European Factors to Watch-Shares seen mixed, focus on U.S. jobs data
LONDON, May 2 (Reuters) - European equities are set for a mixed open on Friday, with investors seen avoiding strong bets ahead of the widely tracked U.S. jobs data and an escalation in tensions in Ukraine. At 0640 GMT, futures for the Euro STOXX 50, Britain's FTSE 100 , Germany's DAX and France's CAC were down 0.2 percent to up 0.1 percent. The focus of investors, a day after the May Day holiday in Europe except in the United Kingdom, will be on the U.S. non-farm payrolls, which probably advanced by 210,000 jobs in April, up from a gain of 192,000 in March, according to a Reuters survey. Societe Generale economists predicted an addition of 220,000 jobs last month, while Credit Agricole saw a rise of 215,000. "Employment-related information released so far this month is consistent with a solid pace of hiring and we expect to see some continued payback from the downside winter-weather distortions in previous months," Credit Agricole wrote in a note. However, geopolitical concerns are likely to keep investors jittery. Ukrainian forces launched a "large-scale operation" to retake the eastern town of Slaviansk, pro-Russian separatists holding the town said on Friday. Investors will also keep a close eye on corporate news and some individual shares are likely to be volatile. AstraZeneca will be in focus after U.S. drugmaker Pfizer said it had raised its offer for the drugmaker to 50 pounds ($84.47) a share. AstraZeneca earlier rebuffed a proposal valuing it at just under $100 billion, or 46.61 pounds per share. On the earnings front, part-nationalised Royal Bank of Scotland trebled its profit in the first quarter, benefiting from improved cost control and a reduction in impairment costs. And chemicals group BASF said its first-quarter adjusted earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) reached 2.1 billion euros ($2.91 billion), compared with a 2.117 billion euros analyst forecast in a Reuters poll. According to Thomson Reuters StarMine data, 39 percent of STOXX Europe 600 companies have announced results so far, of which 57 percent have met or beaten forecasts. Europe lags the United States, where 75 pct of S&P 500 firms have met or beaten earnings expectations. About two-thirds of U.S. companies have announced results so far. Europe bourses in 2014: (link.reuters.com/pad95v) Asset performance in 2014: (link.reuters.com/rav46v) ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ > Asian shares up before U.S. jobs report, Ukraine eyed > S&P ends flat ahead of jobs report; Internet names gain > Nikkei slips ahead of U.S. job data, Sony falls after earning cut > U.S. 30-year yields sink to near 11-month lows > Dollar in limbo before jobs data; sterling pulls ahead > Gold faces second weekly drop in three on ETF selling > Copper eyes biggest weekly fall in seven as U.S. tapers > Brent holds below $108 ahead of U.S. jobs data COMPANY NEWS ASTRAZENECA U.S. drugmaker Pfizer said on Friday it had raised its offer for AstraZeneca to 50 pounds ($84.47) a share, adding that the British drugmaker was reviewing the proposal. AstraZeneca earlier rebuffed a proposal valuing it at just under $100 billion, or 46.61 pounds per share. ROYAL BANK OF SCOTLAND - Part-nationalised Royal Bank of Scotland trebled its profit in the first quarter, benefiting from improved cost control and a reduction in impairment costs. BASF The chemicals group said its first-quarter adjusted earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) reached 2.1 billion euros ($2.91 billion), compared with a 2.117 billion euros analyst forecast in a Reuters poll. Poll: BAYER The company is nearing an agreement to buy Merck & Co Inc's consumer healthcare unit, people familiar with the matter said, in a deal that could value the business at around $14 billion. AREVA French state-controlled nuclear group said late on Wednesday its first-quarter revenue fell 18.1 percent to 1.78 billion euros in comparison with an exceptionally strong first-quarter in 2013. BMW The company said its U.S. sales increased by 2 percent in April. DAIMLER Mercedes-Benz USA said it hit record sales in April at 25,887 vehicles. DEUTSCHE TELEKOM Sprint Corp is meeting with banks to work out funding for its bid for smaller rival T-Mobile US Inc, a source familiar with the situation said, as the mobile carrier works to ease regulatory concerns that the deal would hurt competition. MERCK KGAA Merck extended the offer period for its planned takeover of Britain's AZ Electronic Materials for a seventh time after the deal was approved by Chinese antitrust regulators. BOURSORAMA Boursorama, the online broker controlled by French bank Societe Generale , said on Friday that 2014 group net income would be close to zero because of costs tied to its exit from Britain. GDF SUEZ Japan's Toshiba and France's GDF Suez have reached an agreement on key terms with Britain's Nuclear Decommissioning Authority to manage the land at Sellafield where the companies plan to build three new nuclear reactors. DANONE France's Danone will buy milk formula processing and packing factories in New Zealand to replace supply lost by terminating contracts with the Fonterra dairy cooperative following a food safety scare last year. ORANGE France's Orange has filed a complaint to the telecoms regulator about a mobile network-sharing agreement between two rivals Vivendi's SFR and Bouygues, according to Les Echos newspaper. TF1 France's largest private television broadcaster swung to a narrow operating profit in the first quarter helped by cost cuts and delays to certain programmes despite what it described as ongoing uncertainty in the advertising market. AREVA French state-controlled nuclear group said its first-quarter revenue fell 18.1 percent to 1.78 billion euros in comparison with an exceptionally strong first-quarter in 2013. VOLKSWAGEN Swedish holding company Investor AB said on Wednesday it would tender its small stake in Scania to Volkswagen, which has bid to take full control of the truck maker. Separately, the company said its U.S. sales were down 8.4 percent in April. MARKS & SPENCER Britain's biggest clothing retailer launched a new online push on Thursday, targeting the 19 million customers a year who shop in its UK stores but do not use its website. SUBSEA 7 The Norwegian oil services supplier has won a three-year, $160 million contract extension from BP to provide light subsea construction, inspection, repair and maintenance services work in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico. For more on the company, click UBS Britain's financial regulator has banned a former senior UBS trader for failing to blow the whistle on colleague Kweku Adoboli, the "rogue trader" jailed in 2012 for running up $2.3 billion in unauthorised trading losses. For more, click on CREDIT SUISSE A former Swiss banker pleaded guilty to helping U.S. clients avoid taxes, according to documents filed in a federal court. Josef Dorig was indicted in 2011 with former bankers for Credit Suisse AG. Dorig founded a trust company that worked with the bank. Credit Suisse was not named in Dorig's plea agreement. For more, click on (Reporting by Atul Prakash; Editing by Sudip Kar-Gupta)
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