European Factors to Watch-Shares seen lower, focus on Fed
(Adds company news) LONDON, April 28 (Reuters) - European shares headed for a weaker start on Tuesday following some caution before the Federal Reserve's two-day policy meeting, with weaker commodity prices seen putting pressure on mining and energy stocks. The U.S. Federal Open Market Committee will begin its meeting later in the day. Analysts expect recent soft U.S. economic data will nudge the Fed towards a dovish stance over its monetary policy. At 0630 GMT, futures for the Euro STOXX 50, Germany's DAX, France's CAC and Britain's FTSE fell 0.1 to 0.4 percent. Commodity stocks could see a selling pressure and prices of key industrial metals fell as much as 1 percent, while oil fell more than 1 percent ahead of weekly U.S. crude inventory data that is expected to hit another high. Investors will continue to keep a close eye on developments in Greece, which has been a key source of market volatility in the past weeks. Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras on Monday reshuffled his team handling talks with European and IMF lenders, a move widely seen as an effort to relegate embattled Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis to a less active role in negotiations. "There are some interesting developments in Greece ... Varoufakis was seen by some as being part of the problem and as a result news of him being sidelined has been well received," IG said in a morning note. Technology stocks will be in focus after Apple beat Wall Street's revenue and profit forecasts on Monday as it sold more iPhones in China than the United States for the first time. Its shares rose 1.6 percent in after-hours trading. On the earnings front, BP reported first-quarter profit of $2.58 billion, largely beating expectations, French oil major Total posted a smaller-than-expected 22 percent drop in first-quarter net profit and Philips said its comparable sales rose 2 percent to 5.3 billion euros in the first quarter. COMPANY NEWS COMMERZBANK Commerzbank on Monday launched a surprise capital increase, seeking to raise 1.4 billion euros ($1.5 billion) to improve its regulatory strength measures in response to investor concerns after the bank paid a heavy fine in March. A source familiar with the matter told Reuters that the books were covered late on Monday. BP BP reported first-quarter profit of $2.58 billion, largely beating expectations, as a hefty increase in refining revenue offset a slump in oil production earnings. TOTAL The French oil major reported a smaller-than-expected 22 percent drop in first-quarter net profit, helped by rising refining margins and sharp growth in oil and gas production that partly offset lower crude prices. DEUTSCHE BANK A radical plan for Deutsche Bank to become a pure investment bank and corporate lender was dropped after stress tests demanded by the European Central Bank concluded the model would not withstand a severe financial crisis, sources said. Separately, co-CEO Juergen Fitschen will stand trial on Tuesday in Munich over allegations that he and other former executives worked to precipitate the collapse of the media empire in order to generate bountiful advisory fees to restructure the group. AIXTRON The company reported a smaller than expected operating loss thanks to more of its customers, makers of light emitting diodes (LED), ordering its tools after holding back for months, while cost cuts started to pay off. PHILIPS Tthe lighting, consumer and healthcare products company said on Tuesday its comparable sales rose 2 percent to 5.3 billion euros ($5.76 billion) in the first quarter. DAIMLER German automaker Daimler said on Tuesday first-quarter operating profit surged 41 percent on effects of new model launches and record sales of Mercedes-Benz luxury cars. STATOIL The board of Norwegian energy firm Statoil will ask shareholders to authorize the buyback of 75 million shares, or about 2.4 percent of the firm's share capital, Statoil said in a general meeting notice on Tuesday. ASSA ABLOY The world's biggest lock maker posted a rise in first-quarter operating profit in line with expectations on Tuesday and said the economic trend in the United States was positive while Europe and many emerging markets were stagnating. ORANGE France's largest telecom operator posted slightly lower quarterly results that were largely in line with expectations as mobile subscriber growth and expense-cutting failed to offset higher network spending. GDF SUEZ The French gas and power group posted a 10 percent drop in first-quarter core earnings due to lower gas prices and the outage of two Belgian nuclear plants but left its 2015 forecasts unchanged. SANTANDER Santander reported net profit rose 32 percent in the first quarter from a year earlier to 1.717 bln