman of London-listed Kazakh miner ENRC, Mehmet Dalman, has
resigned with immediate effect in a boardroom shake-up likely to raise new
questions over the future of the embattled company. 
    The planned sale of more than 600 UK bank branches by Lloyds Banking Group
to the Co-Operative Group has fallen through, people familiar with the matter
    Mobile telecom gear maker Ericsson reported a bigger than expected fall in
first-quarter core profit on Wednesday as sales and its gross margin undershot.
    For more on the company, double click 
    A legal battle between Deutsche Bank and billionaire investor Alexander Vik
began this week in which Vik is claiming $8 billion in damages over trades by
his company Sebastian Holdings during the financial crisis. 
    Related news 
    A labour strike by letter carriers in Germany is due to continue on
Wednesday, ahead of a third round of wage talks with Deutsche Post on Thursday,
according to trade union Verdi.
    Related news 
    The Dutch semiconductor equipment maker swung to a first-quarter net profit
as it realized a gain from the sale of its stake in its Hong Kong-listed unit
ASM Pacific Technology. 
    Nordea, the Nordic region's biggest bank by value, posted a slight rise in
first quarter profits and forecast further stability in its troubled Danish and
shipping portfolios. 
    Shares in the Finnish holding company Sampo might also react to Nordea's
results as it owns about a fifth of the bank.
    For more on the companies, double click  
    The aerospace supplier confirmed its forecast for a rise in full-year
organic sales helped by growth in air travel and as planemakers ramp up
commercial aircraft programmes. 

    The world's largest steelmaker will start mothballing two blast furnaces at
its site in Florange, eastern France, on Wednesday, with an outside chance that
they may reopen in six years. 
    The defense group reported on Tuesday a 786 million euro ($1.02 billion) net
loss in 2012 mainly because of a goodwill writedown on its U.S. defence
electronics unit DRS. 
    The carmaker could secure financing by May for a possible buyout of the rest
of Chrysler, two people familiar with the matter said on Tuesday.  
   Fiat is in advanced talks with banks, which are expected to conclude next
month, on financing to buy the 41.5 percent of Chrysler which is held by VEBA,
the United Auto Workers' retirees' healthcare trust, the sources said. 
    Sweden's Handelsbanken posted on Wednesday a first-quarter operating profit
that beat expectations and which showed its capital buffers swelling further.
    For more on the company, double click 
    The Norwegian aluminium producer reported first-quarter core earnings that
beat expectations due to higher prices for aluminium and alumina and higher
seasonal sales. 
    For more on the company, double click
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