(Adds futures prices, company news)
LONDON, Jan 13 (Reuters) - European shares headed for a stronger open on Wednesday, tracking gains on Wall Street and Asia, with better-than-expected Chinese trade data tempering some of the concerns about a slowdown in the world’s second largest economy.
China’s total trade fell in December but far less than expected. Exports from the world’s largest trading nation fell 1.4 percent from a year earlier, much less than a poll forecast for an 8 percent drop and moderating from November’s 6.8 percent decline.
Futures for the Euro STOXX 50, Germany’s DAX , France’s CAC and Britain’s FTSE were up 0.7 to 0.9 percent by 0746 GMT.
The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index rose 1.1 percent in the previous session, while U.S. stocks ended 0.7 to 1.0 percent firmer. On Wednesday, MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan rose 1.4 percent, while Japan’s Nikkei surged 2.9 percent.
Britain’s second-biggest supermarket reported a better-than-expected performance in its Christmas quarter and upgraded its sales forecast for the second half.
France’s Arcep telecoms regulator called on operators to make specific plans for ending their network-sharing agreements which allowed them to delay investments in building their own networks.
Orange said it would acquire Bharti Airtel’s subsidiaries in Burkina Faso and Sierra Leone.
Dutch insurance group Aegon had a solvency ratio of 160 percent at the end of 2015 under Europe’s new Solvency II regime, the company said on Wednesday.
The chief executive of rare disease drugmaker Shire on Tuesday suggested that the company could achieve much higher cost savings from its planned $32 billion acquisition of Baxalta BXLT.N than what was announced with the deal on Monday.
The company said it had enough cash to weather low oil prices this year as it entered 2016 with $1.9 billion in cashflow and loans from banks, and expected its TEN oil field in Ghana to start up this summer as planned.
Talks due with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency after California rejected Volkswagen’s plan to fix 2.0 litre diesel cars with software that allows them to emit up to 40 times legally allowable pollution.
The French food services and facilities management group kept its full-year goals as it posted organic revenue growth of 4.7 percent for the first quarter of 2015/16, lifted by the Rugby World Cup in England.
British recruitment firm Hays posted an underlying 7 percent rise in quarterly net fees, as strong demand in Continental Europe offset a slowdown in the United Kingdom.
Italy’s Saipem and France’s Technip are among the companies vying for a $4 billion contract to expand the Nord Stream gas pipeline, Russian business daily Kommersant reported on Wednesday citing sources.
The German auto parts and tyre maker expects free cash flow of at least 1.8 billion euros before acquisitions in 2016, according to presentation slides posted on the group’s website.
Germany’s banks can and must do more to counter the effects of rock bottom interest rates on earnings, the head of the country’s financial watchdog, Bafin, said on Tuesday.
Airbus signalled a change in priorities over tweaks to its biggest jets as its sales chief hinted at a possible decision this year to challenge Boeing in the 400-seat market while pushing talk of a revamped A380 to the middle of next decade.
Europe’s largest sugar refiner repeated it expects a sharp rise in full-year earnings as it continued to benefit from recent firm bioethanol markets but warned bioethanol prices could be volatile in coming months.
Spanish telecoms group Telefonica said on Tuesday its pay TV division had reached a 2.4 billion-euro ($2.60 billion) deal with rival Mediapro that will allow it to offer clients more La Liga and Champions League soccer matches for several seasons.
The French utility is considering a possible sale of part or all of its hydrocarbon exploration and production operations, according to daily energy trade publication Enerpresse.
Investors could easily soak up a US$60bn bond from AB InBev if the beer giant wants to sell that much debt this week to help fund its acquisition of rival brewer SABMiller.
AB InBev will start selling bonds on Wednesday, Bloomberg reported.
Philippine conglomerate San Miguel Corp is interested in acquiring SABMiller’s Grolsch and Peroni beer brands, its President Ramon Ang told Reuters.
The French seismic survey group said it launched a capital increase via an offering of preferential subscription rights to existing shareholders for a gross amount of approximately 350 million euros.
The Swiss maker of sanitary equipment, expects operating margins to be below those of a year ago, it said in a statement on Wednesday, as the company’s profitability was hurt by an acquisition as well as negative currency effects. Over the year, Geberit reduced forecasts for its Sanitec business, the Nordic ceramics maker it bought in 2014. (Reporting by Atul Prakash; Editing by Sudip Kar-Gupta)