European Factors to Watch-Shares seen edging lower
(Adds futures prices, company news) LONDON, June 11 (Reuters) - European shares headed for a slightly weaker start on Thursday after a strong rally in the previous day, with the lack of a concrete progress related to Greek debt negotiations seen prompting investors to cut their exposure to riskier assets. Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras held a new round of late-night talks with the leaders of Germany and France and agreed to intensify negotiations with Athens' creditors ahead of a looming default at the end of the month. The talks have been deadlocked over Greece's rejection of the creditors' demands for cuts in pensions and unpopular labour market reforms as conditions for releasing frozen bailout funds. Greece will be in default at the end of June without fresh funds to let it to repay 1.6 billion euros to the IMF. "Attention continues to be centred on Greece and while there was some optimism ahead of the meeting in Brussels, S&P's downgrade of Greek debt and comments were enough to sap some of the optimism," IG Strategist Stan Shamu said in a note. Ratings agency Standard & Poor's downgraded Greece's sovereign rating deeper into junk territory on Wednesday, questioning whether its debt is sustainable after the government delayed a payment to the International Monetary Fund. At 0633 GMT, futures for the Euro STOXX 50, France's CAC and Germany's DAX were 0.1 to 0.3 percent lower. Britain's FTSE 100 futures were up 0.05 percent. On the macroeconomic front, China's fixed-asset investment grew more slowly than expected in May and at a rate not seen since 2000, even as growth in retail sales and factory output steadied, arguing for Beijing to increase policy support to avert a deeper downturn. COMPANY NEWS AREVA Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd would consider investing in the state-owned nuclear company, the president of the Japanese company told the Asahi newspaper. AIRBUS GROUP France is on the verge of finalising a contract worth about 1 billion euros for the sale of 24 Airbus-built military helicopters to Kuwait, officials said. ROYAL BANK OF SCOTLAND Britain will start selling its 32 billion-pound stake in Royal Bank of Scotland in the coming months, finance minister George Osborne said late on Wednesday, giving up on his previous intention to only sell the shares for a profit. THALES The defence electronics group said it had partnered with DRS Sustainment Systems on a $100 million contract awarded by General Dynamics Land Systems. ROYAL MAIL The British government on Wednesday said it would sell half of its remaining stake in Royal Mail, leaving it with about 15 percent of the postal service that was wholly state owned until 2013. Shares of Royal Mail are likely to be priced at 500 pence each, after a source close to the share sale said that orders below that level were likely to miss out. RYANAIR, AER LINGUS UK competition authority confirmed requirement for Ryanair to reduce Aer Lingus stake. PETROFAC - The company was awarted an engineering and procurement contract in Oman. TECHNIP The oil services firm said it had won a subsea contract with a Chevron subsidiary in the Gulf of Mexico. CARREFOUR Chief Executive Georges Plassat told Le Figaro newspaper that the group did not plan to go beyond its current purchasing agreement with Cora. Le Figaro added that the retailer could be interested in rival Tesco's Polish assets and was looking to expand its presence in Italy. POSTNL NV The Dutch-based postal company said it has decided to end its British arm Whistl's E2E mail delivery service, putting about 1,800 jobs at risk. SYNGENTA Monsanto has ruled out raising its non-binding $45 billion offer for Swiss rival Syngenta unless the target company gives it access to business data. For more, click on BBVA, HSBC The Spanish bank is considering a purchase of HSBC's units in Brazil and Turkey, website CNNExpansion reported. [IB:nL5N0YW4C6] Separately, HSBC's investment bank could shed more than a fifth of its clients and plans to reduce its credit and interest rates businesses by $100 billion over the next two years in its bid to improve profitability. GROUPE PARTOUCHE The casino operator said first-half revenue rose 3.7 percent to 205.1 million euros. LLOYDS The British government's stake in Lloyds Banking Group Plc LLOY.L fell to 17.9 percent from 19.93 percent after it sold about 780 million shares, according to a regulatory filing. GFI INFORMATIQUE The IT services firm said it had bought software specialist Ordirope Group and predicted that the acquisition would boost its software sales to 200 million euros by 2018. ADIDAS Nike Inc won an eight-year merchandising and marketing contract with the National Basketball Association, replacing Adidas as its exclusive apparel provider and making it the first athletic apparel company to have its logo appear on team uniforms. UK GROCERS Britain's four biggest grocers, Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury's and Morrisons, will lose 4 percent of their market share by 2020 as fast growing discounters Aldi and Lidl continue to expand, Moody's forecasts. BMW The luxury automaker on Wednesday unveiled its new flagship sedan, the 7-series, touting the car's digital prowess more than the number of cylinders and repositioning the sportscar brand for an era of low emissions. HEIDELBERGCEMENT The company sees no negative effects on business from the merger between rivals Holcim and Lafarge, Chief Executive Bernd Scheifele said. THYSSENKRUPP The Business Standard qutoed the chief of Thyssen's India business as saying the company would like participate in the indigenous manufacture of submarines and is in discussion with public sector and private shipyards. VOLKSWAGEN Sales at the carmaker's core division fell 5.9 percent in May, the seventh decline in eight months, VW said. FRAPORT Passenger volume at Frankfurt airport rose 5.4 percent in May, Fraport said. SILTRONIC Shares in the world's third-largest maker of the silicon wafers used in semiconductor chips will be priced at 30 euros each, the company said on Wednesday. The shares are due to start trading on the Frankfurt stock exchange on Thursday. MAJOR MACROECONOMIC DATA/EVENTS (GMT) : 1230 US Initial jobless claims ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ MARKET SNAPSHOT AT 0513 GMT: LAST PCT CHG NET CHG S&P 500 2,105.20 1.2 % 25.05 NIKKEI 20334.53 1.44 % 288.17 MSCI ASIA EX-JP 483.07 0.62 % 2.99 EUR/USD 1.1302 -0.19 % -0.0022 USD/JPY 123.16 0.42 % 0.5100 10-YR US TSY YLD 2.475 -- 0.00 10-YR BUND YLD 0.984 -- -0.01 SPOT GOLD $1,186.30 0.03 % $0.32 US CRUDE $61.21 -0.36 % -0.22 > Asia gains as Wall St slide halts, kiwi tumbles > Wall St climbs on tech, financials gains, optimism on Greece > Nikkei rallies off 3-week low, Greek hopes boosts exporters > Bunds, supply lift U.S. yields to 7-month highs > Yen retraces after rally, kiwi sinks to 5-yr low on rate cut > Gold firm after 3-day rally on sluggish dollar, Greek worries > London copper holds near two-week peak ahead of China data > Oil prices fall as World Bank cuts economic growth outlook (Reporting by Atul Prakash; Editing by Alistair Smout)
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