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LONDON, Feb 18 (Reuters) - European equity indexes were seen opening slightly higher on Wednesday, buoyed by fresh optimism that Greece would reach an agreement with its lenders.
Futures for the Euro STOXX 50 equity index, Germany's DAX, France's CAC and Britain's FTSE were up between 0.3 percent and 0.7 percent at 0726 GMT.
A source close to the government said Greece intends to ask on Wednesday for an extension for up to six months of a loan agreement with the euro zone, on conditions to be negotiated.
The report helped the U.S. S&P 500 index end above 2,100 at another record high on Tuesday, with Asian shares also rising.
"Greece is driving the market today," a senior trader in Milan said. "U.S. markets briefly ripped... and Asia is up on the same piece of news."
Mergers & acquisition activity could provide further support. Vivendi said on Wednesday it has received a binding offer from Altice and Numericable-SFR for its 20 percent stake in Numericable-SFR.
As tensions between Russian and Ukraine continued, with a peace deal reached last week all but unravelling, Danish brewer Carlsberg said its fourth quarter operating profit fell by 22 percent due to weakness in Russia, one of its top markets. The firm also said its chief executive would leave in June. [ID:nL5N0VR2R8
The oil sector was also set to be in focus after Italian oil and gas group Eni said it would cut capital spending this year due to a sharp fall in oil prices while French oil services firm Technip raised its dividends, helped by an increase in orders.
Vivendi said on Wednesday that it received a binding offer from Altice and Numericable-SFR on Feb. 17 worth around 3.9 billion euros ($4.45 billion) for its 20 percent stake in Numericable-SFR.
The Italian oil and gas group said on Wednesday it would cut capital spending this year after its net profit in the fourth quarter fell 64 percent on the year due to the sharp fall in oil prices.
The Swiss speciality chemicals maker said it would not achieve a key margin target in 2015, as it posted a year-on-year rise in quarterly net profit. For more click on
The carmaker took a step towards its recovery goals, raising its key cash-flow objective after strong China sales and a market upturn in Europe helped it to beat expectations for 2014.
Danish brewer Carlsberg said its fourth quarter operating profit fell by 22 percent due to weakness in Russia, one of its top markets, and its chief executive would leave the firm in June.
Carlsberg's operating profit before special items dropped to 1.79 billion crowns ($275.9 million) from 2.3 billion crowns a year ago, missing analysts' expectation for 1.93 billion crowns in a Reuters poll.
For more on the company, click on
The bank has given itself until the end of next week to decide on a new CEO, it said as it posted a 13 percent increase in quarterly profit.
The French oil services group said it would raise dividends by 8 percent and posted a 20.6 percent rise in adjusted core profit for the fourth quarter as an increase in orders helped it defy a sector slowdown due to weak oil prices.
Toll road operator Abertis posted on Wednesday a 6.2 percent rise in full-year net profit to 655 million euros ($746 million), although it missed analysts' forecast as it was hit by weaker currencies in Brazil, Chile and Argentina.
The bottling company reported a fall in fourth quarter profit, saying that it saw a "challenging" year ahead.
The insurer announced the sale of its 26 pct holding in Indian insurer Royal Sundaram Alliance Insurance Co Ltd to its joint venture partner Sundaram Finance Ltd, saying it expects to receive cash consideration of approximately 46 million pounds ($70.59 million).
The French cement group took a 385 million euro charge for impairment of assets in Syria and Iraq, and said it saw cement market growth of between 2 and 5 percent in 2015 with growth coming mainly in emerging markets.
Europe's largest hotelier said it achieved an 11.7 percent like-for-like rise in 2014 operating profit, driven by robust demand in Europe and in emerging markets.
France is in the "final stage" of negotiations to sell up to 36 Rafale warplanes to Qatar, a senior French source involved in the discussions said on Tuesday. Manufacturer Dassault Aviation is also in talks aimed at supplying 16 of the multi-role combat jets to Malaysia and has resumed discussions over potential fighter sales to the United Arab Emirates (UAE), the source said.
The Spanish utility said on Tuesday it would propose cancelling up to 2.32 percent of its own shares.
Rolls-Royce Motor Cars will develop a sports utility vehicle (SUV) in a major diversification for the 111-year-old British brand known for its luxury limousines, entering a segment where rivals have already pushed ahead.
Britain's biggest retailer has named John Allan as its new chairman, succeeding Richard Broadbent who said in October he would step down in the wake of the supermarket's 263 million pounds ($403 million) profit overstatement.
British mobile-banking software maker said it was in constructive discussions after putting itself up for sale last month, sending its shares up as much as 16 percent.
The chemicals group and Petronas Chemicals Group Berhad (PCG) )will build a new world-scale production plant for 2-Ethylhexanoic Acid (2-EHAcid) at the site of their existing joint venture, BASF PETRONAS Chemicals, in Kuantan, Malaysia, the companies said on Wednesday.
CEO Gordon Riske sold 137,900 shares in the company for a total of 4.95 million euros to repay a loan he took on when he invested in a leveraged buyout in 2007, the forklift truck maker said on Tuesday.
German automotive supplier Norma's adjusted operating profit rose 6 percent in the fourth quarter, thanks to strong sales driven by currency translation effects and an acquisition.
BMO Q4 2014 Garmin Ltd
AMC Q4 2014 Marriott International Inc
0930 GB BoE MPM minutes Feb
0930 GB Claimant count Jan
1330 US Buildng permits Jan
1330 US PPI Jan
1415 US Industrial output Jan
> ASIA SHARES RISE ON REDUCED GREEK PESSIMISM, DOLLAR FIRM > S&P 500 ENDS AT RECORD HIGH ON GREECE HOPES, AS BONDS DROP > NIKKEI RISES TO FRESH 8-YEAR HIGH ON U.S. RALLY > YIELDS ADVANCE BROADLY ON FED RATE HIKE OUTLOOK > EURO SUPPORTED BY HOPES FOR GREEK DEBT DEAL; YEN AWAITS KURODA > GOLD NEAR 6-WEEK LOW AS EQUITIES RECOVER, CHINA ON HOLIDAY > LONDON COPPER TICKS UP WITH EURO; CHINA ON HOLIDAY > OIL PRICES DIP AFTER STRONG RALLY EARLIER THIS WEEK
$1 = 0.9353 Swiss francs Reporting By Francesco Canepa; Editing by Alistair Smout