(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, May 25 (Reuters) - European shares were expected to extend the previous session’s sharp rally on Wednesday, with firmer oil and metals prices seen supporting commodities-related stocks while a Greek debt deal could also boost markets.
Greek stocks will be in focus after euro zone finance ministers agreed with Greece and the International Monetary Fund on Wednesday on a deal that will address Athens’ requests for debt relief.
Futures for the Euro STOXX 50, Germany’s DAX, France’s CAC and Britain’s FTSE were 0.6 to 1.1 percent higher by 0635 GMT.
Wall Street surged more than 1 percent on Tuesday and the Nasdaq had its strongest day in three months as investors made peace with the possibility that the U.S. Federal Reserve might soon raise interest rates.
In Asia, MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan rose 1.9 percent on Wednesday, while Japan’s Nikkei was up 1.5 percent as exporters got a boost from a weaker yen.
European shares rose to their highest point in almost 4 weeks on Tuesday as firmer financial stocks lifted the region’s equity markets.
Bayer late on Tuesday repeated that its $122 per share all-cash proposal provided “full and certain value” for Monsanto shareholders, after Monsanto turned down its $62 billion acquisition bid, and said it looked forward to constructive talks with Monsanto.
Separately, Moody’s placed Bayer on review for a downgrade and cautioned the proposed deal would give rise to “significant execution, reputational and integration risks”.
British retailer Marks & Spencer said on Wednesday its new boss’s plan to turn around the firm’s underperforming clothing and homewares business would impact short-term profit.
The world’s biggest prescription drugmaker remains confident that sales for its new heart failure medicine Entresto will peak at around $5 billion, it said in a presentation for an investor event on Wednesday.
The world’s largest brewer, Anheuser-Busch InBev, gained EU antitrust approval on Tuesday for its $100 billion-plus acquisition of SABMiller on condition it sell almost the whole of SABMiller’s beer business in Europe.
Dutch bank ABN Amro and German construction group Hochtief are among stocks to be added to the pan-European STOXX 600 benchmark index, potentially helping them attract more investment flows. However, Britain’s Sports Direct, Restaurant Group and Bovis Homes are among those to be demoted.
A U.S. advisory panel on Tuesday recommended approval of a new diabetes drug made by the Danish firm that combines two of its existing treatments in a fixed-dose combination.
The drugmaker is preparing to name candidates it will put forward to replace the entire board of U.S. cancer drug company Medivation Inc as early as Wednesday, according to people familiar with the matter.
The company’s focus in the short term is improving its operating margin while CEO Jonas Samuelson is also looking at acquisition opportunities, he said in an interview in daily Dagens Industri.
Britain’s Shanks Group Plc is considering a bid for Van Gansewinkel Groep BV, Benelux’s largest waste management company, for an undisclosed sum, the companies said.
HSBC Holdings will issue $2 billion of bonds that would convert into shares if the bank’s capital strength falls below a certain level, it said on Wednesday.
Fitch Ratings downgraded the group’s long-term default rating by a notch to A-minus and its viability rating to a-minus from a, citing its reliance on difficult capital markets. The agency also blamed the economic slowdown in the Asia-Pacific region which it said would put pressure on the lender’s new business model.
A Chinese consortium bidding for Norway’s Opera Software has received acceptance from 91 percent of the company’s shareholders, clearing a key hurdle for the $1.24 billion transaction, a source close to the deal said on Wednesday.
The company posted an 8 percent in FY revenue and said it was continuing track record of growth driven by strong operational performance.
The German potash miner said on Wednesday it planned to set up a salt production facility in Western Australia that could start production in 2022, as part of its growth strategy.
SWATCH and RICHEMONT
Global sales of personal luxury goods will rise this year but only moderately, with higher spending in Japan and Europe compensating for flat trends in Asia and the United States, an industry report showed on Tuesday.
Half-year results showed revenues rise by 7.4 percent to 484.8 million euros, while H1 operating profit was down 3.6 percent.
Bulgari, the flagship jewellery brand of luxury group LVMH, plans to open up to four more stores in Russia over the next 10 years, betting on the long-term prospects of its luxury market.
The EgyptAir jet that disappeared last week did not show technical problems before taking off from Paris, sources within the Egyptian investigation committee said late on Tuesday.
The French government is weighing a possible sale of part or all of its 14 percent stake in the maker of Peugeot, Citroen and DS cars, Les Echos reported.
The oil services company said it won a contract from Statoil ASA to supply 9 kilometers of static steel tube umbilical for the Oseberg Vestflanken 2 field offshore Norway.
The French commercial property group said it will maintain its offer worth at least 1.5 billion euros for Fonciere de Paris after the company’s biggest shareholder backed a lower rival bid.
Strikes by French oil sector workers protesting proposed labour reforms spread to all the country’s refineries, sapping petrol stations dry and creating delays for tankers at major ports.
UniCredit Chief Executive Federico Ghizzoni is to step down, the Italian bank said on Tuesday, in a move expected to lead to a broader shake-up of the group and possibly a multi-billion euro capital increase.
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 Atul Prakash; Editing by Sudip Kar-Gupta)