Europe Factors to Watch-Shares set to track Wall Street's selloff
PARIS, April 7 (Reuters) - European stocks were set to fall on Monday, halting their three-week rally and tracking a selloff on Wall Street on Friday where a number of high-growth companies mostly in the tech and biotech tumbled. The retreat could be limited, however, as M&A activity in Europe fuels hopes of further consolidation. Switzerland's Holcim unveiled an all-share deal to buy France's Lafarge on Monday to create the world's biggest cement maker with combined sales of 32 billion euros ($44 billion). France's Vivendi said it had accepted cable company Numericable's bid for its telecom unit SFR, which would give Vivendi at least 13.5 billion euros ($18.5 billion) in cash plus a 20-percent stake in the new entity. At 0620 GMT, futures for Euro STOXX 50, for UK's FTSE 100, for Germany's DAX and for France's CAC were down 0.8 percent. The Nasdaq Composite sank 2.6 percent, following a nearly 1 percent slide on Thursday, dragged lower by a selloff in tech and biotech shares, seen as "momentum stocks" that had led 2013's rally. "Perhaps the key equity story now is the horrible price action in the momentum/growth stocks; especially ones that trade - or at least did trade - on outrageous valuations," Chris Weston, chief market strategist at IG, wrote in a note. "Anyone who has been watching price action on Twitter, Facebook, Tesla and Amazon, among others, would not see this as a particularly new story, as they are all in or around bear market territory." European stocks rallied on Friday, with the FTSEurofirst 300 index of top European shares hitting its highest level in 5-1/2 years, boosted by M&A fever in construction, speculation about further stimulus by the European Central Bank and U.S. jobs data that suggested a solid pace of hiring for a second month in a row. Italian banks will be in focus after the chief executive of UniCredit said on Saturday that Italian banks would be at a disadvantage if the European Central Bank decides to buy asset-backed securities as part of unconventional measures aimed at staving off deflation risks. A German newspaper reported late on Friday that the ECB has modelled the economic effects of buying 1 trillion euros ($1.37 trillion) of securities as part of a quantitative easing (QE) programme. Europe bourses in 2014: link.reuters.com/pad95v Asset performance in 2014: link.reuters.com/rav46v ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ MARKET SNAPSHOT AT 0624 GMT: LAST PCT CHG NET CHG S&P 500 1,865.09 -1.25 % -23.68 NIKKEI 14,808.85 -1.69 % -254.92 MSCI ASIA EX-JP 474.77 -0.13 % -0.61 EUR/USD 1.3704 0.01 % 0.0002 USD/JPY 103.12 -0.15 % -0.1600 10-YR US TSY YLD 2.721 -- -0.01 10-YR BUND YLD 1.546 -- -0.01 SPOT GOLD $1,299.90 -0.17 % -$2.22 US CRUDE $100.72 -0.42 % -0.42 > GLOBAL MARKETS-Tech shares slip; others relieved at US jobs > US STOCKS-Momentum stocks sink; Nasdaq posts worst day since Feb > Nikkei falls, SoftBank dives on selloff in U.S. tech stocks > FOREX-Dollar subdued after jobs data, euro wary of ECB stimulus > PRECIOUS-Gold holds gains as US jobs data soothes interest rate fears > METALS-London copper dips to one-week low on China holiday > Brent slips below $106 as Libya deal eases supply worries COMPANY NEWS: LAFARGE The world's two largest cement makers, France's Lafarge and Holcim of Switzerland, have agreed the terms of a merger that would create a company with a market value of around $55 billion, a source close to the deal said. ITALIAN BANKS Italian lenders would be at a disadvantage if the European Central Bank decides to buy asset-backed securities as part of unconventional measures aimed at staving off deflation risks, the chief executive of UniCredit said on Saturday. UNICREDIT Italy's biggest bank by assets is trying to sell a chunk of its non-performing loans together with its debt collection unit, the chief executive of the Italian bank said on Saturday, citing strong investor interest for distressed assets in the country. CREDIT SUISSE Benjamin Lawsky, New York's financial services superintendent, has sought documents from Credit Suisse to examine whether Switzerland's second-biggest bank lied to New York authorities about engineering tax shelters, said a source familiar with the matter. NUMERICABLE, VIVENDI, BOUYGUES Numericable won a fierce month-long bidding war against mobile rival Bouygues for the prize of SFR on Saturday when Vivendi announced it had decided to go with Numericable's offer, which combined 13.5 billion euros in cash, a 20 percent stake in the combined entity and a potential milestone payment. Numericable will launch a rights issue worth up to 4.7 billion euros to help fund its acquisition of Vivendi unit SFR, Numericable said. RENAULT The head of the Renault-Nissan alliance said he saw great potential in Russia despite a slowdown in car sales and was unperturbed by the geopolitical situation, seeming to shrug off Moscow's standoff with the West over Ukraine. SANOFI Sanofi said it plans to resubmit its application for its Lemtrada drug for the treatment of relapsing forms of multiple sclerosis following "constructive discussions" with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. AIR FRANCE KLM Franco-Dutch airline Air France-KLM said passenger traffic was unchanged year-on-year in March, whilst its cargo business registered growth of 2.7 percent. CASINO French retailer Casino said it had exercised an option to buy 8.9 million preferred shares in Brazil's top retailer, Grupo Pao de Acucar, raising its stake to 41.4 percent from 38 percent. BANKIA, IBERDROLA Bankia chairman Jose Ignacio Goirigolzarri said it may be time to sell the bank's near 5 percent stake in Spanish utility Iberdrola, Expansion reported, citing news agency EFE. (Reporting by Blaise Robinson; Editing by Tricia Wright)
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