European Factors to Watch-Shares seen opening flat to slightly higher
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LONDON Feb 17 (Reuters) - European shares headed for a flat to slightly higher start on Wednesday after closing lower in the previous session, with sentiment staying fragile following volatile prices of crude oil and metals.
Investors' focus will be on company earnings for hints about the market's direction in the near-term. Among major results, ABN Amro said its underlying fourth-quarter net profit fell 32 percent from a year earlier to 272 million euros ($304 million), hit by regulatory costs and taxes.
Futures for the Euro STOXX 50, Germany's DAX , France's CAC and Britain's FTSE were trading between flat to 0.5 percent higher.
The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index closed 0.4 percent lower in the previous session, reversing initial gains and following a 6 percent rise made over the last two sessions.
In Asia, shares slipped on Wednesday after two sessions of solid gains. MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan lost 0.6 percent, reversing early gains of 0.4 percent.
The Shanghai Composite Index slid 0.3 percent and South Korea 0.1 percent. Japan's Nikkei fell 1.7 percent, but is still up more than 5 percent on the week.
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