European Factors to Watch-Shares set to rise as Greek banks re-open
LONDON, July 20 (Reuters) - European stocks were seen opening slightly higher on Monday, continuing a recent rally as Greek banks were set to re-open following last week's aid deal with international lenders. Greek banks are ready to open their branches across the country after a three-week shutdown, officials said, although the Athens Stock Exchange was set to remain closed. German Chancellor Angela Merkel called for swift aid talks so Athens could also lift withdrawal limits, and said it would be possible to talk about changing the maturities of Greece's debt or reducing the interest Athens has to pay after the first successful review of the new bailout package. "A tad of optimism is creeping in on the news that Angela Merkel suggested that there could be some form of restructuring of Greek debt," Jonathan Sudaria, trader at London Capital Group, said in a note. Financial spreadbetters expected Britain's FTSE 100 to open 9 to 10 points higher, or up 0.2 percent, Germany's DAX to open up 23 points, or 0.2 percent, and France's CAC 40 to open 6 to 7 points higher, or up 0.1 percent. The opening of futures on the Euro STOXX 50 and DAX was delayed due to technical issues at Eurex. Futures on the CAC and FTSE rose 0.3 percent and 0.1 percent respectively. The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index closed flat on Friday, remaining near six-week highs hit after Greece's negotiations with its international lenders yielded an aid-for-reforms deal to avert bankruptcy. Also in focus were commodity prices, as gold sank to a five year low, hit by heavy selling in China. COMPANY NEWS JULIUS BAER Julius Baer said on Monday first-half net profit slid after a $350 million charge towards an expected settlement in a U.S. criminal investigation into how the Swiss bank helped wealthy Americans dodge taxes. The Zurich-based private bank also said it is buying a Mexico-based financial advisor, and named former Credit Suisse executive Barend Fruithof as its new head for Switzerland from October. For more, click on SYNGENTA Top executives at the crop chemical maker including Chief Executive Michael Mack plan to meet investors in Europe and the United States to win support for its rebuff of Monsanto's takeover approach after reporting first-half results on Thursday, the Wall Street Journal cited people familiar with the matter as saying. For more, click on ALSTOM The French transport group, which is selling its power equipment business to General Electric Co, posted an 8 percent rise in first-quarter sales and confirmed its medium-term growth target. ZODIAC AEROSPACE The aerospace group said an explosion last week at a U.S. factory had caused significant damage but that only part of the facility had been affected. EIFFAGE The concessions group said its TP Ferro Spanish joint venture had asked the Girona administrative court to place TP Ferro under court administration. TP Ferro, which runs the high-speed railway between Spain and France and is owned jointly by ACS and Eiffage, aimed to find a sustainable solution for the business. ALLIANZ The head of life insurance division Allianz Leben told newspaper Frankfurter Rundschau that he expects low interest rates for at least the next 12-16 months. LUFTHANSA Some of the close relatives of those killed in the Germanwings plane crash in March have rejected the carrier's offer of 25,000 euros ($27,000) in compensation payments for their pain and suffering. VOLKSWAGEN Sales at VW's core division dropped 8.6 percent in June, falling for an eighth time in nine months, as slowing momentum in China and slumping demand in Latin America outweighed gains in Europe. AIRBUS Philippine Airlines is expecting to close a deal for the acquisition of six or more long-range Airbus A350s or Boeing 787s this year, in line with a plan to phase out its fleet of ageing Airbus A340s, the Philippine Daily Inquirer reported, citing a company official. ALTICE, KPN The European telecoms and cable firm has no plans to bid for the 21 percent stake in Dutch rival KPN owned by Carlos Slim's America Movil, Altice's chief executive was quoted as saying by a Dutch newspaper. BARCLAYS - The bank plans to cut more than 30,000 jobs within two years after firing Chief Executive Antony Jenkins this month, The Times reported on Sunday. UNILEVER - Chinese ecommerce company Alibaba Group Holdings Ltd announced on Sunday that it had signed a strategic partnership agreement with Unilever NV to help the consumer products group reach more Chinese shoppers. STANDARD CHARTERED - The bank's Chief Executive Bill Winters will take more direct responsibility for its biggest business divisions, as he seeks to restore the fortunes of the emerging markets-focused bank. FIAT CHRYSLER AUTOMOBILES Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) is considering whether to sell its auto parts maker Magneti Marelli after receiving interest from potential buyers, according to sources familiar with the matter. BANCO POPOLARE, UBI BANCA, BANCA POPOLARE DI MILANO , BANCA POPOLARE DELL'EMILIA ROMAGNA, BANCA CARIGE, VENETO BANCA Saturday's Il Sole 24 Ore reiterates in an unsourced report that there are advanced merger talks between UBI Banca and Banco Popolare. There are also tie-up talks between Banca Popolare di Milano and Banca Popolare dell'Emilia Romagna but the possibility seems to appeal more to the lenders' chairmen than their chief executives, the paper added. Both banks are also looking at alternative solutions, such as a merger with Banca Carige for Popolare di Milano and a tie-up with Veneto Banca for the other, it added. A marriage between Banco Popolare and UBI is far from certain, Il Messaggero said on Sunday, adding that Banco Popolare's CEO Pier Francesco Saviotti is far more interested in a tie-up with Banca Popolare di Milano. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ MARKET SNAPSHOT AT 0625 GMT: LAST PCT CHG NET CHG S&P 500 2,126.64 0.11 % 2.35 NIKKEI 20650.92 0.25 % 50.8 MSCI ASIA EX-JP 462.93 -0.35 % -1.63 EUR/USD 1.0834 0.05 % 0.0005 USD/JPY 124.11 0.03 % 0.0400 10-YR US TSY YLD 2.347 -- 0.00 10-YR BUND YLD 0.794 -- 0.00 SPOT GOLD $1,114.51 -1.68 % -$19.09 US CRUDE $50.85 -0.08 % -0.04 > GLOBAL MARKETS-Dollar in demand, gold dives to 5yr low > US STOCKS-Google propels Nasdaq to another record high close > Nikkei gains for 5th day, posts biggest weekly gain since October > TREASURIES-Yield curve flattens after solid inflation, housing data > FOREX-Dollar buoyed by US rate rise view; Aussie hits 6-year low > Gold dives to 5-year low as China selling triggers stop-loss orders > METALS-London copper slinks back towards six year lows > Oil edges lower as Saudi crude exports fall, U.S. cuts drill rigs (Reporting by Alistair Smout)
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