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(ADVISORY- Reuters plans to replace intra-day European and UK stock market reports with a Live Markets blog on Eikon - see cpurl://apps.cp./cms/?pageId=livemarkets for site in development. See the bottom of the report)
LONDON, April 20 (Reuters) - European shares were set to retreat from their three-month highs on Wednesday, mirroring losses in Asia, with a fall in crude oil and metals prices seen putting pressure on commodities-related stocks.
Futures for the Euro STOXX 50, Germany's DAX, France's CAC and Britain's FTSE were down 0.3 to 0.5 percent.
The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index closed 1.5 percent higher after climbing to a three-month high, helped by encouraging trading updates from some companies and a rally in commodities prices.
However, crude oil prices fell on Wednesday after Kuwaiti oil workers ended a three-day strike that had cut the nation's crude output by around half, with worries about an oversupplied market returning to the fore. Metals prices also came under pressure.
Technology companies will remain in focus after Europe's largest software company SAP said its first-quarter profit after tax rose 9 percent to 763 million euros ($867 million) and reiterated its full-year outlook, citing a strong order pipeline across its portfolio.
ASML Holding, a key supplier to major computer chip makers, reported first quarter earnings ahead of expectations, and said it expects a strong second quarter.
In the United States, however, Intel Corp said late on Tuesday it would cut up to 12,000 jobs globally, or 11 percent of its workforce, as it refocuses its business towards making microchips that power data centers and Internet connected devices and away from the declining personal computer industry it helped found. Its shares fell more than 2 percent in extended trading.
SAP said on Wednesday first-quarter profit after tax rose 9 percent to 763 million euros ($867 million) and it reiterated its full-year outlook, citing a strong order pipeline across its portfolio.
ARM Holdings, the provider of technology for the iPhone, reported a 14 percent rise in first-quarter profit, outperforming a weak semiconductor market as its most advanced chips were used in an increasing number of smartphones.
ASML Holding a key supplier to major computer chip makers, on Wednesday reported first quarter earnings ahead of expectations, and said it expects a strong second quarter.
Power grids maker ABB said first-quarter net profit fell less than analysts had forecast as the company cut costs, helping it weather a slump in oil prices and weaker demand from China and the Middle East. For more news see
Syngenta, the Swiss pesticides and seeds maker that is being taken over by state-owned ChemChina, said first-quarter sales declined 7 percent, hurt by a strong dollar and a drop at its Latin American business. For more, click on
Mining giant BHP Billiton followed rival Rio Tinto in trimming its iron ore output guidance on Wednesday, helping to ease pressure on an oversupplied market.
BHP Billiton is also considering quitting its coal assets in Indonesia, where it recently started shipping steel-making coal from a small mine, amid uncertainty over Indonesian regulations and a weak outlook for coal.
The French oil and gas company announced the creation of a gas, renewables and power division, which it said will help drive its ambition to become a top renewables and electricity trading player within 20 years.
An employee shareholders group has asked the AMF market regulator to force the French state to buy out the utility's minority shareholders, in a dispute over its plans to build nuclear plants in Britain.
The world's third-largest brewer sold far more beer than expected in the first quarter of the year, helped by growth in Vietnam, the Chinese New Year and an earlier Easter boosting sales in Europe and the Americas.
The European planemaker is close to a deal to sell 37 of the current version of the A321 passenger jet to Delta Air Lines, two people familiar with the matter said.
A growing backlog of undelivered jets, stranded outside Airbus factories due to supplier problems, is putting pressure on cash generation for the start of the year, industry sources and analysts said.
The Italian arm of Allianz will contribute 100 million euros to a fund being set up in Italy to support cash calls at weaker banks and buy bad debts from lenders, a source familiar with the matter said.
BASF said it had agreed to acquire automotive refinish coatings assets of Guangdong Yinfan Chemistry to boost its business in China and Asia Pacific. Financial details were not disclosed.
BMW has lost the core development team of its i3 and i8 electric vehicle line to Chinese Tencent-backed startup Future Mobility Corp., the Wall Street Journal reported.
The United States and seven other countries called late on Tuesday for urgent action to address global steel overcapacity, a day after China and other major steel producing countries failed to agree on measures to tackle an industry crisis.
Luxury division Audi created so-called defeat devices which cut emissions in 1999, years before parent VW used them to cheat diesel emissions tests, German newspaper Handelsblatt reported on Tuesday.
The Wall Street Journal reported that the U.S. Justice Department had told Volkswagen to refrain from publicly releasing results of its independent investigation into the cheating, potentially complicating its plans to release preliminary results of the probe and 2015 financial results this month.
Europe's largest hotel group posted higher underlying sales on Tuesday as robust demand for hotel rooms in most markets overcame a weaker performance in France and in recession-hit Brazil.
Randgold Resources has entered a joint venture in the Democratic Republic of Congo with a company controlled by Israeli billionaire Dan Gertler and a state miner, the company's chief executive said on Tuesday.
Indian mortgage lender Housing Development Finance Corp said on Tuesday it plans to list up to 10 percent of its life insurance joint venture with Britain's Standard Life Plc in an initial public offering (IPO).
Zodiac said its first-half operating profit fell to 80.4 million euros ($91 million) from 177.6 million and predicted its full-year income would be close to that of 2014/15 after a "significant improvement" in the second half.
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission announced two fraud cases alleging that accounting failures left investors in the dark about the finances of computer accessories maker Logitech International and now-defunct electric car battery maker Ener1 Inc.
The private bank saw profit slip in tough market conditions early this year, the company said on Tuesday. Vontobel had advised client assets of 142.3 billion Swiss francs ($148.29 billion) at the end of March, it said, an increase compared to average client assets for 2015.
Sweden's Handelsbanken reported first-quarter operating profit below expectations on Wednesday as it took a provision for early retirement of staff.
Nordic telecom operator Telia raised its 2016 profit outlook on Wednesday after a first quarter where core earnings rose well above market expectations, boosted by higher profitability in its Swedish home market.
ADVISORY- Reuters plans to replace intra-day European and UK stock market reports with a Live Markets blog on Eikon (see cpurl://apps.cp./cms/?pageId=livemarkets for site in development). In a real-time, multimedia format from 0600 London time through the 1630 closing bell, it will include the best of our market reporting, Stocks Buzz service, Eikon graphics, Reuters pictures, eye-catching research and market zeitgeist. Breaking news and dramatic market moves will continue to be alerted to all clients and we will continue to provide a short opening story and comprehensive closing reports.
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Mike Dolan, Markets Editor EMEA. (Reporting by Atul Prakash; Editing by Sudip Kar-Gupta)