European Factors to Watch-Shares seen rising; DAX eyes 9th weekly gain
(Adds futures, further company news, detail) LONDON, March 13 (Reuters) - European shares were seen opening higher on Friday, setting up Germany's Dax index for its longest streak of weekly gains since 1998, after a broad rally on Wall Street overnight. Futures for the Euro STOXX 50 equity index, Germany's DAX and France's CAC were between 0.3 percent and 0.4 percent higher by 0713 GMT. Banking shares were set to be in the spotlight as legal and regulatory issues continued to eat into the sector's profits. Swiss bank UBS said on Friday it had revised fourth-quarter net profit attributable to shareholders down by 105 million Swiss francs ($104.31 million), primarily because it increased legal reserves to 3.05 billion francs. Commerzbank saw its 2014 net profit plunge to 264 million euros from a previously reported 602 million euros after it booked additional charges to complete a $1.45 billion settlement with U.S. authorities over alleged sanctions violations. The DAX was set for its ninth consecutive weekly gain, the longest winning streak in 17 years. The CAC was also up on the week, which has seen euro zone shares boosted by a fall in the common currency to a 12-year low against the dollar. The FTSE, however, was down 2.2 percent from last Friday's close. COMPANY NEWS UBS Swiss bank UBS said on Friday it had revised fourth-quarter net profit attributable to shareholders down by 105 million Swiss francs ($104.31 million), primarily because it increased legal reserves to 3.05 billion francs. COMMERZBANK Commerzbank saw its 2014 net profit plunge to 264 million euros from a previously reported 602 million euros after it booked additional charges to complete a $1.45 billion settlement with U.S. authorities over alleged sanctions violations. THYSSENKRUPP ThyssenKrupp has attracted interest from buyout groups and peer Aperam for its high-performance alloy unit VDM as it tries to shed unwanted assets from a complex deal, sources said. VOLKSWAGEN Volkswagen is in talks to sell a 50 percent stake in financing arm LeasePlan to a consortium including the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, a source familiar with the plan said, as the carmaker cuts costs and refocuses its business. UK UTILITIES Opposition and Labour party leader Ed Miliband will reiterate his plans to empower the energy regulator to force utility companies to cut bills in line with falling energy prices if he wins May's general election, according to British media. GLAXOSMITHKLINE GlaxoSmithKline has raised $853 million via a partial sale of Aspen Pharmacare shares. ROYAL DUTCH SHELL The United Steelworkers union and oil companies have reached a tentative deal to end the largest U.S. refinery strike in 35 years, the labor group and people familiar with the negotiations said on Thursday. The lead negotiator for the companies is Royal Dutch Shell. Royal Dutch Shell has abandoned two natural gas exploration wells in eastern Ukraine after they were deemed uneconomical, the oil major said on Thursday. UK BANKS Britain's banks and other lenders have paid out 18 billion pounds ($27 billion) to compensate borrowers mis-sold payment protection insurance (PPI), after paying out 339 million pounds in December, the financial regulator said. TOD'S The luxury group reported an 18 percent fall in core profits on Thursday and said still weak Chinese consumer spending and cold weather in North America had also hit sales at the start of 2015. ENEL GREEN POWER Enel Green Power expects to complete the sale of a minority stake in a portfolio of renewable energy assets in North America by the end of this month, according to slides shown by the company in presenting its full-year results on Thursday. Italy's biggest renewable energy company said its net profit in 2014 fell 32 percent to 359 million euros ($381 million), impacted by an impairment on its Greek assets. SALVATORE FERRAGAMO The Italian luxury group sees as reasonable a market consensus estimate for a 10 percent rise in 2015 sales including the impact of currencies, Chief Financial Officer Ernesto Greco told an analyst call on Thursday. The company reported a bigger-than-expected 13 percent rise in core profit last year and said the first few months of 2015 supported expectations of further growth this year. AUTOGRILL The Italian airport and motorway caterer said on Thursday it had signed a new loan agreement for 600 million euros ($636 million) to repay revolving credit facilities maturing in 2016 and to finance other group activities. The company is always looking for acquisitions, but does not expect anything to happen anytime soon, Chief Executive Gianmario Tondato Da Ruos said on Thursday. MONDADORI, RCS MEDIAGROUP Mondadori CEO Ernesto Mauri said the company's offer for RCS MediaGroup's book unit could be financed through debt if it is in the 120-150 million euros range. He later clarified that he gave the offer range only in reference to media reports. FIAT CHRYSLER AUTOMOBILES The company is open to a combination with General Motors or Ford and a deal with one of its U.S. counterparts would be "technically feasible", CEO Sergio Marchionne told Bloomberg in an interview. He added that there were no substantive talks between FCA and any of the two companies. EXOR Real estate group Cushman & Wakefield, in which Exor holds an 80.91 percent stake, reported a 33.3 percent rise in 2014 adjusted net profit to $61.6 million, Exor said in a statement on Thursday. AXA The French insurer said it planned to raise its stake in a joint venture with Bharti Enterprises to 49 percent. AREVA, EDF Nuclear energy group Areva is in talks to enlist the help of state-owned power utility EDF complete a troubled reactor project in Finland, Le Figaro reported. AEROPORTS DE PARIS The operator of Paris Charles de Gaulle and Orly airports said passenger traffic rose 2.8 pecent in February. FIMALAC The French financial services holding company said it had completed the sale of 30 percent of Fitch Group to Hearst Corp. for $1.99 billion, retaining a 20 percent stake. SABADELL : The bank is considering a 1.5 billion euro ($1.6 billion) capital hike to help fund the possible purchase of British bank TSB, a banking source with knowledge of the matter said late Thursday. SPANISH BANKS The Andorra government dismissed the board of Banca Privada d'Andorra (BPA) on Thursday, two days after taking control of the lender to investigate U.S. allegations of money laundering. MAJOR EUROPEAN COMPANIES REPORTING: Full Year 2014 Eni SpA Earnings Release Full Year 2014 Fincantieri SpA Earnings Release Full Year 2014 Polyus Gold International Ltd Earnings Release Full Year 2014 GfK SE Earnings Release Half Year 2014 J D Wetherspoon PLC Earnings Release Full Year 2014 Independent News & Media PLC Earnings Release Q4 2014 Groupe Bruxelles Lambert S.A. Earnings Release MAJOR MACROECONOMIC DATA/EVENTS (GMT) : 1230 US PPI Feb 1400 US Michigan sentiment prelim March > ASIAN SHARES EDGE UP, SET FOR WEEKLY LOSSES > WALL ST BOUNCES BACK IN BROAD RALLY; BANK SHARES GAIN > NIKKEI RISES AFTER FANUC JUMPS ON BETTER INVESTOR RELATIONS PLAN > PRICES EASE AS RALLY SPUTTERS AFTER BOND AUCTION > DOLLAR HITS SPEED BUMPS, EURO GETS SOME REPRIEVE > GOLD FIRMS ABOVE $1,150 ON SOFTER DOLLAR; EYES WEEKLY DROP > COPPER HITS 10-DAY HIGH ON CHINA DEMAND PROSPECTS > BRENT HOLDS ABOVE $57 ON BARGAIN HUNTING, WEAKER DOLLAR (Reporting By Francesco Canepa; Editing by Alistair Smout)
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