European Factors to Watch-Shares seen opening slightly higher
(Adds company news) LONDON, May 4 (Reuters) - Germany's DAX and France's CAC share indexes headed for a slightly higher open on Monday, catching up with gains in the U.S. market on Friday, when major European markets were closed for the May Day holiday. The UK market, which was open on Friday, is shut for business on Monday. At 0649 GMT, futures for Germany's DAX and France's CAC were up 0.4 percent and 0.2 percent respectively, while the Euro STOXX 50 futures were flat. U.S. stocks rose 1.0 to 1.3 percent on Friday as investors snapped up beaten-down shares in the healthcare and technology sectors and as data gave further signs of a pick-up in the economy. Basic resources stocks will be in focus after data showed that factory activity in China, the world's biggest metals consumer, saw its fastest drop in a year in April as new orders shrank, hardening the case for fresh stimulus to halt a slowdown in the world's second-largest economy. The HSBC/Markit Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) fell to 48.9 in April from 49.6 in March. European PMI numbers are due later in the day. Investors' focus this week will be on a UK general election on Thursday. The latest polls show neither of the major parties is likely to win a clear majority of seats. They will also keep an eye on Greece. The country's labour minister said on Monday that Greece intends to meet debt payments this month and reach a deal with its international lenders to unlock remaining bailout aid, but the International Monetary Fund insists on tough labour reforms. Struggling amid a cash crunch, Athens faces debt repayments to the IMF totalling nearly 1.0 billion euros this month and has been borrowing from municipalities and government entities to meet obligations. COMPANY NEWS VOLKSWAGEN Volkswagen's works council backed the carmaker's choice of two new supervisory board members, appointments opposed by newly departed Chairman Ferdinand Piech. The premier of the German state of Lower Saxony, which owns 20 percent of Volkswagen, was quoted on Saturday as saying that a power struggle at Europe's largest carmaker that ended in the departure of Chairman Ferdinand Piech, was over. SAP The business software company said on Friday it is not considering acquiring online rival Salesforce.com Inc, after a news report suggested the leaders of the two companies had held talks about strategic alliances last year. BHP BILLITON Standard & Poor's warned on Monday it may cut BHP Billiton's credit rating in the next 12 months, reflecting the global miner's commitment never to cut its dividend, even in the face of weak prices for its two biggest earners. Separately, BHP Billiton's shareholders are expected to approve the biggest ever spin-off in the mining industry on Wednesday, seeking to wring more value out of a string of long-neglected aluminium, manganese, silver and nickel assets. SIEMENS The German industrial firm plans to keep most of its 13 underperforming businesses for now and will try to sell a handful of "marginal" operations, a source with direct knowledge of the matter told Reuters. A Chinese regulator investigated Siemens AG last year over whether the German group's healthcare unit and its dealers bribed hospitals to buy expensive disposable products used in some of its medical devices, three people with knowledge of the probe told Reuters. ORANGE The French telecoms group is set to secure European Union approval for its 3.4 billion euro deal to acquire Spanish fixed line network operator Jazztel after offering to strengthen rivals in Spain, four people familiar with the matter said. RENAULT The French government's move to tighten its hold on Renault, crowned by a rare public defeat for CEO Carlos Ghosn on Thursday, has exposed competing visions for the carmaker and its alliance with Nissan. ADIDAS The chief executive of Adidas defends his record ahead of next week's annual shareholder's meeting, saying the German sportswear company had made a great start to 2015. DEUTSCHE POST Thousands of workers at Deutsche Post staged another strike on Saturday over the company's plans to expand its parcel delivery service using workers on lower pay, labour union Verdi said. AREVA, EDF Areva has attracted the interest of three Chinese groups in its technology and parts of its business as the loss-making, majority state-owned French nuclear reactor company restructures, Le Journal du Dimanche reported. FIAT CHRYSLER Fiat Chrysler's sales in the U.S. rose 6 percent to 189,027 vehicles in April as Jeep brand sales jumped 20 percent, while sales in Canada rose 1 percent, boosted by Jeep sales as well as the Chrysler 200 sedan. MONTE DEI PASCHI The bank and Japanese broker Nomura are sounding each other out over a possible settlement to close a derivative trade that is bleeding money at the Italian bank, two sources with knowledge of the matter said. DEUTSCHE BAHN Germany's GDL train drivers' union called on Sunday for a seven-day strike, starting with freight trains on Monday and passenger traffic on Tuesday, to back its claims in a dispute with Deutsche Bahn over pay and negotiating rights. AIRBUS Airbus Group said on Thursday it planned to complain to the German authorities over reports that the country's foreign intelligence agency had helped the United States to spy on it and other European firms. NOVO NORDISK Denmark's Novo Nordisk, the world's biggest insulin producer, said on Monday it would invest 1.5 billion Danish crowns ($225 million) in new haemophilia treatment manufacturing facility in Denmark. BNP PARIBAS The French bank was sentenced to five years probation by a U.S. judge on Friday in connection with a record $8.9 billion settlement resolving claims that it violated sanctions against Sudan, Cuba and Iran. SANOFI The drugmaker, which sacked its CEO last year and appointed a new one in February, has appealed for shareholder loyalty as it seeks to head off a potential rebellion over millions of euros in payments to both men. Investor advisory group ISS has recommended a vote against two resolutions that would approve those payments at Sanofi's AGM on Monday. MERCK The pharmaceuticals and chemicals group plans to step up investments in its brand to defend the company's rights to the name, which it shares with U.S. company Merck, its chief executive told the Financial Times. DASSAULT AVIATION Chief Executive Eric Trappier told Le Figaro newspaper in an interview that other countries had expressed interest in buying the company's Rafale jet fighter, adding that it was "possible" that Dassault could sign further contracts this year. UBS Swiss bank UBS could combine its investment banking arm with that of Credit Suisse to create a top player, Eric Knight, head of activist investor Knight Vinke, was quoted as saying in an interview with a Swiss paper on Sunday. For more, click on VONTOBEL The company said it has completed the acquisition of a 60 percent stake in Britain's TwentyFour Asset Management, which it disclosed last month. U.S. COMPANIES REPORTING : Q1 2015 Cognizant Technology Solutions Q1 2015 Dun & Bradstreet Corp Q1 2015 Diamond Offshore Drilling Inc Q1 2015 Cimarex Energy Co MACROECONOMIC DATA/EVENTS (GMT) : CH Manufacturing IT Mfg PMI FR Mfg PMI DE Mfg PMI EZ Mfg PMI US ISM-New York Index US Durable Goods ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ MARKET SNAPSHOT AT 0528 GMT: LAST PCT CHG NET CHG S&P 500 2,108.29 1.09 % 22.78 NIKKEI 19531.63 0.06 % 11.62 MSCI ASIA EX-JP 514.42 0.26 % 1.33 EUR/USD 1.1193 -0.04 % -0.0005 USD/JPY 120.06 -0.08 % -0.1000 10-YR US TSY YLD 2.112 -- -0.01 10-YR BUND YLD 0.357 -- -0.01 SPOT GOLD $1,183.55 0.46 % $5.45 US CRUDE $59.14 -0.02 % -0.01 > Asian shares recover as weak China activity spurs stimulus bets > Wall St ends up sharply as investors buy beaten-down shares > U.S. bonds post steepest weekly sell-off in two months > Dollar off 2-month lows; Aussie on defensive ahead of RBA > Gold ticks up from 6-week low as equities fall > Shanghai copper up 3 pct, plays catch up after holiday > Brent falls towards $66, China factory activity falls (Reporting by Atul Prakash, editing by Nigel Stephenson)
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