European Factors to Watch- Shares seen edging higher on Chinese boost
(Adds futures, further company news) LONDON, April 20 (Reuters) - European shares were seen edging higher on Monday, recouping some of the previous week's sharp losses on the back of a new attempt by China's central bank to shore up the world's second-largest economy. At 0625 GMT, futures for the Euro STOXX 50, Germany's DAX, France's CAC and Britain's FTSE indexes were up between 0.1 percent and 0.3 percent. China's central bank on Sunday cut the amount of cash that banks must hold as reserves to help spur bank lending and combat slowing growth. Shares in basic resources and oil & gas companies were in focus as copper and crude prices rallied on expectation of stronger demand from China, the world's top consumer of metals and second-largest consumer of oil. Oil prices were also lifted by a drop in the number of U.S. rigs drilling for crude. Relief on the Chinese stock market proved short-lived, however, with the country's main indexes trading lower after an early rally . Merger & acquisition activity remained centre stage. Belgium's Telenet , a subsidiary of cable company Liberty Global, said on Monday it had agreed to acquire KPN's BASE Company for 1.325 billion euros ($1.43 billion). COMPANY NEWS TELENET GROUP HOLDING, KPN Belgium's Telenet, a subsidiary of cable company Liberty Global, said on Monday it had agreed to acquire KPN's BASE Company for 1.325 billion euros ($1.43 billion). LLOYDS British finance minister George Osborne said on Sunday that he intends to sell billions of pounds of government shares in Lloyds Banking Group to small investors if his Conservative Party wins the May 7 election. HSBC, STANDARD CHARTERED The UK-listed banks are looking at the viability of quitting London for a new home in Asia because a big jump in a tax on UK banks makes staying in Britain increasingly painful. VODAFONE Indian tax authorities have issued a fresh notice to Vodafone Group Plc seeking re-assessment of tax returns for assessment year 2009-2010, news channel ET Now reported on Saturday citing sources familiar with the development. BHP BILLITON Miner BHP Billiton has shut an oven at its Cerro Matoso ferronickel plant in Colombia after equipment damage, cutting output by as much as three quarters, the president of the union representing the plant's workers told Reuters on Friday. VOLKSWAGEN Chairman Ferdinand Piech's iron grip on the German carmaker has been severely weakened following a dramatic confrontation with senior board members last week that nearly resulted in a push to oust him, sources told Reuters. Separately, supervisory board leaders plan to meet ahead of VW's May 5 shareholder meeting to try to iron out an effective working relationship between Piech and VW CEO Martin Winterkorn, Handelsblatt newspaper reported on Monday, citing sources close to the supervisory board. Also, the carmaker is exploring the possibility of developing budget sports utility vehicles (SUVs) and multi-purpose vehicles (MPVs) in China in a bid to keep up with shifts in the market, its China chief executive, Jochem Heizmann, said on Sunday. BMW BMW is recalling 91,800 Mini Coopers in the United States to replace a defective sensor that may prevent the front passenger seat air bag from deploying in a crash, the German automaker said on Saturday. SANTANDER, UNICREDIT Italy's biggest bank by assets, UniCredit, is close to signing a deal with Spain's Santander to combine their asset management businesses, UniCredit CEO Federico Ghizzoni said on Saturday. Separately, the Bank of Portugal has picked five out of seven financial institutions, including Santander, according to sources, that had made non-binding bids for Novo Banco and will accept binding offers until the end of June. DEUTSCHE BANK Britain's financial regulator has harshly criticized Deutsche Bank's top management for failing to cooperate in its probe of the rigging of benchmark interest rate Libor, German magazine Der Spiegel said on Saturday. Deutsche Bank will sell Postbank but keep a pared back own-brand retail business in the overhaul plan currently favoured by management, sources familiar with the internal discussions at Germany's biggest lender said. DEUTSCHE TELEKOM A preliminary price range of 17.7-23.6 euros ($19-25) per share has been set in the initial public offering of the Slovak state's 49 percent stake in Slovak Telekom, a source close to the deal said on Friday. Deutsche