* Adds futures prices, company news items
LONDON, March 10 (Reuters) - European stocks were expected to be steady at the open on Thursday, with the prospect of more monetary stimulus measures from the European Central Bank (ECB) expected to prop up equities.
Futures on the Euro STOXX 50, Germany’s DAX and Britain’s FTSE were all flat, while futures on France’s CAC rose 0.1 percent.
The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index closed up 0.5 percent on Wednesday.
The European Central Bank is set to unveil its second stimulus cocktail in three months on Thursday, spurred by fears that low energy costs are feeding into wages and prices, potentially perpetuating ultra-low inflation.
The euro zone’s central bank is widely expected to cut its deposit rate deeper into negative territory and adjust its 1.5 trillion euro asset-buying scheme, hoping to boost prices after inflation dipped back into negative territory last month.
China’s February consumer inflation numbers beat forecasts, although the data contributed to a fall in Chinese stocks.
While the food-driven consumer price increase is likely to be welcomed by regulators worried that China could fall into a deflationary trap, some economists expect upward price pressures in the months ahead to be modest.
The creditors of Spain’s Abengoa have reached agreement on a proposal to cut the energy company’s debt and inject fresh cash, a source close to the talks said on Wednesday, though several hurdles stand in the way of a deal to save the group from bankruptcy.
Teva Pharmaceutical Industries is expected to win EU antitrust approval for its $40.5 billion bid for Allergan’s generics unit after agreeing to sell off some of its products to appease regulators, three people familiar with the matter said on Wednesday.
Insurer Aviva reported higher profits and dividend.
Carrefour, the world’s second-largest retailer, said on Thursday it would boost investments to renovate and open stores this year as it cements its turnaround.
Credit Suisse Group is under investigation in Italy in connection with a case looking into allegations that the bank helped wealthy clients transfer undeclared funds offshore, Italian judicial sources said on Wednesday.
Nasdaq Inc said on Wednesday it would buy U.S. options exchange operator International Securities Exchange for $1.1 billion from Deutsche Boerse AG, the latest deal to emerge from a spate of exchange merger talks.
German reinsurer Hannover Re raised its total dividend to 4.75 euros per share for 2015 from 4.25 euros, after net profit surpassed the billion-euro mark for the first time.
German fashion house Hugo Boss is taking a range of steps to try to revive its fortunes, including reviewing costs and the further expansion of its own stores, after its chief executive stepped down last month following a profit warning.
Salt and fertiliser supplier K+S warned of a significant drop in operating profit this year, citing lower potash prices and output restrictions at its German mines due to stricter regulation of waste water discharge.
Linde, the world’s biggest industrial gases company by sales, said operating profit could decline by as much as 3 percent this year amid a difficult market environment for gases and as the low oil price continues to weigh on its plant construction business.
French bank Societe Generale said on Wednesday it would shed 550 jobs over five years as part of consolidation of its 20 French client treatment centres into 15 sites.
Volkswagen AG’s top U.S. executive is stepping down nearly six months after the German automaker admitted to installing software to allow 580,000 diesel U.S. vehicles to emit excess emissions, the company said on Wednesday. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ > GLOBAL MARKETS-Asia stocks gain as oil bounce improves sentiment, ECB awaited > US STOCKS-Oil rally lifts Wall St, extending tight correlation > Tokyo’s Nikkei share average closes up 1.26 pct > TREASURIES-U.S. bond yields rise as traders see decline as overdone > FOREX-Euro pressured ahead of ECB, kiwi skids on RBNZ rate cut > PRECIOUS-Gold dips as stocks, dollar advance ahead of ECB meeting > METALS-LME copper consolidates near four-month peak > Oil prices dip as global oversupply outweighs strong demand
Reporting by Sudip Kar-Gupta