European Factors to Watch-Stocks seen steady; PMIs in focus
EDINBURGH, Nov 20 (Reuters) - European stocks were set to open steady on Thursday, with sentiment subdued by weak factory output data in China ahead of similar data in Europe that was expected to provide direction in morning trade. Futures on the Euro STOXX 50, French CAC and German DAX were flat to 0.1 percent higher at 0727 GMT. Asian shares fell after the China flash HSBC/Markit manufacturing purchasing managers' index (PMI) published on Thursday showed factory output contracted in the world's second-biggest economy for the first time in six months. PMI data from France, Germany and the broader euro zone are all due out in the first hour of trade after the open in Europe. "These are all preliminary readings for November and are expected to show marginal improvements on the month," Craig Erlam, market analyst at Alpari, said in a note. "While this may be seen as a positive as the bar has been set very low in recent months, I think we'd have to see more of an improvement to get investors excited." Among corporate reports, Germany's biggest steelmaker ThyssenKrupp will pay a dividend a year earlier than expected, suggesting that a tough turnaround is bearing fruit, although its profit came in below the average of a Reuters poll of analysts. Europe bourses in 2014: (link.reuters.com/pad95v) Asset performance in 2014: (link.reuters.com/rav46v) ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ MARKET SNAPSHOT AT 0643 GMT: LAST PCT CHG NET CHG S&P 500 2,048.72 -0.15 % -3.08 NIKKEI 17300.86 0.07 % 12.11 MSCI ASIA EX-JP 470.77 -0.47 % -2.2 EUR/USD 1.2542 -0.09 % -0.0011 USD/JPY 118.63 0.56 % 0.6600 10-YR US TSY YLD 2.347 -- 0.00 10-YR BUND YLD 0.840 -- -0.01 SPOT GOLD $1,185.62 0.24 % $2.79 US CRUDE $74.59 0.01 % 0.01 > GLOBAL MARKETS- Asia shares fall as soft China data sours mood > Wall St edges lower as Fed minutes offer few clues on rates > Nikkei advances on weak yen, global demand hopes > U.S. TIPS breakeven rates fall further after FOMC minutes > FOREX-Yen slides to fresh 7-year low vs dollar; Aussie falters > Gold extends losses below $1,200 on Swiss poll, Fed minutes > METALS-London nickel hits 5-week high as shortfall eyed > Brent sticks above $78 a barrel as market waits for OPEC COMPANY NEWS: BHP BILLITON The global miner is confident of at least maintaining its dividend even at current weak commodity prices, shrugging off an iron ore price slide triggered by increased output by BHP and other mega producers. BHP Billiton said on Thursday it plans to hold a shareholder vote in May 2015 on its plan to spin off its aluminium, coal, manganese and silver assets into a separate company. VODAFONE The company would be open to selling off more non-core assets such as its interests in Australia, Hungary and the Czech Republic if it received the right offer, Chief Executive Vittorio Colao said on Wednesday. BMW BMW's profit margins in China are narrowing partly due to increased market competition, the German carmaker's China head said on Thursday, but the firm still expects to outpace growth of the wider premium car market. Separately, BMW said Takata plans to shift production of BMW air bag inflators from Mexico to Germany following investigations by U.S. safety regulators into the quality of manufacturing at the plant. DEUTSCHE TELEKOM Bloomberg cites Deutsche Telekom as saying T-Mobile US could attract suitors again. SAP Shareholders of Concur have approved the planned acquisition of the company by SAP, Concur and SAP said, adding they expect the transaction to be completed on or around Dec. 4. THYSSENKRUPP Germany's biggest steelmaker will resume paying dividends a year earlier than expected as it reported its first net profit in four years and showed confidence that a tough turnaround is already bearing fruit. Separately, the company's supervisory board will propose to add Jens Tischendorf, the German chief of Swedish activist investment firm Cevian, to the company's supervisory board, the group said on Wednesday. VOLKSWAGEN Volkswagen's Audi luxury division will maintain spending on its two key German plants even as it pushes foreign expansion, the brand's top labour representative told Reuters. AIRBUS European planemaker Airbus has won a crucial order worth roughly $14 billion at list prices from Delta Air Lines for 50 long-haul, wide-bodied jets, three people familiar with the matter said. PROSIEBENSAT.1 German broadcaster ProSiebenSat.1 does not rule out a partnership for its fast-growing online video streaming service Maxdome, which competes with Amazon and Netflix in the nascent market, a senior executive at the firm said on Wednesday. SKY DEUTSCHLAND Sky Deutschland said on Wednesday it had elected Jeremy Darroch, chief executive of British Sky Broadcasting, as the chairman of its supervisory board. BBVA Spanish bank BBVA is raising its stake in Garanti, one of Turkey's biggest lenders, in a deal worth $2.5 billion that will give it control of the board as it pursues its strategy of overseas expansion. ENEL, ENDESA Italy's biggest utility Enel is on track to raise up to 3.2 billion euros ($4 billion) from the sale of shares in its Spanish subsidiary Endesa, three sources with knowledge of the deal said on Wednesday. FCC, BANKIA The infrastructure and services company is due to hold an extraordinary shareholders' meeting to approve a 1 billion euro rights issue. Separately, a consortium consisting of Fortress, King Street and Azora are in talks with FCC and Bankia over their 60 percent stake in Realia as part of a full takeover bid for the company, Expansion reported without citing sources. BANKIA Bankia plans to sell its 19.07 percent stake in Metrovecesa within 25 days for 80 million euros, ABC reported, citing market sources. FINMECCANICA The Italian aerospace and defence group said expected to cash in more than 400 million euros ($502 million) from a contract the Eurofighter consortium signed with a North Atlantic Treaty Organization's (NATO) agency. FIAT CHRYSLER AUTOMOBILES Rating agency Moody's said on Wednesday the car maker's ratings and stable outlook were unaffected by the company's planned mandatory convertible securities. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and Guangzhou Automobile Industry Group have agreed to expand the GAC Fiat joint venture in a preliminary accord that includes the production of a Chrysler brand vehicle in China. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles expects its yet-to-be launched Fiat 500X crossover sport utility vehicle to be even more popular in North America than its 500 microcar, senior executives said on Wednesday. BANCA CARIGE BofA-Merrill Lynch, Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, JPMorgan, UniCredit have joined as co-global coordinators and joint- bookrunners a consortium led by Mediobanca which is guaranteeing Carige's planned share sale for up to 650 million euros, the Genoa-based lender said on Wednesday. Banco Santander, Commerzbank, Nomura International will be joint bookrunners. Banca Akros, Banca Aletti, Equita SIM, Intermonte SIM, Keefe Bruyette and Woods will be co-lead managers. GEMALTO Gemalto, which makes smart chips for mobile phones, bank cards and biometric passports, is considering acquisitions to speed up plans to surpass 600 million euros ($754 million) in revenue from operations by 2017, its CEO said. CGG French seismic oil and gas services group CGG is considering putting itself up for sale after rebuffing an offer from Technip, Bloomberg reported. CASINO French retailer Casino said that its e-commerce business Cnova would be sold on the stock market at $7 per share, well below a $12.50-$14.0 target range. KPN Dutch telecoms group KPN may sell its 20.5 percent stake in German mobile operator Telefonica Deutschland O2Dn.DE, but it has not yet decided to do so, the group's chief executive told an investor conference. PEUGEOT PSA CITROEN PSA Peugeot Citroen is preparing to cut another 3,450 French jobs next year as the troubled carmaker pursues a recovery plan under new Chief Executive Carlos Tavares, two sources with knowledge of the matter said. (Reporting by Alistair Smout)
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