LONDON, March 5 (Reuters) - European stocks were seen steadying on Wednesday following wild swings in the previous two sessions as tensions over Ukraine appeared to ease, with investors looking to data and corporate earnings to provide direction.
European stocks surged on Tuesday, reversing a big portion of the previous session’s sharp losses after Russian President Vladimir Putin said he would use force in neighbouring Ukraine only as a last resort.
Putin’s first comments on the crisis over the Ukrainian region of Crimea, interpreted as an attempt to reduce tensions, helped fuel a rebound in equities worldwide.
However, analysts warned there could still be volatility, with U.S President Barack Obama saying on Monday that Russia violated international law, warning the U.S. government would look at a series of economic and diplomatic sanctions to isolate Moscow.
“If you look at the comments last night from Obama, that Putin is not fooling anybody... then there is still a little bit of sensitivity in the markets,” Brenda Kelly, chief market strategist at IG, said.
“Markets are quite vulnerable to downside if we see any escalation of what’s going on in Ukraine.”
At 0729 GMT, futures for the Euro STOXX 50, Britain’s FTSE 100 , Germany’s DAX and France’s CAC were 0.1-0.3 percent lower.
French supermarket Carrefour, UK-listed bank Standard Chartered and German sports retailer Adidas are among companies reporting results on Wednesday.
Carrefour, the world’s second biggest retailer, said that profit came in above expectations and lifted its dividend, although it also chose to spend more cash to renovate and expand its stores.
With 80 percent of companies having reported quarterly results already, the earnings season so far has been decent, with 56 percent of those that have reported beating or meeting expectations.
Euro zone PMIs will also be in focus in the run-up to a European Central Bank policy meeting on Thursday. Any signs of weakness in the economic surveys may raise concerns over deflation in the region as investors speculate as to whether the ECB is set to ease policy further.
Europe bourses in 2014:
Asset performance in 2014:------------------------------------------------------------------------------ > GLOBAL MARKETS- Asian shares jump on Ukraine relief > US STOCKS-S&P 500 ends at a record; Ukraine-Russia tensions ease > Nikkei jumps as Ukraine fears ease, battered shares bought back > TREASURIES-Prices fall on signs that Ukraine crisis is easing > FOREX-Yen steady, nurses losses as Ukraine jitters ease > PRECIOUS-Gold treads water as safe-haven demand cools, stocks rise > METALS-London copper hovers near 1-wk peak as Ukraine worries ease > Brent holds above $109 after plunge on easing Ukraine fears
The world’s second-largest retailer said it would boost capital spending this year, highlighting its commitment to reviving its struggling European hypermarkets and expanding in the emerging markets of China and Brazil.
Bouygues will submit an offer on Wednesday to buy Vivendi’s telecom unit SFR and will make pledges on jobs and network investments to win support for its bid, two people close to the situation said.
The French reinsurer posted a 31 percent rise in full-year net income to 549 million euros as gross written premiums rose 7.8 percent to 10.25 billion.
An experimental drug reduced asthma attacks in patients with severe uncontrolled asthma by 60 percent and helped improve lung function in certain patients, indicating that the drug could offer the first personalized approach to treatment, according to data from a clinical trial released on Tuesday.
China’s process to approve Syngenta’s MIR162 genetically modified corn is underway after the firm submitted additional material to authorities in November and should go through quickly, Vice Agriculture Minister Niu Dun said.
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Indicated 3.5 percent lower
The sportswear company warned on Wednesday that its results in 2014 would take a significant hit from weakening emerging market currencies like Russia’s rouble even as sales are helped by the soccer World Cup. Poll:
Indicated 0.2 percent lower
Deutsche Bank needs to speed up restructuring and reforms to meet targets it set out for itself for 2015, management board member Stephan Leithner said on Tuesday.
Indicated 0.1 percent lower
Banks such as Deutsche Bank and JPMorgan are teaming up with international funds to bid for a Spanish loan package of over 4 billion euros ($5.5 billion) from Germany’s Commerzbank, sources close to the process said.
The motor insurer posted higher-than-expected pre-tax earnings growth of 7 percent for 2013, boosted by international expansion and an increase in its number of insured vehicles.
The life and pensions group has unveiled a better than expected 16 percent increase in net cash generation as its new business strain improved.
The bank’s chief executive, Antony Jenkins, says lower pay would have meant clients and employees would have been less likely to use Barclays, The Telegraph wrote on Wednesday.