European Factors-Greek relief rally set to ease
LONDON, July 17 (Reuters) - A relief rally on the prospect of a Greece deal looked set to ease slightly on Friday, with futures pointing to a flat open ahead of fresh economic data and corporate results out of the U.S. and as the European earnings season gets underway.
If markets hold on to this week's gains, however, they will mark the best week for European equities since January - a month that saw the European Central Bank juice markets with an unprecedented plan to buy bonds to spur growth.
EuroSTOXX 50 futures were 0.2 percent higher at 0605 GMT, with Frankfurt DAX and Paris CAC 40 futures broadly in line. FTSE 100 futures were flat.
European shares closed at a six-week high on Thursday after the Greek parliament passed austerity measures demanded by its lenders to open talks on a new bailout package to keep Greece in the euro.
Following this relief rally, fuelled by the European Central Bank (ECB) increasing emergency funds for Greek lenders and EU finance ministers approving 7 billion euros in bridge loans to Greece, attention now turns to Germany where parliament must approve a Berlin government request to open talks on a three-year bailout programme.
ECB Governing Council member Ewald Nowotny also appeared to dampen expectations for a quick reopening of Greek banks on Monday, telling ORF radio "there is still some examination to do."
Besides Greece, the European earnings season is now underway, with global truck maker Volvo reporting a bigger-than-expected rise in second quarter core earnings on Friday. Swedish network supplier Ericsson also posted second-quarter sales and operating profit above market expectations.
U.S. heavyweight blue-chips remain in focus for investors as well, with Google shares jumping after a forecast-beating set of results. General Electric is due to report quarterly earnings on Friday.
The big data number for markets will be U.S. consumer CPI inflation for June, followed by University of Michigan sentiment data for July. The U.S. dollar index has gained this week as Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen reiterated that U.S. interest rates will probably be lifted later in the year. Continuación...