Telekom, the majority owner, is not selling any of its 51 percent stake. TESCO The world's third biggest retailer said big businesses could be driven from Britain by the uncertainty surrounding a referendum on European Union membership, which the governing Conservatives have promised to hold if re-elected. FRESENIUS MEDICAL CARE The German kidney dialysis specialist is in talks to buy Israel's Nephromor for a high double-digit million euro amount, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung reported on Saturday, citing sources. Nephromor is partly owned by Teva . LUFTHANSA Families of the victims of the Germanwings crash are considering filing a claim for damages in the United States if they cannot reach agreement with parent airline Lufthansa in Germany, a lawyer representing the families said on Sunday. PSA PEUGEOT CITROEN The French car maker said it and China's Dongfeng Motor Group (DFG) will spend 200 million euros ($216 million) on a joint project to develop a platform to manufacture small cars. EDF The French power utility said construction work at its Flamanville nuclear plant in the country's western Normandy region can go ahead despite recently disclosed anomalies. ACCOR The French hotel group announced the acquisition of digital services provider Fastbooking ACS Building and services company ACS said on Sunday it had won several contracts in the United States worth a total of 382 million euros. SIKA Sika's board of directors wants to buy out the company's major shareholder to try to stop a takeover of the Swiss chemicals business by France's Saint-Gobain, SonntagsZeitung newspaper reported, citing two unnamed sources. For more, click on NESTLE Nestle Chief Financial Officer Wan Ling Martello is giving up her current position to succeed Nandu Nandkishore as the firm's executive vice-president in charge of Asia, Oceania and Africa, the Swiss company said on Friday. For more, click on MERCK Germany's Merck aims to quickly repay the up to $5 billion in bank loans it needed to fund the $17 billion acquisition of U.S. lab supplies company Sigma-Aldrich, its finance chief told daily Boersen-Zeitung. SIEMENS The industrial group might cut more than 1,000 jobs in its Muehlheim plant in North Rhine-Westphalia, weekly Wirtschaftswoche said, citing workers council's sources. Siemens declined to comment. BPER, UBI BANCA, BANCO POPOLARE Banca Popolare dell'Emilia Romagna (BPER) is looking at merging with an equal or smaller rival, its CEO said on Saturday, ruling out a tie-up with a larger cooperative bank such as UBI Banca or Banco Popolare. EXOR Standard & Poor's has affirmed the group's long term rating at 'BBB+' and cut the outlook to 'negative' from 'stable'. Rating decision follows Exor's announcement of the $6.4 billion all-cash proposal to acquire PartnerRe. ENI The oil and gas major is interested in returning in Iran should western sanctions be lifted and Tehran offer production-sharing contracts, its CEO Claudio Descalzi told Financial Times on Sunday. Descalzi also said, he was concerned about Lybia but added he did not see the security situation deteriorate to the point the group had to shut down production. BANCA CARIGE, BANCO POPOLARE, BANCA FINNAT Banca Finnat and Banco Popolare are left in the race to buy the private banking unit of the Genoa-based bank after two bidders dropped out, daily Il Sole 24 Ore reported on Sunday. MAJOR EUROPEAN COMPANIES REPORTING: RIC Event Name Q1 2015 Getinge AB Earnings Release Q1 2015 Rio Tinto PLC Operations Review Q1 2015 L'Oreal SA Corporate Sales Release Q1 2015 Unibail-Rodamco SE Corporate Sales Release Q4 2014/2015 Soitec SA Corporate Sales Release MAJOR U.S. COMPANIES REPORTING : BMO Q1 2015 Halliburton Co BMO Q1 2015 Hasbro Inc BMO Q1 2015 Morgan Stanley BMO Q1 2015 Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd AMC Q1 2015 International Business Machines > China, Japan stocks up as Beijing steps up stimulus > Wall St falls steeply with China, Greece fears paramount > Nikkei steady as China's stimulus underpins; focus on earnings > TREASURIES-Yield curve flattens as inflation picks up > Dollar off to sluggish start, Aussie hails China stimulus > Gold holds above $1,200 on softer dollar; Asian demand eyed > London copper jumps after China cuts banks' reserve ratio > Oil extends gains on lower US rig count, China stimulus (Reporting By Francesco Canepa; Editing by Alistair Smout)
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