European Factors to Watch-Major share indexes head for best quarter in years

martes 31 de marzo de 2015 02:51 GYT

(Adds company news, updates futures prices)
    LONDON, March 31 (Reuters) - European equities headed for a slightly lower
open on Tuesday on concerns over Greece's debt situation, although some major
stock indexes were set to record their best quarter in several years.
    The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 and France's CAC indexes,
up 16 percent and 19 percent respectively since the start of the year, were on
track for their best quarterly performance since the third quarter of 2009,
boosted by the European Central Bank's bond buying programme and improving
economic outlook in the region.
    Germany's benchmark DAX index has risen 23 percent this year, its
best quarter since the April-June period of 2003. But Greece's ATG share index
 has fallen 6.5 percent during the current quarter on concerns about the
country's ability to secure more funding from its international lenders.
    Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras appealed for an "honest compromise" with
lenders but warned on Monday Greece would not agree to an "unconditional" one,
after its biggest creditor demanded it do more to show commitment to reform.
With its cash coffers emptying rapidly, Athens is running out of time.
    "The brinkmanship continues as both sides continue to stare at each other
over the political void. Despite Greece hurtling towards bankruptcy, an
agreement continues to evade," Jonathan Sudaria, a dealer at Capital Spreads,
said in a note.
    European stock index future pointed to a slightly weaker start on Tuesday,
with futures for the Euro STOXX 50, Germany's DAX and France's
CAC down 0.3 to 0.4 percent by 0650 GMT.
    The FTSEurofirst 300 index rose 1.2 percent on Monday to 1,596.31 points,
back near a 7-1/2 year high of 1,613.80 points reached earlier in March.
Germany's DAX also rose 1.8 percent to 12,086.01 points, near a record high of
12,219.05 points hit in mid-March.
    On the macroeconomic front, German retail sales fell in February on a
monthly basis for the first time since September, but a strong annual gain
buoyed expectations private consumption will propel growth this year.
    The company said it has agreed to sell an 80.1 percent stake in its lighting
components division for $2.8 billion to Go Scale Capital, a new investment fund
that focuses on "disruptive" technologies. 
    France's Faurecia on Tuesday said it had agreed to form a joint-venture with
Dongfeng Motor Corporation with the objective of generating annual sales of
around 2 billion euros ($2.2 billion) in the medium term. 
    Rio Tinto and Mongolia have made a breakthrough in a tax dispute that has
been among issues stalling development of the $6.5 billion Oyu Tolgoi copper
mine, according to an official familiar with the government's position.
    French car maker PSA Peugeot Citroen will only be ready for a possible
merger after it has completed its recovery plan, CEO Carlos Tavares told Italian
daily Corriere della Sera. 
    Europe's biggest home improvement retailer said on Tuesday it planned to
close about 60 underperforming B&Q stores in Britain as the wider group posted a
7.5 percent fall in annual profit. 
    Allianz has pencilled in $300 million as an initial estimate of the
insurance industry loss from the Germanwings plane crash last week, industry
sources said on Monday. 
    The Spanish infrastructure operator said on Monday it had increased a credit
line obtained in April 2014 to 1.25 billion euros, increasing its maturity to
2020 and reducing financing costs. 

    The German pilot suspected of deliberately crashing a plane in the French
Alps last week was treated for suicidal tendencies years ago before he received
his pilot's license, German prosecutors said on Monday. 
    Separately, Lufthansa CEO Carsten Spohr must make the airline fit for the
future while dealing with the aftermath of the crash. 
    Swiss luxury goods firm Richemont said it would merge its
Net-a-Porter unit with Italian online fashion retailer Yoox, an
all-share deal meant aimed at growing in the fast-growing online luxury
    Swiss private bank BSI SA avoided prosecution for suspected tax-related
offenses by paying a $211 million penalty, making it the first bank to reach a
deal in the U.S. Department of Justice's "Swiss Bank Program," the department
said on Monday. 
    Trading resumes in the French DIY chain's shares after it acknowledged the
collapse of its acquisition by British rival Kingfisher. 
    Britain's biggest retailer has started the process to sell-off land from
abandoned supermarket development projects, seeking to raise cash to help to
finance its recovery plan under its new boss. 
    The Guardian reported late on Monday that Tesco is radically restructuring
the way it works with suppliers, cutting the number of ways in which it charges
them from 24 to just three. 
    Canada's Fairfax Financial Holdings on Monday moved to sell half of
its 5.8 percent stake in Bank of Ireland, cashing in on shares that have more
than tripled in value since their purchase at the height of the euro zone
    Teck Resources Ltd and Antofagasta denied on Monday that they were
in talks about a merger after Bloomberg news reported that the two mining
companies were in early stage talks. 
    Royal Dutch Shell will resume drilling off Alaska after suspending
operations for two years in the wake of an accident, the special U.S. envoy to
the Arctic said on Monday, but gave no details as to when. 
    Royal Dutch Shell has shelved plans to increase capacity by 20 percent at
its 70,000-barrel-per-day refinery in Sarnia, Ontario, according to a person
familiar with the plant's operations. 
    Gas deliveries to Britain's Barrow terminal remained shut on Tuesday morning
after dropping to zero on Monday evening due to an unexpected outage, data from
the National Grid showed. The terminal's operator Centrica said it had been
investigating the reasons for the outage and its duration was unknown.
    GlaxoSmithKline has agreed to settle a lawsuit by Johnson & Johnson 
accusing it of using false advertising at the start of the U.S. allergy season
to grab market share. 
    Starbucks Corp and Danone SA on Tuesday will begin selling a smoothie line
at more than 4,300 U.S. Starbucks shops as part of a Greek yogurt partnership
that will also include yogurt parfaits and ready-to-eat yogurt to be sold by
    0745 FR Consumer Spending 
    0855 DE Unemployment
    0930 GB GDP
    1000 EZ Inflation, Unemployment
    1355 US Redbook
    1400 US CaseShiller
    1445 US Chicago PMI
    1500 US Consumer Confidence 
                                             LAST  PCT CHG    NET CHG
 S&P 500                                 2,086.24   1.22 %      25.22
 NIKKEI                                  19334.99  -0.39 %     -76.41
 MSCI ASIA EX-JP                           485.79   0.53 %       2.55
 EUR/USD                                   1.0787  -0.42 %    -0.0045
 USD/JPY                                   120.18    0.1 %     0.1200
 10-YR US TSY YLD                           1.949       --      -0.01
 10-YR BUND YLD                             0.209       --       0.00
 SPOT GOLD                              $1,182.03  -0.31 %     -$3.67
 US CRUDE                                  $48.10  -1.19 %      -0.58
  > Asia up on Wall St rally and China hopes, euro sags on Greece 
  > Wall St rebounds from recent losses; deals help 
  > Nikkei rises on Wall Street gains; heads for 3 straight monthly gain 
  > Prices mostly steady as Wall Street rallies 
  > Yen, Aussie hit hard as dollar gains traction 
  > Gold set for 2nd monthly loss as U.S. rate hike eyed 
  > LME nickel extends savage selloff on weak demand, record stocks 
  > Oil extends losses as deadline for Iran nuclear deal looms 

 (Reporting by Atul Prakash; Editing by Francesco Canepa)