European Factors to Watch-Shares seen opening higher
LONDON, Sept 17 (Reuters) - European stocks were seen opening higher on Thursday, buoyed by firmer Asian and U.S. equity markets, although many investors were expected to refrain from buying big positions in the run-up to the U.S. Federal Reserve's decision on whether or not to raise interest rates. Financial spreadbetters expected Britain's FTSE 100 to open up by 29-33 points, or 0.5 percent higher. Germany's DAX was seen opening up by 43-47 points, or 0.4-0.5 percent higher, while France's CAC 40 was also expected to open up by 15 points, or 0.3-0.4 percent higher. Asian stocks edged up to a three-week high on Thursday while the dollar drifted lower against other currencies as investors consolidated positions before the Fed's policy decision. Having weighed the U.S. economy's steady march toward full employment against the backdrop of weak inflation and wage growth and turbulence overseas, the U.S. central bank will issue its latest rate decision at the end of a two-day policy meeting. The Fed's decision is due at 1800 GMT. A rate hike would be the first in the United States since 2006. Fed watchers, however, see the outcome as a toss-up, with Yellen's consistently stated desire to see workers reap more benefits from the recovery, coupled with weak price rises and a variety of global risks, looming large. The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index rose 1.6 percent on Wednesday, while the euro zone's blue-chip Euro STOXX 50 index climbed 1.7 percent. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ MARKET SNAPSHOT AT 0536 GMT LAST PCT CHG NET CHG S&P 500 1,995.31 0.87 % 17.22 NIKKEI 18,409.96 1.31 % 238.36 EUR/USD 1.1293 0.04 % 0.0004 USD/JPY 120.75 0.17 % 0.2000 10-YR US TSY 2.285 -- -0.02 YLD 10-YR BUND YLD 0.779 -- 0.00 SPOT GOLD $1,120.23 0.1 % $1.08 US CRUDE $47.16 0.02 % 0.01 > US STOCKS-Energy stocks lift Wall St on eve of Fed rate decision > Nikkei rises to more than 1-week high; oil shares outperform > TREASURIES-Yields edge higher on Bund yield jump, Fed uncertainty > FOREX-Dollar under pressure as tame inflation tempers Fed rate hike bets > PRECIOUS-Gold retains sharp gains ahead of Fed rate decision > METALS-Copper strikes 8 week top after Chile quake > Oil prices stable after US stockdraw, but weak Japan data weighs COMPANY NEWS: DAIMLER : Daimler is open to the idea of creating an alliance between Germany's premium carmakers to manufacture next- generation batteries, its chief executive said on Wednesday. ENGIE : French state holding company APE said on Wednesday it has sold 0.48 percent of the shares of gas and power group Engie and that it planned no further sales for now. K+S : Potash Corp of Saskatchewan is not actively discussing its takeover proposal with Germany's K+S, but remains interested in a combination of fertilizer producers that would aid North American potash sales and offer new access to Europe, Chief Executive Jochen Tilk said on Wednesday. LUFTHANSA : Lufthansa is stepping up its cost-cutting overhaul with a streamlined management structure it said will boost profit by 500 million euros ($564 million) a year and provide a new boss for the Eurowings budget brand that has raised tensions in its long-running dispute with pilots. PHOENIX /SWISS RE : Phoenix Group Holdings, Britain's largest consolidator of closed life funds, is in talks to buy smaller rival Guardian Financial Services in a deal that could cost over 1 billion pounds ($1.6 billion), Sky News said on Wednesday. Swiss Re's closed life funds arm, Admin Re, is also among companies eyeing the takeover of Guardian Financial, Sky added. SAP : Europe's largest software maker SAP said on Wednesday it was working on a smartphone application to help migrants arriving in Germany to navigate bureaucracy and officials to register them. (Reporting by Sudip Kar-Gupta)
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