Europe Factors to Watch-Shares set to inch higher as euro dips
PARIS, April 13 (Reuters) - European stocks were set to inch higher on Monday, adding to last week's sharp gains as weakness in the euro fuelled expectation of a bounce in the region's corporate profits. The euro traded at $1.0592, down 0.1 percent on the day after having touched a 3 1/2-week low of $1.0567 to record its fifth straight day of losses on Friday. Investors have been dumping the single currency as the European Central Bank's asset-buying programme launched last month has been driving down euro zone bond yields to negative levels in many countries. Data from U.S. financial watchdog showed late on Friday speculators' net short position against the euro remained near record high. Greece will be eyed again on Monday after euro zone sources told the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung that they were shocked at Greece's failure to outline plans for structural reforms at last week's talks in Brussels. A meeting of deputy finance ministers on Thursday gave Athens a six working day deadline to present revised economic reform plans before euro zone finance ministers meet on April 24 to consider unlocking emergency funding to keep Greece afloat. At 0725 GMT, futures for Euro STOXX 50, for Germany's DAX and for France's CAC were up 0.05-0.10 percent. Futures for FTSE 100 were down 0.3 percent, with heavyweight miners set to feel the pinch from poor Chinese macro figures. Data showed China's export sales contracted 15 percent in March while import shipments fell at their sharpest rate since the 2009 global financial crisis, a shock outcome that deepens concern about sputtering Chinese economic growth. Citigroup analysts wrote in a note on Monday iron ore will fall to $36 a tonne in the third quarter and stay below $40 for the rest of the year as big miners boost supply even further and China's demand declines. Iron ore prices for future delivery have slid 30 percent in the space of a month, and the outlook for the commodity is now more bearish than oil and more dire than ever for miners struggling to just stay in business. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ MARKET SNAPSHOT AT 0624 GMT: LAST PCT CHG NET CHG S&P 500 2,102.06 0.52 % 10.88 NIKKEI 19905.46 -0.01 % -2.17 MSCI ASIA EX-JP 512.51 0.38 % 1.94 EUR/USD 1.0596 -0.06 % -0.0006 USD/JPY 120.35 0.12 % 0.1400 10-YR US TSY YLD 1.937 -- -0.02 10-YR BUND YLD 0.149 -- -0.01 SPOT GOLD $1,204.70 -0.24 % -$2.95 US CRUDE $51.71 0.14 % 0.07 > GLOBAL MARKETS-Asian shares have a lacklustre start to the week > GE sparks broad Wall St rally; indexes post weekly gains > Nikkei steady as investors pause after rally; automakers, insurers down > TREASURIES-Prices edge up as investors look to slew of data next week > FOREX-Euro on defensive on yield pressure, Greece concerns > Gold holds above $1,200, but U.S. rate hike worries weigh > London copper steady as import jump offsets weak China data > Oil edges up as financial traders bet on higher prices COMPANY NEWS: VOLKSWAGEN The carmaker has plunged into a full-blown leadership crisis after Chief Executive Martin Winterkorn let it be known on Saturday he will fight for his job even though the chairman has reportedly withdrawn confidence in the CEO. STATOIL Norwegian energy firm Statoil may cut more than 10 percent of its workforce to reduce costs and could announce the layoffs in May, business daily Dagens Naeringsliv said on Monday. TGS Seismic explorer TGS cut its full-year revenue guidance on Monday and said it would lay off 10 percent of its workforce in April as the market for seismic oil and gas data has deteriorated. SIEMENS The industrial group has seen sales in Russia plunge by about half due to the country's economic demise, Bild am Sonntag reported, citing Chief Executive Joe Kaeser. ABERTIS Spanish infrastructure company Abertis is eying potential acquisitions after the public offering of its unit Cellnex, including Spain's Itinere and the Italian highway Serenissima, Expansion said on Monday citing sources close to the company. TDC Danish telecom company is conducting a strategic review of its TDC Hosting business, it said on Monday. JULIUS BAER, CREDIT SUISSE Julius Baer has not held talks with larger rival Credit Suisse about merging, the Swiss private bank's chief executive said in comments made in the weekly Schweiz am Sonntag. VIVENDI, LAGARDERE French media group Vivendi, with cash to spend after selling a chunk of its business, has no plans to bid for smaller rival Lagardere, a spokesman said. BOUYGUES Property group Thanlyin Estate Development has chosen a consortium, including Dragages Singapore, a subsidiary of Bouygues Construction, for the design and construction of a new phase of Star City. Contract is worth total of $125 million (about 110 million euros), of which Bouygues Construction's share is valued at about 65 million euros. BANCA MONTE DEI PASCHI DI SIENA The Italian lender said on Friday it had overstepped regulatory limits with regards to its financial exposure to Japanese bank Nomura 8604.T, in a surprise disclosure that could raise questions about whether its plans to raise capital and seek a buyer are on track. ITALY'S POPOLARI BANKS Italy's biggest cooperative banks are bracing for a wave of mergers following a government reform that forces them to convert into joint stock companies within 18 months. AIRBUS The firm will not abandon its A380 jumbo jet programme despite slow sales, its chief executive told Les Echos newspaper, and needs more time to decide whether to redesign its engines as major customer Emirates Airline has requested. DASSAULT AVIATION Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has ordered 36 "ready-to-fly" Rafale fighter jets made by Dassault Aviation to modernise his country's ageing warplane fleet as neighbouring states upgraded their military hardware. ALCATEL-LUCENT The shares of Alcatel-Lucent jumped on Friday after it emerged that rival Nokia is considering selling its maps business known as 'HERE'. Some investors believe Nokia could use the proceeds to bid for Alcatel-Lucent or its wireless business. SUEZ ENVIRONNEMENT Argentina will appeal an order by international arbitrators that it pay Suez Environnement $405 million in damages relating to the termination of a water management contract, its economy minister said on Friday. (Reporting by Blaise Robinson; Editing by Sudip Kar-Gupta)
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