Europe Factors to Watch-Shares set to rise; Santander eyed
PARIS, Feb 3 (Reuters) - European stocks were set to inch higher on Tuesday, lifted by hopes for an agreement on the Greek debt standoff after the country's new government dropped calls for a write-off of its foreign debt and proposed swapping debt for growth-linked bonds. Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis, in London to reassure private investors that he was not seeking a showdown with Brussels over a new debt agreement, said the new left-wing government would spare privately held bonds from losses, a source told Reuters. Spain's Santander will be in focus after the euro zone's biggest bank reported a nearly 70 percent jump in fourth quarter, lifted by earnings from its lending business and as charges on soured loans fell. Portugal's biggest listed bank Millennium BCP posted a larger-than-expected fourth-quarter loss despite a 39 percent jump in net interest income, after a one-off tax hit and lower share prices. Energy shares will be eyed after oil major BP beat profit expectations for the fourth quarter of 2014 while taking a $3.6 billion impairment charge and cutting capital expenditures due to low oil prices. At 0730 GMT, futures for Euro STOXX 50, for Germany's DAX and for France's CAC were up 0.5-0.8 percent. French nuclear group Areva will also be in the spotlight after it warned that it expects to book a significant increase in provisions and writedowns of assets in its 2014 accounts. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ MARKET SNAPSHOT AT 0730 GMT: LAST PCT CHG NET CHG S&P 500 2,020.85 1.3 % 25.86 NIKKEI 17335.85 -1.27 % -222.19 MSCI ASIA EX-JP 475.39 0.09 % 0.41 EUR/USD 1.134 0 % 0.0000 USD/JPY 117.17 -0.35 % -0.4100 10-YR US TSY YLD 1.674 -- 0.00 10-YR BUND YLD 0.313 -- 0.00 SPOT GOLD $1,279.10 0.35 % $4.41 US CRUDE $50.22 1.31 % 0.65 > GLOBAL MARKETS-ASIA SAGS ON GROWTH WORRIES > WALL ST RALLIES LATE ON GREEK DEAL HOPES; ENERGY GAINS > TOKYO'S NIKKEI SHARE AVERAGE CLOSES DOWN 1.27 PCT > TREASURIES-U.S. BONDS TURN FLAT AS WALL STREET RALLIES > FOREX-AUSTRALIAN DOLLAR SKIDS TO 6-YEAR LOW AFTER RBA CUTS RATES > PRECIOUS-GOLD HOLDS UP ON STRONG FUND INTEREST, ECONOMIC GROWTH WOES > METALS-COPPER CLIMBS, BUT DEMAND CONCERNS SEEN SNUFFING OUT GAINS > OIL FIRM AFTER 2-DAY RALLY, BUT CHINA DEMAND OUTLOOK CAPS GAINS SANTANDER The euro zone's biggest bank on Tuesday posted a nearly 70 percent jump in fourth quarter profit from a year earlier, lifted by earnings from its lending business and as charges on soured loans fell. BP Oil major BP beat profit expectations for the fourth quarter of 2014 while taking a $3.6 billion impairment charge and cutting capital expenditures due to low oil prices. BG GROUP Britain's third-biggest energy company booked nearly $6 billion worth of impairment charges in 2014 on the back of the steep drop in oil prices, forcing it to slash its 2015 investment budget to $6-7 billion. STANDARD CHARTERED Standard Chartered is looking to sell its retail business in the Philippines, part of a wider bid by embattled CEO Peter Sands to cut costs and shrink the bank's asset base, a person with direct knowledge of the matter said. MILLENNIUM BCP Portugal's biggest listed bank posted a larger-than-expected fourth-quarter loss on Monday despite a 39 percent jump in net interest income, after a one-off tax hit and lower share prices. SWEDBANK The Swedish Bank reported fourth-quarter net earnings below market expectations on as bond trading weighed on group treasury income, but still raised dividends. CAR MAKERS Automobile sales in Brazil fell nearly 19 percent in January from a year earlier, dealership association Fenabrave said late on Monday, adding to concerns of unused capacity and more layoffs at the country's car factories. DEUTSCHE BOERSE Average daily derivatives trading volumes at the Eurex Group rose to 8.9 million contracts in January