Europe Factors to Watch-Shares seen steady ahead of Easter break
PARIS, April 2 (Reuters) - European stocks were set for a flat to higher open on Thursday as indexes remain in a tight range ahead of the Easter break, with Greece still at the forefront of investors' minds after the country sent an updated list of reforms to lenders. Greece sent a new list of reforms to creditors on Wednesday to try to unlock financial aid and avoid a default but euro zone officials said more work was needed before new funds could be released. Shares in Marks & Spencer will be in focus after the British retailer posted its best non-food sales performance for nearly four years as it started to put its online distribution problems behind it. At 0617 GMT, futures for Euro STOXX 50, for Germany's DAX and for France's CAC were flat to up 0.07 percent. European markets will be closed Friday through Monday and reopening on Tuesday. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ MARKET SNAPSHOT AT 0617 GMT: LAST PCT CHG NET CHG S&P 500 2,059.69 -0.4 % -8.2 NIKKEI 19312.79 1.46 % 277.95 MSCI ASIA EX-JP 488.94 0.58 % 2.82 EUR/USD 1.0786 0.22 % 0.0024 USD/JPY 119.60 -0.13 % -0.1500 10-YR US TSY YLD 1.868 -- 0.00 10-YR BUND YLD 0.174 -- 0.00 SPOT GOLD $1,203.50 -0.04 % -$0.50 US CRUDE $49.63 -0.92 % -0.46 > GLOBAL MARKETS-Asian shares rise, US jobs data in focus > US STOCKS-Wall St declines after data; automakers fall > Tokyo's Nikkei share average rises 2.02 pct > TREASURIES-Prices pick up on surprisingly soft jobs report > Disappointing U.S. hiring data, factory survey weigh dollar down > PRECIOUS-Gold holds gains as market braces for weak US jobs data > METALS-London copper drifts ahead of Easter break > Oil retreats from large jump as focus returns to Iran talks COMPANY NEWS: MARKS & SPENCER British retailer Marks & Spencer on Thursday posted its best non-food sales performance for nearly four years as it started to put its online distribution problems behind it. DEUTSCHE POST A strike at German mail carrier will extend into a second day on Thursday in protest against management plans to expand the group's parcel delivery business by using employees on lower pay deals, a trade union said. FORTUM The Finnish utility said it has picked Pekka Lundmark from crane maker Konecranes as its next chief executive starting from September. SAIPEM Italian oil service group Saipem said on Wednesday it had signed a joint venture with Nigeria-based Dangote Group to develop business in central and west Africa, confirming what a source had told Reuters. UBI BANCA, UNICREDIT, INTESA SANPAOLO IMI, MONTE PASCHI Fitch Ratings has cut its long-term issuer default rating (IDR) on Italy's UBI Banca to reflect deteriorated asset quality but has affirmed ratings on Intesa Sanpaolo, UniCredit and Monte dei Paschi di Siena. AUTOS Carmakers reported March sales in the United States. Deliveries at Volkswagen were down 18 percent and at its premium brand Audi up 20 percent. Sales at BMW rose 6.9 percent and at Mercedes 9.3 percent. UBS Two members of UBS Wealth Management Americas' executive committee have stepped down, while Robert McCann, the Swiss bank's most senior executive in the United States, is among six officials whose titles have changed from chief executive to president. SIKA, SAINT-GOBAIN The company said the local takeover board had ruled that Saint-Gobain's SGOB.PA offer for a controlling stake in the Swiss chemicals group did not trigger an obligation to present a mandatory bid for the whole company. VIVENDI A shareholder advisory firm has given a mixed response to activist investor pressure on Vivendi to increase shareholder payouts, declining to support one resolution but criticising the French media company's transparency record. AVANQUEST SOFTWARE The company reported a first-half net loss, group share, of 5.4 million euros versus a loss of 1.5 million a year ago. Revenue was 60.6 million euros versus 54.3 million a year ago. LAFARGE Holcim's second-biggest shareholder is still seeking better terms in the Swiss firm's proposed merger with Lafarge, despite the cement maker's chairman saying the company was open to giving it a seat on the combination's board. (Reporting by Blaise Robinson)
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