Europe Factors to Watch-Shares set to rise after China data
PARIS, Jan 20 (Reuters) - European stocks were set to rise on Tuesday, tracking a rally in Asian shares after data showed China's economic growth slowed less than feared. Shares in SAP will be in the spotlight after Europe's largest software firm cut its 2017 operating profit outlook, saying its push into cloud-based software delivery will eat into its profit margins before clearing the way for profits to expand from 2018 onward. Consumer goods giant Unilever will also be in focus after it reported lower-than-expected fourth-quarter underlying sales growth, as the emerging market downturn that rocked performance earlier in the year failed to improve. China's economy grew 7.4 percent in 2014, its slowest pace in 24 years and barely missing the country's official 7.5 percent target. But the data was seen as a relief for investors. "China had a goldilocks GDP figure for the bulls. The annual figure dipped to 7.4 percent, just below the government's target of 7.5 percent, which although weak, doesn't imply a total collapse yet still leaves the door open for some more stimulus efforts," Capital Spreads trader Jonathan Sudaria wrote. At 0715 GMT, futures for Euro STOXX 50, for Germany's DAX and for France's CAC were 0.4-0.6 percent. Also on the macro front, the International Monetary Fund lowered its forecast for global economic growth in 2015, and called for governments and central banks to pursue accommodative monetary policies and structural reforms to support growth. The Greek market will be in focus on Tuesday after anti-bailout opposition party Syriza appears to be gaining momentum with less than a week before Sunday's election, moving further ahead of the conservatives that lead the coalition government in two separate opinion polls. European shares hit a seven-year high on Monday, as Italian banks rallied on the prospect of a corporate governance revamp and Swiss stocks clawed back some of last week's losses. Broader market sentiment has been supported by expectations the European Central Bank will on Thursday unveil plans to buy sovereign bonds to try to fight deflation and revive growth. Europe bourses in 2014: (link.reuters.com/pad95v) Asset performance in 2014: (link.reuters.com/rav46v) ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ MARKET SNAPSHOT AT 0740 GMT: LAST PCT CHG NET CHG NIKKEI 17366.3 2.07 % 352.01 MSCI ASIA EX-JP 468.34 0.24 % 1.1 EUR/USD 1.1583 -0.18 % -0.0021 USD/JPY 118.37 0.7 % 0.8200 10-YR US TSY YLD 1.819 -- 0.00 10-YR BUND YLD 0.449 -- 0.01 SPOT GOLD $1,277.10 0.03 % $0.40 US CRUDE $47.32 -2.81 % -1.37 > GLOBAL MARKETS-ASIA RELIEVED BY CHINA GROWTH > TOKYO'S NIKKEI SHARE AVERAGE CLOSES UP 2.07 PCT > FOREX-DOLLAR RISES TO 1-WEEK HIGH VS YEN ON RELIEF OVER CHINA GROWTH > PRECIOUS-GOLD NEAR 4-MONTH HIGH ON WORRIES OVER EUROPE, GLOBAL ECONOMY > METALS-COPPER EDGES UP AFTER CHINA DATA RELIEVES MARKETS > OIL MARKETS DIP ON WEAK CHINA GDP DATA COMPANY NEWS: SAP Europe's largest software firm SAP lowered its 2017 operating profit outlook on Tuesday, saying its push into cloud-based software delivery would eat into its profit margins. UNILEVER Consumer goods giant reported lower than expected fourth-quarter underlying sales growth, as the emerging market downturn that rocked performance earlier in the year failed to improve. LUXOTTICA Italian eyewear group on Monday reported a 4.6 percent rise in 2014 revenues to 7.65 billion euros ($8.9 billion), in line with market expectations, helped by the strength of its U.S. business. TELEFONICA Telefonica is also considering Talk-Talk and Liberty Global, aside form Hutchinson, as possible interested parties in the acquisition of its O2 unit in the UK, El Economista reported citing market sources. RIO TINTO Global miner Rio Tinto reported a sharp rise in quarterly iron ore output on Tuesday amid a drive to corner a greater share of the world market, and reported price gains at its long-pilloried aluminium division. CREDIT SUISSE The lender said the recent currency volatility following the Swiss National Bank's surprise decision to scrap a three-year-old cap on the franc "has not materially impacted our capital ratios". REPSOL Spanish oil group Repsol said on Monday its refining margins had jumped 41 percent in the fourth quarter from the third, while production rose 1.3 percent in the period. Separately, Repsol plans to sell and leaseback its headquarters to help pay for the recent acquisition of Canada's Talisman, Expansion reported without citing sources. ROYAL DUTCH SHELL Brazilian oil and gas company HRT Participacoes SA reached an agreement to buy offshore assets of Royal Dutch Shell Plc in the Campos Basin, a source with knowledge of the deal said on Monday. WILLIAM HILL Leading British bookmaker William Hill said its full 2014 operating profit rose 11 percent to 371 million pounds ($560 million) even as fourth quarter revenues suffered due to unfavorable football and horse racing results. (Reporting by Blaise Robinson; Editing by Alistair Smout)
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