European Factors to Watch-Shares seen edging lower, focus on data
LONDON, Aug 28 (Reuters) - European shares were expected to edge lower early on Thursday after touching a one-month high in the previous session, with investors focusing on further data releases for hints about the European Central Bank's likely policy moves. ECB sources said late on Wednesday that the central bank was unlikely to take new policy action next week unless August inflation figures on Friday show the euro zone sinking significantly towards deflation. "European markets have been looking towards today as the major driver of market direction, with a whole raft of economic indicators set to bring the euro zone back into focus once again," Alpari analyst Joshua Mahony said in a note. "The story for the euro zone is becoming particularly worrying, where almost every indicator coming out of the region is painting a picture of yet more weakness." Investors awaited preliminary German inflation data due later in the session for hints about how soft the euro zone numbers might turn out. Other data releases include German unemployment, Italian retail sales and euro zone economic sentiment indicators. At 0653 GMT, futures for the Euro STOXX 50, Britain's FTSE 100 , Germany's DAX and France's CAC were 0.2 to 0.3 percent lower. The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index closed 0.1 percent higher at 1,378.19 points on Wednesday after hitting a one-month peak, the euro zone's blue-chip Euro STOXX 50 dropped 0.1 percent and Germany's DAX fell 0.2 percent. On the mergers and acquisitions front, Vivendi said it received bids for its GVT Brazilian broadband unit from Telecom Italia and Telefonica. Earnings releases were mixed, with Essilor, the world's largest maker of opthalmic lenses, reporting a 7.9 percent rise in first-half sales and French conglomerate Bouygues lowered its sales forecast after posting weaker-than-expected first-half profit. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ MARKET SNAPSHOT AT 0628 GMT: LAST PCT CHG NET CHG S&P 500 2,000.12 0.01 % 0.1 NIKKEI 15459.86 -0.48 % -74.96 MSCI ASIA EX-JP 512.66 -0.29 % -1.49 EUR/USD 1.3211 0.14 % 0.0019 USD/JPY 103.75 -0.1 % -0.1000 10-YR US TSY YLD 2.350 -- -0.01 10-YR BUND YLD 0.905 -- 0.00 SPOT GOLD $1,287.90 0.42 % $5.45 US CRUDE $93.62 -0.28 % -0.26 MAJOR MACROECONOMIC DATA/EVENTS (GMT) : 0755 DE Unemployment 0800 IT Retail Sales 0900 EZ Consumer Confidence 1200 DE HICP Prelim 1230 US GDP 1230 US Jobless Claims 1400 US Pending Home Sales > ASIA SHARES EDGE UP ON STEADY WALL ST, EURO CLINGS TO GAINS > WALL STREET DRIFTS TO ANOTHER RECORD IN LIGHT TRADING > NIKKEI DROPS AS INVESTORS GROW UNEASY ABOUT DIMMING ECONOMIC PROSPECTS > YIELDS FALL ON MONTH-END BUYING, EUROPEAN BOND RALLY > HARRIED EURO GETS RESPITE AHEAD OF INFLATION TEST > GOLD UP FOR THIRD DAY ON SOFTER DOLLAR; PHYSICAL DEMAND LAGS > METALS-LME COPPER DRIFTS IN LOW VOLUMES; EYES ON ECB > METALS-LME COPPER DRIFTS IN LOW VOLUMES; EYES ON ECB COMPANY NEWS: TELECOM ITALIA, VIVENDI, TELEFONICA Vivendi said it received bids for its GVT Brazilian broadband unit from Telecom Italia and Telefonica, and that its supervisory board would examine the offers at a meeting on Thursday. The Telecom Italia offer represents a total enterprise value of 7 billion euros ($9.24 billion), while the Telefonica offer represents a value of 7.45 billion euros. ESSILOR The world's largest maker of opthalmic lenses forecast full-year revenue growth of more than 13 percent excluding currency effects on Thursday after first-half sales rose 7.9 percent. BOUYGUES The French diversified group lowered its sales forecast after it posted weaker than expected first-half profit, hit by its aggressive pricing strategy in telecoms and a sluggish road-building business. VEOLIA ENVIRONNEMENT The French water and waste group said first-half 2014 net profit more than doubled, as its focus on industrial clients starts to pay off, and confirmed its earnings targets. GLAXOSMITHKLINE U.S. health officials will announce on Thursday that a human study of an Ebola vaccine made by GlaxoSmithKline will begin within a couple of weeks and not later this year as the company estimated originally, according to people familiar with the plans. PERNOD RICARD The French spirits maker Pernod Ricard reported full-year underlying profit growth of 2 percent on Thursday, broadly in line with analysts' expectations, amid persistent weakness in China. GLENCORE The company will hold talks with the government of the Australian state of Queensland over developing vast bauxite reserves that have remained untapped for decades despite a series of attempts by mining companies to get a project off the ground. ROCHE HOLDING The drugmaker's planned $8 billion purchase of InterMune Inc is centered around hopes for blockbuster sales of its lung drug, but the smaller company's development pipeline may end up giving the Swiss drugmaker a far bigger bang for its buck. AIRBUS Qantas Airways said it has converted orders for 21 Airbus A320 aircraft into the re-engined A320neo variant and deferred the delivery by four years. GEMALTO The digital security firm reported net profit up 8.4 percent in the first half at 95.4 million euros thanks to a strong performance in mobile financial services and payment cards. LUFTHANSA Pilots at Lufthansa's low-cost carrier Germanwings are to go on strike for six hours from 0400 GMT on Friday, labour union Vereinigung Cockpit (VC) said in a statement on Thursday. Talks between the two parties are scheduled for later on Thursday. THYSSENKRUPP The United States will not go ahead with planned import duties on specialized steel from Japan, Germany and Poland after the U.S. International Trade Commission found the imports were not harming local industry. (Reporting by Atul Prakash; Editing by Sudip Kar-Gupta)
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