European Factors to Watch - Shares seen flat ahead of rate decisions
(Adds futures, further details, company news; updates snapshot table)
LONDON, July 5 (Reuters) - European indices were poised to open little changed on Thursday as investors consolidated recent gains ahead of widely anticipated moves from the European Central Bank and the Bank of England to stimulate the economy.
At 0605 GMT, futures for the Euro STOXX 50 index were flat, Germany's DAX contracts were up 0.1 percent and France's CAC futures were down 0.1 percent. Financial spreadbetters expected Britain's FTSE 100 to open 9 to 4 points lower, or as much as 0.2 percent.
The Euro STOXX 50 closed 0.4 percent lower at 2,312.41 points on Wednesday, pausing after a 7.5 percent rally in the previous three sessions, which had taken the index to two-month-highs after European leaders agreed last Friday on bold measures designed to fight the euro zone debt crisis.
The deal, which included allowing the euro zone's bailout fund to inject capital into struggling banks, was seen as paving the way for an interest rate cut by the European Central Bank, aimed at providing further support to the region's banking sector and economy.
The ECB, due to announce its policy decision at 1145 GMT on Thursday, was expected to cut interest rates to a new record low of 0.75 and some economists argued it may have to take more emergency measures soon to placate financial markets.
Showing that the EU deal only partly reassured investors about the euro zone's debt situation, Spain was still set to pay high premiums to sell bonds on Thursday, including one at the benchmark 10-year maturity.
The Bank of England was also expected to launch a third round of monetary stimulus on Thursday, moving to counter a recession and the effects of a worsening debt crisis in the euro zone just two months after calling a halt to the programme.
"It is clear that after such a strong start to the (quarter), investors are preferring to wait and see the outcome and reaction to the ECB and BoE's policy decisions," Cameron Peacock, a market analyst at IG Markets, said.
"The question now is - will consensus policy announcements from the ECB and BoE trigger a 'buy the rumour sell the fact' response, or will investors buy into the stimulus-induced recovery story these policies are seeking to achieve and keep the rally alive?"
In a sign of market reluctance to pile into euro zone shares in the absence of greater clarity on the effectiveness of the authorities' response to the crisis, the Euro STOXX 50 failed to break above its 200-day moving average on Tuesday and was now facing technical resistance at around 2,322 points.
Investors were set to acquire further evidence about the state of Europe's economy when German industrial orders are published at 1000 GMT, with a flat reading expected after a 1.9 percent drop in the previous month. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> Shares ease from rally, euro stressed before ECB decision
> Nikkei flat ahead of ECB move, capped below resistance
> Euro on defensive as ECB easing decision awaited
> Gold inches up on ECB rate cut hopes
> Copper eases on caution ahead of ECB rate decision
> Brent steady at just below $100 on stimulus hopes
MARKET SNAPSHOT AT 607 GMT
LAST PCT CHG NET CHG
S&P 500 1,374.0 0.62 % 8.51
NIKKEI 9,079.8 -0.27 % -24.37
MSCI ASIA -0.22 % -1.10
EUR/USD 1.2528 0.02 % 0.0003
USD/JPY 79.77 -0.11 % -0.0900
10-YR US TSY 1.600 -- -0.03
10-YR BUND 1.463 -- -0.01
SPOT GOLD $1,615. 0.01 % $0.18
US CRUDE $86.91 -0.86 % -0.75
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GDF SUEZ, EDF
French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said on Wednesday that gas prices in France would not rise more than the rate of inflation and that the government was preparing a plan to make gas and electricity more affordable for consumers.
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The world's largest chocolate products maker said it was investing heavily in additional capacity to cope with expected growth after sales volume grew 6.5 percent in the third quarter.
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