European Factors to Watch-Shares seen steady, focus on U.S. jobs
(Adds futures prices, company news) LONDON, March 6 (Reuters) - European equities headed for a steady open on Friday after recent sharp gains, with investors seen reluctant to place strong bets before a U.S. jobs report that could provide hints about the timing of a U.S. rate hike. A Reuters survey of economists forecast a 240,000 increase in non-farm payrolls after a 257,000 gain in January. That would mark the 12th straight month of job increases above 200,000, the longest such run since 1994. "If we see a pickup in wage growth as well, the bulls may get nervous that the Fed will start prepping markets for a summer rate hike at the March meeting," Jonathan Sudaria, dealer at London Capital Group, said in a note. In Europe, German industrial output rose more than expected in January, a further sign that Europe's largest economy had a strong start to 2015. At 0719 GMT, futures for the Euro STOXX 50 were flat, Germany's DAX futures rose 0.15 percent and France's CAC futures were down 0.07 percent. The FTSEurofirst 300 index of top European shares ended 0.8 percent higher at 1,569.48 points in the previous session. It headed for a fifth straight week of gains. COMPANY NEWS COMMERZBANK Commerzbank AG is nearing an agreement to pay U.S. authorities more than $1.4 billion to settle alleged violations of U.S. sanctions and a separate probe that stemmed from transactions linked to an Olympus Corp accounting scandal, according to two people close to the case. AREVA Standard & Poor's cut the credit rating of Areva two notches deeper into non-investment grade status after the French nuclear group posted a record loss and warned of deteriorating cash flows. VOLKSWAGEN The German carmaker will next week announce an investment worth around $1 billion in Mexico to expand its Puebla plant, a person familiar with the matter said on Thursday. PSA PEUGEOT CITROEN, GEMALTO The French carmaker will return to the CAC-40 index on March 23 as the digital security firm exits, stock market operator Euronext said. BANCO BPI, CAIXABANK The bank's board of directors recommended on Thursday that shareholders reject a takeover bid by Spain's Caixabank, saying an adequate bid price would be 2.26 euros per share, far above the bid price of 1.329 euros. BHP BILLITON An Australian senator called for an inquiry into suspected foreign bribery at top companies including miner BHP Billiton saying the country needs tighter enforcement against corruption. VINCI, EIFFAGE French toll road operators expect to end a long-running dispute with the government next week through an emerging compromise deal, a source close to the companies said. BANKIA Spanish lender Bankia is selling a package of loans secured against 49 hotels and hopes to raise 400 million euros with the deal, El Confidencial reported on Friday, citing sources familiar with the situation. DEUTSCHE TELEKOM The telecoms operator said it had appointed new executives at its Telekom Deutschland unit. Michael Hagspuhl is now head of private clients, and Hagen Rickmann as head of business clients. Separately, Telekom said BlackRock Financial exceeded the 5 percent threshold of voting rights on March 2, and on that day had to 5.06 percent. THOMAS COOK GROUP Chinese conglomerate Fosun International said it has bought a 5 percent stake in British travel group Thomas Cook Group, deepening its foray into Europe's tourism sector after buying French holiday maker Club Med last month. SCOR Japan's Sompo Japan Nipponkoa Insurance has agreed to purchase about 15 percent of the French reinsurer, Nikkei reported. The Paris-based company had no immediate comment. WENDEL, BUREAU VERITAS The French investment group said it had sold 10.9 percent of certification group Bureau Veritas in a placement that raised about 1 billion euros. E.ON, MAINOVA E.ON said on Friday the future of its Irsching gas-fired plant beyond March 2016 was in doubt due to an ongoing crisis in the power sector that has pushed many of the company's plants into loss. Irsching 4 is fully owned by E.ON while Irsching 5 is also part-owned by local utilities Mainova, N-Ergie and HSE. DEUTSCHE POST Deutsche Post's DHL Express unit will invest 85 million euros ($93.68 million) to expand its logistics centre in Singapore. The new logistics centre will be operational in the first quarter of 2016. SIEMENS German industrial group Siemens will house its German healthcare operations in a standalone unit in the form of a GmbH legal entity on May 1, two sources with knowledge of the matter said. UBS UBS France bullied a former worker who said she had refused to destroy documents that might have been of interest to tax evasion investigators, a Paris labour tribunal ruled on Thursday. U.S. COMPANIES REPORTING : Q4 2014 Staples, Inc. MACROECONOMIC DATA/EVENTS (GMT) : 0745 FR Trade 1000 EZ Revised GDP 1330 US Non-farm payrolls 1330 US International Trade 1530 US ECRI Weekly ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ MARKET SNAPSHOT AT 0613 GMT: LAST PCT CHG NET CHG S&P 500 2,101.04 0.12 % 2.51 NIKKEI 18971 1.17 % 219.16 MSCI ASIA EX-JP 485.12 0.34 % 1.66 EUR/USD 1.1019 -0.08 % -0.0009 USD/JPY 120.04 -0.07 % -0.0900 10-YR US TSY YLD 2.117 -- 0.01 10-YR BUND YLD 0.343 -- -0.01 SPOT GOLD $1,198.74 0.05 % $0.54 US CRUDE $50.95 0.37 % 0.19 > DOLLAR REVVED UP FOR JOBS DATA, NIKKEI HITS A HIGH > WALL ST CLOSES UP SLIGHTLY AHEAD OF JOBS REPORT > NIKKEI HITS FRESH 15-YR HIGH ON ECB; FAMILYMART FALLS ON MERGER TALKS > BOND PRICES MOSTLY FLAT AHEAD OF U.S. JOBS REPORT > U.S. JOBS DATA NEXT TEST FOR BULLISH DOLLAR, EURO STRUGGLES > GOLD HOVERS NEAR $1,200, SET FOR WEEKLY DIP ON ROBUST DOLLAR > COPPER EYES SMALL WEEKLY LOSS AS STRONGER DOLLAR DRAGS > BRENT CLIMBS ABOVE $61 ON MIDEAST SUPPLY CONCERNS (Reporting by Atul Prakash)
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