European Factors to Watch-Shares expected to open flat to lower
(Adds futures prices, company news) LONDON, May 30 (Reuters) - European shares headed for a flat to slightly lower open near multi-year highs on Friday, with investors seen treading cautiously on the last trading day of the month and ahead of next week's crucial European Central Bank policy meeting. Futures for the Euro STOXX 50, Britain's FTSE 100, Germany's DAX and France's CAC were flat to 0.3 percent lower by 0633 GMT. "It's all about the ECB at the moment and this is likely to keep some investors at bay just in case next week's stimulus plan is not as aggressive as the market anticipates," IG said in a note. Reuters reported earlier this month that the ECB is preparing a package of policy options for its June 5 meeting that includes cuts in all its interest rates. Investors will keep a close eye on banks after the Wall Street Journal, citing people familiar with the matter, said on Thursday the U.S. Justice Department was pushing BNP Paribas to pay more than $10 billion to resolve a criminal probe into allegations the French bank evaded U.S. sanctions against Iran and other countries for years. BNP Paribas and the Justice Department declined to comment. "Beyond the uncertainty related to the potential financial settlement, the key issues remain of the type of potential charges and impact on BNP Paribas' operational capability," Citi said in a note. Citi removed BNP Paribas from its Focus List Europe citing the uncertainty, but retained a "buy" rating on the shares. Investors' focus will also be on economic data for hints about the market's near-term direction. Figures showed on Friday that German year-on-year retail sales grew at their strongest rate in April since June 2012 as Easter fell later this year than last. Analysts said that equities had become vulnerable following recent sharp gains to new highs and could slip in the absence of a fresh catalyst. The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index closed 0.1 percent higher on Thursday at 1,379.05 points, within a whisker of this week's six-year high of 1,380.52 points. The U.S. S&P 500 index climbed to its third record closing high in four sessions on Thursday as traders shrugged off data showing the economy shrank in the first quarter and bet on improvement in the second quarter. Europe bourses in 2014: (link.reuters.com/pad95v) Asset performance in 2014: (link.reuters.com/rav46v) ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ MARKET SNAPSHOT AT 0635 GMT: LAST PCT CHG NET CHG S&P 500 1,920.03 0.54 % 10.25 NIKKEI 14632.38 -0.34 % -49.34 MSCI ASIA EX-JP 487.88 -0.26 % -1.25 EUR/USD 1.3606 0.04 % 0.0005 USD/JPY 101.60 -0.19 % -0.1900 10-YR US TSY YLD 2.466 -- 0.02 10-YR BUND YLD 1.366 -- 0.01 SPOT GOLD $1,256.41 0.06 % $0.81 US CRUDE $103.41 -0.16 % -0.17 > Asian shares ride Wall Street optimism, dollar slips > S&P 500 sets another record closing high on growth bets > Nikkei extends rally into 7th day, longest win streak since Dec > U.S. benchmark yields edge up from 11-month lows > Yen's advance vs euro, dollar stalls as investors take profits > Gold poised for worst week in 2 mths, economic optimism dents appeal > London copper heads for biggest monthly gain this year > Brent holds above $110 on steep US gasoline stock drawdown COMPANY NEWS BNP PARIBAS The U.S. Justice Department is pushing BNP Paribas to pay more than $10 billion to resolve a criminal probe into allegations that the French bank evaded U.S. sanctions against Iran and other countries for years, the Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday, citing people familiar with the matter. BNP Paribas and the Justice Department declined to comment. DEUTSCHE POST DHL Express plans to start delivering documents and other items by helicopter in Chicago and Charlotte, North Carolina, this year, buoyed by the service's success in other cities, the new head of the company's U.S. unit said on Thursday. DEUTSCHE TELEKOM Deutsche Telekom is willing to keep a minority stake in a deal to sell T-Mobile US Inc to Japan's Softbank Corp, but other details such as price and financing remain to be worked out, according to sources familiar with the situation. SIEMENS, ALSTOM Siemens is "comfortable" with the way the Alstom bidding process has gone so far and will continue to weigh up the risks and opportunities, its chief executive said on Thursday. Separately, Siemens AG's chief executive said the European giant will cut 11,600 positions as the company reduces costs by about 1 billion euros ($1.36 billion), Bloomberg reported on Friday. AIR FRANCE KLM Gol Linhas Aereas SA has approved a capital increase of up to 185.8 million reais ($82.9 million), opening the door for an investment by Air France KLM SA as Brazil's No. 2 airline bolsters its international connections. NOVARTIS, ROCHE Italy said on Wednesday it was seeking more than a billion euros in damages from multinational drug companies following a ruling by the country's antitrust authority that their policies had been detrimental to Italy's national health service. For more, click on: Separately, a federal judge on Thursday refused to dismiss a U.S. government lawsuit accusing Novartis AG of civil fraud for having conducted two illegal kickback schemes to boost sales of drugs covered by Medicare and Medicaid. HOLCIM Brazil's antitrust watchdog Cade fined six cement makers a combined 3.1 billion reais ($1.4 billion) for fixing prices for two decades and ordered the companies to dispose of many assets, in a harsh decision that the biggest one said it will challenge in courts. Holcim, which has been fined around 204 million Swiss francs ($227 million), said it would appeal the decision. For more, click on: TOTAL Total is suspending design and engineering work on its C$11 billion ($10.15 billion) Joslyn oil sands mine in northern Alberta and laying off up to 150 Canadian staff by the end of the year as it looks to reduce costs at the project. ASTRAZENECA After thwarting a $118 billion takeover approach from Pfizer, Britain's AstraZeneca will again take the spotlight this weekend when the biggest annual medical meeting for cancer doctors convenes in Chicago. STATOIL, LUNDIN PETROLEUM, DET NORSKE, A.P. MOELLER MAERSK The startup of Norway's $20 billion Johan Sverdrup oil field, the country's largest industrial project in decades, will not be delayed by a political dispute over its source of power, Prime Minister Erna Solberg told Reuters on Wednesday. AIRBUS Canada signaled on Thursday it is likely to make a decision in the next few weeks on whether to replace its aging CF-18 fighter jets with F-35 stealth fighters from Lockheed Martin Corp or hold an open competition among aircraft makers. The Eurofighter Typhoon, built by Airbus among others, is a competitor. HUGO BOSS The fashion house wants to grow its womenswear business by a double-digit percentage and get 80 percent of its overall sales from its own retail stores by 2020, the group's CEO Claus Dietrich Lahrs said in an interview with Handelsblatt. Related news TECNICAS REUNIDAS Spanish oil engineering company Tecnicas Reunidas said on Thursday it had won a $2.7 billion contract to expand Peru's Talara refinery. REPSOL Spain's environment ministry on Thursday backed the exploration by oil major Repsol of three oil fields off the Canary Islands. (Reporting by Atul Prakash, editing by Tricia Wright)
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