Europe Factors to Watch-Shares set to pause; Pirelli eyed
PARIS, March 23 (Reuters) - European stocks were set to pause on Monday following recent sharp gains, with the auto sector in focus after China National Chemical Corp agreed to buy Pirelli in a 7.1 billion euro deal. The acquisition, agreed with Pirelli shareholders on Sunday, will see state-owned ChemChina take over the world's fifth-largest tyre maker and one of the symbols of Italy's manufacturing industry. At 0705 GMT, futures for Euro STOXX 50, for Germany's DAX and for France's CAC were flat to down 0.3 percent. Investors will keep a close eye on the euro, trading at $1.0790 against the dollar on Monday, above a 12-year trough of $1.0457 hit last week. European stocks have been strongly rallying since the start of the year, with Germany's DAX up 23 percent - on track to record its best quarter in 12 years - as global investors bet that a weaker euro would boost the region's economy and corporate earnings. Bank of America-Merrill Lynch said European equity funds had seen $5.4 billion in investment inflows in the past week. That brought total inflows for the last 10 weeks to $42 billion, fuelled by expectations that the European Central Bank's asset-buying scheme would revive growth. The euro has fallen by about 25 percent against the dollar over the past year. This should give euro zone companies a major lift as roughly 50 percent of euro zone earnings come from outside the region. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ MARKET SNAPSHOT AT 0707 GMT: LAST PCT CHG NET CHG S&P 500 2,108.10 0.9 % 18.83 NIKKEI 19754.36 0.99 % 194.14 MSCI ASIA EX-JP 487.02 0.39 % 1.89 EUR/USD 1.0788 -0.3 % -0.0032 USD/JPY 119.94 -0.07 % -0.0900 10-YR US TSY YLD 1.929 -- 0.00 10-YR BUND YLD 0.182 -- 0.00 SPOT GOLD $1,183.10 0.08 % $0.92 US CRUDE $45.77 -1.72 % -0.80 > GLOBAL MARKETS-Asian shares fuelled by US shares rise on dollar > Wall St rises on Nike, lower dollar; Nasdaq hits 15-yr high > Tokyo's Nikkei share average closes up 0.99 pct > TREASURIES-Yields dip on dovish central bank outlook, overseas demand > FOREX-Dollar starts week on the defensive as post-Fed caution lingers > PRECIOUS-Gold near 2-week high, retains gains on weaker dollar > METALS-Copper rallies on slower US rate hike hopes; chart-based buys > Oil prices drop after Saudi Arabia says it will not cut output alone COMPANY NEWS: PIRELLI ChemChina agreed on Sunday to buy tyre maker Pirelli in a 7.1 billion euro deal that will place one of the symbols of Italy's manufacturing industry in Chinese hands. Il Messaggero said on Saturday Morgan Stanley was working on a possible counterbid for Pirelli. Contacted by Reuters, the bank declined to comment. BOSKALIS, FUGRO Boskalis says it has increased its stake in rival Fugro to 25.1 percent. SANTANDER Spain's Santander said it had presented a non-binding offer for Portugal's Novo Banco, the successor to rescued Banco Espirito Santo (BES), in the second phase of a sale process that has attracted 14 other potential bidders. TALANX The German insurer raised its dividend slightly to 1.25 euros per share from 1.20 euros after posting better-than-expected net profit of 239 million euros ($259 million) in the last quarter of 2014. LAFARGE Lafarge boss Bruno Lafont had to be removed as chief executive-elect of a merged Lafarge-Holcim cement group because of the "value drift" that occurred after the tie-up was announced last April, Holcim's chief executive said in a Sunday newspaper interview. AIRBUS Talks between the plane maker and the French government over the financing for a new helicopter have hit an impasse, raising questions about where thousands of assembly and supplier jobs will be located, two people familiar with the matter said. DEUTSCHE BANK Deutsche Bank's retail operations will bear the brunt of its planned restructuring and will most likely be spun off in a stock market listing, two sources familiar with internal discussions at Germany's biggest bank say. MONTE DEI PASCHI The chairman of troubled Monte dei Paschi di Siena, Alessandro Profumo, said he will step down after Italy's third-biggest bank completes a 3 billion euro rights issue in the next few months. ADIDAS The bonus paid to top executives at the sportswear maker in 2015 will depend on a rise in sales in the key U.S. market, as well as higher market share in football shoes in western Europe, according to proposals for the annual general meeting. The board also wants to see an increase in sales at the struggling golf business and of Boost running shoes in 2015. BAYER Cutting debt is the priority for the drugmaker after its $14 billion acquisition of Merck & Co.'s MRK.N consumer health business, finance chief Johannes Dietsch tells daily Boersen Zeitung. TECHNIP FMC Technologies Inc and Technip said they would form an alliance in the subsea oil and gas technology industry. Forys Subsea will be based in London and employ 320 people. VIVENDI, TELEFONICA, TELECOM ITALIA Telefonica has formally waived the voting rights associated with its stake in Telecom Italia in order to comply with the demands of Brazil's telecoms watchdog Anatel and go ahead with a purchase of Vivendi's GVT, the Spanish group said on Friday. SANOFI, NOVARTIS The French drug maker, along with rivals Bristol-Myers Squibb, and Novartis , each have the three top new drugs set to reach the market in 2015, among 11 products each with $1 billion-plus sales potential, according to a Thomson Reuters analysis. (Reporting by Blaise Robinson)
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