(Updates futures prices, adds company news)
LONDON, July 16 (Reuters) - European shares were expected to open higher on Thursday after the Greek parliament passed sweeping austerity measures demanded by its lenders to open talks on a new multibillion-euro bailout package to keep Greece in the euro.
In exchange for funding worth up to 86 billion euros ($94 billion), Greece has accepted reforms including significant pension adjustments, increases to value added taxes, an overhaul of its collective bargaining system, measures to liberalise its economy and tight limits on public spending.
“European equities are set to rally this morning as the crucifying austerity measures sail through the Hellenic Parliament,” London Capital Group said in a morning note.
“Bulls should be relishing in the fact that an overwhelming majority of the Parliament voted in favour of the bill with only a minor amount of grumbling dissidents.”
Greece’s approval of the bailout deal could persuade the European Central Bank to ease its funding squeeze on Athens as soon as Thursday, the first step in reopening banks and returning some normality to its stricken economy.
Futures for the Euro STOXX 50, Germany’s DAX, Britain’s FTSE and France’s CAC were up 0.2 to 0.5 percent by 0644 GMT.
The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index closed 0.4 percent higher at 1,586.50 points in the previous session, while U.S. stocks edged lower following comments from Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen.
Yellen said the U.S. central bank remains on track to raise interest rates this year, with labor markets expected to steadily improve and turmoil abroad unlikely to throw the U.S. economy off track.
Auto stocks will be in focus as demand for mid-market brands and luxury autos pushed growth of new car sales in Europe to the highest monthly rate in five and a half years in June.
Europe’s largest retailer said on Thursday that like-for-like sales growth slowed in the second quarter, reflecting a slowdown in France and despite an acceleration in Spain and a robust performance in Brazil.
Swiss watchmaker Swatch Group said on Thursday first-half net profit fell nearly 20 percent on a strong franc and negative interest rates, but was upbeat in its full-year outlook.
Global mining company Anglo American expects to take a $3 billion to $4 billion first-half write-off because of the slide in prices for iron ore and coal, it said on Thursday.
The European electrical goods and mobile phone retailer formed through a merger last year on Thursday beat forecasts with a 21 percent rise in yearly profit and said its integration was progressing well.
Swedish banking group Swedbank reported second-quarter net earnings in line with market expectations on Thursday but said negative interest rates put the bank’s profits under renewed pressure.
The British telecoms regulator said BT could be made to spin off its networks unit, which wholesales capacity to rivals like Sky <SKYB.L and TalkTalk TALK.L, to boost competition in the broadband market for consumers and businesses.
Britain’s biggest sporting goods retailer posted a 21 percent rise in profit on Thursday but said it would cut its bonus scheme earnings target for 2016 after failing to make the acquisitions necessary to boost sales.
The Nordic region’s biggest bank by market value reported second-quarter operating profit above forecasts on Thursday but said deposit margins were pressured by low interest rates.
The Financial Times reports that Deutsche Bank is under scrutiny from the FCA over Russian stock trades.
A powerful blast at a Zodiac Aerospace factory in Washington state made some portions of the building unsafe to enter, raising concerns that the assembly of Boeing and Airbus aircraft could be affected.
The bank said on Thursday the UK government had reduced its stake in the bank below 15 percent as it moves closer to full privatisation.
Rio Tinto on Thursday posted a sharp rise in second quarter iron ore output from a year ago as it battled to maintain its top market position in China, even as selling prices deteriorate and bad weather disrupted operations.
The French drugmaker will adopt a simplified structure centred around five global business units starting in January 2016 to promote growth, it said on Wednesday, as it prepares a new strategic plan to be unveiled in November.
Carmakers are racing for Iran following the country’s breakthrough nuclear deal with western powers - pitting past market leader PSA Peugeot Citroen against challengers such as Volkswagen.
The French retailer said sales went into reverse in the second quarter, reflecting weak consumer electronics demand in its top market Brazil, though number-two market France saw a marked improvement at its hypermarkets after price cuts.
The company cut its profit forecast for the year, saying it now saw a margin on earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) of 5-7 percent, compared with a previous forecast for 6-8 percent, citing disappointing business in China and the United States.
Spanish real estate firm Merlin Properties announced a 1.03 billion-euro ($1.13 billion) capital increase - its second hike in quick succession - via a steeply discounted rights issue on Wednesday.
Tele Columbus said it agreed to buy PrimaCom for 711 million euros ($777 million), bringing together Germany’s third and fourth biggest cable companies.
Pay-TV is set to reach one in five German households for the first time this year, the VPRT association of German private broadcasters forecast on Wednesday.
The company said clients brought 3.8 billion euros of new funds in the first half, bringing its overall assets under management to 42.1 billion euros.
The drugmaker said its malaria treatment Coartem received a prequalification from the World Health Organization, enabling greater access for patients.
Budget airline Norwegian Air Shuttle reported second-quarter earnings lagging expectations on Thursday but kept its guidance for production growth and unit costs this year.
Britain’s Imperial Tobacco Group is planning to sell an additional stake in its Spanish logistics unit Cia. de Distribution Integral Logista Holdings SA LOG.MC, Bloomberg reported on Wednesday, citing sources.
Gamesa said its US unit and Iberdrola Renovables have signed a contract to supply 208 megawatts of wind capacity in the United States.
Bankia is finalising the sale of its US unit City National Bank to Chile’s BCI, pending US regulatory approval, Cinco Dias reported on Thursday, citing several US financial sources.
Q2 2015 Citigroup
Q2 2015 eBay
Q2 2015 Google
Q2 2015 Goldman Sachs Group
Q2 2015 Mattel
0900 EZ Inflation
1145 EZ ECB Rate
1230 US Initial Jobless Claims
1400 US Philly Fed Business ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ > Asia shares tip-toe higher as China stocks rise > Wall Street edges lower as energy weighs > Nikkei rises to 2-week high as Yellen maintains outlook on U.S. rates > Prices rally on global growth concerns > Euro slips after Greece approves bailout plan, dollar buoyed by Yellen > Gold holds near 4-month low as U.S. rate hike looms > London copper ticks up in thin trade; dollar revival caps gains > Oil prices rise after U.S. stock draw, but outlook still bearish (Reporting by Atul Prakash)