(Adds futures, further company news)
LONDON, March 3 (Reuters) - European shares were indicated to inch higher at the open on Tuesday, helped by better-than-expected German retail sales data and a sentiment boost from a rally on Wall Street.
Futures for the Euro STOXX 50 equity index, Germany’s DAX, Britain’s FTSE 100 and France’s CAC were up between 0.1 percent and 0.2 percent at 0720 GMT.
German retail sales rose more by 2.9 percent month on month and 5.3 percent year on year in January, far more than economists had expected, data by the country’s Federal Statistics office showed on Tuesday.
Auto stocks will be in focus as executives from the largest carmakers attended an industry event in Geneva.
The Chief Executives of Opel and Volkswagen said late on Monday Europe’s carmakers are benefiting from robust demand for passenger cars in most of Europe although the slumping Russian market continues to cast a shadow, making forecasts increasingly difficult.
Elsewhere, German utility RWE was indicated to open almost 1 percent higher after Rheinische Post reported it plans to pay a dividend of 1 euro per share for 2014.
Barclays said it made a 2014 adjusted pretax profit of 5.5 billion pounds ($8.46 billion), up from a restated 4.9 billion in 2013 and above the average analyst forecast of 5.3 billion pounds.
The Nasdaq on Monday closed above 5,000 for the first time since the year 2000 dot-com bubble as tech stocks were boosted by deals, while the S&P 500 and Dow indexes hit records after economic data pointed to a slowly accelerating economy.
Bollore, which is controlled by the family of Vivendi Chairman Vincent Bollore, said it bought 40.5 million additional shares in Vivendi for 852 million euros at 21 euros a share, taking its stake in the media group to 8.15 percent from 5.15 percent and reinforcing its position as top shareholder.
The French state is selling a 3.96 percent stake in defence group Safran via a share placement, which could rise to as much as 4.55 percent via an overallotment option, the finance and industry ministries said in a joint statement.
Groupama said it has launched the sale of up to 28.4 million shares in Veolia, or about 5.05 percent of the share capital. Societe Generale, which is joint bookrunner, said the offer was priced at 17.09 euros a share.
The company plans to pay a dividend of 1 euro per share for 2014, Rheinische Post reported, citing company sources.
New car sales in Italy, Europe’s fourth-largest car market, rose 13.2 percent in February from the same month a year ago to 134,697 vehicles, Italy’s transport ministry said on Monday.
Italian eyewear group Luxottica is to more than double its dividend payment to 1.44 euros per share, it said on Monday after reporting a 10 percent rise in full-year operating income and record cash flow.
The group holds an Investors’ Day on Tuesday.
Italy’s Mediobanca said on Monday the European Central Bank had set a Common Equity Tier 1 ratio phase-in of 9 percent as a specific capital requirement for the bank.
The bank will shrink its bonus pool for 2014 by about 9 percent to around 715 million pounds ($1.1 billion), Sky News reported late on Monday, citing a person familiar with the matter.
Spain’s third-biggest lender Caixabank on Tuesday said it was targeting a ROTE profitability ratio of 12 to 14 percent from 2017 onwards, up from 3.4 percent today, thanks to both a rise in revenues and a sharp improvement in its efficiency ratio.
Francois Perol, chairman of France’s second-biggest retail bank, BPCE, is to face trial in June in a case to determine whether his nomination to head the group in 2009 represented a conflict of interest, Les Echos reports on Tuesday. The trial is slated for June 22-24, the paper said. BPCE could not be immediately reached for comment.
Regulated French gas prices are expected to rise by a little less than 1 percent on April 1 following an average fall of 3.5 percent on March 1, French daily Les Echos reports.
Technicolor said it reached an accord with its top shareholder, Vector Capital, terminating a governance agreement signed in July 2012 and bringing an end to all ongoing legal disputes between them. Technicolor said Vector backed its 2020 strategic plan and pledged to support the board at Technicolor’s annual shareholder meetings.
Deutsche Bahn has reached a settlement with three airlines it sued for a U.S. price-fixing cartel but is still pursuing a suit against Air France-KLM, Qantas Airways and All Nippon Airways. Deutsche Bahn had sought a total $370 million in damages from all six. Sources said the settlement amount from Cargolux, SAS and Nippon Cargo Airlines was less than $100 million.
Sika said it had agreed to acquire U.S.-based mortar producer BMI in order to accelerate its global expansion in the mortar business.
GAM posted underlying net profit for 2014 of 177.2 million Swiss francs, down 16 percent year on year.
The French cement group said it signed an agreement to acquire the 45 percent stake held by SOCAM Development Limited in Lafarge Shui On Cement for HK$2,553 million (294 million euros), subject to the completion of its merger project with Holcim.
French pharma group Ipsen said it expects 2015 core operating income between 19 percent and 20 percent of sales, excluding any major further deterioration of the economic environment in Russia.
The French ad group said that the integration of Sapient was “proceeding in line with the initial plan” after it completed the $3.7 billion acquisition of the digital ad specialist last month. Publicis added that three directors had resigned from the board.
Allianz Hungaria selects Ingenico Mobile Solutions’ innovative, integrated and fully managed mPOS.
Allianz Hungaria to fully equip 800 sales agents of its network with Ingenico mobile payment solutions by end of year.
The group said underlying core earnings would stagnate or grow only slightly this year as it spends money on developing a new immunotherapy against cancer and as its injectable multiple sclerosis drug Rebif faces strong competition from oral treatments.
Willi Meixner will head Siemens’ Power+Gas division, replacing Roland Fischer, who left the group in January, manager magazin reported, citing company sources.
The company’s Audi unit plans to present a battery-powered sports-utility vehicle (SUV) this year with the ability to drive distances of more than 500 kilometres, Handelsblatt reported, citing Audi board member Ulrich Hackenberg.
The group posted 2014 net income at 568 million euros on sales of 12.9 billion euros.
The group posted 2014 operating EBITDA of 195.4 million euros and proposed a dividend of 0.30 euros per share.
The real estate group reported 2014 net operating income of 390.7 million euros.
The group acquires European Printing Systems Group (PSG). It said the integration of the group would boost its sales by some 130 million euros. HeidelDruck said the purchase price would remain confidential.
The German solar company is preparing for an IPO after returning to profit and is aiming for a value of about $2 billion-$3 billion including debt, the Financial Times reported.
Italian radio and television mast operator EI Towers said on Monday its bid to take over rival Rai Way was “fully valid and lawful”.
The publisher said on Monday its board had met and decided to adjourn the meeting to complete the examination of the items on the agenda at a meeting convened for March 6.
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> Asian shares lifted by Wall Street records; RBA stands pat > Wall St. rallies; Nasdaq hits highest level since 2000 > Nikkei falls on profit-taking; Sharp dives as it seeks aid > TREASURIES-Yields rise as corporate debt sales weigh > Dollar hit by Japan govt adviser’s yen comment > Gold falls as dollar holds near 11-year high > London copper dips on expected U.S. rate hike > Oil prices rise as global markets firm, dollar comes off highs
$1 = 0.6499 pounds Reporting By Francesco Canepa