Europe Factors to Watch-Futures inch up; Metro in focus
PARIS, Jan 13 (Reuters) - European stocks were set for a slightly higher open on Tuesday, with shares in Germany's Metro eyed after the retailer reported strong Christmas sales at some of its core units. At 0720 GMT, futures for Euro STOXX 50, for Germany's DAX and for France's CAC were flat to up 0.1 percent. The oil and gas sector will be under pressure again as the relentless drop in oil prices fuels worries over the prospect for corporate profits in the energy sector. Brent crude was down 3.9 percent on Tuesday, adding to a 5.3 percent drop on Monday, despite China reporting record crude imports. Oil prices have plunged almost 60 percent since June last year. Profit forecasts for S&P 500 energy companies have dropped sharply in recent months, with fourth-quarter earnings for the sector now expected to have declined 21.1 percent from a year ago, Thomson Reuters data showed. However, the drop in oil was set to support earnings in other sectors. Late on Monday, metals major Alcoa kicked off the U.S. earnings season with higher-than-expected quarterly profit, citing brisk demand from the auto sector, higher aluminum prices and lower energy costs. Metro AG, Europe's fourth biggest retailer, said sales fell less than expected in the last three months of 2014 as a recovery at its wholesale and consumer electronics units gained pace, making up for weakness at its department stores. Germany's Suedzucker warned that deteriorating sugar and ethanol prices will continue to hit results this year and next as it confirmed its full-year forecast on Tuesday, expecting a sharp drop in operating profit. Europe bourses in 2014: (link.reuters.com/pad95v) Asset performance in 2014: (link.reuters.com/rav46v) ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ MARKET SNAPSHOT AT 0720 GMT: LAST PCT CHG NET CHG S&P 500 2,028.26 -0.81 % -16.55 NIKKEI 17087.71 -0.64 % -110.02 MSCI ASIA EX-JP 470.77 0.26 % 1.23 EUR/USD 1.1839 0.05 % 0.0006 USD/JPY 118.41 0.08 % 0.0900 10-YR US TSY YLD 1.898 -- -0.01 10-YR BUND YLD 0.471 -- -0.01 SPOT GOLD $1,236.50 0.26 % $3.24 US CRUDE $44.68 -3.02 % -1.39 > GLOBAL MARKETS-ASIA SHARES ON DEFENSIVE AS OIL EXTENDS LOSSES > US STOCKS-WALL ST FALLS; ENERGY SHARES DRAGGED DOWN FURTHER BY OIL > TOKYO'S NIKKEI SHARE AVERAGE CLOSES DOWN 0.64 PCT > TREASURIES-U.S. BOND YIELDS FALL ON STOCKS, THREE-YEAR AUCTION > FOREX-DOLLAR SLIPS, FALLING US TREASURY YIELDS WEIGH > PRECIOUS-GOLD CLIMBS TO 12-WEEK HIGH AS OIL AND EQUITIES DROP > METALS-LONDON COPPER RETREATS BELOW $6,000; NEARS FIVE-YEAR LOW > OIL PRICES EXTEND FALL DESPITE RECORD CHINA IMPORTS COMPANY NEWS: METRO Europe's fourth biggest retailer said sales fell less than expected in the last three months of 2014 as a recovery at its wholesale and consumer electronics units gained pace, making up for weakness at its department stores. DEBENHAMS Britain's No.2 department store chain posted a fall in first-quarter sales, although there were signs of improvement over the key Christmas trading period. SUEDZUCKER Germany's confirmed its full-year earnings forecast on Tuesday, saying it expects its operating profit to drop sharply as low sugar and ethanol prices continue to weigh on its results. CAIRN ENERGY Oil explorer Cairn Energy said on Tuesday it would focus on its drilling programme in Senegal this year where it made a series of successful oil finds in 2014. MICHAEL PAGE British staff recruitment firm Michael Page posted a 12.9 percent rise in underlying fourth-quarter fees on Tuesday, boosted by strong demand in all of its regions and adding to hopes that a global economic recovery is under way. MORRISONS Britain's No. 4 grocer said its chief executive would step down after the firm posted the worst Christmas performance of Britain's listed supermarkets. DAIMLER Daimler sees global demand for passenger cars rising around 4 percent in 2015, adding that the maker of Mercedes-Benz luxury cars aims to outgrow the market thanks to continued demand in China where momentum remains strong. LINDT & SPRUENGLI The group confirmed its operating profit margin target for 2014 after underlying sales rose almost 10 percent last year as market share gains boosted volumes. BBVA Spanish bank BBVA is interested in a possible bid for Portugal's Novo Banco, El Economista said, citing sources with knowledge of the process. ALTICE Portugal Telecom SGPS shareholders postponed until Jan. 22 a vote on the sale of its former operations by its merger partner, Brazil's Oi , complicating the 7.4 billion euro acquisition by Altice and possibly casting doubts on the long-agreed deal. KERING The luxury goods group said its Gucci eyewear partnership agreement with Safilo would enter force from the fourth quarter. Kering named Antonio Calce as CEO of Sowind Group and Christophe Artaux as CEO of Chinese jewellery brand Qeelin. SUEZ ENVIRONNEMENT The waste and water company said the city of Calais awarded it a drinking water contract for a period of 12 years for a total amount of 79 million euros. ALCATEL LUCENT The telecoms equipment company said it had appointed Bhaskar Gorti as President to lead its IP Platforms unit. The former Oracle executive will help the company's focus on focus on the adoption and acceleration of cloud and software-based networking technologies, it said. EDF Germany's largest utility E.ON AG EONGn.DE has agreed to sell its Italian gas- and coal-fired power plants to Czech energy company EPH, ridding itself of unwanted assets from an acquisition spree in 2007. People close to the matter previously said French energy group was interested in buying E.ON assets through its Italian unit Edison. SANOFI Several expensive cancer medicines will no longer be available on Britain's state-funded National Health Service (NHS) following an overhaul of an over-budget drug funding scheme, NHS England said on Monday. Sanofi's prostate and bowel cancer drugs Jevtana and Zaltrap are among them. INGENICO The group's payment services arm said it recorded a strong increase in in transactions in store and online in Europe in December 2014. (Reporting by Blaise Robinson; Editing by Atul Prakash)
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