LONDON, July 17 (Reuters) - A relief rally on the prospect of a Greece deal looked set to ease slightly on Friday, with futures pointing to a flat open ahead of fresh economic data and corporate results out of the U.S. and as the European earnings season gets underway.
If markets hold on to this week’s gains, however, they will mark the best week for European equities since January - a month that saw the European Central Bank juice markets with an unprecedented plan to buy bonds to spur growth.
EuroSTOXX 50 futures were 0.2 percent higher at 0605 GMT, with Frankfurt DAX and Paris CAC 40 futures broadly in line. FTSE 100 futures were flat.
European shares closed at a six-week high on Thursday after the Greek parliament passed austerity measures demanded by its lenders to open talks on a new bailout package to keep Greece in the euro.
Following this relief rally, fuelled by the European Central Bank (ECB) increasing emergency funds for Greek lenders and EU finance ministers approving 7 billion euros in bridge loans to Greece, attention now turns to Germany where parliament must approve a Berlin government request to open talks on a three-year bailout programme.
ECB Governing Council member Ewald Nowotny also appeared to dampen expectations for a quick reopening of Greek banks on Monday, telling ORF radio “there is still some examination to do.”
Besides Greece, the European earnings season is now underway, with global truck maker Volvo reporting a bigger-than-expected rise in second quarter core earnings on Friday. Swedish network supplier Ericsson also posted second-quarter sales and operating profit above market expectations.
U.S. heavyweight blue-chips remain in focus for investors as well, with Google shares jumping after a forecast-beating set of results. General Electric is due to report quarterly earnings on Friday.
The big data number for markets will be U.S. consumer CPI inflation for June, followed by University of Michigan sentiment data for July. The U.S. dollar index has gained this week as Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen reiterated that U.S. interest rates will probably be lifted later in the year.
U.S. conglomerate General Electric GE.N has offered concessions in an attempt to counter EU regulatory concerns about its 12.4-billion-euro ($13.49 billion) bid for French peer Alstom’s power unit, its biggest ever acquisition.
British Airways-owner IAG’s takeover of Aer Lingus moved closer on Thursday as the U.S. regulator gave its approval and the Irish carrier’s shareholders backed special resolutions linked to the deal.
Mobile telecom equipment maker Ericsson ERICb.ST posted second-quarter sales and operating profit above market expectations on Friday as business stabilised in North America.
Global truck maker Volvo reported a bigger than expected rise in second quarter core earnings on Friday as sweeping cost cuts began to bite and raised its forecast for sector-wide truck sales in its European home market.
Swedish telecom operator TeliaSonera TLSN.ST posted second-quarter core profit above market expectations on Friday and repeated its outlook of flat earnings this year, although it sees increased risks stemming from its Eurasian unit.
German regulators accused a half-dozen current Deutsche Bank executives of failing to stop or tell regulators about years of attempted market manipulation, the Wall Street Journal wrote, citing a confidential report. (on.wsj.com/1OaeZia)
Online gambling firm 888 Holdings said it would buy peer Bwin.party Digital Entertainment BPTY.L in a cash and stock deal valued at about 898 million pounds ($1.40 billion).
The network operator, part of Mexican tycoon Carlos Slim’s America Movil AMXL.MX, on Thursday cut its full-year revenue forecast due to a weaker than expected performance in south-eastern European countries like Bulgaria and Croatia.
Wall Street’s self-funded watchdog fined a unit of Barclays PLC BARC.L $800,000 for violations related to how the bank reported stock trades over a more than two-year period, hampering the regulator’s ability to properly monitor the market.
Biomerieux on Friday confirmed that it will meet its objective of reporting between 4.5 percent and 6.5 percent organic growth in sales in 2015. Consolidated sales reached 933 million euros ($1.02 billion) in first half of 2015, up from 781 million euros in year-earlier period.
Ipsen said the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved its supplemental Biologics License Application (sBLA) for Dysport (abobotulinumtoxinA) for injection in the treatment of upper limb spasticity in adults in the U.S.
The Swiss flavours and fragrance maker said first-half net profit rose more than 11 percent on cost-cutting, lower taxes and a pension scheme gain.
Citi said it would place 4.2 percent of class B shares in Spain’s Abengoa. A source later said the placement had priced at 2.8 euros per share, a discount of around 3 percent to Thursday’s closing price.
The holiday operator said third-quarter revenue reached 298.9 million euros ($325.80 million) against 315.6 million euros a year ago. Bookings for the fourth quarter were up compared to the fourth quarter 2014. It predicted growth in full-year 2014/2015 tourism turnover and property development turnover close to the level of the previous year.
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Reporting by Lionel Laurent