from 8.5 million in the year-earlier month. The total monthly volume at Eurex Exchange rose 15 percent year-on-year in January, Deutsche Boerse said. ALFA LAVAL The Swedish engingeering group posted fourth quarter core earnings above market expectations on Tuesday but said it expected demand to be somewhat lower in the first quarter. FIAT CHRYSLER AUTOMOBILES New car sales in Italy, Europe's fourth-largest car market, rose 10.9 percent in January from the same month a year ago to 131,385 vehicles, Italy's transport ministry said on Monday. ROYAL DUTCH SHELL < RDSa.L> Oil company Shell intends to start a 10-year process to dismantle and remove one of Britain's oldest and biggest oil platforms, Brent Delta, the company said on Tuesday. Seperately, Royal Dutch Shell negotiators met on Monday with the union representing workers at U.S. refineries as a strike stretches into a third day after talks on a new national contract broke down. INTERNATIONAL AIRLINES GROUP British Airways's owner committed to serving London to Ireland routes for five years on Monday in a bid to win backing from the Irish government for its takeover of partly state-owned airline Aer Lingus. JULIUS BAER Swiss private bank Julius Baer could afford another deal of around 60 billion Swiss francs ($65 billion) in assets it is taking on with its purchase of Merrill Lynch's overseas wealth arm, after it cuts franc spending, its chief executive said. TELEFONICA Spanish telecoms group Telefonica has no plans to carry out a large capital increase beyond a 3.4-billion-euro capital raising announced last year to finance the acquisition of GVT in Brazil, Chief Financial Officer Angel Vila told Reuters. AREVA The French nuclear group warned that it expects to book a significant increase in provisions and a significant writedown of assets in its 2014 accounts. ALCATEL-LUCENT In the final year of his turnaround plan, Alcatel-Lucent's boss is pushing the telecom network gear maker to diversify its customer base by selling Internet equipment to large technology companies and multinational corporations. PSA PEUGEOT CITROEN, SANTANDER Santander's consumer finance unit said it had finalised the deal to buy 50 percent of Banque PSA Finance, the car finance business of PSA Peugeot Citroen, after getting the green light from regulators to operate in France. TOTAL The oil major said it has delayed by several months its plans to drill Denmark's first test wells for shale gas. ALTICE The telecoms group said Carlyle has agreed to sell 4.4 million ordinary shares in Altice equivalent to approximately 1.8 percent of Altice's ordinary share capital to entities controlled by Patrick Drahi, Dexter Goei and Patrice Giami. GBL Albert Frere, a veteran dealmaker whose impeccable business timing made him Belgium's richest man, is stepping down as director of his holding firms GBL and Pargesa. SANOFI The French drugs group launched an inhalable insulin in the United States on Tuesday in a potential boost for its flagging diabetes product sales and for patient quality of life. ABERDEEN ASSET MANAGEMENT Aberdeen Asset Management's funds under management fell to 323.3 billion pounds ($485.7 billion) at the end of 2014 from 324.4 billion pounds three months earlier, the money manager said on Tuesday. CAPITA British outsourcing group Capita said it agreed to acquire avocis, a customer contract management company operating in Germany, Austria and Switzerland, for 210 million euros. OCADO British online grocer Ocado on Tuesday posted an annual pretax profit for the first time since it was founded in 2000. TALKTALK The British broadband supplier posted a 4.2 percent rise in third-quarter revenue, broadly in line with market expectations, after it recorded its strongest combined take-up of mobile, TV and fibre offers. (Reporting by Blaise Robinson; Editing by Alistair Smout)
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