(ADVISORY- Reuters plans to replace intra-day European and UK stock market reports with a Live Markets blog on Eikon - see cpurl://apps.cp./cms/?pageId=livemarkets for site in development. See the bottom of the report)
LONDON, April 14 (Reuters) - European stocks were seen opening flat on Thursday, with gains on Asian and U.S. markets expected to keep European equities near their highest level in a month.
Spreadbetters at IG expected Britain’s FTSE to open up 3 points, or flat in percentage terms. France’s CAC was also seen up by 1 points - flat in percentage terms - while Germany’s DAX was seen up by 9 points, or 0.1 percent higher.
The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index rose 2.6 percent on Wednesday to reach its highest level since mid-March.
Retailer Casino posted forecast-beating first-quarter sales on Thursday that reflected an improved performance in its core French market thanks to cost cuts, while a decline in consumer electronics demand in recession-hit Brazil slowed. Casino has come under pressure from U.S. activist investor Muddy Waters and ratings agency Standard & Poor‘s, which cut its debt to junk status last month due notably to weakness in Brazil.
Deutsche Bank AG has agreed to settle U.S. litigation over allegations it illegally conspired with Bank of Nova Scotia HSBA.L and HSBC Holdings Plc HSBA.L to fix silver prices at the expense of investors, a court filing on Wednesday showed.
British commercial TV broadcaster ITV Plc is said to be pursuing a takeover of Canada’s Entertainment One Ltd, Bloomberg reported on Wednesday, citing people familiar with the matter.
Britain’s Legal & General Group PLC and Swiss Re AG are among firms said to be weighing bids for Deutsche Bank AG’s Abbey Life Assurance Co, sources familiar with the matter said.
Swiss specialty chemicals and life sciences company Lonza Group AG has offered to acquire U.S. drug delivery technology company Catalent Inc , three people familiar with the matter said this week.
Food group Nestle confirmed its full-year outlook on Thursday after first-quarter underlying sales growth of 3.9 percent beat expectations as accelerating volume growth made up for slower pricing.
French catering, facilities management and vouchers group Sodexo kept its full-year and medium-term goals after cost cuts, the Rugby World Cup in England and sustained North American demand helped first-half operating profit rise 6.1 percent.
Volkswagen’s top management board has agreed to cut executives’ bonus payments by at least 30 percent, one person familiar with VW’s bonus negotiations said, as the carmaker struggles to resolve a dispute over compensation.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------ > GLOBAL MARKETS-Asian shares at 4-mth highs, dollar up on hopes Singapore easing sets policy trend > US STOCKS-Indexes gain at least 1 pct as financial shares lead > Nikkei climbs to April high on yen’s weakening trend > TREASURIES-U.S. Treasury yields fall after strong auction, weak data > FOREX-Dollar extends gains as sentiment improves > PRECIOUS-Gold slides; safe-haven bids retreat as dollar, stocks climb > METALS-Copper edges back from 2-week highs, China optimism supports > Oil falls as dark clouds appear ahead of producer meeting
ADVISORY- Reuters plans to replace intra-day European and UK stock market reports with a Live Markets blog on Eikon (see cpurl://apps.cp./cms/?pageId=livemarkets for site in development). In a real-time, multimedia format from 0600 London time through the 1630 closing bell, it will include the best of our market reporting, Stocks Buzz service, Eikon graphics, Reuters pictures, eye-catching research and market zeitgeist. Breaking news and dramatic market moves will continue to be alerted to all clients and we will continue to provide a short opening story and comprehensive closing reports.
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Mike Dolan, Markets Editor EMEA. (Reporting by Sudip Kar-Gupta)