PARIS, April 4 European stocks are set to rise on Thursday, halting the previous session's sharp retreat, lifted by expectations that central banks around the world will keep loose monetary policies and abundant liquidity to support the global economic recovery. The Bank of Japan on Thursday unveiled a sweeping monetary expansion campaign that will include strong investment in REITs and ETFs, sending Tokyo's Nikkei rising 2.2 percent. In Europe, investors awaited interest rate decisions from the Bank of England and the European Central Bank. Both central banks are set to keep rates on hold, and investors will be looking for any signs that the ECB is preparing a cut in the coming months to help kick start the euro zone economy. At 0633 GMT, futures for Euro STOXX 50 were up 0.4 percent, for UK's FTSE 100 down 0.04 percent, for Germany's DAX up 0.27 percent and for France's CAC 40 up 0.36 percent. "No matter how weak the economic recovery is right now, the boost from central banks is such that it's hard to go against that. Liquidity is the market's main driver, and it should remain so for a while," a Paris-based trader said. Heavyweight mining shares could buck the trend on Thursday, as London copper prices dropped to their lowest level in eight months following Wednesday's weak U.S. jobs data that triggered concerns about the U.S. labour market recovery. Investors will keep a close eye on U.S. weekly jobless claims, due at 1230 GMT on Thursday, for further insight on Friday's all-important monthly U.S. jobs data. The market will also focus on euro zone Markit services PMI for March, due at 0758 GMT, which is seen at 46.5, below the 50 mark that separates growth from contraction. European shares sharply dropped on Wednesday, as weak U.S. data heightened worries that the global economy's growth prospects will struggle to justify recent stock market gains. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- MARKET SNAPSHOT AT 0634 GMT LAST PCT CHG NET CHG S&P 500 1,553.69 -1.05 % -16.56 NIKKEI 12,634.54 2.2 % 272.34 MSCI ASIA EX-JP 538.60 -0.62 % -3.34 EUR/USD 1.283 -0.16 % -0.0020 USD/JPY 95.36 2.49 % 2.3200 10-YR US TSY YLD 1.819 -- 0.00 10-YR BUND YLD 1.286 -- 0.00 SPOT GOLD $1,551.76 -0.36 % -$5.59 US CRUDE $94.52 0.07 % 0.07 > GLOBAL MARKETS-N.Korea eyed as Asian shares ease on weak US data > US STOCKS-Wall Street drops on signs of weak economy, North Korea > Nikkei pares losses after BOJ unveils more easing steps > Yen falls after BOJ announces fresh stimulus > PRECIOUS-Gold hits 10-mth low on selloff to cover equity losses > METALS-LME copper sinks to 8-month low on US job worries > Brent recovers from steep drop, stays above $107; US data hurts COMPANY NEWS: ASSICURAZIONI GENERALI Italy's Assicurazioni Generali has launched a share placement of up to 12 percent of its listed asset management unit Banca Generali as the insurer strengthens its capital base. RANDSTAD Dutch staffing firm Randstad has agreed to buy some of rival USG People's operations in Europe for 20 million euros ($26 million), the two companies said on Thursday. FRESENIUS MEDICAL CARE Fresenius Medical Care, the world's largest dialysis group, said it plans to do away with its non-voting preference shares as part of a move to improve its capital structure. Fresenius also said it will initiate a share buyback of up to 385 mln euros in the next six months. SAIPEM The Italian oil service group has 79 million euros of funds frozen in Algeria in connection with an investigation into allegations of price inflation, the company said on Wednesday. DEUTSCHE BANK Germany's central bank has launched a probe into claims Deutsche Bank misvalued credit derivatives that allowed the bank to hide up to $12 billion in losses, the Financial Times reported on Wednesday, citing people familiar with the situation. COMMERZBANK Commerzbank's effort to revamp its private clients business is starting to bear fruit, with new business in construction financing increasing nearly 50 percent in the first two months of the year, management board member Martin Zielke told Handelsblatt, the daily's online edition said late on Wednesday. MOLESKINE Shares in upmarket notebook maker Moleskine made a lacklustre debut in Milan on Wednesday as growth concerns and broad market weakness weighed on this year's first major stock listing in crisis-hit Italy. REPSOL State-run Petroperu has submitted a preliminary bid to buy the Pampilla oil refinery of Repsol in Peru, a source at the Peruvian firm told Reuters on Wednesday. AREVA Japan's Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd and France's Areva have won an order to build Turkey's second nuclear power plant, a project that is expected to cost some $22 billion, the Nikkei business daily said, citing Japanese and Turkish sources. ALSTOM The transport and power engineering company said it had secured a 265 million euro contract to refurbish a nuclear power plant in Ontario, Canada, between 2016 and 2024. DEXIA JPMorgan Chase & Co has won the dismissal of much of a lawsuit accusing it of misleading the Belgian-French bank into buying more than $1.6 billion of troubled mortgage debt.
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