European Factors to Watch-Shares seen higher, focus on ECB

jueves 4 de diciembre de 2014 03:35 GYT
 

LONDON, Dec 4 (Reuters) - European shares headed for a stronger open on
Thursday, tracking gains in the United States and Asia, with improving U.S.
economic outlook and expectations of further stimulus from the European Central
Bank boosting sentiment.
    ECB President Mario Draghi will present the bank's updated forecasts for
growth in output as well as inflation at a policy meeting later in the day. The
ECB could extend a scheme to buy rebundled debt to purchasing corporate bonds,
but it is unlikely to announce any radical immediate move such as printing money
to buy government bonds. 
    "We will be looking at the exact wording of the introductory statement,"
Credit Agricole said in a note. "If the reference to sovereign debt purchases
appears in the statement, then it would be the clearest sign that the ECB is
ready to deliver sooner rather than later, probably with a comfortable
majority."
    The Federal Reserve's vice chair Stanley Fischer was quoted as saying in an
Italian newspaper that the ECB should follow the example of the U.S. central
bank and buy government bonds to prop up the tottering euro zone economy.
 
    At 0733 GMT, futures for Euro STOXX 50, Germany's DAX and
for France's CAC were 0.2 to 0.3 percent higher.
    The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index ended 0.5 percent higher at
1,399.97 points after climbing to its highest level in more than two months in
the previous session. The index has gained 15 percent since a one-year low in
mid-October.
    In the United States, the Dow and S&P 500 share indexes closed
at record highs on Wednesday after data showed U.S. services sector rose more
than expected in November. Japanese stocks jumped to a near 7-1/2-year high on
Thursday.  
    On the macroeconomic front, focus will be on U.S. initial jobless claims
data, a day after due at 1330 GMT.
    In France, unemployment rate rose to 10.4 percent in the third quarter from
a revised 10.1 percent in the previous quarter, data published by the INSEE
national statistics office showed on Thursday. 
    Investors' focus will also be on energy stocks after Brent crude oil prices
rose above $70 a barrel, gaining nearly a percent along with U.S. futures, as a
fall in crude stockpiles in the United States supported prices. 
    The Investment Management Association (IMA) said on Thursday that Allianz
Global Investors, Aviva, Friends Life, Legal and General, Prudential and
Standard Life intend to make investments of around 9 billion pounds in private
placements and other direct lending to UK companies. 
    
    COMPANY NEWS
    
    LAFARGE 
    Lafarge and its Swiss peer Holcim are set to win the European Union's
approval for their merger deal to create the world's biggest cement maker, two
sources with direct knowledge of the matter said on Wednesday. 
    
    LUFTHANSA 
    Pilots at Lufthansa are on strike on long-haul and cargo flights on
Thursday. Lufthansa has said it would cancel about half of long-haul flights and
a third of cargo flights.
    
    CLUB MED 
    The board of Club Med on Wednesday reiterated its support for the bid
presented by Chinese billionaire Guo Guongchang, owner of Chinese group Fosun
. 
         
    FERROVIAL, FCC, BANKIA 
    Spanish infrastructure firm Ferrovial has withdrawn from the process to
acquire the concessions company Globalvia, controlled by FCC and Bankia,
Expansion said on Thursday.
    
    CENTRICA 
    Britain's energy regulator Ofgem has fined the country's largest energy
supplier 11.1 million pounds ($17.4 million) for failing to meet energy
efficiency obligations by a 2012 deadline. 
    
    GLAXOSMITHKLINE 
    The drugmaker said on Wednesday it would shed "several hundred" U.S.
commercial jobs and a similar number of research positions as it restructures
operations in its biggest market, where drug sales are flagging. 
          
    AREVA 
    Areva's Luc Oursel, who resigned last month as chief executive and chairman
for health reasons, has died, the nuclear energy group said on Wednesday.
 
    
    SKY 
    Pay-TV group Sky said on Thursday it had agreed to sell a controlling stake
in Sky Bet to CVC Capital Partners in a move which values the online
betting business at 800 million pounds ($1.3 billion). 
    
