Europe Factors to Watch-Shares set to inch up; Ryanair eyed
PARIS, Feb 2 (Reuters) - European stock index futures inched higher on Monday, with the airline sector in focus after Ryanair raised its profit forecast. Ryanair, Europe's largest airline by passenger numbers, lifted its profit forecast for the third time in as many months, as costs fell and traffic grew, but it cautioned that profit growth will be modest next year as rivals' cheaper fuel push fares down. At 0738 GMT, futures for Euro STOXX 50, for Germany's DAX and for France's CAC were up 0.2-0.4 percent. Investors remained cautious, however, after soft data on China's factory sector activity raised concerns over the outlook for the world's second biggest economy. The final HSBC/Markit Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) for January came in at 49.7 on a seasonally adjusted basis, just below the 50.0 level that separates growth from contraction. The figure released on Monday was slightly lower than a preliminary "flash" reading of 49.8. Greece remained at the forefront of investors' minds on Monday. Over the weekend, the new leftist government began its drive to persuade a sceptical Europe to accept a new debt agreement while it starts to roll back on austerity measures imposed under its existing bailout agreement. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ MARKET SNAPSHOT AT 0720 GMT: LAST PCT CHG NET CHG S&P 500 1,994.99 -1.3 % -26.26 NIKKEI 17558.04 -0.66 % -116.35 MSCI ASIA EX-JP 473.88 -0.05 % -0.25 EUR/USD 1.1308 0.19 % 0.0022 USD/JPY 117.59 0.13 % 0.1500 10-YR US TSY YLD 1.681 -- 0.00 10-YR BUND YLD 0.316 -- 0.00 SPOT GOLD $1,278.78 -0.31 % -$4.02 US CRUDE $47.23 -2.09 % -1.01 > GLOBAL MARKETS-ASIAN SHARES SKID AS CHINA DATA DISAPPOINTS > WALL ST CLOSES DOWN FOR JANUARY; SHAKE SHACK RALLIES IN DEBUT > TOKYO'S NIKKEI SHARE AVERAGE CLOSES DOWN 0.66 PCT > TREASURIES-PRICES JUMP ON U.S. GDP GROWTH WOBBLE > YEN FIRMS, AUSSIE SLIPS ON CHINA GROWTH WORRIES AND WALL ST DROP > PRECIOUS-GOLD HOLDS NEAR $1,280 AMID SHAKY GLOBAL OUTLOOK > METALS-SHANGHAI COPPER JUMPS 2 PERCENT ON CHINA STIMULUS HOPES > OIL PRICES FALL AFTER LAST WEEK'S SURGE, STRIKE ACTION COMPANY NEWS: RYANAIR Ryanair raised its profit forecast for the third time in as many months on Monday as costs fell and traffic grew, but it cautioned that profit growth will be modest next year as rivals' cheaper fuel push fares down. JULIUS BAER Swiss bank said on Monday it has launched a roughly 100 million Swiss franc ($108.03 million) cost savings programme in response to the recent appreciation of the Swiss currency. BP The oil major will unveil plans on Tuesday to slash billions of pounds off its capital spending programme in a bid to counter the impact of plunging oil prices and a fall in its fourth quarter profits, The Guardian reported. DIXONS CARPHONE The company has reached an agreement with Hutchison Whampoa's 3 to use the UK mobile operator's network to offer customised Internet plans for the smart appliances sold in its stores, the Financial Times reported. METRO Rouble weakness could cost Metro about 200 million euros in operating profit if the Russian currency keeps trading at about 80 per euro, Chief Executive Olaf Koch told WirtschaftsWoche. TELEFONICA Telefonica may soon carry out the up to 5 billion euros capital increase that had been flagged when it announced the acquisition of Brasil's GVT last year, El Confidencial said on Sunday. The company plans to reduce its optic fibre network layout plan by 35 percent this year after the anti-trust body said it was studying forcing it to share the grid with competitors, El Pais reported on Monday. LAFARGE, HOLCIM, CRH Irish building supplies group CRH has agreed to pay 6.5 billion euros for assets Lafarge and Holcim were obliged to sell ahead of their planned merger. Separately, the Swiss Attorney General's office has opened an investigation into possible insider trading in the securities of cement producer Holcim. SAINT-GOBAIN More minority shareholders of Swiss chemicals company Sika joined the management's fight to stay independent from Saint-Gobain on Friday as the dispute with the French building supplies firm looked set to drag into a third month. ALSTOM Alstom said it won a contract worth more than 2 billion euros ($2.26 billion) over 15 years to provide up to 217 trains for public transport in the Paris region. VINCI The French government's decision to postpone a motorway toll increase due on Feb. 1 and ongoing talks about the future of the concessions is "credit negative" for motorway operators, Moody's rating agency said. French Prime Minister Manuel Valls said this week the rise would be postponed to evaluate discussions between the state and the motorway operators, whose owners include Australia's Macquarie, France's Vinci and Eiffage , and Spain's Abertis. BANCA MONTE DEI PASCHI The Tuscan lender will likely receive a final green light on its capital strengthening plan only Feb. 18, daily Il Messaggero reported on Saturday, adding the EU Commission has aked for more time to review the bank's plan. The troubled bank will cash in around 57 million euros from the sale of a handful of real estate properties in Milan and Rome, daily Corriere della Sera reported on Sunday, adding the capital gain from the disposal will be around 7 million euros. ITALIAN COOPERATIVE BANKS Investment fund Algebris had been investing in Italian cooperative banks since March 2014, its CEO Davide Serra told Il Sole 24 Ore on Friday in response to speculations that he was one of the investors aggressively buying shares in mutual bank, which are at the centre of a government reform. Serra denied to have invested in 2015 and added Algebris had built a major position in one of the cooperative banks, without elaborating. TELECOM ITALIA The Italian phone company plans to list its phone masts division by June and it is expected to approve the project at a board meeting in March, Corriere della Sera said on Saturday. The company owning the phone masts will have a market value of more than 1 billion euros, according to the paper. ENEL Italy's biggest utility plans to buy back bonds for 3-4 billion euros, daily Il Sole 24 Ore reported on Saturday adding the company's goal was to lengthen debt's maturity. VOLKSWAGEN The German carmaker plans a sweeping restructuring of its production process to replace humans with robots to cut costs, Welt am Sonntag quoted the company's human resources chief Horst Neumann as saying. DEUTSCHE TELEKOM T-Mobile US has bid $1.8 billion in the U.S. sale of airwaves for mobile data, results of the Federal Communications Commission's largest ever auction showed. (Reporting by Blaise Robinson; Editing by Atul Prakash)
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