Europe Factors to Watch-Shares set to further rally as euro falls

lunes 16 de marzo de 2015 03:45 GYT

PARIS, March 16 (Reuters) - European stocks were set to rise on Monday,
shrugging off losses on Wall Street on Friday and extending their recent sharp
rally, as investors bet that a renewed drop in the euro would boost the region's
economy and lift exporter earnings.
    At 0744 GMT, futures for Euro STOXX 50, for Germany's DAX 
and for France's CAC were up 0.3-0.5 percent.
    The euro fell as low as $1.0457 early in Asia, its lowest since
January 2003, after a brief bounce above $1.0600 overnight. It last traded at
$1.0524. The single currency sank last week against the dollar as the European
Central Bank began asset purchases that will eventually help pump a trillion
euros into the economy. 
    The relentless slide in the euro over the past year has given a significant
lift to European corporate results after years of stagnating profits. The drop
in the single currency is seen translating into a 10 to 13 percent lift in
earnings in 2015. 
    Shares in cement makers Lafarge and Holcim will be in
focus after Lafarge said it was willing to consider revising the share-exchange
ratio in the two groups' merger deal. 
    Energy shares will also be in the spotlight as oil prices tumbled, with U.S.
crude dropping more than 2 percent at one point to a six-year low amid
oversupply fears. The International Energy Agency said on Friday that the global
supply glut is growing and U.S. production shows no sign of slowing.
    Investors' main focus this week will be the U.S. Federal Reserve's two-day
meeting beginning on Tuesday. After successive months of strong jobs data,
expectations have been growing that the Fed will point towards a June rate rise
by dropping a pledge to be "patient" in considering such a move. 
                                         LAST   PCT CHG  NET CHG
 S&P 500                             2,053.40   -0.61 %   -12.55
 NIKKEI                              19246.06   -0.04 %    -8.19
 MSCI ASIA EX-JP                       472.66     0.1 %     0.47
 EUR/USD                               1.0529    0.34 %   0.0036
 USD/JPY                               121.24   -0.12 %  -0.1400
 10-YR US TSY YLD                       2.093        --    -0.02
 10-YR BUND YLD                         0.266        --     0.01
 SPOT GOLD                          $1,162.00    0.28 %    $3.27
 US CRUDE                              $44.47   -0.83 %    -0.37
  > GLOBAL MARKETS-Asian shares edge up ahead of Fed meeting 
  > Wall St resumes fall as dollar hits 12-year high 
  > Tokyo's Nikkei share average closes down 0.04 pct 
  > Prices ease ahead of Fed talks after strong gains 
  > FOREX-Euro drifts down to new lows, dollar firms 
  > Gold near lowest in over three months ahead of Fed meeting 
  > METALS-Copper steadies; U.S. dollar, rate hike prospects cap gains  
  > Oil prices drop as spare storage capacity runs low 
    French cement maker Lafarge said on Monday it was willing to consider
revising the share-exchange ratio in its merger agreement with Swiss peer
Holcim, but not other aspects of the deal. 
    The Swedish budget fashion retailer said on Monday its sales rose 15 percent
in February, above a forecast of 13 percent in a Reuters poll of analysts.
    The firm is pulling back from its shale projects in South Africa due to
lower energy prices although it is still seeking an exploration license for the
onshore Karoo Basin, its country manager said on Monday. 
    The firm said it presented long-term outcome data for Selexipag, or Uptravi,
in pulmonary arterial hypertension at the American College of Cardiology showing
the drug significantly reduced the risk of a morbidity/mortality event by 40
percent versus a placebo and that it improved long-term outcomes in an
investigational trial of patients already treated with a combination therapy.
    Dutch supplements maker said on Monday it will sell a 65 percent stake in
two of its chemicals subsidiaries to CVC Capital Partners for at least
300 million euros ($316 million) in cash. 
    German industrial gases specialist Linde LING.DE aims to increase adjusted
core earnings by up to 9.7 percent this year, buoyed by a solid project backlog
for gas it produces at its industrial customers' sites. 
    The group has signed an agreement to invest $12 billion in Egypt that will
produce 3 billion barrels of oil equivalent, a joint statement from the company
