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LONDON, May 15 (Reuters) - European stocks were expected to be steady at the open on Friday, helped by signs that jitters in the bond market this week were starting to ease off.
Financial spreadbetters expected Britain's FTSE 100 to open between 1 point higher and 4 points lower, or flat in percentage terms. Germany's DAX was expected to open up between 5-10 points, or 0.1 percent higher, while France's CAC 40 was seen opening flat.
A pick-up this week in benchmark German and U.S. bond yields had made equities look more expensive compared with debt. Some investors trimmed equity positions to cash in on the earlier stock market rally.
But fears over the bond sell-off seemed to recede on Thursday as the rest of the broader European stock market also recovered, with the pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index finishing 0.7 percent higher.
"The sell-off in bond markets does appear to be slowing following what was quite a dramatic decline in a very short period of time. This was especially surprising considering the European Central Bank is taking the other side of that trade which usually piles downward pressure on yields but it appears that in a low liquidity and highly anxious market, the central bank has met its max," said Oanda senior market analyst Craig Erlam. > GLOBAL MARKETS-Asian shares edge down but poised for weekly rise > US STOCKS-S&P 500 ends at record high as dollar loses ground > > TREASURIES-Yields fall as supply eases; German debt steadies > FOREX-Dollar still on the defensive after tough week, economic data eyed > PRECIOUS-Gold near 3-mth high; eyes weekly gain on U.S. rate expectations > METALS-London copper set to close flat for second week > Oil heads for weekly gain, shrugs off ample supply; US output eyed
India's defence procurement agency has cleared the purchase of 56 transport planes from Europe's Airbus in collaboration with local partner Tata Sons in a deal worth an estimated $1.9 billion, a defence ministry source said on Thursday. Separately, Sueddeutsche Zeitung reported that Germany's defence ministry has decided to buy MEADS, the successor to the Patriot missile defence system from MBDA, a joint venture of Airbus, BAE Systems and Finmeccanica.
Pimco's global equities Chief Investment Officer Virginie Maisonneuve is leaving the bond powerhouse, it said on Thursday, less than a year and a half after she was hired.
France's Competition Authority is investigating a proposed alliance between Auchan and Systeme U, two French supermarket chains, after Brussels regulators referred it for review, according to Le Figaro newspaper. The two, which compete with larger companies Carrefour and Casino, had planned to combine their purchasing platforms and put in place broader co-operation that stops short of a complete merger.
German labour union Verdi has called on workers at Deutsche Post to continue walkouts on Friday ahead of a next round of negotiations scheduled for May 20 and 21.
French telecoms group Iliad posted a rise in first-quarter sales as strong growth in its mobile business offset more intense competition for broadband customers.
U.S. seeds giant Monsanto is trying to line up buyers for assets worth up to $8 billion to appease competition authorities before making a fresh takeover approach for Swiss Syngenta, possibly within three weeks, industry sources said.
Italian bank UniCredit wants to "defend" its business in Ukraine despite political tensions in the country, the boss of its central and eastern European division said on Thursday.
Italian airport retailer World Duty Free on Thursday raised its 2015 targets for revenues and core profit to reflect more favourable exchange rates, and said revenues in the first 18 weeks rose 23.5 percent to 789.6 million euros ($897 million). World Duty Free will be taken over by larger rival Dufry to create a travel retail heavyweight with a 25 percent market share. As part of the deal the Swiss group will launch a mandatory tender at 10.25 euros per share (Reporting by Sudip Kar-Gupta)