(Adds further company news; updates prices)
LONDON, Dec 1(Reuters) - European shares were seen falling at the open on Monday as weak Chinese economic data contributed to a rout in the commodities market and early indications pointed to disappointing sales at the start of the U.S. holiday shopping season.
At 0741 GMT, futures for the Euro STOXX 50 equity index, Germany’s DAX and France’s CAC were between 0.7 percent and 0.9 percent lower.
London copper tumbled to its lowest in four-and-a-half years and oil fell more than $2 a barrel to a five-year low after data showed China’s factories slowed more expected in November, casting a shadow over demand prospects at a time when the oil market already faces a supply glut.
Precious metals’ miners could also come under pressure after gold slid 2 percent on Monday and silver slumped to its lowest since 2009. Swiss voters overwhelmingly rejected a proposal to boost central bank gold reserves, providing a new trigger for sell-offs in an already nervous market.
Adding to a more subdued market tone after a two-week rise for major European indexes, the U.S. National Retail Federation estimated sales over the full Thanksgiving weekend would show a decline of 11.3 percent from a year earlier, to $50.9 billion.
Manufacturing data from the euro zone’s three largest economies, due between 0845 GMT and 0900 GMT, could also steer the market in early trade.
European Central Bank Executive Board member Sabine Lautenschlaeger said on Saturday she saw little room for further easing of monetary policy despite a further fall in euro zone inflation.
Indicated 1.1 percent lower
Germany’s biggest utility announced plans on Sunday to split in two and spin off most of its power generation, energy trading and upstream businesses, responding to a crisis that has crippled the European energy sector.
Telecoms group Altice SA has agreed to buy the Portuguese operations of Brazil’s Grupo Oi for about 7.4 billion euro ($9.2 billion), it said in a statement on Sunday.
Spanish telecoms company Telefonica is readying 2.7 bln euros for a possible purchase of KPN’s 20 pct stake in Telefonica Deutschland, El Economista reported on Saturday, without citing sources.
Power grid operator REE plans to invest 4.5 billion euros between 2015 to 2019 and concentrate on international diversification, the company’s chairman Jose Folgado said in an interview in Expansion.
Italy suggested on Sunday it was unlikely to sell a stake in state utility firm Enel by the end of the year as planned, citing poor market conditions, but instead hinted it could step in to buy troubled steel maker Ilva.
Edison is readying to open negotiations for the purchase of all of E.ON’s assets in Italy, La Repubblica daily said on Saturday.
John Laing Infrastructure Fund on Monday offered to buy Balfour Beatty’s portfolio of public-private partnership assets, in sectors like education and health, for 1 billion pounds ($1.6 billion) in cash.
The healthcare group is considering pulling out of the bidding for French food group Danone’s medical nutrition unit because of frustration with the slow progress of the process, two sources familiar with the situation said.
Novartis said on Monday its drug Gilenya failed to meet its main goal in a late-stage study as a treatment for primary progressive multiple sclerosis (PPMS).
Chinese conglomerate Fosun, controlled by billionaire Guo Guangchang, is set to raise its bid for holiday company Club Mediterranee on Monday to trump Italian tycoon Andrea Bonomi, a source familiar with the process said.
German real estate firm Deutsche Annington announced plans on Monday to take over rival Gagfah for shares and cash, in a deal valuing the group at 3.9 billion euros ($4.9 billion).
The UK’s second-largest independent asset manager said pre-tax profits rose in the financial year ending Sept 30 by 2 percent to 490 million pounds ($766 million), but net outflows totalled 20.4 billion pounds.
Two directors of HSBC’s British business have expressed concerns about new rules that can result in jail sentences for senior bankers, but only one has resigned, and that was mainly due to extra demands on his time, the bank said.
The bank’s insurance unit Scottish Widows has put its offshore investment and tax planning business up for sale. Several parties have already expressed interest in the Isle of Man-based operation business which Lloyds inherited when it acquired HBOS, The Financial Times reported.
Deutsche Bank indicated 1.1 percent lower
Commerzbank indicated 0.7 percent lower
German market watchdog Bafin has found isolated cases of possible criminal activity in an ongoing investigation into banks’ practices in foreign exchange trading, the head of banking supervision was quoted as saying by a German magazine.
Separately, the chief executive of Commerzbank is predicting a wave of mergers among Germany’s cooperative and savings banks, he said at a conference in Berlin on the weekend.
Lufthansa has cancelled nearly half of flights scheduled for Monday and Tuesday due to a strike by pilots.
Separately, German rail operator Deutsche Bahn is set to launch another suit against airlines for operating a price-fixing cartel affecting its freight business from 1999-2006, the Wirtschafts Woche weekly reported on Sunday.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel is backing loss-making Air Berlin AB1.DE in a dispute over whether its Abu Dhabi-based partner Etihad is exercising too much control, Focus magazine reported on Saturday.
Sintonia, the holding that controls the motorway group and is itself majority-owned by the Benetton family, could be broken up, Sole 24 Ore daily said on Sunday.
Singapore’s High Court has ruled in favour of a local food- maker that Nestle SA said infringed its intellectual property rights over a chocolate wafer product, a Singapore newspaper reported on Saturday, citing the judgment.
Volkswagen’s sports car maker Porsche expects to increase staff from more than 22,000 at the end of 2014 to 25,000 by 2020 and hopes to improve productivity in 2015 by another 6 percent, deputy boss Thomas Edig tells the Automobilwoche trade weekly.
GlaxoSmithKline will this week inform U.S. staff of hundreds of job cuts in its biggest market as the drugmaker starts implementing a major cost-saving programme, sources familiar with the matter said on Sunday.
The auto maker plans to spend 12-14 billion euros ($15-17.5 billion) on developing electric vehicles in the next three to four years, Dieter Zetsche tells the Welt am Sonntag newspaper in an interview.
Some European insurers could have trouble meeting financial obligations to policy holders in the coming years if rock bottom interest rates persist, the EU’s insurance watchdog EIOPA warned on Sunday.
0830 CH Manufacturing PMI Nov
0845 IT Manufacturing PMI Nov
0850 FR Manufacturing PMI Nov
0855 DE Manufacturing PMI Nov
0900 EZ Manufacturing PMI Nov
0930 GB BoE Consumer Credit Oct
1500 US ISM Manufacturing PMI
> GOLD TUMBLES AFTER SWISS REFERENDUM, OIL HITS 5-YR LOW > WALL ST UP FOR 6TH STRAIGHT WEEK DESPITE OIL ROUT > NIKKEI RISES TO FRESH 7-YEAR HIGH ON STRONG CAPEX DATA > U.S. YIELDS DIP ON DISINFLATION SIGNS > DOLLAR HITS PEAK VS YEN, SWISS FRANC DIPS AS VOTERS REJECT GOLD PLAN > GOLD TUMBLES AFTER SWISS REFERENDUM > LONDON COPPER SLIDES TO WEAKEST SINCE JUNE 2010, RAGGED DOWN BY OIL > OIL HITS 5-YEAR LOWS IN LONGEST LOSING STREAK SINCE 2008 CRISIS (Reporting By Francesco Canepa; Editing by Atul Prakash)