Europe Factors to Watch-Shares set to rise, all eyes on ECB
PARIS, May 8 (Reuters) - European stocks were set to rise on Thursday following dovish comments from U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen and better-than-expected Chinese trade figures. Gains could be limited, however, ahead of the European Central Bank (ECB) interest rate decision and news conference, due later in the day. The ECB is expected to take heart from signs of life in the euro zone economy and keep interest rates unchanged, resisting pressure to act in the face of a stronger euro currency and persistently low inflation. "Expectations are pretty low for any sort of action today despite continued calls for further easing from bodies such as the OECD," Michael Hewson, chief market analyst at CMC Markets, wrote in a note. "While inflation pressures are on the low side it still isn't immediately apparent what a rate cut would achieve, given that the only form of easing that might have an effect, namely QE (quantitative easing), still remains a long way away at the moment, if it happens at all." At 0614 GMT, futures for Euro STOXX 50, for UK's FTSE 100, for Germany's DAX and for France's CAC were up 0.2-0.3 percent. Data on Thursday showed that China's exports and imports returned to slight growth in April, sending a positive signal for the world's second-biggest economy after a weaker-than-expected start to 2014. In Europe, data showed German industrial output fell more than forecast in March as construction and manufacturing did worse than in the previous month but the Economy Ministry said on Thursday the outlook for the sector remained bright. On Wall Street on Wednesday, investor sentiment was also lifted by Yellen's testimony to Congress, where she repeated her stance that the U.S. economy was still in need of lots of support given the "considerable slack" in the labour market. Europe bourses in 2014: (link.reuters.com/pad95v) Asset performance in 2014: (link.reuters.com/rav46v) ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ MARKET SNAPSHOT AT 0613 GMT: LAST PCT CHG NET CHG S&P 500 1,878.21 0.56 % 10.49 NIKKEI 14163.78 0.93 % 130.33 MSCI ASIA EX-JP 475.06 0.48 % 2.25 EUR/USD 1.3914 0.03 % 0.0004 USD/JPY 101.72 -0.18 % -0.1800 10-YR US TSY YLD 2.623 -- 0.03 10-YR BUND YLD 1.473 -- 0.00 SPOT GOLD $1,291.23 0.18 % $2.29 US CRUDE $100.65 -0.12 % -0.12 > ASIAN SHARES UP ON YELLEN COMMENTS, CHINA TRADE DATA > DOW, S&P GAIN ON YELLEN; NASDAQ ENDS DOWN FOR 2ND DAY > NIKKEI up ON YELLEN COMMENTS; NINTENDO HIT BY LOSS > EURO OFF HIGHS AHEAD OF ECB; AUSSIE BUOYED BY UPBEAT DATA > GOLD HOLDS BELOW $1,300 ON EASING UKRAINE CONCERNS > NICKEL HITS 2 YEAR TOP ON GORO MINE HALT, CHINA DEMAND > BRENT HOLDS STEADY NEAR $108; CHINESE TRADE DATA SUPPORTS COMPANY NEWS: EURONEXT Euronext, which is being spun off by IntercontinentalExchange, will be listed on three of its exchanges in a stock market listing scheduled for June, a source familiar with the matter said on Wednesday. ADECCO The staffing company said net income rose to 110 million euros ($153.15 million) in the first quarter as revenue growth continued to pick up in Europe. FIAT CHRYSLER Short selling on Fiat Chrysler shares has been banned for Thursday's trading session until 2200 GMT, Italian market regulator Consob said on Wednesday following steep losses in the car maker's share price. Fiat Chrysler's shares fell sharply on Wednesday as analysts questioned whether the carmaker could achieve Chief Executive Sergio Marchionne's new targets - and how his ambitious expansion plan would be funded. VALLOUREC The French pipes and tubes maker is to step up cost saving measures as its profits are hurt by the strong euro currency and a slowdown in orders from the Middle East energy sector, still the main driver of demand growth. PIRELLI The tyre maker will reach its full-year targets despite a weaker-than-expected outlook for the Russian market, Chairman and CEO Marco Tronchetti Provera said on Wednesday. VIVENDI Etisalat expects to complete its purchase of 53 percent of Maroc Telecom from France's Vivendi on May 14, the United Arab Emirates operator said on Thursday. ORANGE The French telecoms group on Wednesday said it had filed two complaints with the Spanish authorities against former local giant Telefonica for breaching competition rules. DIA The Spanish supermarket chain said on Thursday adjusted net profit rose 9.7 percent in the first quarter from a year earlier to 40.1 million euros ($55.8 million), boosted by stronger sales at home and in emerging markets. NESTLE Mondelez International Inc and competitor D.E Master Blenders 1753 are merging their coffee businesses in a deal aimed at taking on market leader Nestle SA. GDF SUEZ The French government has awarded a 4 billion euro ($5.57 billion) tender to build and run two offshore windfarms to a consortium led by French gas and power group GDF Suez, French Energy Minister Segolene Royal said on Wednesday. AIRBUS Airbus is on track to get safety certification for its latest jetliner, the A350, by "the end of the summer" as planned, Europe's top air safety regulator said on Wednesday. LANXESS The synthetic rubber specialist said late on Wednesday it was selling new shares equivalent to 10 percent of its equity to fund restructuring measures. Lanxess also said it could seek a strategic partner for its rubber division. PRISA, TELEFONICA Prisa, the indebted Spanish group that publishes El Pais newspaper, on Wednesday said its board had accepted the offer from Telefonica to buy the 56 percent it owns in the pay-TV firm Distribuidora de Television Digital (DTS). (Reporting by Blaise Robinson; Editing by Anand Basu and Sudip Kar-Gupta)
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