Europe Factors to Watch-Shares set to extend winning streak
PARIS, Jan 21 (Reuters) - European stocks were set to rise on Wednesday, gaining ground for the fifth straight session, fuelled by expectations the European Central Bank is about to launch a quantitative easing programme to boost the region's economy. At 0730 GMT, futures for Euro STOXX 50, for Germany's DAX and for France's CAC were up 0.1-0.2 percent. European tech shares will be in the spotlight after U.S. bellwether International Business Machines Corp posted a new 2015 profit target and quarterly revenue that both missed analysts' estimates. Resource-related shares will also be in focus after North Sea oil and gas field operator Talisman Sinopec Energy UK said it would cut 300 jobs due to falling production and rising operating costs in the wake of plunging oil prices, becoming the latest company to axe jobs after oil majors BP and ConocoPhillips cut more than 500 jobs in the North Sea. Total's chief executive said the oil major plans to reduce capital spending by 10 percent this year following a sharp drop in crude prices. Miner BHP Billiton said it would cut its spending on shale drilling over the next six months as it looks to meet its promise not to reduce dividends in the face of a collapse in iron ore, copper and oil prices. The FTSEurofirst 300 has surged 5 percent in the past four sessions, hitting its highest level in seven years and outperforming Wall Street, as investors bought European shares on mounting expectations the European Central Bank will unveil a programme to print money and buy bonds when it meets on Thursday to try and revive the euro zone economy and inflation. Europe bourses in 2014: (link.reuters.com/pad95v) Asset performance in 2014: (link.reuters.com/rav46v) ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ MARKET SNAPSHOT AT 0730 GMT: LAST PCT CHG NET CHG S&P 500 2,022.55 0.15 % 3.13 NIKKEI 17280.48 -0.49 % -85.82 MSCI ASIA EX-JP 475.26 1.39 % 6.52 EUR/USD 1.1565 0.14 % 0.0016 USD/JPY 117.58 -1.02 % -1.2100 10-YR US TSY YLD 1.788 -- -0.02 10-YR BUND YLD 0.449 -- 0.00 SPOT GOLD $1,298.91 0.41 % $5.35 US CRUDE $46.87 0.86 % 0.40 > GLOBAL MARKETS-SHARES UP ON ECB EASING HOPES, BOJ HOLD LIFTS YEN > WALL ST ENDS FLAT AS HOPE FOR ECB MOVE INCREASES > TOKYO'S NIKKEI SHARE AVERAGE CLOSES DOWN 0.49 PCT > TREASURIES-LONG BONDS GAIN AS INVESTORS GRAB FOR HIGHER YIELDS > FOREX-YEN REBOUNDS AGAINST DOLLAR AFTER BOJ STANDS PAT ON POLICY > GOLD EXTENDS GAINS TO 5-MONTH HIGH AHEAD OF ECB MEETING > METALS-LONDON COPPER EDGES UP IN THIN TRADE, ECB MEET EYED > BRENT CRUDE INCHES ABOVE $48, BUT OUTLOOK REMAINS WEAK COMPANY NEWS: BHP BILLITON The world's largest miner said on Wednesday it would cut its spending on shale drilling over the next six months as it looks to meet its promise not to reduce dividends in the face of a collapse in iron ore, copper and oil prices. TOTAL The French oil and gas group plans to reduce capital spending by 10 per cent this year, its new chief executive Patrick Pouyanne told the Financial Times. ENERGY SECTOR North Sea oil and gas field operator Talisman Sinopec Energy UK said it would cut 300 jobs due to falling production and rising operating costs in the wake of plunging oil prices, becoming the latest company to axe jobs after oil majors BP and ConocoPhillips cut more than 500 jobs in the North Sea. SABMILLER International brewer SABMiller on Wednesday reported a rise in third-quarter sales despite ongoing weakness in China due to poor weather last year. PEARSON The education and media group said it expected to grow its earnings in 2015 after solid growth in its North American higher education business helped it bring an end to a turbulent two-year period of restructuring and profit downgrades. DIXONS CARPHONE Electricals and mobile phone retailer Dixons Carphone raised its guidance for 2014-15 profit after a strong Christmas, it said on Wednesday. FIRSTGROUP The transport firm said it expected to meet its forecasts for the current financial full year after strong third-quarter performances from its rail operations in Britain and its shuttle bus business in the United States. ASML NV The world's second largest maker of semiconductor production equipment posted better-than-expected fourth-quarter results, saying demand from memory chip makers was stronger than expected. ALSTOM The group, which is selling most of its power equipment business to General Electric to focus on transport, confirmed its full-year revenue and profit target after posting a 10 percent quarterly sales jump at its remaining rail arm. BOUYGUES The company said its construction division won a contract worth close to 100 million euros to build a power station in Gibraltar. VIVENDI The French national rugby league said Canal+ has won the exclusive right to broadcast the next four seasons of Top 14 rugby. ACCOR Europe's largest hotel group said it estimated its operating profit last year was above target after robust demand in Europe and emerging markets gave a boost to revenue growth in the fourth quarter. UNICREDIT Italy's biggest bank is not interested in making acquisitions even after the latest move by the Italian government to reform the country's cooperative banks, the lender's CEO Federico Ghizzoni said on Tuesday. ITALIAN BANKS Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi's government on Tuesday defied widespread political opposition by drafting an emergency decree to change shareholder voting rules at the country's popolari or cooperative lenders. IAG, AER LINGUS The Irish government will "exercise great caution" in evaluating whether a bid for Aer Lingus by the owner of British Airways and Spain's Iberia is in the country's best interest, its transport minister said on Tuesday. LONZA The life sciences company held off giving a quantitative forecast for sales and profit growth this year, as it grapples with an unexpected surge in the Swiss franc after the country's central bank scrapped its cap on the currency. BARRY CALLEBAUT The world's largest maker of chocolate and cocoa products said the strong Swiss franc could impact its reported figures, after sales rose 15.1 percent in the quarter to November, helped by higher cocoa bean prices. ALLIANZ Pimco said on Tuesday it has placed an overweight position on global equities, particularly European and Japanese equities, and is underweight on global government bonds and other securities that reflect interest rate exposure. CARMAKERS Toyota Motor Corp took the unusual step of projecting a drop in annual vehicle sales on Wednesday in a move that could see Volkswagen steal the industry crown this year as demand slumps in Japan, Indonesia and other key markets. (Reporting by Blaise Robinson; Editing by James Regan and Alistair Smout)
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