Europe Factors to Watch-Shares set to track Wall St rally
PARIS, Dec 23 (Reuters) - European stocks were set to rise on Tuesday, gaining ground for the sixth session in a row and tracking a rally on Wall Street where both the Dow and S&P 500 ended at record highs. At 0709 GMT, futures for Euro STOXX 50, for Germany's DAX and for France's CAC were up 0.3 percent. Shares in French lender Societe Generale will be in focus after the Wall Street Journal reported that the bank might have to push back its profitability targets in Russia by several years due to the country's financial crisis. Western companies are curtailing investments in Russia, repatriating funds and talking with their banks about currency hedges to protect profits from the falling rouble and worsening growth outlook. Shares in energy companies will also be eyed on Tuesday, with oil prices edging up on expectation of firm U.S. economic data later in the day. Trading was light, however, as traders begin closing their 2014 positions ahead of Christmas and the New Year. The MSCI World energy sector index has tumbled 30 percent since June, wiping out about $1 trillion in the market value of oil and gas shares, roughly the size of the combined annual GDP of Saudi Arabia and Qatar, data from Thomson Reuters Datastream shows. The slump in crude oil prices, which are down by nearly half in six months, has also been pummelling the bonds of energy companies and sending shockwaves through the high-yield credit market. Late on Monday, credit ratings agency Standard & Poor's lowered to 'negative' its outlook for Total, BP and Royal Dutch Shell , citing a "dramatic deterioration in the oil price outlook". However, most fund managers and analysts see weakening oil prices as positive in the medium term for economic growth and corporate earnings. Analysts have said it will lower fuel costs and leave consumers with more disposable income, and will keep downward pressure on inflation, making an imminent rate move by the U.S. Federal Reserve much less likely. Europe bourses in 2014: (link.reuters.com/pad95v) Asset performance in 2014: (link.reuters.com/rav46v) ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ MARKET SNAPSHOT AT 0709 GMT: LAST PCT CHG NET CHG S&P 500 2,078.54 0.38 % 7.89 MSCI ASIA EX-JP 462.2 -0.73 % -3.39 EUR/USD 1.2235 0.05 % 0.0006 USD/JPY 120.11 0.05 % 0.0600 10-YR US TSY YLD 2.157 -- -0.01 10-YR BUND YLD 0.600 -- 0.00 SPOT GOLD $1,180.15 0.47 % $5.49 US CRUDE $55.58 0.58 % 0.32 > GLOBAL MARKETS-ASIA PAUSES AFTER WALL ST PEAK, OIL PARES LOSSES > US STOCKS-DOW, S&P END AT RECORDS IN 4TH DAY OF GAINS FOR WALL ST > FOREX-HIGH-FLYING DOLLAR PAUSES IN HOLIDAY LULL, U.S. DATA EYED > PRECIOUS-GOLD INCHES UP AFTER LOSSES, BUT STILL NEAR 3-WEEK LOW > METALS-LONDON COPPER INCHES UP, BUT OVERSUPPLY WORRIES DRAG > OIL PRICES RISE ON HOPES FOR FIRM U.S. ECONOMIC DATA COMPANY NEWS: TOTAL, BP, ROYAL DUTCH SHELL Credit ratings agency Standard & Poor's lowered to negative its outlook for Total, BP and Shell, citing a "dramatic deterioration in the oil price outlook". SOCIETE GENERALE The French bank might have to push back its profitability targets in Russia by several years, because of that country's economic troubles, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing sources. STATOIL Norwegian energy firm Statoil has agreed to reduce its working interest in the non-operated Marcellus shale formation in the United States following a $394 million transaction with Southwestern Energy, it said on Tuesday. UNILEVER Procter & Gamble Co said it would sell its soap brands Camay and Zest to Unilever for an undisclosed amount to focus on its faster-growing brands. NOVARTIS The Swiss pharmaceutical group said the European Commission had approved an additional treatment for its eyecare unit Alcon's Travatan treatment for glaucoma, a chronic, sight-threatening eye disease. DEUTSCHE BANK The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission on Monday ordered Deutsche Bank to pay a $3 million fine over charges that it had failed to properly invest customer funds and had made other mistakes in the process. BMW BMW on Monday said it has expanded a U.S. regional recall for certain vehicles with driver-side air bag inflators made by Takata Corp to cover the entire country, following the lead of four rivals that have taken similar steps. THALES The board of the defence electronics maker will meet at 0830 GMT to name Henri Proglio as its next chairman and Patrice Caine as chief executive, sources close to the matter said. ALSTOM The French power and transport engineering group said it would strive for the best compliance procedures and had stopped hiring external sales consultants after it agreed to pay a record $772 million to settle global bribery charges with the U.S. Justice Department. CNP ASSURANCES BARCLAYS The French life insurer said it was selling to Barclays its 50 percent stake in CNP Barclays Vida Y Pensiones (CNP BVP), for 453 million euros ($555 million) including a special dividend. The transaction is expected to close by the middle of 2015 and should result in a capital gain of about 200 million euros, CNP said in a statement. SAINT-GOBAIN The European Commission has begun investigating a complaint that India has been flooding the EU market with cast iron tubes and pipes at below market cost, following a complaint by French building materials supplier Saint-Gobain. (Reporting by Blaise Robinson; Editing by Alistair Smout)
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