Europe Factors to Watch-Shares set to halt pull-back ahead of PMIs
PARIS, March 4 (Reuters) - European stocks were set to inch up on Wednesday, halting the previous session's pull-back as investors awaited a batch of macro data on the euro zone, including French and German services PMIs for February. Data released earlier showed activity in China's services sector grew modestly in February as new orders rose at their quickest pace in three months, with The HSBC/Markit Services PMI picking up to 52.0 last month from January's 51.8. At 0746 GMT, futures for Euro STOXX 50, for Germany's DAX and for France's CAC were up 0.1-0.3 percent. The STOXX 600 ended down 1 percent on Tuesday. The benchmark has risen 13 percent so far in 2015 -- its strongest start to the year since the index was created in late 1986 and the best performance among all asset classes - prompting a number of analysts and fund managers to warn about the risk of a correction in the short term. "Tactically, Europe is in overshooting mode," Michael Riesner, head of equity technical analysis at UBS, wrote in a note. "The STOXX 600 is almost record high overbought, and in the last 40 years we had just two rallies with a similar steep shape, which was 1998 and 2000." ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ MARKET SNAPSHOT AT 0746 GMT: LAST PCT CHG NET CHG S&P 500 2,107.78 -0.45 % -9.61 NIKKEI 18703.6 -0.59 % -111.56 MSCI ASIA EX-JP 486.99 -0.39 % -1.93 EUR/USD 1.1172 -0.02 % -0.0002 USD/JPY 119.67 -0.04 % -0.0500 10-YR US TSY YLD 2.135 -- 0.01 10-YR BUND YLD 0.384 -- 0.02 SPOT GOLD $1,205.15 0.15 % $1.84 US CRUDE $50.59 0.14 % 0.07 > GLOBAL MARKETS-SHARES DRIFT LOWER, INDIA SURPRISES WITH RATE CUT > US STOCKS-WALL ST FALLS FROM RECORDS, LED BY TECHNOLOGY STOCKS > NIKKEI SLIPS AS WALL ST FALL TRIGGERS PROFIT TAKING > TREASURIES-BOND PRICES SLIP ON CORPORATE SUPPLY; U.S. DATA EYED > FOREX-DOLLAR CLINGS NEAR 11-YEAR HIGH AHEAD OF U.S. DATA, ECB > PRECIOUS-GOLD SNAPS 2-DAY LOSING STREAK AS DOLLAR DIPS; DATA IN FOCUS > METALS-NICKEL NEAR MORE THAN ONE-YEAR LOWS AS BULLS CUT LOSSES > BRENT HOLDS ABOVE $60 AFTER SAUDI PRICE INCREASES COMPANY NEWS: FRESNILLO The precious metals miner said its full-year pretax profit dropped 40 percent, hurt by falling gold and silver prices. LEGAL & GENERAL The insurer said on Wednesday its operating profit rose 10 percent in 2014 to 1.28 billion pounds ($1.96 billion), with company pension deals boosting sales of annuities. SUBSEA 7 The oil services firm surprisingly swung to a fourth-quarter operating loss hit by impairments on Wednesday, and said it expected this year's earnings to decline due difficult market conditions. Due the weak market outlook the firm said it expected 2015 revenues and EBITDA margin to be significantly lower than last year. It also said it will not recommend a dividend. ALLIANZ Pimco's top investment officer said on Tuesday that "late decision makers" are largely behind a rush of withdrawals from its flagship bond fund some five months after the departure of longtime manager Bill Gross, but the outflows should taper off before long. AREVA, EDF The French state-controlled nuclear group said its new strategy would focus on its core nuclear business, boosting its partnership with utility EDF and developing its presence in China. STALLERGENES The controlling shareholder of Stallergenes proposed to merge the operations of the French pharmaceuticals group with that of its U.S. partner Greer to create a specialist in allergy immunotherapy with combined sales of 330 million euros. RENAULT Synergies between French carmaker Renault and Japanese partner Nissan reached 3.9 billion euros in 2014, said Christian Mardrus, vice chairman of the alliance between the two companies. PSA PEUGEOT CITROEN The French carmaker may expand sales of its C4 Cactus compact SUV to China, a senior executive said, in a sign that a repositioning of the Citroen brand is bearing fruit. ENEL The Italian utility has attracted interest from four European energy companies in its offer of a controlling stake in Slovak power generator Slovenske Elektrarne, with binding bids expected as early as April, three sources close to the matter said. DEUTSCHE BANK Deutsche Bank's integration of its Postbank DPBGn.DE unit is not proceeding as smoothly as company bosses might suggest, with Postbank managers stopping one project to transfer investment systems, Die Welt newspaper reports. ABERTIS British private equity firm CVC Capital Partners is halving its stake in Spanish infrastructure firm Abertis, by selling 7.5 percent of the company in an accelerated book build. HENKEL German consumer goods group on Wednesday posted a 3.1 percent increase in its fourth-quarter adjusted operating profit, largely in line with estimates, thanks to cost savings and emerging markets demand for washing powder, beauty products and industrial adhesives. ROYAL BANK OF SCOTLAND Royal Bank of Scotland is aiming to cut as many as 14,000 jobs in its investment banking units across the United States and Asia, the Financial Times reported. NORWEGIAN AIR Europe's third-biggest budget airline, will cancel all domestic flights in Norway, Sweden and Denmark on Wednesday and between the countries' capitals due to the escalation of a pilots' strike. (Reporting by Blaise Robinson)
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