Europe Factors to Watch-Shares seen steady; Russia in focus
PARIS, March 21 (Reuters) - European stocks were seen steady on Friday, although shares of companies with a big exposure to Russia could be under renewed pressure after Washington extended sanctions and Fitch revised the country's outlook to 'negative'. At 0730 GMT, futures for Euro STOXX 50, for UK's FTSE 100, for Germany's DAX and for France's CAC were up 0.2 to down 0.05 percent. Washington raised the stakes in an East-West confrontation over Crimea on Thursday by the extension of visa bans and asset freezes into Russian President Vladimir Putin's inner circle of closest long-time political and business allies. Credit rating agency Fitch revised the outlook on Russia's long-term foreign and local currency rating to "negative" from "stable" while keeping the rating at 'BBB'. Russia's MICEX stock index was down 3.1 percent in early trade on Friday. "There hasn't been any military escalation, so the impact of the crisis on the overall European market is very small now, but on a more granular view, it's best to avoid all the stocks exposed to Russia, so it's a market for stock pickers," a Paris-based trader said. Shares of European companies most exposed to Russia will be under renewed pressure, including Finnish tyre maker Nokian Renkaat, Austrian lender Raiffeisen Bank International and Danish brewer Carlsberg . The three firms derive 26 percent, 22 percent and 17 percent respectively of their revenues from Russia, according to data from MSCI. For a list of European blue-chips with the biggest exposure to Russia, click The tensions in Ukraine, as well as mounting concerns over the pace of growth in China, has been denting investor appetite for Europe's shares, with Thomson Reuters Lipper data showing inflows of U.S. investments into European stocks slowed to their lowest pace in eight months in the seven days to March 19. The Lipper poll of 103 U.S.-domiciled funds invested in European stocks showed they raked in a net $214 million, the smallest inflow since July 2013, although the funds still managed to extend their longest winning streak on record into a 38th week. While those U.S. inflows into European stocks were relatively small, they still contrast with further sharp outflows from emerging market stocks, which saw $1.12 billion in redemptions during the week, according to Lipper. The European stock market has been the big winner of sharp investment outflows from emerging markets. These emerging markets economies have been hurt in part by the scaling back of the U.S Federal Reserve's quantitative easing programme, while investors have also increasingly bet on a euro zone economic recovery. According to a Reuters poll of 37 fund managers and strategists, taken in the past week, the pan-European STOXX Europe 600 index is seen adding almost 8 percent before year-end. Germany's DAX will underperform, however, hurt in part by its strong exposure to troubled emerging markets, which have seen big swings in the value of their currencies. Europe bourses in 2014: link.reuters.com/pad95v Asset performance in 2014: link.reuters.com/rav46v ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ MARKET SNAPSHOT AT 0733 GMT: LAST PCT CHG NET CHG S&P 500 1,872.01 0.6 % 11.24 MSCI ASIA EX-JP 452.49 0.77 3.45 EUR/USD 1.3774 -0.03 % -0.0004 USD/JPY 102.31 -0.07 % -0.0700 10-YR US TSY YLD 2.770 -- -0.01 10-YR BUND YLD 1.642 -- -0.01 SPOT GOLD $1,330.15 0.17 % $2.26 US CRUDE $98.74 -0.16 % -0.16 > GLOBAL MARKETS-Stocks steady after Fed scare, eye yuan slide > US STOCKS-Wall St rebounds after data; financials climb > FOREX-Dollar pauses before Fed speakers; yuan hits 13-month low > PRECIOUS-Gold heads for biggest weekly fall in four months > METALS-Copper prices eye fourth weekly loss on China worries > Brent falls towards $106; on track for fourth weekly loss COMPANY NEWS: BP BP has been sucked into the row over Russia's annexation of Crimea with calls for the delisting from the London Stock Exchange of Rosneft, the Moscow-based oil company in which the British group has a 20 percent holding, according to the Guardian. NESTLE, DANONE, FRESENIUS Swiss food giant Nestle and diversified German healthcare group Fresenius are among the four groups that have shown interest in buying the Medical Nutrition unit of France's Danone, daily Les Echos said on Thursday. SANPAOLO In its new business plan to be presented next week the bank will be aiming for a return on equity of 10 percent by 2018, Il Sole 24 Ore said, without citing sources. UNIPOL UNIPOLSAI Unipol Banca, part of insurer Unipol, plans to carry out a capital increase for 100 million euros ($138 million), Unipol Chief Executive Officer Carlo Cimbri said on Thursday. TELECOM ITALIA Telecom Italia may look into taking a minority stake in Italian fibre network provider Metroweb to help boost its investments in faster networks, people familiar with the matter said. BOUYGUES NUMERICABLE VIVENDI Conglomerate Bouygues re-opened the battle to buy France's second biggest telecoms provider SFR on Thursday with a new offer less than a week after owner Vivendi began exclusive talks with rival bidder Numericable. HAVAS French advertising agency Havas saw its profits rise slightly last year, helped by recovering markets in Europe and North America and a robust Asia, the company reported on Thursday. ADIDAS Peer Nike Inc on Thursday warned Wall Street that growing pressures from weaker currencies in key emerging markets would take a big toll on its profit in the current quarter and into the next fiscal year. DEUTSCHE BANK Deutsche Bank has failed to win the dismissal of four U.S. lawsuits seeking to force it to pay damages or buy back troubled home loans it had packaged into residential mortgage-backed securities prior to the 2008 financial crisis. (Reporting by Blaise Robinson, editing by Tricia Wright and Alistair Smout)
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