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MILAN, March 18 (Reuters) - European shares were expected to open slightly higher on Friday following gains in Asia and Wall Street overnight.
Futures on the Euro STOXX 50, Germany's DAX, France's CAC and Britain's FTSE were all up by between 0.2-0.6 percent.
Asian shares edged higher on Friday, oil touched a 2016 high and the U.S. dollar weakened as investors turned more positive on riskier assets after the Federal Reserve's cautious stance on further interest rate increases.
On Thursday, European equities ended lower after a choppy session, dragged down by exporters as the euro strengthened against the dollar.
Swiss watchmakers are braced for another difficult year as economic woes in major markets curb consumers' appetite for pricey timepieces, industry executives said on Thursday.
Deutsche Boerse will give the German state of Hesse, where the exchange operator is based, assurances on its support for the future development of Frankfurt as a financial centre, Chief Executive Carsten Kengeter told the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung newspaper in an interview.
Separately, credit rating agency S&P put various Deutsche Boerse and LSE ratings on credit watch following their announced merger agreement.
Euronext is looking to bolster its size and may snap up any assets LSE or Deutsche Boerse are forced to sell to satisfy antitrust regulators, according to sources familiar with the matter.
Deutsche Post DHL Group is among parties that entered initial bids to buy South Korea's fourth-largest logistics company Logen Co Ltd, Korea Economic Daily reported on Friday.
CEO Joe Kaeser to speak at Bank of America Merrill Lynch Global Industrials & EU Autos Conference in London from 0800 GMT.
Jens Michael Wegmann, Thyssen's head of the Industrial Solutions division, tells Handelsblatt that Thyssenkrupp will reorganise the business to deal with slowing economies in important markets.
Annual report due. The company published preliminary results on March 2 and said it saw a slight decline in its full-year pretax profit for 2016.
The company said proposed a dividend of 0.54 euros per share for 2015.
Annual report due. The steelmaker published preliminary results on Feb. 26 and said it expected to break even at the pretax level this year.
The company has acquired a 23.83 percent stake in Sunrise Communications for about 714 million euros ($808 million).
Q4 results due. The market researcher published a trading statement on Jan. 29, reporting a 6.3 percent increase in full-year sales.
GSK said on Thursday Chief Executive Andrew Witty would retire in 12 months after leading the British drugmaker through a series of changes since 2008 that have failed to ignite the company's share price.
BT Group is set to appoint Simon Lowth, former chief financial officer at gas producer BG Group, as its new finance chief, Sky News reported on Thursday.
Britain's largest consolidator of closed life funds is preparing to bid for Deutsche Bank AG's British insurance unit, Sky News reported.
Investors expect Sainsbury's to offer as much as 1.5 billion pounds for Argos ahead of a Friday deadline, as the supermarket considers trumping a rival South African bid for the catalogue shop, the Guardian reported. (bit.ly/1Z6sfKy)
India's Warmond Trustees & Executors is to buy Julius Baer's local trust services business, the Economic Times paper reported bit.ly/1R2UiaT
The Swiss bank has hired investment bankers Jose Luis Martinez and Daniel Bassan to be part of its Latin American business, according to an internal memo
Italian insurer Generali posted a 22 percent increase in its full-year net profit and boosted its financial strength, it said on Friday as new Chief Executive Philippe Donnet took over.
Italian market regulator Consob has banned short selling on Banco Popolare shares for the whole trading session on Friday.
Banca Popolare di Milano CEO Giuseppe Castagna and chairman Mario Anolli met late on Thursday with Citi and Lazard, the advisors for the potential merger with Banco Popolare to discuss the state of the matter after the ECB had set out conditions for clearing the merger in a letter to the two banks, two sources close to the matter said. It was not immediately clear whether their counterparts at Banco Popolare also participated in the meeting.
Releases holds 2016-2019 strategy presentation with analysts (1230 GMT) and news conference with President Emma Marcegaglia and CEO Claudio Descalzi in London.
Telecom Italia has taken no decision on a planned sale of a stake in tower unit INWIT, board member Tarak Ben Ammar said on Thursday, adding that more time was needed. The group later said its board had mandated management to examine the offers it had received.
The phone company reported a consolidated net loss for 2015 of 72 million euros and proposed distributing a dividend on savings shares of 2.75 euro cents per share.
The luxury goods maker reported a larger-than-expected 11 percent rise in core profit for 2015 but expressed caution on the outlook for 2016 after a soft start to the year.
An appeals court on Thursday sentenced Mediaset Chief Executive Pier Silvio Berlusconi to 14 months in prison over alleged tax evasion at the Italian group's broadcast rights arm Mediatrade, overturning a previous acquittal.
The company wants to play an active role in sector consolidation, but may consider paying an extraordinary dividend in case "transformational M&A" doesn't materialise, CEO Guido Barbieri said during a conference call.
Italian gas company Snam is looking to fund expansion of its core transmission business across Europe by spinning off domestic distribution operations worth more than 5 billion euros ($5.7 billion).
Mondadori has submitted an offer to Banzai to buy Banzai Media Holding and the two companies have entered exclusive talks.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------ MARKET SNAPSHOT AT 0612 GMT: > Asia stocks, oil jump as dollar sags after Fed > Dow closes positive for year as commodities rally, dollar dives > Tokyo's Nikkei share average closes down 1.25 pct > U.S. yields slide on Fed rate view > Yen stands tall as dollar weakened by Fed's cautious stance > Gold set for weekly gain as Fed stance keeps dollar under pressure > Copper hits 4-mth peak on Fed move, China property revival > US oil hits 2016 high on output-freeze hopes, set for 5th weekly gain
Reporting by Danilo Masoni