European Factors to Watch-Shares to fall for 3rd day ahead of U.S. jobs data
(Adds live quote) By Francesco Canepa LONDON, Aug 1 (Reuters) - European equity indexes were seen trading in a tight range early on Friday as investors held fire ahead of U.S. jobs data expected to shed light on the chances of an early end to the Federal Reserve's ultra-easy, equity-friendly monetary policy. While positive for the global economy at large, a strong U.S. employment report would strengthen the case for an early interest rate hike by the Fed, whose monetary largesse has been key in fuelling a nearly 40 percent rally in European equities over the past two years. "I still think good data is good for the stock market in the long term because it means the global recovery is still on track," Farhan Ahmad, a trader at Tradenext, said. "Short term, however, we may see some reverberation in the stock market and some further weakening." At 0640 GMT, futures for the euro zone Euro STOXX 50, Britain's FTSE 100, Germany's DAX and France's CAC were between flat and 0.2 percent higher. The Euro STOXX 50 recorded its steepest monthly loss in over a year in July, falling 3.4 percent on the back of concerns about a Fed rate hike in light of strong U.S. GDP and labour costs data earlier this week, as well as geopolitical tensions in Ukraine and the Middle East. The U.S. S&P 500 stock index posted its worst daily fall since April on Thursday, while the CBOE Volatility index, often referred to as Wall Street's fear gauge, jumped 27.2 percent to close at 16.95, its highest level since April 11. Sentiment improved somewhat overnight after Chinese data showed a surprisingly strong pick up in manufacturing activity in the world's second largest economy. U.S. non-farm payrolls, due at 1230 GMT, were expected to show 233,000 jobs were added last month, with the unemployment rate seen steady at 6.1 percent. Euro zone manufacturing data for July was also due for publication, at 0800 GMT. In the meantime, results from a number of European blue-chip companies were set to keep investors busy. Europe's second-biggest insurer, AXA reported a better-than-expected first-half net profit while Arcelormittal, the world's largest steelmaker, cut its forecast for earnings this year after lower-than-anticipated iron ore prices. French cosmetics giant L'Oreal reported a slightly lower-than-expected rise in second-quarter comparable sales and said growth at its consumer goods division was held up by sluggish demand in the United States. Europe bourses in 2014: (link.reuters.com/pad95v) Asset performance in 2014: (link.reuters.com/rav46v) ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ MARKET SNAPSHOT AT 0642 GMT: LAST PCT CHG NET CHG S&P 500 1,930.67 -2 % -39.4 NIKKEI 15523.11 -0.63 % -97.66 MSCI ASIA EX-JP 503.78 -1.12 % -5.7 EUR/USD 1.3386 -0.01 % -0.0002 USD/JPY 102.94 0.15 % 0.1500 10-YR US TSY YLD 2.574 -- 0.02 10-YR BUND YLD 1.168 -- 0.00 SPOT GOLD $1,284.20 0.16 % $2.11 US CRUDE $98.08 -0.09 % -0.09 > ASIA STOCKS PRESSURED BY WALL ST, BUT CHINA HELPS > S&P500 INDEX POSTS WORST FALL SINCE APRIL; INDEXES DOWN FOR JULY > NIKKEI DROPS ON CONCERN ABOUT U.S. RATES; SONY, PANASONIC SHINE > TREASURIES-PRICES STABILIZE ON MONTH-END DEMAND > DOLLAR PAUSES NEAR 10-MONTH HIGH AHEAD OF U.S. JOBS DATA > GOLD NEAR 6-WEEK LOW, POISED FOR THIRD WEEKLY LOSS > COPPER UNDERPINNED AS CHINESE FACTORY ACTIVITY GATHERS STEAM > BRENT HOLDS NEAR $106 AFTER AMPLE SUPPLY PULLS DOWN PRICES COMPANY NEWS L'OREAL The French cosmetics giant reported a 4.1 percent rise in second-quarter comparable sales, slightly below expectations, and said growth at its consumer goods division was held up by sluggish demand in the United States. GDF SUEZ The gas and power group reported a 14 percent drop in first-half core earnings, due largely to unseasonably warm weather and falling power prices in Europe, the temporary closure of two nuclear reactors in Belgium and a drought in Brazil that hit hydropower generation. SOCIETE GENERALE France's No. 2 listed bank on Friday reported second-quarter net profit of 1.03 billion euros ($1.38 billion), up 7.8 percent from a year ago helped by lower expenses and a reduced cost of risk. AXA Europe's second-biggest insurer, reported a better-than-expected 25 percent increase in first-half net profit on a comparable basis, boosted by strong earnings growth and a favourable impact of lower interest rates on the value of its financial assets. ARCELORMITTAL The world's largest steelmaker