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PARIS, Oct 22 (Reuters) - European stocks were set to rise on Wednesday, extending their rebound started late last week, boosted by positive corporate results as well as expectations of further action by the European Central Bank to support the region's economy.
Sources told Reuters on Tuesday the ECB is considering buying corporate bonds on the secondary market - a step that would help banks free up more of their balance sheets for lending - and may decide on the matter as soon as December with a view to begin purchases early next year, sparking a rally in European banking shares.
"Reports that the ECB was looking to purchase corporate bonds in the secondary market gave the bulls the green light for a rally," Capital Spreads trader Jonathan Sudaria said in a note.
At 0613 GMT, futures for Euro STOXX 50, for UK's FTSE 100, for Germany's DAX and for France's CAC were up 0.3-0.6 percent.
Nordic stocks will be in focus after a raft of better-than-expected results from companies including Norwegian aluminium producer Norsk Hydro, Swedish bank Handelsbanken and Marine Harvest, the world's largest fish farmer.
So far in Europe's earnings season, 9 percent of STOXX 600 companies have reported results, of which 65 percent have met or beaten profit forecasts, according to data from Thomson Reuters StarMine.
Heineken, the world's third largest brewer, bucked the trend, reporting lower-than-expected beer sales in the third quarter as wet weather reduced drinking in Europe, but retained its full-year outlook.
The auto sector will be in the spotlight after PSA Peugeot Citroen said group sales rose 1.6 percent in the third quarter, but a push to raise pricing failed to deliver higher revenue at its core manufacturing arm.
Europe bourses in 2014: (link.reuters.com/pad95v)
Asset performance in 2014: (link.reuters.com/rav46v) ------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> GLOBAL MARKETS-ASIAN SHARES UP ON U.S. TECH RESULTS, ECB HOPES > US STOCKS-WALL ST EXTENDS REBOUND ON EARNINGS, ECB REPORT > NIKKEI RALLIES ON ECB OPTIMISM, APPLE EARNINGS; TAKATA BOUNCES > TREASURIES-U.S. BOND PRICES SLIP ON CHINESE DATA, REPORT ON ECB > FOREX-EURO ON DEFENSIVE AFTER ECB BOND BUY REPORT, YEN SLIPS > PRECIOUS-GOLD HOVERS NEAR 6-WEEK PEAK AMID CHINA SLOWDOWN WOES > METALS-LONDON COPPER HOLDS GAINS AS MARKETS EYE ECB BOND BUYS > BRENT HOLDS ABOVE $86 AS BUYERS SLOWLY RETURN
The world's third largest brewer reported lower than expected beer sales in the third quarter as wet weather reduced drinking in Europe, but retained its full-year outlook.
The ECB will apply specially high supervisory standards on Deutsche Bank, Commerzank, LBBW, Helaba, DZ Bank, Nord/LB and DekaBank, Boersen-Zeitung reported, by placing these seven banks in a group of top 30 euro zone banks. The paper did not name souces.
German engineering group Siemens is in advanced talks to sell its hearing-aids business for more than 2 billion euros ($2.5 billion), with private equity firm EQT the frontrunner, two people familiar with the matter said.
PSA Peugeot Citroen said group sales rose 1.6 percent in the third quarter, but a push to raise pricing failed to deliver higher revenue at its core manufacturing arm.
Royal Dutch Shell said that, together with its partners Total and Eni, it had signed an agreement to sell their 45 percent stake in OML 18 to a consortium led by Canadian oil and gas company Mart Resources.
The miner said on Wednesday it was on track to meet its full-year iron ore production guidance after mining a record 62 million tonnes in the September quarter at its Australian operations, 15 percent over the year-ago period.
The Swedish bank reported third-quarter operating profit of 4.90 billion Swedish crowns ($678 million), 3 percent above the average forecast in a Reuters poll of analysts, boosted by stronger net interest income and net commission income than expected.
The largest bank in the Nordics reported underlying third-quarter operating profit and net interest income roughly in line with forecasts in a Reuters poll of analysts.
The Norwegian aluminium producer reported earnings above market expectations and said its expected global primary aluminium demand excluding China to rise 3-4 percent this year.
The world's largest fish farmer posted higher-than-expected third quarter core earnings and confirmed its full-year harvest volume guidance.
Luxottica could announce a new co-Chief Executive this week as the world's biggest eyewear maker tries to create a stable management team after the resignation of two chief executives in as many months, a source close to the matter said on Tuesday.
The carmaker booked a $780 million windfall from selling its 4 percent stake in electric car maker Tesla Motors, saying it would continue to cooperate with Tesla.
The Indian government and the telecom major have extended the deadline to mutually find a third arbitrator to help resolve tax dispute by a month after the October 17 deadline passed without an agreement, the Economic Times reported on Wednesday.
Ford Motor Co said on Tuesday the company will drop the Pimco Total Return Fund from its 401k plan as a result of the sudden departure of Bill Gross.
The shareholders of Spanish electricity firm Endesa have approved the sale of its Latin American assets to Italian parent group Enel and a related distribution of extraordinary cash dividends, which are expected to be paid out on Oct. 29, Enel said in a statement.
Reporting by Blaise Robinson