Europe Factors to Watch-Shares set to pause; ECB eyed
PARIS, Aug 7 (Reuters) - European stocks were set to inch higher on Thursday, taking a breather following their week-long slide as investors awaited the European Central Bank policy meeting, but the rebound could be limited as tensions between the West and Russia continued to rattle investors. In a sweeping response to Western sanctions imposed over its support for rebels in Ukraine, Russia will ban all imports of food from the United States and all fruit and vegetables from Europe, the state news agency reported on Wednesday. Russia is by far the biggest buyer of European fruit and vegetables. The ECB is set to hold fire on rates on Thursday as it waits for earlier stimulus measures to gain traction, while keeping an eye on emerging risks from the conflict in Ukraine. At 0630 GMT, futures for Euro STOXX 50, for UK's FTSE 100, for Germany's DAX and for France's CAC were flat to up 0.1 percent. The FTSEurofirst 300 index of top European shares has lost 3.1 percent over the past five sessions, hurt in part by fears over the impact from the Ukrainian crisis. The banking sector will be in focus after Commerzbank posted an increase in second-quarter earnings due in part to a fall off in bad loans, as Germany's second biggest lender accelerated the clean up of unwanted assets. Also on the earnings front, food giant Nestle stood by its full-year outlook on Thursday and said it would launch an 8 billion Swiss franc share buyback after sales growth in emerging markets picked up in the second quarter. Europe bourses in 2014: (link.reuters.com/pad95v) Asset performance in 2014: (link.reuters.com/rav46v) ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ MARKET SNAPSHOT AT 0628 GMT: LAST PCT CHG NET CHG S&P 500 1,920.24 0 % 0.03 NIKKEI 15232.37 0.48 % 72.58 MSCI ASIA EX-JP 499.82 -0.59 % -2.96 EUR/USD 1.3376 -0.04 % -0.0005 USD/JPY 102.34 0.24 % 0.2500 10-YR US TSY YLD 2.462 -- -0.01 10-YR BUND YLD 1.090 -- -0.01 SPOT GOLD $1,306.19 0.02 % $0.20 US CRUDE $96.94 0.02 % 0.02 > GLOBAL MARKETS-ASIA STOCKS SLIP, BONDS FIRM ON UKRAINE TENSIONS > US STOCKS-WALL STREET ENDS NEAR FLAT AS RUSSIA CONCERNS LINGER > NIKKEI FALLS FOR 6TH DAY ON STRONG YEN, CONCERNS ON UKRAINE > FOREX-EURO STEADY AHEAD OF ECB; AUSSIE SLIDES ON WEAK JOBS DATA > GOLD WELL BID ABOVE $1,300 AS UKRAINE BOOSTS SAFE-HAVEN APPEAL > METALS-LONDON COPPER EDGES UP AS DOLLAR TURNS LOWER > BRENT SUPPORTED BY U.S. INVENTORY DATA, UKRAINE CONFLICT COMPANY NEWS: NESTLE Food group Nestle stood by its full-year outlook on Thursday and said it would launch an 8 billion Swiss franc share buyback after sales growth in emerging markets picked up in the second quarter. DEUTSCHE TELEKOM The group reported a bigger-than-expected quarterly core profit as a rise in earnings in the United States offset heavy investments in its German networks. COMMERZBANK Germany's second biggest lender accelerated the clean-up of unwanted assets and posted an increase in second-quarter earnings due in part to a fall off in bad loans. ZURICH INSURANCE GROUP Zurich Insurance Group posted a lower-than-expected rise in net income for the second quarter on Thursday and said it had largely completed its restructuring programme. ADECCO The world's largest staffing company said underlying revenue growth slowed slightly to 5 percent in the second-quarter, underscoring the fragility of Europe's touch-and-go economic recovery. EURONEXT The European stock market operator posted a 4.6 percent rise in second-quarter operating profit before exceptional items, boosted by cost cutting and a rise in stock market listings activity. ANHEUSER-BUSCH INBEV The world's largest brewer is creating a new business unit in the United States devoted to premium beers as it tries to improve its presence in a fast-growing segment of the beer market. UK INSURER RSA The group posted an interim pretax profit of 69 million pounds ($116.20 million) on Thursday and said it was making good progress in stabilising its financial health after a year of upheaval following problems at its Irish unit. LUNDBECK The Danish pharmaceutical group posted second-quarter operating profit below forecasts on Thursday, but kept its operating profit and sales outlook for the full year. RHEINMETALL The group slashed its 2014 operating profit aim after the German government withdrew its approval for a contract with Russia and the group shifted some of its automotive business to a joint venture. STADA ARZNEIMITTEL AG The German generic drugmaker said net income stagnated in the first half as gains from the takeover of British consumer care company Thornton & Ross were offset by lower sales in Russia and Germany. ADIDAS The world's second-biggest sportswear firm cut its margin targets for 2014 on Thursday, a week after it issued a profit warning, blaming poor performance at its golf business and volatile emerging market currencies. KBC The Belgian financial group's profit fell by less than expected in the second quarter as higher net interest income and increased loans and deposits partly made up for a hit from a new law on retail loans in Hungary. AVIVA The British insurer posted a 4 percent rise in first-half operating profit as its European and UK general insurance businesses built on a strong start to the year, making up for weakness in Canada. NOVO NORDISK The world's top maker of insulin maintained its 2014 outlook on Thursday and set a date for when it would submit to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration an analysis to back a crucial future drug. SYMRISE The German fragrance and flavours maker said core earnings rose 7.5 percent in the first half of the year, helped by strong growth in emerging markets, particularly Latin America. (Reporting by Blaise Robinson; Editing by Alistair Smout)
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