European Factors to Watch-Flat start eyed as Hong Kong unrest curbs bounce
(Rewrites throughout) LONDON, Sept 29 (Reuters) - Euro zone equity indexes were set for a steady start on Monday as falls in Asian markets, fuelled by unrest in Hong Kong, capped a tentative rebound from the previous week's losses. Futures for the Euro STOXX 50 equity index, Germany's DAX and France's CAC were between 0.1 percent and 0.2 percent higher, while contracts on Britain's FTSE 100 were 0.1 percent lower at 0615 GMT. The four indexes fell between 1.5 percent and 3.2 percent in the previous week. Hong Kong shares dropped 2.3 percent to three-month lows in the worst unrest since China took back control of the former British colony two decades ago. MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan dropped 0.7 percent, hitting its lowest level since mid-May. London-listed blue chips in the FTSE 100 index, which generate a quarter of their revenues from emerging markets and include Asia-focussed bank Standard Chartered, were set to be slight underperformers. Standard Chartered has suspended some of its Hong Kong banking operations, including over-the-counter services and cheque deposits, until further notice due to "situations in certain areas", the Asia-focused lender said on Monday. COMPANY NEWS STANDARD CHARTERED Standard Chartered has suspended some of its Hong Kong banking operations, including over-the-counter services and cheque deposits, until further notice due to "situations in certain areas", the Asia-focused lender said on Monday. ROCHE A new breast cancer drug from Roche has shown "unprecedented" benefits in extending lives in a clinical trial and experts urged its widespread use for women with an aggressive form of the disease. ASTRAZENECA Continuing to give AstraZeneca's drug Iressa plus chemotherapy to lung cancer patents whose disease has worsened after previously taking the medicine on its own does not provide any benefit. Some doctors had hoped that extending the use of Iressa in combination with chemotherapy would help to keep cancers at bay. ESPIRITO SANTO SAUDE (ESS) China's Fosun International Ltd has upped its bid for Portugal's Espirito Santo Saude (ESS) to 4.82 euros a share or 460.5 million euros ($584 million) in total, stepping up the battle over the hospital business of the indebted Espirito Santo family. DEUTSCHE TELEKOM Deutsche Telekom is preparing for the possibility of keeping its investment in T-Mobile US for at least another year as it fears the sole current suitor for the U.S. firm will fail to come through with a sufficiently attractive offer, three people familiar with the matter said. TELECOM ITALIA The board of Telecom Italia has asked its management to look at possible changes to an agreement to sell its controlling stake in Telecom Argentina to U.S. investment company Fintech, the Italian company said on Friday. Renewed signs of foreign bid interest in Telecom Italia emerged on Friday just as its board met to discuss the company's options after after failing to expand in Brazil and hitting setbacks in its attempt to exit from Argentina. There has been close contact in recent weeks between Telecom's No. 2 shareholder Marco Fossati and Vivendi chairman and Mediobanca innvestor Vincent Bollore about stabilising the shareholder structure of the Italian telecoms incumbent, Il Sole 24 Ore said on Saturday. Foreign funds are looking at investing in the group, Sole added. UBS UBS said on Monday it was launching a share-for-share exchange to set up a new holding company, UBS Group AG, part of a restructuring drive to ensure it can be broken up more easily in a crisis. ALLIANZ Pimco named Dan Ivascyn, one of its deputy chief investment officers, as Group Chief Investment Officer to replace Bill Gross, who quit Pimco for distant rival Janus Capital Group Inc on Friday. COMMERZBANK Commerzbank is being investigated by the Manhattan U.S. attorney for alleged violations of money-laundering laws, the Wall Street Journal reported on Friday. ROYAL BANK OF SCOTLAND Royal Bank of Scotland raised 261 million pounds ($424 million) from selling more shares in its U.S. business Citizens after banks underwriting its stock market listing took up an option to buy extra shares, sources told Reuters. ITALY BANKS The one-on-one meetings between the European Central Bank and Italian lenders, part of the ECB's health check on euro zone banks, will start in the second week of October, Il Sole 24 Ore said on Sunday. BANCA MONTE DEI PASCHI DI SIENA Monte dei Paschi di Siena has never talked to BNP Paribas about a tie-up and aims to remain independent, the chairman of Italy's third-biggest lender told French financial daily Les Echos on Friday. THE LONDON STOCK EXCHANGE GROUP The LSE is attempting to increase the number of listings of African companies in the UK, which follows strong interest coming from institutional investors from the region, the Financial Times reported. TESCO Initial warnings from the insider who blew the whistle on a 250 million pounds ($406 million) accounting scandal at Britain's biggest retailer were ignored, the Sunday Times reported, citing a