European Factors to Watch-Shares seen opening higher, focus on earnings
(Updates futures prices, adds company news)
LONDON Jan 19 (Reuters) - European stock index futures pointed to a sharply higher open for regional equities on Tuesday, tracking strong gains in Asia following the release of Chinese growth data.
Growth in fourth-quarter gross domestic product eased, as expected, to 6.8 percent from a year earlier, down from 6.9 percent in the third quarter and the weakest pace of expansion since the first quarter of 2009. Full-year growth of 6.9 percent was China's poorest in quarter of a century.
"The markets may have been relieved that the numbers were not as bad as they could have been, given the challenges facing the economy during this period of transition and slowing global growth ... there is still plenty of scope for fiscal and monetary stimulus," OANDA analyst Craig Erlam said.
Futures for the Euro STOXX 50, Germany's DAX , France's CAC and Britain's FTSE 100 were up 1.5 to 1.9 percent by 0750 GMT.
MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan rose 1.4 percent, rebounding from a four-year low touched earlier. Volatile Shanghai shares surged 3.3 percent, while Japan's Nikkei was up 0.6 percent.
The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index fell 0.3 percent in the previous session.
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