European Factors to Watch-Shares seen opening higher, focus on earnings

jueves 4 de febrero de 2016 03:54 GYT

(Updates futures prices, adds company news)

LONDON Feb 4 (Reuters) - European equities were expected to open sharply higher on Thursday, tracking gains in Asia after oil prices rallied following a weakness in the dollar.

Oil jumped 8 percent in the previous session and extended gains on Thursday, with investors shrugging off data showing an unexpectedly large surge in U.S. crude inventories to record highs, and focusing on a weaker U.S. currency that made dollar-priced commodities cheaper for other currency holders.

Unconfirmed talk of producers potentially meeting to discuss output cuts also supported the oil market.

By 0745 GMT, futures for the euro zone's blue-chip Euro STOXX 50, Germany's DAX, France's CAC and Britain's FTSE were up 1.4 to 1.8 percent.

Investors' focus will be on company earnings. According to Thomson Reuters StarMine data, out of the companies on the STOXX 600 index to have reported fourth quarter earnings so far, 52 percent have beaten or met expectations, while 48 percent have missed.

Among major companies, Credit Suisse posted its first full-year loss since 2008 as it booked a big impairment charge for its investment banking business under new Chief Executive Tidjane Thiam, while Royal Dutch Shell reported its lowest annual income in at least 13 years as slumping oil prices hit profits.

In Asia, the MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan jumped more than 2 percent, while Australia's resource-heavy benchmark index was up 2.1 percent. The Shanghai Composite Index gained 1.5 percent as trade wound down ahead of the Lunar holidays. However, Japan's Nikkei fell 0.9 percent on a stronger yen.

The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index ended 1.6 percent lower on Wednesday.   Continuación...