and the government said on Saturday. 
    Also, the U.S. government is appealing a federal court ruling that reduced
the potential penalty BP Plc must pay for the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill by
almost $4 billion. 
    Credit Suisse Group AG has no plans to raise more capital, its chairman said
in an interview published in the SonntagsZeitung newspaper on Sunday. 
    Swiss steel group Schmolz+Bickenbach is nearing the sale of some
distribution activities as it aims to focus on stainless steels production, a
source familiar with the deal said. 
    Sika, in a takeover fight between its controlling family and Saint-Gobain,
said all current board members will stand for reelection at a shareholder
meeting on April 14, which will address proposals including one aimed at limited
the family's voting power and another led by institutional shareholders calling
for a special audit. 
    Alessandro Profumo wants to step down as chairman of Monte dei Paschi di
Siena BMPS.MI once the troubled Italian bank has completed its 3 billion-euro
($3 billion) share sale, according to Italian daily Il Sole 24 Ore.
    Asked to comment on the report, Profumo told Reuters the issue would be
discussed later this week, once the Monte dei Paschi foundation, a key
shareholder, has approved a list of nominees for the renewal of the bank's
    The Italian oil major signed heads of agreement with the Egypt worth $5
billion over 4-5 years, the oil minister and the company said on Saturday at a
weekend investment summit in the Red Sea resort of Sharm El-Sheikh. 
    The Italian phone company said on Friday its tower unit Infrastrutture
Wireless Italiane (Inwit) had filed with the Italian market regulator to list
its shares on the Milan bourse. 
Chairman Cesare Castelbarco Albani said on Saturday the Genoa-based bank
expected to receive this week an answer from the European Central Bank on
whether its plan to fill a capital shortfall through a cash call and asset sales
is adequate. The board will decide on the size of the share sale, currently
slated at 700 million euros, once it receives the ECB's letter, he reiterated.
    KKR has bought the credits the two banks had towards Verona-based
firms Ferroli and Riello, ahead of the creation of a vehicle to manage some of
their restructured loans as part of a joint project with the U.S. fund, Il
Messaggero reported on Sunday without citing sources. 
    The bank's main shareholders are close to agreeing on a joint list of board
nominees that would see shareholders reappoint CEO Federico Ghizzoni and
Chairman Giuseppe Vita at a May 13 meeting, Corriere della Sera said on Saturday
without quoting sources. The paper quoted Luca di Montezemolo, a representative
of UniCredit top shareholder Aabar, as saying there were no tensions among
shareholders and they would present a single list of board candidates. 
    The broadcaster is aiming to negotiate lower prices for the free TV rights
of the Formula One motor races to 30-35 million euros per season from a current
50 million, Wirtschaftswoche reported. 
    The commercial real estate group has agreed to buy Plenilunio, a 70,000
square metre shopping centre in Madrid. It said the price was based on a gross
asset value of 375 million euros. 
    U.S. media group Scripps Networks Interactive, owner of the Travel
Channel, agreed to buy a majority stake in Polish broadcaster TVN for
584 million euros. Scripps will buy the 52.7 percent stake in TVN currently held
by Polish financial holding ITI and French media firm Vivendi.
    The French financial prosecutor's office has requested that HSBC's Swiss
private bank be put on trial in France to answer charges over a suspected
tax-dodging scheme for wealthy customers, a judicial source said on Friday. 
    Total SA shut the 74,000-barrel-per-day crude distillation unit at its
225,500-bpd Port Arthur, Texas, refinery on Thursday night for about 10 days of
repairs, sources familiar with plant operations said on Friday.  
    Airbus Helicopters is slated to sign on Monday a contract worth around $3
billion for the development and production of military and civil helicopters in
South Korea, sources close to the matter said on Friday.  
    Studies of a new class of experimental cholesterol-lowering drugs known as
PCSK9 inhibitors signal that they can reduce by half the risk of heart attack
and other major cardiovascular problems compared to standard treatment

 (Reporting by Blaise Robinson)