March 27, 2014 / 6:35 AM / 6 years ago

European Factors to Watch-Shares to track U.S. dip, tech stocks in focus

PARIS, March 27 (Reuters) - European stocks were set to dip on Thursday,
halting their recovery rally and mirroring losses on Wall Street, where
technology stocks such as Facebook and King Digital Entertainment Plc
    At 0725 GMT, futures for Euro STOXX 50, for UK's FTSE 100,
for Germany's DAX and for France's CAC were down by between
0.1-0.3 percent.
    Among U.S. technology shares taking a hit on Wednesday, Facebook tumbled 6.9
percent after the social networking company said it would acquire two-year-old
Oculus VR Inc, a maker of virtual-reality glasses for gaming, for $2 billion.
    A sharp drop in the shares of King Digital Entertainment Plc, the
maker of the popular "Candy Crush Saga" game, also dampened investor enthusiasm
for tech IPOs. King's stock sank 15.6 percent in its trading debut after the
initial public offering valued the company at about $6 billion. 
    "Concerns that the tech sector has pumped itself up into a bubble again were
highlighted by the disastrous debut of King Digital," Capital Spreads trader
Jonathan Sudaria wrote in a note.
    The sharp drop in King Digital's shares, which highlighted investors'
concerns that the sector has been overpriced, hurt shares in Chinese internet
and software companies on Thursday, with Tencent Holdings Ltd, China's
biggest listed internet firm with a profitable mobile gaming business, falling
5.6 percent. 
    Simmering tensions between the West and Russia also weighed on investor
sentiment. The United States and the European Union agreed on Wednesday to work
together to prepare potential tougher economic sanctions in response to Russia's
intervention in Ukraine, including on the energy sector. 
    Italian banking shares will be in the spotlight again after the main
investor in Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena sold another 3 percent
stake in Italy's third-largest lender ahead of a 3 billion euro ($4.14 billion)
capital increase the bank needs to avert nationalisation. 
    Europe bourses in 2014:
    Asset performance in 2014:
                                         LAST  PCT CHG  NET CHG
 S&P 500                             1,852.56   -0.7 %   -13.06
 NIKKEI                             14,622.89   1.01 %   145.73
 MSCI ASIA EX-JP                       463.16   0.15 %      0.7
 EUR/USD                               1.3783   0.01 %   0.0002
 USD/JPY                               102.16   0.13 %   0.1300
 10-YR US TSY YLD                       2.703       --     0.00
 10-YR BUND YLD                         1.570       --     0.00
 SPOT GOLD                          $1,303.00  -0.04 %   -$0.49
 US CRUDE                             $100.23  -0.03 %    -0.03
  > GLOBAL MARKETS-Japan shares up, China tech stocks track US fall 
  > US STOCKS-Wall St drops on Russia worry as techs, materials drag 
  > Tokyo's Nikkei share average closes up 1 pct 
  > FOREX-Euro struggles after ECB officials reopen easing debate 
  > PRECIOUS-Gold up, fund outflows keep gains in check 
  > METALS-London copper firms on signs of improving China demand 
  > Brent steady around $107; Obama hints at tougher Russia sanctions 
    The main investor in Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena sold another 3 percent
stake in Italy's third largest lender ahead of a 3 billion euro ($4.14 billion)
capital increase the bank needs to avert nationalisation. 
    The board of France's state-backed Orange on Wednesday voted to give chief
executive Stephane Richard a second term, providing continuity to the group at a
time of tumult in its domestic market and brewing consolidation in Europe.
    Credit rating agency Fitch revised its outlook on Deutsche Bank to negative
from stable based on expectations of reduced likelihood of state support for
financial institutions in next 1-2 years. Fitch affirmed Deutsche Bank's
long-term issuer default rating at A+.  
    Fitch Ratings revised SocGen's outlook to 'negative', while reaffirming the
rating at 'A' level. It reaffirmed BNP Paribas rating at 'A+' with a 'stable
    PSA Peugeot Citroen's tie-up with China's Dongfeng was signed on
Wednesday, bringing the French carmaker much-needed cash and greater access to
Asia but leaving major challenges ahead. 
    China signed a new 10-year accord on Wednesday allowing Airbus to assemble
A320 planes on its soil until 2025 and unblocked orders for larger jets worth
more than $6 billion, restoring ties after a row with Europe over aircraft
    France and China signed a series of deals in the energy sector on Wednesday
as part of a high-profile visit by President Xi Jinping aimed at building
tighter business links between the two countries. 
    The airline cancelled around a third of its services on Thursday after
public sector unions called on airport workers at several German airports,
including Frankfurt, to strike. Lufthansa said the strike could cost it
    The Swedish clothing retailer is due to publish fiscal first-quarter results
at 0700 GMT. Pretax earnings at the group are seen rising 17 percent to 3.8
billion Swedish crowns ($588 million), according to a Reuters poll of analysts.
    The French oil and gas explorer posted a 68 percent rise in operating profit
to 312.4 million euros last year and said it was exploring promising new oil
fields in Gabon and Mozambique. 
    Siemens Medical Solutions has won a contract valued at up to $1.8 billion to
provide radiology systems, parts and other accessories to the U.S. military, the
U.S. Defense Department said on Wednesday in its daily digest of major weapons
    The company raised its dividend by a third after seeing underlying profit
rise by nearly 25 percent last year, helped by higher customer numbers and
rising performance in its established business lines.
    Novartis said late Wednesday a majority of patients given a development drug
against non-small cell lung cancer responded to the treatment, according to
study results published in The New England Journal of Medicine.
    The Ukraine crisis and the possibility of a recession in Russia creates
uncertainty for Pirelli's plans to use a tie-up with oil group Rosneft to expand
in the country, seen as a big growth market for the Italian tyre company's

 (Reporting by Blaise Robinson; Editing by Sudip Kar-Gupta)
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