euros, in line with forecasts. TNT EXPRESS Dutch logistics group TNT Express reported a first-quarter operating loss and lower comparable revenues and said the coming year would be difficult as it prepares to be taken over in 2016 by larger American rival FedEx. SWEDBANK The Swedish banking group reported first-quarter net earnings above market expectations but said its Swedish operations were feeling the impact of negative interest rates imposed by the Nordic country's central bank. CELESIO The German drugs distributor said on Monday it would put its businesses in Brazil up for sale to allow it to focus on Europe. DRILLISCH, UNITED INTERNET United Internet said it agreed to buy 9.1 percent of shares in Drillisch, which will raise its holding in the mobile telephone company to 20.7 percent. It said it had no plans to further increase its stake above 30 percent. SANOFI The French drugmaker said the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has agreed to speed up the review of its drug application for a new Fabry disease treatment. VILMORIN The French seed group cut its full-year sales and margin targets, blaming a financial crisis in Russia and Ukraine that has dented spending by farmers. KERING The luxury group said Pierre Bouissou was stepping down as Boucheron president and chief executive. Albert Bensoussan, CEO of Kering's luxury watches and jewellery division, will take over responsibility for the brand until a successor. GAMESA Gamesa said on Tuesday it has signed an agreement in India to build turn-key wind farms with capacity of 50 megawatts (MW) and 108 MW and supply turbines with a capacity of 36 MW to four other plants throughout the country. TELEFONICA Telefonica Brasil SA said on Monday its board had approved a share offering priced at 47 reais ($16.12) for preferred shares and 38.47 reais for commons shares, as the company raises funds to buy broadband provider GVT. REPSOL Repsol said on Monday it has reached a deal with Mexico's Kuo to expand a joint venture Dynasol with estimated revenues of $750 million. AREVA The next generation of nuclear reactors being developed in countries such as France, Russia, China and Japan may not be safer than those being built today, French nuclear safety watchdog IRSN said. SAIPEM Italian oil services group Saipem on Monday reported stronger than expected first-quarter operating profit thanks to healthier profit margins from new orders. BOLLORE A consortium led by France's Bollore failed to make the final shortlist of firms vying to manage a new container terminal in Cameroon's southern port of Kribi, according to a commission report seen by Reuters. AIRBUS Poland is planning to choose a supplier of 30 attack helicopters by the end of this year, Deputy Defence Minister Czeslaw Mroczek said. PSA PEUGEOT CITROEN The carmaker plans to sign a contract before the summer to extend its diesel engine partnership with Ford, French newspaper Les Echos reported, citing an internal source at Peugeot. TESCO Dunnhumby, the customer data business which has been put up for sale by British retailer Tesco, said it was free to work with new clients in the United States, in a move which could make it more attractive to potential buyers. CENTRICA Britain's largest energy supplier Centrica has made preparations in case it is approached with a takeover offer, the utility's chairman said at the company's annual shareholders' meeting in London. U.S. COMPANIES REPORTING : Q1 2015 Bristol-Myers Squibb Co Q1 2015 Boston Scientific Corp Q1 2015 Cummins Inc Q1 2015 Ford Motor Co Q1 2015 Kraft Foods Group Inc Q1 2015 McGraw Hill Financial Inc Q1 2015 Merck & Co Inc Q1 2015 Pfizer Inc Q1 2015 United Parcel Service, Inc. Q3 2015 Western Digital Corp Q1 2015 Whirlpool Corp MAJOR MACROECONOMIC DATA/EVENTS (GMT) : FR Consumer Confidence GB GDP Prelim US redbook US CaseShiller US COnsumer Confidence ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ MARKET SNAPSHOT AT 0508 GMT: LAST PCT CHG NET CHG S&P 500 2,108.92 -0.41 % -8.77 NIKKEI 20068.64 0.43 % 85.32 MSCI ASIA EX-JP 521.69 -0.41 % -2.14 EUR/USD 1.0871 -0.14 % -0.0015 USD/JPY 119.09 0.05 % 0.0600 10-YR US TSY YLD 1.924 -- 0.00 10-YR BUND YLD 0.164 -- 0.00 SPOT GOLD $1,199.85 -0.14 % -$1.70 US CRUDE $56.24 -1.32 % -0.75 > Asian shares edge off 7-year highs as Fed awaited > Wall St ends down as biotechs drop 4 pct; Apple up late > Nikkei rises on dividend optimism, Fanuc soars > U.S. bonds prices flat; weak bid at 2-year sale > Euro holds gains after rising on Greek hopes, dollar awaits data > Gold clings on near $1,200 ahead of Fed meeting > London copper edges up, underpinned by Chinese stimulus hopes > Oil falls more than 1 pct as U.S. crude stockpiles expected to hit high (Reporting by Atul Prakash)
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