European Factors to Watch-Shares seen steady; eyes on earnings

jueves 26 de febrero de 2015 03:40 GYT
 

PARIS, Feb 26 (Reuters) - European stocks were seen steady at the open on
Thursday, as investors focused on a flurry of corporate results from blue chips
including Anheuser-Busch InBev, Allianz and Deutsche Telekom
.
    AB InBev, the world's largest brewer, announced a sharply higher dividend
and a $1-billion share buyback on Thursday. It also forecast improved beer sales
in most of its major markets. 
    German insurer Allianz raised its dividend by less than expected after full
year operating and net profit fell short of analysts' expectations in 2014.
 
    About two thirds into Europe's earnings season, 55 percent companies have
met or beaten profit forecasts. Overall, fourth-quarter earnings are expected to
grow by 19.5 percent, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S, which would be
Europe's best season in 3-1/2 years. 
    In mergers and acquisitions on Thursday, Spanish utility Iberdrola 
said it will buy UIL Holdings Corp for about $3 billion as it seeks to
expand in the United States. 
    On the macro front, data showed German consumer sentiment jumped to its
highest level in more than 13 years heading into March as low oil prices
benefited households, freeing up cash for them to spend on other things.
    At 0738 GMT, futures for Euro STOXX 50, for Germany's DAX 
and for France's CAC were up 0.03 to 0.1 percent.
    Greece remains in the spotlight after the country said on Wednesday it will
struggle to make debt repayments to the IMF and the European Central Bank this
year while Germany's finance minister voiced open doubts about Athens'
trustworthiness. 
    
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  MARKET SNAPSHOT AT 0738 GMT: 
                                         LAST   PCT CHG  NET CHG
 S&P 500                             2,113.86   -0.08 %    -1.62
 NIKKEI                              18785.79    1.08 %   200.59
 MSCI ASIA EX-JP                       488.85   -0.17 %    -0.84
 EUR/USD                               1.1355   -0.05 %  -0.0006
 USD/JPY                               118.92    0.07 %   0.0800
 10-YR US TSY YLD                       1.957        --    -0.01
 10-YR BUND YLD                         0.317        --    -0.01
 SPOT GOLD                          $1,211.30    0.57 %    $6.90
 US CRUDE                              $50.66   -0.65 %    -0.33
 
  > GLOBAL MARKETS-SHARES DIP FROM 5-MONTH HIGH, DOLLAR STEADIES 
  > US STOCKS-S&P, NASDAQ EDGE DOWN WITH APPLE; DOW ENDS AT RECORD HIGH 
  > NIKKEI RISES TO FRESH 15-YEAR HIGH AS FED SUPPORTS MOOD 
  > TREASURIES-BOND PRICES RISE AFTER LATEST YELLEN REMARKS, CPI EYED 
  > FOREX-FED DISAPPOINTS DOLLAR BULLS, WEAK DATA KNOCKS AUSSIE DOWN 
  > PRECIOUS-GOLD HOLDS ABOVE $1,200 ON VIEW US RATE RISE WILL BE DELAYED 
  > COPPER CLIMBS TOWARDS 6-WK PEAK AS CHINA TRICKLES IN FROM HOLIDAY 
  > BRENT DROPS TOWARDS $61 AS US CRUDE STOCKS RISE 
    
    COMPANY NEWS:
    
    ANHEUSER-BUSCH INBEV 
    The world's largest brewer, announced a sharply higher dividend and a
$1-billion share buyback on Thursday. It also forecast improved beer sales in
most of its major markets. 
    
    ALLIANZ 
    German insurer raised its dividend by less than expected after full year
operating and net profit fell short of analysts' expectations in 2014. 
    
    IBERDROLA SA 
    Spanish utility will buy UIL Holdings Corp for about $3 billion to
create a new listed power and electric utility and expand in the United States.
 
    
    RBS 
    Royal Bank of Scotland reported a 2014 loss of 3.5 billion pounds ($5.4
billion), hit by a writedown on the value of its U.S. business Citizens and new
charges relating to foreign exchange investigations and mis-selling. RBS, which
is 79 percent-owned by the British taxpayer, also announced the appointment of
ex-financial regulator Howard Davies as its new chairman. 
    
    ENEL 
    The Italian government started selling a 5.74 percent stake in the
state-controlled utility on Wednesday in a deal that could earn it around 2.2
billion euros ($2.5 billion). 
    
