Europe Factors to Watch-Shares set to rise; Ukraine eyed
PARIS, May 12 (Reuters) - European stocks were set to inch higher in early trade on Monday, tracking a rally on Wall Street where the Dow Jones Industrial Average ended at a record high, although gains could be limited by tensions in Ukraine following Sunday's referendum in eastern provinces. Pro-Russian rebels declared victory in a referendum on self-rule for eastern Ukraine, a vote seen as illegal by the European Union, which is prepared to increase pressure on Russia on Monday by taking steps to extend sanctions to companies as well as people linked to Moscow's annexation of Ukraine's Crimea region. About 40 European blue-chips derive more than 5 percent of their revenues from the Russian market, including Austria's Raiffeisen Bank and Finnish tyre maker Nokian Renkaat, which respectively generate 26 percent and 21 percent of their revenues in Russia, according to data from MSCI. At 0632 GMT, futures for Euro STOXX 50, for UK's FTSE 100, for Germany's DAX and for France's CAC were up 0.2-0.4 percent. Shares in mining firms will be in the spotlight after London nickel jumped nearly 4 percent on supply worries and LME copper hit its highest level in two months, fuelled by steady buying and short-covering on the LME May contract, traders said. The euro zone's blue-chip Euro STOXX 50 index, which has gained 3.3 percent since mid-April, has been stuck in a range since late March, halted by a long-term resistance level representing the 50 percent retracement of the index's 2007-2009 slump. "The index is still moving sideways for now, trying to break above 3,200 points. On the longer term though, the bullish trend is still in place," said Jose Antonio Gonzalez Ibanez, head of equity technical analysis at EuroStockScreener, in Zaragoza, Spain. On the M&A front, Alstom will be in focus after German Chancellor Angela Merkel said the government would support a tie-up with Siemens if the corporate decision-makers decide that it would make sense. Europe bourses in 2014: (link.reuters.com/pad95v) Asset performance in 2014: (link.reuters.com/rav46v) ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ MARKET SNAPSHOT AT 0634 GMT: LAST PCT CHG NET CHG S&P 500 1,878.48 0.15 % 2.85 NIKKEI 14149.52 -0.35 % -50.07 MSCI ASIA EX-JP 478.04 0.59 % 2.82 EUR/USD 1.3766 0.07 % 0.0009 USD/JPY 101.89 0.04 % 0.0400 10-YR US TSY YLD 2.634 -- 0.01 10-YR BUND YLD 1.465 -- 0.01 SPOT GOLD $1,289.20 0.03 % $0.37 US CRUDE $100.08 0.09 % 0.09 > GLOBAL MARKETS-SHARES OFF TO CAUTIOUS START ON UKRAINE ANXIETY > US STOCKS-DOW ENDS AT RECORD HIGH; APPLE DRAGS ON S&P 500, NASDAQ > NIKKEI SLIPS AS UKRAINE WORRIES CURB RISK APPETITE; OLYMPUS SHINES > FOREX-EURO STABILISES BUT STILL IN THE DOLDRUMS ON ECB THREAT > PRECIOUS-GOLD FALLS ON EURO; UKRAINE TENSIONS STEM LOSSES > METALS-LME NICKEL UP 4 PCT ON SUPPLY WORRIES, COPPER AT 2-MONTH TOP > BRENT CLIMBS ABOVE $108 ON RENEWED UKRAINE TENSIONS COMPANY NEWS: ALSTOM, SIEMENS Chancellor Angela Merkel said the German government would support a tie-up between engineering firm Siemens and French rival Alstom if the corporate decision-makers decide that it would make sense. BARCLAYS The UK fraud office stepped up its probe into British bank Barclays Plc's dealings with Qatar, the Financial Times reported on Sunday. DEUTSCHE TELEKOM Deutsche Telekom is seeking a breakup fee of more than $1 billion from Sprint Corp in the event a potential merger with the German firm's T-Mobile US Inc does not win regulatory approval, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar with the matter. BOUYGUES The French telecoms operator may lay off more than 20 percent of its workforce after failing in its bid to take over rival SFR, French newspaper Le Figaro reported. CELESIO AG German drug distributor on Monday said an expected waning of intense price competition in the German wholesale market should help underpin its underlying operating profit this year. HEINEKEN The world's third-largest brewer plans capital expenditure of 500 million euros annually in Africa over the next few years to maintain sales growth, a senior executive told Reuters. BRITISH SKY BROADCASTING GROUP PLC British Sky Broadcasting Group Plc said it was in early talks with Rupert Murdoch's 21st Century Fox over the possible acquisition of its pay-TV assets in Germany and Italy, Sky Deutschland and Sky Italia, confirming weekend reports. ACYR Spanish constructor Sacyr and Citi's infrastructure fund have put highway group Itinere up for sale, Expansion reported, citing sources close to Itinere. The group, in which Citi has a 54 percent stake, is worth 1.3 billion euros, or 4 billion euros including debt, Expansion said. Separately, Sacyr is studying the sale of 3-4 percent of its stake in oil company Repsol and is talks with bank Santander to extend terms on a 2.4 billion euro loan by another three years, El Confidencial reported, citing financial sources. ALCATEL-LUCENT The telecom gear maker is focused on its cost saving and repositioning plan and not on industry consolidation, its chief executive said in a newspaper interview after rumours this week of a tie-up with Finland's Nokia. AIR FRANCE-KLM The Franco-Dutch airline said passenger traffic rose 3 percent year-on-year in April, helped by the later timing of the Easter holiday period. UNICREDIT UniCredit has started talks with trade unions over the 7,300 layoffs envisaged by its 2014-2018 business plan, Il Sole 24 Ore said on Saturday. DEUTSCHE BANK Deutsche Bank has cleared its top management after an internal investigation into manipulation of the Libor benchmark interest rate, German magazine WirtschaftWoche reported. AXA, BANCA MONTE DEI PASCHI DI SIENA French insurer AXA will take part in Monte dei Paschi's capital increase, the head of the group's Italian unit AXA Assicurazioni reiterated in an interview with Sunday's Corriere della Sera. BANCA POPOLARE DI MILANO The co-operative lender said on Friday its net profit rose 12 percent in the first quarter helped by higher interest income and fees as the Italian economy left behind a two-year contraction but remained fragile. E.ON, RWE, ENBW German utilities are in talks with the government about handing over responsibility for decommissioning the country's nuclear power plants to a public foundation, two sources familiar with the proposals said on Sunday. BANCA CARIGE The Carige foundation, the top shareholder in the Genoa-based bank, has received from the Treasury the authorisation it was awaiting, allowing it to cut its stake to 19 percent from 43.4 percent, Il Sole 24 Ore said on Saturday in an unsourced report. Italian businessman Andrea Bonomi is readying an offer to buy 20 percent of Carige from the foundation, the paper said. U.S. hedge funds may buy small packets of shares and other small holdings could be sold on the market. BMW, SGL GROUP BMW and SGL Group will triple production of carbon fibre to 9,000 metric tonnes per year, as the German luxury auto maker prepares to expand the use of lightweight materials in its model range. (Reporting by Blaise Robinson, editing by Tricia Wright)
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