cut its forecast for earnings this year after lower than anticipated iron ore prices ate into the profit of its mining business. VINCI Europe's biggest construction and concessions company warned it expects a slowdown in the second half of 2014, especially outside Europe, and a slight decrease in its revenue for the year on a like-for-like basis. ILIAD, DEUTSCHE TELEKOM French telecommunications company Iliad SA has made a surprise offer for T-Mobile US Inc, setting up a potential bidding war with Sprint Corp, the U.S. mobile carrier now controlled by Japan's Softbank Corp. WACKER CHEMIE German specialty chemicals maker said its core profit rose by more than a fifth in the second quarter, driven by a recovery in prices and demand for polysilicon, its most important product, which is needed to make solar cells. BNP PARIBAS The French bank said it had agreed to buy an 81.4 percent stake in DAB Bank AG from UniCredit unit Hypovereinsbank at 4.78 euros a share in a deal that values the whole of DAB at 435 million euros. NATIXIS The French bank reported second-quarter net profit rose 29 percent to 33 million euros and confirmed it had at the end of June wound up "bad bank" GAPC, set up after the 2008 financial crisis to hold toxic assets. LAGARDERE The French media group reiterated its full-year target for flat to 5 percent higher recurring media operating profit despite a first-half drop due to what it called an expected decline at its publishing unit. CNP ASSURANCES Mutually owned French bank BPCE and listed insurer CNP Assurances have reached a new seven-year co-insurance partnership deal beginning in 2016 that could resolve how to proceed after their current deal expires at the end of next year. FIAT Holds extraordinary shareholders' meeting (0900 GMT). Fiat shareholders are expected to approve the Italian carmaker's merger with its U.S. unit Chrysler on Friday, a union aimed at boosting the world's seventh-largest auto group's appeal with foreign investors and paving the way for a U.S. share listing. UNICREDIT HypoVereinsbank, the German arm of Italy's UniCredit, said on Thursday that an internal probe concluded that the bank had conducted "cum-ex" transactions, also known as dividend stripping, that had helped clients avoid taxes. CORPBANK Holders of dollar-denominated bonds at Bulgaria's Corporate Commercial Bank (Corpbank) are gearing up for legal action against the government if the bond defaults and the bank is tipped into insolvency, two sources told Reuters on Thursday. SBERBANK Shares in Russia's largest bank dragged Moscow stocks down on Friday after the European Union hit it with sanctions, limiting its access to foreign capital. ENI State-run Petroleos de Venezuela delivered in June to Eni a 240,000 barrel jet fuel cargo that had been tendered in May on the open market, according to an internal PDVSA document seen by Reuters on Thursday. Eni CEO Claudio Descalzi on Thursday said the Italian major intends to sell off a stake in engineering subsidiary Saipem in the future but does not want to break up the business. ROYAL DUTCH SHELL PLC Woodside Petroleum Ltd failed to win shareholder approval to buy back $2.68 billion of its shares from Royal Dutch Shell, Australia's top oil and gas company said after a vote on Friday. PRYSMIAN Prysmian Group estimated problems with the installation of cables between Scotland and England would cost it 167 million euros ($224 million), leading it to lower its full-year forecast of adjusted core earnings on Thursday. FINMECCANICA Italian defence group Finmeccanica reaffirmed its full-year forecast on Thursday even though defence budget cuts, especially in the United States, pushed first-half core earnings 18 percent lower. CNH INDUSTRIAL Tractor and trucks maker CNH Industrial said on Thursday its second-quarter net profit inched higher after lower sales of agricultural machinery were offset by higher deliveries from its propulsion and transmission systems unit. SAFILO Italian eyewear maker Safilo Group posted on Thursday a 23 percent rise in adjusted net profit in the second quarter as sales grew faster in Europe and weather in North America improved after a harsh winter. GEOX Italian shoemaker Geox confirmed its forecast of breaking even at the operating level this year after sales rose in the first half including in its weak home market, which accounts for a third of its revenue. (Reporting By Francesco Canepa; Editing by Atul Prakash)
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