    RSA 
    RSA said on Thursday it posted a 2014 pre-tax profit of 275 million pounds
($427.24 million), recovering from a 244 million pound loss in 2013.
 
        
    DEUTSCHE TELEKOM 
    The firm promised to pay a minimum dividend of 0.50 euros per share in the
next four years, which it expects to grow in line with its free cash flow.
 
    
    GDF SUEZ 
    The French gas and power group said recurring income and profit slid last
year as unusually warm weather in Europe hit gas sales and electricity prices in
Europe fell. 
    
    BRITISH AMERICAN TOBACCO 
    British American Tobacco, the world's second-biggest tobacco company,
reported a slightly smaller-than-expected full-year sales decline, as smokers
continued to cut back on the habit. 
    
    VEOLIA 
    The French water and waste group booked a 331 million euro 2014 net profit,
reversing a restated 45.6 million year-earlier loss, as its international
business boomed. 
    
    REED ELSEVIER  
    Anglo Dutch publisher plans to return 500 million pounds ($777 million) to
investors via a share buyback after reporting an as expected 3 percent rise in
full-year underlying sales. 
    
    BAYER 
    Germany's largest drugmaker said it expects underlying core earnings to
increase by a low to medium double-digit percentage this year, as it gets a
boost from new drugs such as stroke prevention pill Xarelto. 
    
    AHOLD 
    The Dutch operator of supermarkets in the United States and Europe, reported
on Thursday a slightly better-than-expected fourth-quarter net income of 219
million euros ($248.85 million) and announced a dividend hike and new share buy
back programme. 
    
    PROSIEBENSAT.1 
    German media group reported a 7.6 percent increase in fourth-quarter core
earnings, driven by new television stations and its HD distribution business.
    
    HSBC 
    The UK tax authority said prosecuting and regulatory agencies would meet
next week to discuss leaks of account information from clients who used a Swiss
subsidiary of HSBC bank to evade tax. 
    
    RBS 
    Royal Bank of Scotland Group PLC is set to confirm the appointment of Howard
Davies as its new chairman on Thursday, a source familiar with the matter told
Reuters. 
    
    ASTRAZENECA 
    The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday approved the use of
Actavis Plc's antibiotic, Avycaz, which is being co-developed with
AstraZeneca, to battle drug-resistant bacteria known as superbugs.
 
    
    THALES 
    Europe's largest defence electronics group posted lower full-year profit on
Thursday after cost overruns on military submarines at its DCNS naval subsidiary
but predicted a return to profitability this year as the unit rights itself.
 
    
    CGG 
    The French seismic group said it would further trim its fleet of seismic
vessels after declining demand from oil and gas clients hit by the falling oil
price led the company to take a $643 million impairment and one-off charges in
the fourth quarter. 
    
    HOCHTIEF 
    German construction group on Thursday targeted a jump of up to 37 percent in
2015 operating profit as a restructuring programme under new Chief Executive
Marcelino Fernandez Verdes takes hold.
    
    SOLVAY 
    Belgian chemicals group on Thursday said it would pay out more to its
shareholders after its core profit for the fourth quarter beat expectations, as
the group was able to raise its prices faster than raw material costs increased.
 
    
    EIFFAGE 
    The French builder expects another rise in profits this year, after tight
cost control and a strong performance at its concessions business helped
operating profit to increase by 2.2 percent in 2014. 
    
    SAINT-GOBAIN 
    Europe's biggest supplier of building materials said it aims to improve
underlying operating profit this year and save a further 400 million euros.
 
    
    SKY 
    Sky Sports has agreed to a four-year deal to broadcast live Major League
Soccer, the British broadcaster and North American league said on Wednesday.
 
    
    TOTAL 
    The management of the French oil major has not confirmed the shutdown of all
refining activities at its La Mede platform during a meeting with unions this
week, a spokesman said. 
    
    SOCIETE GENERALE 
    The French bank said it would exercise its option to buy 50 percent of
Antarius, an insurance company dedicated to the Credit du Nord networks.
 
    
    HOCHTIEF 
    German construction group on Thursday targeted a jump of up to 37 percent in
2015 operating profit as a restructuring programme under new Chief Executive
Marcelino Fernandez Verdes takes hold. 
    

 (Reporting by Blaise Robinson; Editing by Alistair Smout)