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LONDON, Jan 12 (Reuters) - European stock index futures pointed to a weaker start for equities on Tuesday, with further volatility in Chinese markets and lingering concerns about the pace of economic growth in the world's second largest economy hitting sentiment.
China set another firm fix for its currency on Tuesday and stepped up a verbal campaign, backed by what dealers said was aggressive buying, to convince sceptical investors that they were in control of events.
China's equity markets, which tumbled 10 percent last week and a further 5 percent on Monday, remained volatile, going from black to red and back again. The Shanghai Composite Index was up 0.2 percent, while the CSI300 index rose 0.7 percent.
Focus will be on commodity stocks after copper prices fell to their weakest since 2009, while crude oil slipped further to record a 20 percent falls since the beginning of the eyar.
Futures for the Euro STOXX 50, Germany's DAX, France's CAC and Britain's FTSE were down 0.1 to 0.3 percent by 0742 GMT.
The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index ended 0.4 percent lower at 1,335.11 points on Monday after slumping 7 percent last week.
Investors will keep a close eye on some earnings reports and company updates for the market's near-term direction.
SAP, Europe's largest software company, reported record annual operating profits, driven both by year-end software license renewals and customers' converting to newer cloud-based software.
In the United States, metals company Alcoa unofficially started the earnings season late on Monday and reported a quarterly net loss after charges related to shuttering parts of its traditional smelting business.
SAP, Europe's largest software company, on Tuesday reported record annual operating profits, driven both by year-end software license renewals and customers' converting to newer cloud-based software.
Britain's No. 4 supermarket group beat expectations for Christmas trading, reporting a first period of positive underlying sales since 2012.
German retailer Metro reported a 0.1 percent rise in like-for-like sales in its fiscal first quarter that includes the important Christmas period, with performance particularly strong at its core businesses in Germany.
French carmaker PSA Peugeot Citroen said it had eked out a 1.2 percent gain in global vehicle deliveries last year as a China slowdown and emerging-markets slump almost cancelled out the benefit of a European auto recovery.
Japan's Asahi Group Holdings is considering acquiring Grolsch and Peroni, two beer brands owned by SABMiller, to secure growth beyond a saturated and ageing home market, a source familiar with the matter said on Tuesday.
Italian market watchdog Consob will ban short-selling of shares in Italy's third-largest bank Monte dei Paschi di Siena for the entire trading session on Jan. 12.
Britain's No.2 department store chain posted higher than expected sales in the last 19 weeks, driven by strong Christmas trading and growing online shopping.
Commerzbank is planning to restructure its department that works with 5,000 international correspondent and central banks and may scale back the division, meaning a loss of earnings for the bank, Handelsblatt reported, citing financial circles.
Brazil's federal tax authority and prosecutors are investigating 13 foreign and local banks including Deutsche Bank for possible financial crimes intermediating loans to Brazilian engineering group Schahin, newspaper O Estado de S. Paulo reported on Monday.
British staff recruitment firm Michael Page reported a 9.2 percent rise in underlying profit, as strong demand in continental Europe and the United States offset a slowdown in Asia and the UK.
The U.S. government and a group of leading global automakers are set to announce a ground-breaking voluntary agreement at the Detroit auto show on Friday aimed at dramatically improving the industry's safety, according to company officials.
Separately, Brazilian Finance Minister Nelson Barbosa told the president of the national automakers' association Anfavea on Monday that the country's fiscal situation leaves no room for subsidies for the auto sector.
Volkswagen does not expect additional costs from fixing U.S. cars capable of cheating diesel emissions tests, Chief Executive Matthias Mueller told Reuters TV. He also told CNBC that VW may end up buying back some cars affected by the emissions scandal.
Separately, a federal judge in California overseeing more than 500 lawsuits filed against Volkswagen on Monday named a former FBI director to help settle the cases.
Daimler Chief Executive Dieter Zetsche said late on Monday that recent market turbulence in China, the world's largest car market, had not affected demand for Mercedes-Benz luxury cars.
Grupo BTG Pactual SA is in talks to sell its majority stake in Brazilian insurer Pan Seguros, with Axa, MetLife and Generali among firms bidding, sources familiar with the matter said.
Evonik has turned its attention to the U.S. in its search for a target after struggling to make a larger acquisition in Europe, Bloomberg reported late on Monday, citing people familiar with the matter.
The Swiss drugmaker has paused enrollment in a proof-of-concept study for a therapy aimed at treating hearing loss after a review of safety data. Novartis said in a statement late on Monday that it could not comment on the specific safety concerns. Shares in Novartis' partner, regenerative drug developer GenVec , fell more than 50 percent. For more click
The biggest food company is investing in U.S.-based Seres Therapeutics for a third time in a year, this time injecting $120 million to develop and commercialise medicines aimed at restoring a healthy bacteriological balance in the human digestive system.
Spain's Telefonica has started to spin-off its domestic infrastructure unit and will seek to list or make a trade sale in a so-called 'dual track' offer process by mid-2016, a source familiar with the matter said on Monday.
UniCredit said on Monday it will book a 200 million euro charge after clinching a deal to sell its Ukraine business to ABH Holdings in exchange for a minority stake in the Luxembourg-based investment group.
Fiat Chrysler's Jeep Chief Executive Mike Manley on Monday said the SUV brand will announce next month its first sales in India, where volumes will be low for the first few years.
Shareholders of the two companies approved merger plans on Monday which will see Enel buying the 31 percent of shares in its renewable energy unit it does not own. The details had already been revealed late last year.
Reporting by Atul Prakash