Europe Factors to Watch-Shares set to dip; Italy eyed after downgrade
PARIS, Dec 8 (Reuters) - European stocks were set to open slightly lower on Monday, taking a breather following the previous session sharp rally as soft macro data from China and Japan revived concerns over the pace of global growth. Italian equities will be in focus after S&P on Friday cut the country's sovereign credit rating from BBB to BBB-, just one notch above junk, citing weak growth and poor competitiveness which undermine the sustainability of its huge public debt. At 0745 GMT, futures for Euro STOXX 50, for Germany's DAX and for France's CAC were down 0.1-0.3 percent. China's exports rose 4.7 percent in November from a year earlier, while imports dropped 6.7 percent, well below expectations and adding to concerns the world's second-largest economy could be facing a sharper slowdown. Japan's economy shrank more than initially reported in the third quarter on declines in business investment, surprising markets and backing premier Shinzo Abe's recent decision to delay a second sales tax hike. Europe's struggling energy sector will be in focus again on Monday after Brent fell to below $69 a barrel after Morgan Stanley cut its forecast for crude and the market got little support from mixed Chinese trade data. UK oil major BP will be eyed after The Sunday Times reported the group is to axe middle managers and could freeze projects as it grapples with the plummeting oil price, citing finance director Brian Gilvary. European stocks rallied on Friday, with the FTSEurofirst 300 index of top European shares surging 1.8 percent and Germany's DAX hitting a record closing high, boosted by data showing U.S. employers took on the most workers for nearly three years in November. Europe bourses in 2014: (link.reuters.com/pad95v) Asset performance in 2014: (link.reuters.com/rav46v) ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ MARKET SNAPSHOT AT 0748 GMT: LAST PCT CHG NET CHG S&P 500 2,075.37 0.17 % 3.45 NIKKEI 17935.64 0.08 % 15.19 MSCI ASIA EX-JP 471.74 -0.37 % -1.74 EUR/USD 1.2268 -0.14 % -0.0017 USD/JPY 121.44 0.02 % 0.0600 10-YR US TSY YLD 2.335 -- 0.03 10-YR BUND YLD 0.788 -- 0.00 SPOT GOLD $1,193.60 0.16 % $1.85 US CRUDE $65.33 -0.77 % -0.51 > GLOBAL MARKETS-ASIA UP, SOMBRE DATA OFFSETS ROBUST U.S. JOBS > US STOCKS-WALL ST RISES FOR 7TH WEEK, BUT ENDS OFF ITS HIGHS > TOKYO'S NIKKEI SHARE AVERAGE CLOSES UP 0.08 PCT > FOREX-DOLLAR BASKS IN POST-PAYROLLS GLOW, TOUCHES 7-YEAR HIGH VS YEN > PRECIOUS-GOLD STAYS BELOW $1,200 AS US JOBS REPORT BOOSTS DOLLAR > METALS-LONDON COPPER STEADY; EYES ON CHINA TRADE DATA > BRENT WEAK NEAR $68 AFTER MORGAN STANLEY CUTS PRICE FORECAST COMPANY NEWS: BP The company is to axe middle managers and could freeze projects as it grapples with the plummeting oil price, The Sunday Times reported, citing finance director Brian Gilvary. DEUTSCHE BANK German financial watchdog Bafin has found that Deutsche Bank co-Chief Executive Anshu Jain was neither aware nor part of possible attempts at the German lender to manipulate interest rates, German newspaper Handelsblatt reported. UNICREDIT The bank hopes to be able to increase its dividend payouts, CEO Federico Ghizzoni was quoted by Il Sole 24 Ore on Saturday. SAINT-GOBAIN The French building materials supplier said it planned to buy a controlling stake in construction chemicals group Sika for around 2.3 billion euros ($2.83 billion) and was putting its glass packaging unit Verallia unit up for sale. SOCIETE GENERALE Societe Generale has suspended its involvement in financing a $10 billion coal mine, rail and port project being developed by India's GVK conglomerate and Australian billionaire Gina Rinehart, citing the project's years-long delay. SAFRAN French aerospace group Safran named Philippe Petitcolin as its next chief executive when chairman and CEO Jean-Paul Herteman retires next spring. E.ON Germany's biggest utility is open to talks with the government about forming a public foundation to fund the decommissioning of the country's nuclear plants, its chief executive told a German magazine. INTERCONTINENTAL HOTELS GROUP IHG, one of the world's largest hoteliers, said it had agreed to sell its Paris-Le Grand hotel for 330 million euros ($405 million) to Constellation Hotels. RIO TINTO The miner declined to comment on Monday on whether it would be willing to settle a lawsuit it brought against Brazil's Vale SA over valuable iron ore concessions in Guinea. BHP BILLITON A planned spin-off of businesses by global miner BHP Billiton will be called South32 when it seeks multiple stock listings next year, BHP said on Monday. SAINSBURY'S UK activist investment fund Crystal Amber is in talks with several overseas investors about buying shares in Sainsbury's, as part of a plan to shake up the food retailer that could cause a takeover bid to be made, The Sunday Telegraph newspaper said. MARKS AND SPENCER GROUP The company has had to delay deliveries of online orders by up to two weeks and withdraw next-day delivery services to stores after being beset by problems at the busiest shopping time of the year, The Guardian newspaper reported on Sunday. ALTICE Telecoms group Altice's plan to buy the Portuguese operations of Brazil's Oi for 7.4 billion euros ($9 billion) depends on winning the backing of shareholders in Portugal Telecom SGPS, the holding company which owns 25.6 percent of Oi, a spokesman for Portugal Telecom said. EDF Fitch Ratings has affirmed Electricite de France SA's (EDF) Long-term Issuer Default Rating (IDR) and senior unsecured rating at 'A+', Short-term IDR at 'F1' and subordinated notes at 'A-'. Fitch has also affirmed EDF Energy Nuclear Generation Group Ltd's Long-term IDR at 'A+'. The Outlooks on the Long-term IDRs are Negative. DAIMLER Chinese automaker BAIC Motor IPO-BAC.SS, part-owned by Germany's Daimler, hopes to raise between $1.22 billion-$1.57 billion in its Hong Kong initial public offering (IPO), IFR reported on Saturday. LUFTHANSA Lufthansa's supervisory board has blocked management plans to issue a convertible bond to fund the purchase of more planes, German magazine Der Spiegel reported on Sunday, without citing sources. (Reporting by Blaise Robinson; Editing by Atul Prakash)
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