European Factors to Watch-Shares seen edging higher, focus on miners
(Updates futures prices, adds company news) LONDON, April 15 (Reuters) - European shares headed for a slightly higher open on Wednesday, with investors seen focusing on banks and miners on expectations of emergency funding for Greece's banks and after China's growth data raised hopes of further policy support. China grew at its slowest pace in six years at the start of 2015 and weakness in key sectors suggested the world's second-largest economy was still losing momentum, intensifying Beijing's struggle to find the right policy mix to shore up activity. Retail sales, industrial output and fixed asset investment data released with the GDP figures all missed analyst expectations. Growth in fixed-asset investment (FAI), a key economic driver in China, was the slowest since 2000, while industrial output grew at its weakest since the global financial crisis in 2008. At 0631 GMT, futures for the Euro STOXX 50, Germany's DAX and France's CAC were 0.1 to 0.2 percent higher. Investors will also keep an eye on a meeting of the European Central Bank, which may sanction possible further emergency funding for Greece's banks on Wednesday amid the first clear signs that the wider euro zone economy is picking up. The ECB's borrowing rates are all but certain to be held at record lows when policymakers meet, but continued wrangling between Greece and the euro zone over reforms for aid is casting uncertainty over the 19-country currency bloc. A banking source told Reuters on Tuesday that the ECB has raised the cap on emergency liquidity assistance (ELA) that Greek banks can draw from the country's central bank by 800 million euros ($849.9 million), taking the ELA ceiling to 74 billion euros. The FTSEurofirst 300 index of top European shares ended 0.5 percent lower in the previous session, while U.S. stocks closed 0.2 to 0.3 percent stronger. COMPANY NEWS NOKIA, ALCATEL-LUCENT Finnish network equipment maker Nokia said on Wednesday it had agreed to buy Alcatel-Lucent in an all-share transaction that values the smaller French rival at 15.6 billion euros ($16.58 billion). ASML HOLDING ASML, a key supplier to top global semiconductor makers, on Wednesday reported first quarter earnings of 403 million euros ($428 million), in line with analyst forecasts of 402 million euros. DANONE The company said underlying first-quarter sales rose 4.8 percent, beating expectations, driven by a recovery in baby food sales in Asia and robust growth in waters. NESTLE The company said it is in exclusive talks to sell its frozen food unit Davigel to Brakes Group, owned by buyout fund Bain Capital, as part of a drive to trim its sprawling portfolio. EXOR, PARTNERRE Italian holding company Exor, which controls carmaker Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, offered $6.4 billion in cash to buy Bermuda-based reinsurer PartnerRe, trumping an all-share deal with Axis Capital Holdings Ltd AXS.N. DEUTSCHE BANK Deutsche Bank management has decided that cost-cuts alone are not an option for the bank's restructuring and is looking at whether to divest all retail banking or just its Postbank DPBGn.DE arm, sources familiar with the matter said. BURBERRY British luxury goods maker Burberry posted a 9 percent rise in first-half underlying sales on Wednesday, with strong trading in the United States and Europe helping to make up for weakness in major markets such as Hong Kong. DRILLISCH, DIXONS CARPHONE German mobile telephone company Drillisch agreed to buy telecoms shop chain The Phone House Deutschland from Dixons Carphone for a combination of shares and future cash flows. EDENRED The French vouchers and prepaid cards group posted a 10.2 percent rise in first-quarter revenue thanks to a strong performance in Latin America, a recovering Europe and a slightly stronger Brazilian real. SIKA Sika won support to foil a sale of a majority stake to France's Saint-Gobain at an investor meeting on Tuesday, though a lengthy court and regulatory battle for control of the Swiss chemicals firm still looms. For more, click on AREVA The French nuclear group said it plans to relocate its engineering and development activities at Offenbach, near Frankfurt, to its manufacturing sites and testing facilities in Erlangen and Karlstein by mid-2016 at the latest. This would lead to unspecified structural savings, Areva said. FIAT CHRYSLER AUTOMOBILES The carmaker said on Tuesday it had closed its $3 billion debt offering. BANCA MONTE DEI PASCHI DI SIENA Glass Lewis has proposed investors vote in favour of a 3 billion euro capital increase the bank is planning, according to a report by the proxy advisor seen by Reuters on Tuesday. Monte dei Paschi's chairman said on Tuesday the bank has had no contact with UBI Banca on a possible tie-up. UBI BANCA The chief executive of UBI Banca said on Tuesday there were no contacts with Monte dei Paschi di Siena over a possible tie-up and said he was in no rush to take part in industry consolidation. ENEL The telecommunications watchdog said on Tuesday it had received no plan from Enel regarding access to the utility's network by telecoms operators. On Monday sources said Enel was considering entering the broadband telecommunications market. Some newspapers said it had sent a plan to the watchdog. ASTRAZENECA AstraZeneca's diabetes drug Onglyza and Takeda Pharmaceutical Co.'s rival product Nesina should carry information about the risk of heart failure, an advisory committee to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said on Tuesday. BP Negotiations were continuing on Tuesday between company representatives and striking United Steelworkers union (USW) members from BP's Whiting, Indiana, refinery. REMY COINTREAU French spirits group Remy Cointreau kept its target to deliver underlying growth in full-year operating profit after cognac sales jumped in the fourth quarter, helped by demand for upscale products in the United States and New Year celebrations in China. U.S. COMPANIES REPORTING : Q1 2015 Bank of America Corp Q1 2015 U.S. Bancorp Q1 2015 SanDisk Corp Q1 2015 Delta Air Lines Inc Q1 2015 Netflix Inc Q1 2015 PNC Financial Services Group Inc Q1 2015 Charles Schwab Corp MACROECONOMIC DATA/EVENTS : DE CPI Final FR CPI FInal EZ Eurostat Trade US Mortagage Market Index EZ ECB Deposit rate US Industrial Output ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ MARKET SNAPSHOT AT 0611 GMT LAST PCT CHG NET CHG S&P 500 2,095.84 0.16 % 3.41 NIKKEI 19869.76 -0.2 % -38.92 MSCI ASIA EX-JP 510.03 -0.36 % -1.83 EUR/USD 1.0629 -0.22 % -0.0023 USD/JPY 119.63 0.23 % 0.2700 10-YR US TSY YLD 1.886 -- -0.02 10-YR BUND YLD 0.139 -- 0.00 SPOT GOLD $1,193.81 0.06 % $0.73 US CRUDE $53.55 0.49 % 0.26 > Asia stocks falter as China loses its mojo > Wall Street ends higher after bounce in oil prices > Nikkei flat in choppy trade; investors pause after recent rally > Yields drop as retail sales miss expectations > Dollar takes back some ground lost on U.S. retail sales miss > Gold slips as dollar bounces back from US data hit > London copper steady as weak China growth boosts stimulus hopes > Oil prices rise after signs of U.S. production dip (Reporting by Atul Prakash; Editing by Francesco Canepa)
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