Europe Factors to Watch-Shares set to halt sell-off; eyes on earnings
PARIS, Oct 16 (Reuters) - European stocks were set to rise on Thursday, taking a breather after the previous session's steep sell-off, as investors took comfort in corporate results from bellwethers such as pharma group Roche and food giant Nestle. Roche reaffirmed its full-year sales and profit targets after a strong performance by its new breast cancer drugs helped it beat expectations in the third quarter. Food group Nestle posted sales that were roughly in line with analyst forecast and stood by its full-year outlook. At 0630 GMT, futures for Euro STOXX 50, for UK's FTSE 100, for Germany's DAX and for France's CAC were up 0.5-0.8 percent. Shire will be in the spotlight again after U.S. pharmaceutical company AbbVie Inc recommended that shareholders vote against its $55 billion takeover of Shire in the wake of a U.S. government move to curb deals designed to cut high taxes. Shares in Shire tumbled 23 percent on Wednesday after AbbVie said it was reconsidering its bid. European stocks sank on Wednesday, with the FTSEurofirst 300 index of top European shares losing 3.2 percent, its biggest one-day slide since late 2011, hurt by mounting worries about global growth. The slump represented a wipe-off in market value of about $255 billion for European stocks listed on the broad STOXX Europe 600 index. That is more than Portugal's GDP and more than the entire market capitalisation of Europe's biggest oil company, Royal Dutch Shell. Adding to worries, Wal-Mart Stores Inc cut its annual sales forecast on Wednesday, citing a stronger dollar and the impact of food stamp reductions. On Thursday, the Swiss government cut its economic growth forecasts for this year and next for the second time, citing the gloomy outlook for the neighbouring euro zone, its main export market. It cut its forecast to 1.8 percent from 2.0 percent for 2014 and to 2.4 percent from 2.6 percent for 2015. Investors have been slashing exposure to European stocks following a string of soft macro data, particularly from Germany, which has fuelled deflation worries. On Wednesday, Washington renewed a warning that Europe risks falling into a downward spiral of falling wages and prices, saying recent actions by the European Central Bank may not be enough to ward off deflation. In a semiannual report to Congress, the U.S. Treasury Department also said Berlin could do more to help Europe, namely by boosting demand in the German economy, Europe's largest. Europe bourses in 2014: (link.reuters.com/pad95v) Asset performance in 2014: (link.reuters.com/rav46v) ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ MARKET SNAPSHOT AT 0630 GMT: LAST PCT CHG NET CHG S&P 500 1,862.49 -0.81 % -15.21 NIKKEI 14738.38 -2.22 % -335.14 MSCI ASIA EX-JP 464.58 -0.34 % -1.6 EUR/USD 1.2791 -0.35 % -0.0045 USD/JPY 106.18 0.26 % 0.2800 10-YR US TSY YLD 2.096 -- 0.00 10-YR BUND YLD 0.781 -- 0.01 SPOT GOLD $1,239.00 -0.13 % -$1.57 US CRUDE $80.52 -1.54 % -1.26 > GLOBAL MARKETS-NIKKEI LEAD ASIAN LOWER, DOLLAR INDEX DROPS > US STOCKS-MAJOR INDEXES END DOWN, BUT WELL OFF SESSION LOWS > NIKKEI TUMBLES ON GLOBAL DEMAND CONCERNS; RECRUIT SHINES ON DEBUT > TREASURIES-TREASURIES CONSOLIDATE AFTER RALLY, US DATA EYED > FOREX-DOLLAR DOWN SHARPLY AS YIELDS PLUNGE ON GROWTH FEARS > PRECIOUS-FLIGHT TO SAFETY KEEPS GOLD NEAR ONE-MONTH HIGH > METALS-LONDON COPPER HOLDS GROUND, BUT ECONOMIC GROWTH WORRIES DRAG > OIL EXTENDS ROUT AS ECONOMIC WORRIES MOUNT COMPANY NEWS: ROCHE The Swiss drugmaker affirmed its full-year sales and profit targets on Thursday after a strong performance by its new breast cancer drugs helped it beat expectations in the third quarter. NESTLE The food group stood by its full-year outlook on Thursday as slowing growth in Asia and continued price erosion in Europe weighed on underlying sales growth in the first nine months of the year. REMY COINTREAU French spirits group Remy Cointreau confirmed its full-year targets for organic growth in sales and current operating profit on Thursday after the decline in organic sales slowed slightly in the second quarter. SYNGENTA The world's largest agrochemicals company said sales rose 3 percent in the third quarter which enables it to maintain its sales target for 2014. CARREFOUR Carrefour, the world's second-biggest retailer, said like-for-like sales growth slowed in the third quarter, reflecting low consumer sentiment in austerity-hit southern Europe, and falling fruit and vegetable prices across the region. DIAGEO Diageo, the world's largest spirits company, reported a 1.5 percent decline in first-quarter organic net sales on Thursday, hurt by ongoing weakness and currency devaluations in a number of emerging markets. BHP BILLITON the mining company said it planned a stock market listing for the new company that will be created from its demerger plans. MAN GROUP Hedge fund company Man Group Plc said on Thursday that its funds under management (FuM) rose by 25 percent to $72.3 billion in the September quarter. REPSOL Spanish energy major Repsol said preliminary third quarter production was 365,000 bpd, up 8.2 pct vs the second quarter and up 6.3 percent year-on-year. EDENRED The French owner of Ticket Restaurant meal vouchers said third-quarter sales rose 4.5 percent to 254 million euros as the issue volume of its incentive vouchers and prepaid cards rose 4.8 percent to 4.32 billion euros. FCC Spanish billionaire Esther Koplowitz, who controls FCC, has agreed with her banks to refinance debt in a move that will pave the way to a rights issue at the builder, two sources with direct knowledge of the process said on Wednesday. The rights issue was discussed at an FCC board meeting, but no decision was reached. FCC said another meeting would be called to finalise details. SANOFI The drugmaker said its vaccines division and Immune Design have entered a collaboration for the development of a herpes simplex virus immune therapy. LUFTHANSA Budget unit Germanwings has cancelled 100 flights for Thursday due to a 12 hour strike called by pilots' union Vereinigung Cockpit. The strike starts at 1000 GMT. AIR FRANCE-KLM The airline named Pieter Elbers as the new head of its Dutch KLM unit, replacing Camiel Eurlings. RWE Britain is not keen on approving a deal for RWE to sell its oil and gas unit RWE Dea to a Russian investor, the Financial Times reported. RWE said it was working to close the deal. TUI AG British tour operator TUI Travel TT.L, in the process of merging with shareholder TUI AG, has agreed to pump millions of pounds into its Russian joint venture to help ease the impact of challenging trading conditions. JENOPTIK The maker of lenses and optical sensors, cut it revenue and profit forecasts for 2014 on Wednesday due to customers postponing projects and the effects of Germany's restrictive defence exports policy. (Reporting by Blaise Robinson; Editing by Sudip Kar-Gupta)
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