European Factors to Watch-Futures rise, bid activity buoys equities
(Adds futures prices, more company news items) LONDON, Sept 17 (Reuters) - European equity futures rose on Thursday, with new signs of corporate takeover activity set to support stock markets, although many investors were expected to refrain from buying big positions before the U.S. Federal Reserve's interest rate decision. Futures on the euro zone's Euro STOXX 50, Germany's DAX and France's CAC rose by 0.3-0.4 percent, while futures on Britain's FTSE 100 edged up by 0.1 percent. 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. An earthquake off the coast of Chile also impacted some mining companies and metals prices. European stock markets could also get support from more corporate takeover activity on Thursday, with telecoms company Altice agreeing to buy Cablevision, while insurer Phoenix was looking at possibly buying Guardian Financial Services. 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 Fed Chair Janet 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, with markets again helped by takeover business as brewer ABI approached rival SAB Miller. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ MARKET SNAPSHOT AT620 GMT LAST PCT CHG NET CHG S&P 500 1,995.31 0.87 % 17.22 NIKKEI 18,432.27 1.43 % 260.67 EUR/USD 1.1287 -0.02 % -0.0002 USD/JPY 120.87 0.27 % 0.3200 10-YR US TSY YLD 2.285 -- -0.02 10-YR BUND YLD 0.781 -- 0.00 SPOT GOLD $1,120.16 0.09 % $1.01 US CRUDE $47.26 0.23 % 0.11 > Asian stocks at 3-week high before Fed decision; dollar wary > 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 > 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: ALTICE : Altice said it had entered into a definitive agreement to buy Cablevision. ANTOFAGASTA : Codelco and Antofagasta PLC suspended operations at two major copper mines in Chile, the world's top producer of the metal, after a powerful earthquake struck off the coast on Wednesday, threatening over 600,000 tonnes of annual capacity. CREDIT SUISSE : Credit Suisse said on Thursday it would give investors an update on the bank's strategy under new Chief Executive Officer Tidjane Thiam on Oct 21. 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, confirmed it was in talks to buy smaller rival Guardian Financial Services. 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; Editing by Atul Prakash)
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