European Factors to Watch-Shares seen flat to higher, DAX targets 10,000 mark
(Adds company news, updates futures prices) LONDON, May 28 (Reuters) - European equities are expected to open flat to slightly higher on Wednesday, with another record high set by the U.S. S&P 500 index following strong economic data and hopes of further policy easing by the European Central Bank improving sentiment. Data on Tuesday showed that orders for long-lasting U.S. manufactured goods unexpectedly rose in April, home prices advanced more than expected in March and consumer confidence rose to near its highest since 2008. At 0637 GMT, futures for the Euro STOXX 50, Germany's DAX and France's CAC were flat to 0.3 percent higher. Futures for Britain's FTSE 100 were up 0.1 percent at 6,834.50 points. "On the technical side, starting from a low of 6,452 in April, the FTSE 100 futures embarked on its current upward movement, elevating it to annual tops at 6,880 in mid-May '14 with several buy signals," Commerzbank said in a note. "Based on the resulting slightly overbought technical conditions, this has been followed by a normal, trend-confirming flag consolidation. The Future has now moved out of this flag upwards with a trading buy signal. This indicates a continuation of the upward movement and a new test of the annual highs." The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index closed 0.2 percent higher at 1,378.82 points on Tuesday after climbing to its highest since early 2008, while Germany's DAX rose 0.5 percent after setting a new record high. The DAX is just about 60 points away from the 10,000 mark. The market was supported by hopes of a policy response from the European Central Bank (ECB) at its June 5 meeting. ECB President Mario Draghi said on Tuesday it was aware of the risks from prices remaining too low for too long and it was equipped to get inflation back to its target again. Investors will keep a close eye on the stock of Dutch supermarket chain Ahold, which posted a first-quarter operating profit below analyst expectations as margins fell in the United States and the Netherlands, the group's main markets. Europe bourses in 2014: (link.reuters.com/pad95v) Asset performance in 2014: (link.reuters.com/rav46v) ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ MARKET SNAPSHOT AT 0638 GMT: LAST PCT CHG NET CHG S&P 500 1,911.91 0.6 % 11.38 NIKKEI 14670.95 0.24 % 34.43 MSCI ASIA EX-JP 489.94 0.63 % 3.08 EUR/USD 1.3631 -0.01 % -0.0001 USD/JPY 101.89 -0.08 % -0.0800 10-YR US TSY YLD 2.509 -- -0.01 10-YR BUND YLD 1.382 -- -0.01 SPOT GOLD $1,264.39 0.08 % $1.00 US CRUDE $104.16 0.05 % 0.05 > Asian shares, dollar cheer strong U.S. data, Wall St record > S&P 500 ends at record on mergers, ECB; small caps rise > Nikkei rises on US data; Mitsui Fudosan dives on share issue plan > Long-end prices rise for a 2nd day on month-end support > Dollar clings near 8-week high after rising on upbeat U.S. data > Gold at 3-1/2 month low on strong US data, weak Chinese demand > -LME copper steady at near 3-month high; nickel firms > Brent gains above $110 as U.S. data boosts growth prospects COMPANY NEWS SIEMENS, ALSTOM Germany's Siemens hopes to submit by June 16 at the latest a formal asset swap offer to France's Alstom that would create two European industry champions, the head of Siemens France said on Tuesday. Separately, Siemens could sell a 50 percent stake in household goods company BSH to private equity or rival Samsung, if partner Bosch does not agree to buy it soon, German paper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung said. AHOLD Dutch supermarket chain Ahold, which makes about 60 percent of its revenue in the United States where it operates the Giant and Stop&Shop supermarkets, posted a first-quarter operating profit below analyst expectations, as margins fell in the United States and the Netherlands, the group's main markets. OSRAM German lighting company Osram Licht on Tuesday said it could not meet its goal of revenue growth exceeding 3 percent in the fiscal year. Osram now expects revenues to either remain at last year's level, or to increase moderately for the current fiscal year. WEIR British engineering company Weir Group said it submitted a revised acquisition proposal for Finnish rival Metso on May 20, but the approach had been rejected a week later, adding that it would not pursue a takeover any further at the current time. SANOFI The French drugmaker announced a licensing agreement with Eli Lilly to pursue regulatory approval of erectile dysfunction treatment Cialis for sale over-the-counter. Separately, Britain's healthcare cost-effectiveness watchdog is recommending Sanofi's new multiple sclerosis drug Lemtrada as a treatment option on the state health service, it said on Wednesday. GLAXOSMITHKLINE Britain's fraud office has launched a formal criminal investigation into GlaxoSmithKline, posing a new challenge to the drugmaker, which already faces claims of bribery in China and four other countries. ROYAL BANK OF SCOTLAND Royal Bank of Scotland has become the latest overseas bank to shrink its business in the United States after announcing it would cut its mortgage trading business by two-thirds, the Financial Times reported on Tuesday. AIRBUS Airbus Group completed an overhaul of Europe's largest aerospace group by changing its name from EADS and reaffirming a pledge to deliver on existing projects before embarking on risky new ventures. ILIAD France's telecom regulator said it would open an inquiry into whether low-cost operator Iliad was building out its mobile network fast enough to conform to the coverage obligations required by its licence. NESTLE The company said it was branching into medical skin treatments and had acquired the rights to several skin products from Canadian firm Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc for $1.4 billion in cash. CREDIT AGRICOLE The French bank expects to reduce its holding in Portugal's largest listed bank, Banco Espirito Santo, to about 15 percent from 20.1 percent through dilution in a rights issue by BES, BES said. ALLIANZ The insurer's Pacific Investment Management Co unit on Tuesday said it had rehired Paul McCulley, a former portfolio manager and top U.S. Federal Reserve watcher at the bond giant, the latest reshuffle after the high-profile departure of former chief executive Mohamed El-Erian.[ID: nL1N0OD11W] ELEKTA Medical Technology group Elekta posted weaker than expected fourth quarter earnings on Wednesday and said that growth will be around 7-9 percent for the next fiscal year. (Reporting by Atul Prakash; Editing by Alistair Smout)
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