Europe Factors to Watch-Shares set to track Wall St gains after Fed
PARIS, Sept 18 (Reuters) - European stocks were set to rise on Thursday, tracking gains on Wall Street after the Federal Reserve renewed its pledge to keep ultra-low interest rates for a "considerable time". At 0620 GMT, futures for Euro STOXX 50, for UK's FTSE 100, for Germany's DAX and for France's CAC were up 0.1-0.3 percent. On Wednesday, the Fed reaffirmed its commitment to keep interest rates near zero for a "considerable time," and repeated concerns over slack in the labor market, standing firm against calls to overhaul its policy statement. However, the Fed also indicated it could raise borrowing costs faster than expected when it starts moving. The central bank's new rate projections suggested officials were positioning themselves for a potentially faster pace of rate hikes than they had envisioned when the last set of forecasts were released in June. "Despite the jubilant reaction from equities traders, currency, commodity and bond traders took the whole statement as hawkish and subsequently sold commodities, sold bonds and bought dollars," Capital Spreads trader Jonathan Sudaria wrote in a note. "Clearly someone is fundamentally wrong in their analysis and I'm sure once the uncertainty of the Scottish vote is out the way, this anomaly will be ironed out." UK equities will be in focus again after a YouGov poll for the Times and Sun newspapers showed Scottish support for staying in the United Kingdom at 52 percent with Scottish support for the "Yes" campaign backing independence at 48 percent, excluding undecideds who number 6 percent of voters, just hours before Scotland's independence referendum. "I think they will vote 'No', but if they vote 'Yes', it will have a short-term impact on markets: it will bring uncertainty, sterling will weaken, Spanish bond yields will go up because of the increased risk to see Catalonia leave Spain, and other areas within Europe could say: 'We too want independence'," said Ollie Beckett, fund manager at Henderson Global Investors. "Longer-term though, it shouldn't have a major impact, the Scottish economy is not that big." Analysts at Societe Generale see bigger consequences if the 'Yes' camp wins, recommending clients to 'stay away from UK equities'. "A Scottish exit would probably trigger a major political crisis with the shakeup of the UK's political landscape and raising the question as to whether David Cameron could resign," the analysts wrote in a note. "This would most likely cause UK equities to derate. They are currently trading at a 37 percent price-to-book value premium relative to the rest of Europe, vs historical average premium of 17 percent." UK stocks have started to underperformed, with the FTSE 100 up 0.5 percent so far this year, falling behind a 5.2 percent rise in the FTSEurofirst 300 index of top European shares over the same period. Europe bourses in 2014: (link.reuters.com/pad95v) Asset performance in 2014: (link.reuters.com/rav46v) ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ MARKET SNAPSHOT AT 0625 GMT: LAST PCT CHG NET CHG S&P 500 2,001.57 0.13 % 2.59 NIKKEI 16067.57 1.13 % 178.9 MSCI ASIA EX-JP 491.75 -0.65 % -3.2 EUR/USD 1.2871 0.05 % 0.0006 USD/JPY 108.66 0.27 % 0.2900 10-YR US TSY YLD 2.613 -- 0.01 10-YR BUND YLD 1.072 -- 0.02 SPOT GOLD $1,223.84 0.07 % $0.85 US CRUDE $93.85 -0.6 % -0.57 > GLOBAL MARKETS-DOLLAR/YEN AT 6-YR PEAK AFTER FED, NIKKEI UP > US STOCKS-WALL ST EDGES HIGHER AFTER FED; DOW SETS RECORD > NIKKEI RISES TO NEW 8-MTH HIGH AS WEAK YEN POWERS EXPORTERS; SONY DIVES > BOND YIELDS EDGE HIGHER ON HAWKISH FED VIEWS, SUPPLY EXPECTATIONS > FOREX-DOLLAR/YEN HITS 6-YR HIGH AS MARKETS BUY 'HAWKISH' FED GUIDANCE > PRECIOUS-GOLD SKIDS TO 8-1/2 MONTH LOW ON U.S. RATE HIKE FEARS > METALS-LONDON COPPER SLIPS AS MARKETS EYE STEEPER U.S. RATE HIKES > BRENT FALLS TOWARDS $98 ON STRONG DOLLAR, US CRUDE STOCKS SPIKE COMPANY NEWS: EDF European Union state aid regulators are set to approve Britain's 19-billion-euro plan to build a nuclear plant with the French utility, several people familiar with the matter said. EASYJET Budget airline easyJet said it would lift its payout ratio to 40 percent next year and had reached agreement with Airbus to add 27 planes to its fleet, in a sign of its continuing confidence. AIR FRANCE-KLM A strike by pilots over cost cuts enters its fourth day, with around 42 percent of flights expected to operate. SULZER Swiss machinery maker Sulzer said it is in talks on a potential tie-up with U.S.-based compressor and turbine maker Dresser-Rand, a move that may trigger rival offers from other potential suitors. RICHEMONT, SWATCH Swiss watch exports to Hong Kong, a key market, fell 8.4 percent in August, the Watch Federation said. Exports to mainland China rose 16 percent. ACS Spanish energy company and builder ACS has contracted Bank of America/Merrill Lynch for the possible listing of its energy arm, valued at over 3.2 billion euros, El Confidencial reported, without citing sources. BAYER Bayer plans to sell its plastics business with an estimated value of about 8 billion euros as part of a shift away from chemicals towards pharmaceuticals and crop science, the Wall Street Journal Deutschland reported, citing informed sources. The plan could be announced as early as on Thursday, the paper said. LAFARGE Lafarge Africa, Finland's Wartsila and the World Bank's IFC have agreed to build a 220 megawatt (MW) gas-fired power plant in Nigeria to boost electricity supplies, at a cost of $400 million, the trio said. SUEZ ENVIRONNEMENT The waste and water group said it finalised the purchase of the 24 percent of Spanish water company Agbar it did not already own from La Caixa group. UNICREDIT Italy's biggest bank by assets is expected to pick a partner for exclusive talks to buy a stake of up to 50 percent in its asset management division Pioneer towards the end of September, two sources familiar with the matter said. MEDIOBANCA, TELECOM ITALIA, RCS The Italian top investment bank plans to sell the entire stakes it owns in publisher RCS Mediagroup and telecoms group Telecom Italia by June 2015, a source close to the board said on Wednesday. ENEL The board of Spanish electricity firm Endesa on Wednesday approved the sale of its Latin American assets to Italian parent group Enel for 8.25 billion euros, the firm said in a statement. DAIMLER Several hundred jobs may be at risk at a Mercedes plant in Duesseldorf, the Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung reported on Wednesday. DEUTSCHE TELEKOM Classified advertising firm Scout24, in which Telekom owns a 30 percent stake, on Wednesday confirmed it was exploring the possibility of an IPO. ABERTIS Spanish infrastructure group Abertis said it had agreed to sell its 33.33 percent stake in Mexico's Aeropuertos Mexicanos del Pacifico (AMP) for $222 million to Promotora Aeronautica del Pacifico. (Reporting by Blaise Robinson; Editing by Sudip Kar-Gupta)
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