European Factors to Watch-Shares set to track Wall St gains
PARIS, Dec 19 (Reuters) - European stocks were set to climb on Friday, mirroring a surge on Wall Street where the Dow posted its best one-day rise in three years and extended a rally sparked by the U.S. Federal Reserve's commitment to take a "patient" approach toward raising interest rates. At 0710 GMT, futures for Euro STOXX 50, for Germany's DAX and for France's CAC were up 0.9-1.1 percent. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 421.28 points on Thursday, or 2.43 percent, to 17,778.15, the S&P 500 gained 48.34 points, or 2.4 percent, to 2,061.23 and the Nasdaq Composite added 104.08 points, or 2.24 percent, to 4,748.40. The gains came even as oil prices stayed under pressure, suggesting equity investors were beginning to see the positives in lower fuel costs and increased consumer spending power. "The drop in oil price has recently put pressure on the equity market. However, (there is) historical evidence that a fall in oil price is a positive for equities, with a clear acceleration in performance after six months," Roland Kaloyan, head of European equity strategy at Societe Generale, wrote in a note. Italy's banking shares will be in focus after Standards and Poor's cut its ratings on a number of Italian lenders on Thursday, including UniCredit and Intesa Sanpaolo, citing rising economic risks and a recent downgrade of Italy's sovereign rating. Greek stocks will also be eyed after the leader of Syriza said his radical leftist party will cancel austerity and ask Europe to erase a big chunk of Greek debt, but also said he was committed to keeping Greece in the euro and keeping the budget balanced before debt costs. Fears among investors that Greece is heading for an early national election that will bring Syriza to power have sent Greek stocks and bonds crashing in recent weeks, with Athens's ATG index sinking 20 percent last week. Europe bourses in 2014: (link.reuters.com/pad95v) Asset performance in 2014: (link.reuters.com/rav46v) ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ MARKET SNAPSHOT AT 0710 GMT: LAST PCT CHG NET CHG S&P 500 2,061.23 2.4 % 48.34 NIKKEI 17621.4 2.39 % 411.35 MSCI ASIA EX-JP 460.53 1.62 % 7.36 EUR/USD 1.2291 0.05 % 0.0006 USD/JPY 119.21 0.33 % 0.3900 10-YR US TSY YLD 2.223 -- 0.02 10-YR BUND YLD 0.617 -- 0.00 SPOT GOLD $1,199.75 0.18 % $2.10 US CRUDE $54.67 1.03 % 0.56 > GLOBAL MARKETS-ASIA STOCKS RALLY, BOJ BRIGHTENS > US STOCKS-WALL ST HAS BEST 2-DAY GAIN SINCE 2011 ON FED OPTIMISM > TOKYO'S NIKKEI SHARE AVERAGE CLOSES UP 2.39 PCT > U.S. BOND YIELDS RISE AS STOCKS RALLY AFTER FED POLICY STATEMENT > FOREX-YEN SLIPS VS DOLLAR, EURO AS RISK SENTIMENT IMPROVES > PRECIOUS-GOLD STEADIES BELOW $1,200, EYES WEEKLY FALL > METALS-COPPER FIRMS ON SUPPLY OUTLOOK WORRIES, OIL PRICE RISE > BRENT STEADY, HEADS FOR 4TH WEEKLY DECLINE AS OVERSUPPLY PERSISTS COMPANY NEWS: BASF BASF and Russia's Gazprom agreed to cancel a swap of gas sector assets planned for this year, citing a "currently difficult political environment". BP BP faces a first and heavy loss from its stake in Russia's Rosneft due to plummeting oil prices and a crumbling rouble, potentially forcing it to write down the value of its once-prized asset. ITALIAN BANKS Standards and Poor's cut its ratings on a number of Italian banks on Thursday, including UniCredit and Intesa Sanpaolo, citing rising economic risks and a recent downgrade of Italy's sovereign rating. ROCHE The Swiss drugmaker said it has agreed to pay up to $489 million to acquire Austrian biotech company Dutalys, a specialist in the discovery and development of so-called bi-specific antibodies. AIR FRANCE-KLM The Franco-Dutch airline issued its third profit warning in six months, cutting its 2014 earnings goal by 200 million euros as higher-than-expected costs from a recent pilot strike added to weaker unit revenues. VOLKSWAGEN Volkswagen Chief Executive Martin Winterkorn has said Europe's largest carmaker is on course to meet a goal of cutting costs at its core division by 5 billion euros ($6.14 billion) by 2017, as efficiency-boosting steps are taking hold, a source said. ATOS Xerox Corp said it agreed to sell its information technology outsourcing arm to the French IT services firm for $1.05 billion. Atos said the deal was expected to close in the second quarter of 2015 and would boost its earnings per share by 10 percent as early as the first year. COMMERZBANK Commerzbank wants to wind down its mortgage unit Hypothekenbank Frankfurt International, previously known as Eurohypo, by 2016, Handelsblatt reported on Friday. ENI Eni has acquired a 70 percent stake in three offshore exploration permits in Portugal, as it seeks to diversify its exploration portfolio, it said on Thursday. CLUB MEDITERRANEE China's Fosun International plans to raise its offer for the French holiday group on Friday to outbid Italian tycoon Andrea Bonomi, a source with knowledge of the matter said. FCC Spanish builder and services group FCC FCC.MC said on Thursday that its 1 billion euro rights issue, aimed to raise funds to pay down debt, was 9.2 times oversubscribed. TELECOM ITALIA The telecoms operator has reached a tentative agreement with trade unions to keep open 41 facilities of its call centre division which employees more than 9,000 people, dropping a previous plan to spin off the business, it said in a statement on Thursday. The deal is subject to referendum among its workers. SALZGITTER Salzgitter said its Europipe joint venture had been told by South Stream Transport B.V. to stop production of steel tubes for the South Stream pipeline until Jan. 1, 2015, but Salzgitter said this did not mark the end to the pipeline project. (Reporting by Blaise Robinson; Editing by James Regan and Francesco Canepa)
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