    TUI TRAVEL 
    British travel group TUI Travel, reporting its last set of annual results
before it merges with Germany's TUI AG, said profit rose 11 percent,
beating forecasts, and the coming tie-up would accelerate long-term growth.
 
    
    ENI 
    Plans by Italian oil major Eni for major asset sales to help fund
exploration and its dividend payments have hit problems due to diving oil and
gas prices, sources say. 
    
    SOCIETE DES PRODUITS MARNIER LAPOSTOLLE 
    Societe des Produits Marnier Lapostolle, the company behind spirits brand
Grand Marnier, denied press reports it planned to sell the control of the
company. 
      
    ALSTOM 
    It will take more than the abrupt cancellation of a high-speed train deal
with Mexico to derail China Railway Construction Corp's ambitions to become a
global force in transport projects and take on the likes of Siemens, Alstom and
Bombardier. 
    
    ALLIANZ 
    Pacific Investment Management Co posted net outflows of $12.59 billion
across its open-ended funds in November, down considerably from $48.3 billion of
cash withdrawals the previous month, according to Morningstar data on Wednesday.
 
    
    THYSSENKRUPP 
    The industrial group reached an agreement with unions over cutbacks at its
Acciai Speciali Terni (AST) stainless steel plant in central Italy.
 
    
    VOLKSWAGEN 
    Premium carmaker Audi aims to continue to expand its network of dealership
in Russia despite being hit by the weaker economic outlook and the weak rouble
there, Chief Executive Rupert Stadler told Sueddeutsche Zeitung.
        
    HOCHTIEF 
    Hochtief's Australian business Leighton won a contract worth more
than $150 million to build a glasshouse for growing tomatoes for Sundrop Farms.
 
    
    LUXOTTICA, INTEL 
    The luxury eyewear maker is joining forces with U.S. chipmaker Intel Corp to
develop glasses that combine its top fashion brands with technology that could
allow wearers to access information about their health or location.
 
        
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  MARKET SNAPSHOT AT 0719 GMT: 
    
                                                 LAST    PCT CHG   NET CHG
 S&P 500                                     2,074.33     0.38 %      7.78
 NIKKEI                                      17887.21     0.94 %    166.78
 MSCI ASIA EX-JP                               473.82     0.62 %      2.92
 EUR/USD                                       1.2297    -0.11 %   -0.0013
 USD/JPY                                       119.95     0.15 %    0.1800
 10-YR US TSY YLD                               2.280         --     -0.01
 10-YR BUND YLD                                 0.751         --      0.01
 SPOT GOLD                                  $1,204.00    -0.43 %    -$5.19
 US CRUDE                                      $67.97     0.88 %      0.59
 
    MACROECONOMIC EVENTS (GMT) 
    1200 GB Bank of England bank Rate
    1245 EZ ECB rate 
    1330 US Initial Jobless Claims
    
  > ASIA CHEERED BY U.S. ECONOMIC RESILIENCE, EURO STRUGGLES    
  > CYCLICALS LEAD WALL ST HIGHER; DOW, S&P END AT RECORDS             
  > NIKKEI HITS NEAR 7-1/2-YEAR HIGH ON WEAK YEN, US ECONOMIC OPTIMISM 
  > TREASURIES-PRICES MOSTLY STEADY AS LONG BOND GAINS               
  > EURO ON THE DEFENSIVE AS ECB EYED; DOLLAR SETS 7-YEAR HIGH VS YEN 
  > GOLD EASES ON DOLLAR STRENGTH AHEAD OF ECB, U.S. JOBS DATA       
  > COPPER EDGES UP ON OIL, CHINA SERVICE SECTOR DATA               
  > BRENT HEADS ABOVE $70 AFTER U.S. CRUDE STOCKS DROP                
    
    Europe bourses in 2014: (link.reuters.com/pad95v)
    Asset performance in 2014: (link.reuters.com/rav46v)
    

 (Reporting by Atul Prakash; Editing by Alistair Smout)