European Factors to Watch-Shares seen steady, H&M eyed
PARIS, Sept 25 (Reuters) - European stocks were seen steady on Thursday, halting the previous session's rebound, with Hennes & Mauritz eyed after the world's second-biggest fashion retailer reported in-line quarterly profits but added that sales had slowed in September. Mining stocks will be in focus after China's rebar steel futures sagged to a fresh record-low on Thursday, amid weak demand that an industry official said was driven by a slowdown and restructuring of the economy. The record-low prices added pressure on spot prices of steelmaking raw material iron ore that have already lost nearly 41 percent this year, falling below $80 a tonne this week to their lowest since 2009. Airbus will be eyed after the European planemaker raised its 20-year forecast for jet demand. The group, which cited growth in emerging markets, with China on the brink of becoming the world's aviation powerhouse, said it saw strong demand for wide-body long-distance jets as airport constraints force airlines to upgrade from smaller planes on some routes. Spanish stocks will also be in focus after a source told Reuters that China and Spain were set to sign business deals worth a total of about 3 billion euros ($3.8 billion) in Beijing this week, as Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy visits China to drum up support for his country's economy. At 0624 GMT, futures for Euro STOXX 50, for UK's FTSE 100, for Germany's DAX and for France's CAC were flat to up 0.05 percent. European stocks gained ground on Wednesday, with the pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index rising 0.8 percent, as European Central Bank President Mario Draghi renewed its pledge to keep monetary policy loose for a long time. In an interview published on Thursday by the Lithuanian business daily Verslo Zinios, Draghi repeated that the ECB stands ready to do more to support the economic recovery should it become necessary, and said there was a risk that insufficient structural reforms could weigh on the euro zone's business environment. Europe bourses in 2014: (link.reuters.com/pad95v) Asset performance in 2014: (link.reuters.com/rav46v) ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ MARKET SNAPSHOT AT 0619 GMT: LAST PCT CHG NET CHG S&P 500 1,998.30 0.78 % 15.53 NIKKEI 16374.14 1.28 % 206.69 MSCI ASIA EX-JP 483.59 -0.48 % -2.31 EUR/USD 1.2755 -0.19 % -0.0024 USD/JPY 109.25 0.22 % 0.2400 10-YR US TSY YLD 2.560 -- -0.01 10-YR BUND YLD 1.012 -- 0.00 SPOT GOLD $1,210.14 -0.54 % -$6.55 US CRUDE $92.69 -0.12 % -0.11 > GLOBAL MARKETS-ASIA SLIPS AS WALL STREET CHEER FIZZLES OUT > US STOCKS-WALL ST RALLIES, S&P BACK ABOVE 14-DAY MOVING AVERAGE > NIKKEI RISES AS WEAK YEN TREND CONTINUES, WALL ST STRENGTH SUPPORTS > BOND YIELDS RISE ON WEAK FIVE-YEAR AUCTION, REDUCED SAFETY BIDS > FOREX-EURO EYES 2013 TROUGH, DOLLAR EXTENDS WINNING WAYS > PRECIOUS-GOLD EXTENDS LOSSES AS EQUITIES, DOLLAR RISE > METALS-LME COPPER FINDS SUPPORT IN POLICY COMMENTS, NICKEL FIRMS > BRENT STEADIES NEAR $97 AFTER BOUNCE FROM LOWEST IN OVER 2 YEARS COMPANY NEWS: HENNES & MAURITZ The world's second-biggest fashion retailer reported on Thursday slower sales so far in September after posting third-quarter profits right in line with analyst forecasts. The firm said it is delaying its launch in India until 2015 after originally planning for an autumn 2014 rollout in the country. AIRBUS The plane maker raised its 20-year forecast for jet demand, citing growth in emerging markets, with China on the brink of becoming the world's aviation powerhouse. Airbus also announced a new boss for its UK operations on Wednesday, bringing in a former executive from French defence and avionics firm Thales to oversee one of its core European manufacturing centres and defence markets. AIR FRANCE-KLM The Franco-Dutch airline offered on Wednesday to withdraw plans to expand the low-cost operations of its Transavia brand in an effort to end a costly strike by French pilots opposed to the project. JAZZTEL Alken Asset Management, the second largest shareholder of Spanish telecommunications company Jazztel, has raised its stake to 6.48 percent from 5 percent, Expansion reported. The company has said it would not sell its stake for the 13 euros per share by Orange. EDF The French government is likely to consider extending the mandate of state-owned utility EDF's chief executive Henri Proglio until he reaches the statutory age limit in three years' time, industry sources told Reuters. TOTAL, ENI The European Union is quietly increasing the urgency of a plan to import natural gas from Iran, as relations with Tehran thaw while those with top gas supplier Russia grow chillier. Total has in the past expressed interest in developing South Pars, one of the world's biggest gas fields, shared by Qatar and Iran, with total reserves estimated around 50 trillion cubic metres, enough to meet European demand for over 100 years. MAPFRE Spanish insurance company said on Thursday it had acquired the Italian and German affiliates of UK-based general insurer Direct Line for 550 million euros ($702 million). BNP BNP Paribas Chairman Baudouin Prot, shaper of the French bank's strategy for more than a decade, has quit and the board will meet on Friday to decide on his replacement, sources close to the situation said. COLRUYT The Belgian discount supermarket chain gave a marginally more optimistic outlook than usual on Wednesday, saying it expected full-year net profit to be flat or slightly higher than in the previous 12 months. ALLIANZ The probe by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission into Pimco's Total Return Exchange-Traded Fund is separate from a wider scrutiny of disclosures in the ETF industry, Bloomberg said on Wednesday, citing a person familiar with the matter. VOLKSWAGEN Volkswagen's sportscar unit Porsche AG said it had issued an $850 million ABS bond in the U.S., backed by leasing and financing contracts for Porsche, Bentley, Lamborghini and Bugatti cars, via its Porsche Financial Services subsidiary. Separately, VW's truck unit MAN SE said it had won a major order in Brazil to deliver chassis and engines for 750 buses to the city of Salvador, as part of an order worth about 70 million euros ($89 million). BARCLAYS Britain's anti-fraud agency has asked former Barclays executives to give evidence as part of an investigation into undisclosed payments the bank made to Qatari investors in 2008, the Financial Times reported, citing sources. (Reporting by Blaise Robinson; Editing by Sudip Kar-Gupta)
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