Europe Factors to Watch-Shares set to edge up; Hugo Boss eyed
PARIS, Sept 3 (Reuters) - European stocks were set to open slightly higher on Wednesday, but still stuck in a range ahead of the European Central Bank's policy meeting later this week, with investors split on whether the ECB will unveil further immediate stimulus steps to stave off deflation. Shares in German retailer Hugo Boss will be in focus after an investment company controlled by private equity investor Permira placed up to 7.9 million Hugo Boss shares, or 11.2 percent of the company's total capital. The stock was down 4.5 percent in pre-market trade at Lang & Schwarz. European mining stocks will be in the spotlight as iron ore prices hit two-year lows, as cash-strapped Chinese traders desert the market amid flagging property sales and a growing supply glut. At 0610 GMT, futures for Euro STOXX 50, for UK's FTSE 100, for Germany's DAX and for France's CAC were up 0.3-0.4 percent. 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). However, 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". In a Reuters poll conducted last week, economists saw a 75 percent chance that the ECB would buy asset-backed securities through a quantitative easing (QE) programme. In the poll, 32 of 39 economists said the ECB would conduct QE by March 2015. While many 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. Europe bourses in 2014: (link.reuters.com/pad95v) Asset performance in 2014: (link.reuters.com/rav46v) ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ MARKET SNAPSHOT AT 0610 GMT: LAST PCT CHG NET CHG S&P 500 2,002.28 -0.05 % -1.09 NIKKEI 15728.35 0.38 % 59.75 MSCI ASIA EX-JP 513.72 0.66 % 3.36 EUR/USD 1.3133 0.02 % 0.0002 USD/JPY 104.97 -0.1 % -0.1000 10-YR US TSY YLD 2.425 -- 0.01 10-YR BUND YLD 0.932 -- 0.00 SPOT GOLD $1,267.80 0.19 % $2.40 US CRUDE $93.22 0.37 % 0.34 > GLOBAL MARKETS-ASIAN SHARES RISE, DOLLAR ON TOP OF THE HEAP > US STOCKS-WALL ST ENDS MIXED, ENERGY SHARES FALL > NIKKEI JUMPS TO 7-MONTH HIGH ON RENEWED "ABENOMICS" HOPES > FOREX-DOLLAR CLIMBS AS YEN, STERLING SAG; EURO OFF LOWS FOR NOW > PRECIOUS-GOLD STRUGGLES NEAR 2-1/2-MTH LOW AS STRONGER DOLLAR WEIGHS > METALS-LONDON COPPER STEADY IN LOW VOLUMES, SUPPLY OUTLOOK DRAGS > BRENT CLIMBS TOWARDS $101, PULLS AWAY FROM 16-MTH LOW COMPANY NEWS: CREDIT SUISSE Credit Suisse said it was investigating allegations of trader misconduct reported in The Wall Street Journal on Tuesday. DANONE Danone said on Tuesday Chairman and Chief Executive Franck Riboud would split his role after 18 years at the helm of the world's largest yoghurt maker, which recently faced a series of setbacks in Asia and in Europe. Riboud, 58, who took over from his late father, Antoine Riboud, in 1996, will remain as chairman and focus on the group's long-term strategy while Emmanuel Faber, 50, the chief operating officer, will become CEO, effective Oct 1. ENEL, ENI Italy will go on with a plan to privatize state-owned companies, but its Prime Minister Matteo Renzi does not see as a priority the sale of stakes in energy companies Eni and Enel, he told financial daily Il Sole 24 Ore. UNICREDIT UniCredit has shortlisted Lone Star and a consortium comprising Italy's Prelios and Fortress Investment Group for the sale of its bad-loan management unit, and is expected to pick a bidder by mid-October, five sources with direct knowledge of the situation said. SANOFI The French drugmaker, developing the first vaccine against dengue fever, said its product reduced disease cases by 60.8 percent in a large final clinical trial. ROLLS-ROYCE HOLDINGS The United Kingdom's Serious Fraud Office plans to make more arrests in its investigation against bribery allegations at jet-engine maker Rolls-Royce, the agency's director David Green said in an interview to Bloomberg. LLOYDS BANKING GROUP The bank is considering having its registered office in London rather than Edinburgh should Scots vote for independence, banking industry sources told Reuters. BIOMERIEUX Diagnostics group bioMérieux reported first half results on Wednesday saying it maintained its target to achieve 2014 contributive operating income before non-recurring items of between 220 million and 245 million euros. GDF SUEZ The regulated gas retail tariffs of France's GDF Suez are expected to increase by 3.9 percent on Oct 1, French daily Le Figaro reports. GDF Suez could not be immediately reached for comment. Since early 2013, regulated gas tariffs change monthly and have been declining by 6.7 percent between January 1 and September 1. KERING Kering, the French luxury group behind the Gucci and Yves Saint Laurent brands, is creating a in-house eyewear division to tighten control over the business and gradually take back all of it licences. PUBLICIS French advertising group Publicis said on Tuesday it had bought global technology consultancy Norun from Quebecor Media for 125 million Canadian dollars. In 2013, Nurun recorded revenue of 139 million Canadian dollars. UNITED INTERNET German internet service provider said on Wednesday it had agreed to acquire buyout group KKR's KKR.N 74.9 percent stake in cable group Versatel for about 586 million euros ($769 million) in cash. JCDECAUX JCDecaux said on Tuesday it has been awarded the main street furniture contract for Stockholm. The financial terms of the 10-year contract were not disclosed. LATECOERE French aerospace supplier Latecoere on Tuesday reported lower first-half operating profit, despite higher revenues as it bore the cost of opening a factory in Mexico and suffered a slowdown in the development of new aircraft. BOURBON The oil services company reported on Wednesday first half results saying strong cost controls helped offset a weak dollar. (Reporting by Blaise Robinson; Editing by Atul Prakash)
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