senior source at the supermarket. HENKEL The consumer goods group is looking for ways to cut costs to make up for a decline in sales caused by economic slowdown in Russia, its fourth-largest market, its chief executive told Wirtschafts Woche. LOREAL LBO France has acquired skin care company Payot from Spanish perfume group Puig, a spokesman for the French private equity firm said on Friday, confirming a report by daily newspaper Le Figaro. AIR FRANCE Air France pilots called off on Sunday a two-week strike that had cost the airline more than 280 million euros ($355 million), despite continued deadlock with managers over the development of the firm's low-cost operations. LUFTHANSA Lufthansa may use pilots from Switzerland-based PrivateAir to operate 14 Airbus A340 aircraft for long-haul budget flights to get around the need for staff pilots' approval for its no-frills expansion, German magazine Der Spiegel reported. E.ON Some banks have yet to make commitments needed before a capital increase at E.ON's Brazilian affiliate Eneva, German daily Rheinische Post reported, citing company sources. RWE German utility RWE AG said on Sunday it still lacked a "comfort letter" from Britain's Department of Energy and Climate Change (DETCC), a prerequisite for closing the sale of its oil and gas unit RWE Dea AG. The sale of German utility RWE's oil and gas unit DEA to a Russian investor faces British opposition that could delay or scupper the deal, German magazine Der Spiegel reported on Sunday. TERNA The sale to Terna of the 14,000 kilometres of power grid owned by Italy's railways has come back to the fore, ahead of the planned privatisation of the rail network, Corriere della Sera said on Sunday, without citing sources. The deal, worth around 1 billion euros, could be clinched before the end of the year, it said. Terna was not reachable for a comment. A source familiar with the matter said it had been a recurring story in recent years, adding there was nothing concrete on the table at the moment. EDF France said on Sunday it would delay a decision on whether to reappoint the head of state-owned nuclear plant operator EDF until a new energy law is passed in October. ROYAL DUTCH SHELL The company reported it was restarting a unit at its Scotford upgrader facility near Edmonton, Alberta, according to a message recorded on a community information telephone line on Saturday. THYSSENKRUPP, SALZGITTER European steel companies will have to cut a substantial number of jobs to bolster their earnings, reflecting a slump in demand and Asian competition, Wolfgang Eder, vice president of the World Steel Association, was quoted as saying by a German newspaper. FINMECCANICA Japan's Hitachi and the Chinese consortium of CNR and Insigma should be the two bidders left in the race for the Italian defence group's transport unit AnsaldoBreda and the 40 percent stake in signalling unit Ansaldo STS, Il Messaggero said on Sunday. But Canada's Bombardier could come back into the reckoning, it added. One of the bids for the defense group's rail transport units AnsaldoBreda and Ansaldo STS will be a generous offer from a consortium of two Chinese companies, Corriere della Sera said on Saturday. FIAT CHRYSLER Chrysler Group LLC Chief Executive Officer Sergio Marchionne said on Friday that the automaker's Windsor, Ontario minivan plant will be shut for 12 weeks of upgrades in the first and second quarters of 2015 ahead of its production of the company's next-generation minivan. BMW BMW plans to overhaul its German sales network to cut costs, Wirtschafts Woche magazine reported, citing no sources. The move will give the executive board more control over the sales network and may result in the sale of some branches, it said. ENI A fire which broke out at a storage deposit site at the Milazzo refinery on the Italian island of Sicily in the early hours of Saturday morning had been brought under control, police and firefighters said. The Milazzo refinery is half owned by Eni. MAJOR U.S. COMPANIES REPORTING : AMC Q1 2015 Cintas Corp MAJOR MACROECONOMIC DATA/EVENTS (GMT) : 0830 GB BOE Consumer Cr Aug 0900 EZ Economic Sentim Sep 1200 DE HICP Prelim YY Sep 1230 US Personal Income Aug 1400 US Pending Sales C Aug ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ SNAPSHOT AT 0615 GMT LAST PCT CHG NET CHG S&P 500 1,982.85 0.86 % 16.86 NIKKEI 16310.64 0.5 % 80.78 MSCI ASIA EX-JP 473.28 -1.4 % -6.72 EUR/USD 1.268 -0.02 % -0.0003 USD/JPY 109.59 0.29 % 0.3200 10-YR US TSY YLD 2.531 -- 0.00 10-YR BUND YLD 0.967 -- 0.00 SPOT GOLD $1,217.15 -0.15 % -$1.86 US CRUDE $92.98 -0.6 % -0.56 > ASIAN STOCKS ON EDGE AS HK SEETHES, US DOLLAR SHINES > WALL ST RALLIES BUT ENDS LOWER FOR WEEK > NIKKEI GAINS HELPED BY STRONG U.S. GROWTH > SHORT, MEDIUM-DATED NOTE PRICES DIP AS GROSS DEPARTS PIMCO > DOLLAR HOLDS AT LOFTY LEVELS VS EURO; HK DLR SHAKEN BY PROTESTS > GOLD WELL SUPPORTED AS ASIAN EQUITIES SLIDE ON HK PROTESTS > COPPER SLIPS TO LOWEST IN 3 MONTHS AS DOLLAR WEIGHS > BRENT DOWN UNDER $97 ON WEAK CHINA DATA, STRONGER DOLLAR (Reporting By Francesco Canepa; Editing by Atul Prakash)
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