European Factors to Watch-Shares set to inch up; eyes on ECB
PARIS, Sept 2 (Reuters) - European stocks were set to rise slightly on Tuesday, bouncing within a recent tight range as investors await the European Central Bank's policy decision later this week before chasing stocks higher. At 0620 GMT, futures for Euro STOXX 50, for UK's FTSE 100, for Germany's DAX and for France's CAC were 0.2-0.4 percent. Trading was expected to be light in the first few hours of trading, until Wall Street reopens following a long Labour Day weekend. Dovish comments by ECB President Mario Draghi in late August sparked market bets that the central bank is preparing to pump more liquidity into the system, possibly via purchases of government or corporate bonds, a measure known as quantitative easing (QE). Sources from within the central bank told Reuters last week that new action at its meeting this Thursday was unlikely but not impossible, and that the barrier to QE was still "very high". While most market participants do not expect the ECB to take major easing steps this week, further measures are considered a matter of when and not if in the face of risks to euro zone growth posed by low inflation as well as the Ukraine conflict. Investors have recently been buying bullish "call" options, ahead of the ECB meeting, with the ratio measuring the number of negative "put" options versus bullish "call" options on the euro zone's blue-chip Euro STOXX 50 index dropping in the past three weeks, down to 0.93 currently from 2.45 on August 8. However, investors also kept a close eye on the recent escalation in the Ukrainian conflict. Kiev said it had pulled back troops from defending a vital airport in the east of the country, near the city of Luhansk, where troops had been battling a Russian tank battalion, and President Petro Poroshenko accused Russia of "direct and undisguised aggression" which he said had radically changed the battlefield balance. Europe bourses in 2014: (link.reuters.com/pad95v) Asset performance in 2014: (link.reuters.com/rav46v) ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ MARKET SNAPSHOT AT 0621 GMT: LAST PCT CHG NET CHG NIKKEI 15668.6 1.24 % 192 MSCI ASIA EX-JP 510.27 -0.45 % -2.31 EUR/USD 1.3123 -0.03 % -0.0004 USD/JPY 104.85 0.48 % 0.5000 10-YR US TSY YLD 2.368 -- 0.02 10-YR BUND YLD 0.892 -- 0.01 SPOT GOLD $1,281.69 -0.42 % -$5.35 US CRUDE $95.82 -0.15 % -0.14 > GLOBAL MARKETS-ASIAN STOCKS SLIP, EURO AT 1-YR LOW ON ECB DOUBTS > NIKKEI RISES TO 4-1/2 WEEK HIGH ON WEAK YEN, REFORM HOPES > EURO SEES LITTLE REPRIEVE IN HOLIDAY TRADE, AUSSIE EYES RATE CALL > PRECIOUS-GOLD FALLS TO NEAR 1-WEEK LOW ON DOLLAR STRENGTH > METALS-LONDON COPPER DRIFTS NEAR RECENT LOW ON FACTORY SLOWDOWN > BRENT CRUDE STEADY BELOW $103; LIBYA UNREST OFFSETS DEMAND CONCERNS COMPANY NEWS: TELEFONICA, TELECOM ITALIA Telefonica plans to exit Telecom Italia once the Spanish group has finalised the purchase of Vivendi's Brazilian broadband business GVT, ending a long-standing shareholding and easing competition concerns in Brazil. PSA PEUGEOT CITROEN The carmaker will cut 300 jobs as it reduces output at its Sochaux plant, in eastern France, starting in November, trade union officials said. AKZO NOBEL Chief Executive Ton Buechner has been solicited for a deal to buy car paint coatings company Axalta Coating Systems for more than $7 billion, Bloomberg reported citing people familiar with the matter. ESSILOR, LUXOTTICA Italian luxury eyewear maker Luxottica overhauled its top management structure after Chief Executive Andrea Guerra left due to rifts with Chairman Leonardo Del Vecchio, now set to play a more active role at the eyewear group. Luxottica looked at a possible deal with France's Essilor but decided not to pursue it and is no longer considering it, Luxottica's new co-chief executive said. CONTINENTAL, BOSCH The European trade body in China said Beijing is not planning to force foreign auto parts suppliers operating in the country to form local joint ventures, dismissing a report last week that had stirred concern among European firms. KERING The French luxury and sportswear group said Christophe Melard, chief executive of its Sergio Rossi luxury footware and accessories brand, has stepped down to seek new opportunities outside the group. ALSTOM The French turbine and train maker completed the sale of its heat exchange unit for 730 million euros to German private equity group Triton. INGENICO The French payments firm said Mexican bank Banco del Bajio agreed a deal to use its countertop and wireless payment terminals across Mexico. FIAT New car sales in Italy, Europe's fourth-largest car market, fell 0.2 percent in August from the same month a year ago to 53,191 vehicles, Italy's transport ministry said on Monday. (Reporting by Blaise Robinson; Editing by James Regan)
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