(Updates futures prices, adds company news)
LONDON, July 31 (Reuters) - European shares were expected to advance for a fourth straight session on Friday, with some forecast-beatings company results seen as underpinning positive market sentiment.
Futures for the Euro STOXX 50, Germany’s DAX and France’s CAC were all up 0.2 percent by 0634 GMT. Britain’s FTSE 100 futures were flat.
German builder Hochtief beat estimates for new orders, sales and adjusted pretax profit in the second quarter, while French bank BNP Paribas saw its revenue rising nearly 16 percent in the second quarter, boosted by brisk share trading, a strong dollar and recently acquired companies.
BBVA Spain’s second-biggest bank by market value, said first half net profit more than doubled from a year earlier, beating expectations as revenue grew and the lender integrated its purchase of local peer Catalunya Banc.
According to Thomson Reuters StarMine, nearly half of the STOXX Europe 600 companies have announced results so far, of which 53 percent have met or beaten analysts’ forecasts.
On average, 48 percent companies beat analyst EPS (earnings per share) estimates in a quarter. Second quarter earnings are expected to grow by 5.7 percent from the corresponding quarter of the previous year.
Hochtief beat forecasts for new orders, sales and adjusted pretax profit in the second quarter thanks to cost cuts and more selective bidding for high-quality projects.
The world’s largest producer of steel retained its 2015 profit outlook, although it cut its forecast for global steel consumption this year with declining demand for steel in all regions except Europe.
Spain’s second-biggest bank by market value on Friday said first half net profit more than doubled from a year earlier, beating expectations as revenue grew and the lender integrated its purchase of local peer Catalunya Banc.
The French cosmetics group sees sales growth accelerating in the second half as demand in Western Europe and the United States improves.
The French bank saw revenue rise nearly 16 percent in the second quarter, boosted by brisk share trading, a strong dollar and recently acquired companies.
The bank said it had set aside a further 1.4 billion pounds ($2.2 billion) to compensate customers mis-sold loan insurance, taking its total bill for the scandal to 13.4 billion pounds.
The world’s second-largest retailer posted stronger-than-expected first-half operating profit on Friday, driven by a recovering Europe and resilient Brazilian operations.
Salt and fertilizer company K+S sees no reason for new talks with Potash Corp of Saskatchewan, a spokesman said on Thursday, despite Potash Corp saying it would make binding commitments to protect jobs after a takeover.
Separately, Potash Chief Executive Jochen Tilk said on Thursday that Potash would finish building and would operate the Legacy potash mine owned by rival K+S if it acquires the German company.
Belgian pharmaceutical company UCB raised its 2015 forecasts on Friday as sales of its three major upcoming drugs propelled first-half earnings by more than expected.
The aerospace group reported a 6 percent rise in first-half core operating profit and revenue and confirmed its full-year financial forecasts, led by passenger jets and helicopters.
Airbus has told buyer nations of the A400M transporter aircraft that it cannot deliver all of its high-tech defences according to plan, casting a shadow over some of its military uses as Europe battles growing instability on its borders.
BG Group’s core earnings nearly halved in the second quarter after a huge hit from persistently weak oil prices, though the company’[s results still beat market expectations.
Martin Sorrell’s WPP and buyout firm Providence agreed on Friday to buy British marketing group Chime Communications for 374 million pounds ($584 million) in a bid to turn the smaller group into a global sports marketing agency.
British Airways-owner IAG, close to sealing its takeover of Aer Lingus, reported a forecast-beating 40 percent rise in quarterly profit, which it said put it on track to meet its annual target.
European cable operator Liberty Global said it had increased its stake in ITV to 9.9 percent via a hedging deal, but said it still had no intention of taking over Britain’s biggest free-to-air commercial TV company.
The French steel pipe maker said its net loss deepened in the second quarter and warned of further deterioration in margins in the second half of the year in the face of falling demand from its oil and gas customers.
The bank aims to maintain its payout ratio target of above 50 percent despite growing regulatory pressure, Chief Executive Laurent Mignon said.
Barrick Gold Corp agreed on Thursday to sell 50 percent of its Zaldivar copper mine in Chile to copper miner Antofagasta Plc ANTO.L for $1 billion in cash, and both parties stressed that this was just the start of more cooperation.
Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc has reached out to potential bidders, including InterContinental Hotels and Wyndham Worldwide Corp, after deciding to explore a sale, according to people familiar with the matter.
Europe’s biggest construction and concessions company raised its net profit goal as its contracting business improved in the second quarter.
The Swiss bank made legal provisions of 124 million Swiss francs ($128 million) in the second quarter, according to its full quarterly report published on Friday.
The drugmaker said its Perjeta regimen had been approved in Europe for use before surgery in early stage aggressive breast cancer.
Ratings agency Standard & Poor’s said on Thursday it would raise FCA’s rating by one notch to ‘BB’ if the group removed the remaining contractual restrictions limiting free flow of cash between FCA and its U.S. subsidiary.
Italy’s biggest commercial broadcaster said advertising sales for July and August in its home market were positive but it was hard to predict results for the year due to low market visibility and economic volatility.
Q2 2015 Chevron Corp
Q1 2016 Legg Mason
Q2 2015 Exxon Mobil Corp
0645 FR Consumer Spending
0900 EZ Inflation
1345 US Chicago PMI
1400 US Umiv. Mich Sentiment ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ > Asia shares edge up, wary of China volatility > Wall Street ends flat; Expedia flies after the bell > Nikkei idles as investors await more blue-chip earnings; fret over China > Yield curve flatter after upbeat U.S. growth data > Dollar off post-GDP highs, but supported by rate rise view > Gold heads for longest weekly losing streak in 16 years > London copper facing near 9 pct July loss as demand stutters > Oil prices fall on OPEC comments; investors await U.S. wage data (Reporting by Atul Prakash; Editing by Sudip Kar-Gupta)