By Blaise Robinson PARIS, Nov 9 European stocks were seen inching higher on Friday, halting a two-session slide, as better-than-expected economic data from China reassured investors on the outlook for the world's second biggest economy. Gains could be limited, however, by concerns over austerity hit Greece and its funding needs as well as concerns over the handling of U.S. fiscal policy in the near term, the so-called 'fiscal cliff' of spending cuts and tax increases due to kick in in early 2013, which weighed on Asian equities overnight. At 0734 GMT, futures for Euro STOXX 50, for Germany's DAX and for France's CAC were up 0.04-0.22 percent. Data on Friday showed China's annual industrial output growth rose more than expected last month, offering further evidence that a cyclical recovery gained strength. "The earnings season has been mixed, the newsflow on Europe's crisis is not great, but if we can get some reassuring figures out of China, it could at least help the market avoid a correction," a Paris-based trader said. "Sentiment towards equities is improving, especially from yield hunters, but with trouble in Greece and the U.S. fiscal cliff looming, investors are in no rush to start buying." European equities ended slightly down on Thursday following a roller-coaster session marked by brisk volume, with rekindled worries about Greece keeping investors on edge. Trading volumes - which have been anaemic over the past two weeks, before spiking in late trade on Wednesday - were strong again on Thursday, with volumes on the DAX and the CAC about 30-35 percent higher than the average daily volume of the past three months. Investors have been fretting about the risk of a deadlock in negotiations over the U.S. fiscal cliff. If a deal in the Congress between Republicans and Democrats is not reached before the end of the year, about $600 billion in spending cuts and tax hikes are set to be automatically triggered, which investors fear will derail the U.S. recovery. The euro zone's blue chip Euro STOXX 50 index is on track to record a loss of 2.67 percent on the week, the index's worst weekly performance in seven weeks. However, the chart for the blue-chip index shows a bullish symmetric triangle pattern shaping up since mid-September, with the index trading in a tightening range, and a break above the triangle could quickly send the index rallying to March levels. The index tested the lower band of the triangle in late trading on Thursday, before bouncing back. If it falls, however, the index will find support at 2,470 points, representing the lower band of the triangle, while on the upside, the index's next resistance level is at 2,525, its 50-day moving average. The banking sector will be in focus on Friday after France's Credit Agricole posted a steeper-than-expected 2.85 billion euro loss as the lender was slammed by its exit from Greece and a series of other write-downs. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- MARKET SNAPSHOT AT 0735 GMT LAST PCT CHG NET CHG S&P 500 1,377.51 -1.22 % -17.02 NIKKEI 8,757.60 -0.9 % -79.55 MSCI ASIA EX-JP 517.13 -0.33 % -1.72 EUR/USD 1.2759 0.11 % 0.0014 USD/JPY 79.48 0.04 % 0.0300 10-YR US TSY YLD 1.634 -- 0.02 10-YR BUND YLD 1.358 -- -0.01 SPOT GOLD $1,731.80 0.1 % $1.81 US CRUDE $85.12 0.04 % 0.03 > GLOBAL MARKETS-Asian shares dip on US fiscal fears, Europe woes > Wall St drops for second day on U.S. fiscal worries > Nikkei drops to 4-week closing low on U.S. fiscal worries > TREASURIES-U.S. 10-year notes dip, take breather after rally > Euro near 2-month low on deepening economic gloom > Gold hits 3-week high on US fiscal concern > LME copper edges up, but U.S. fiscal worries drag > Brent holds above $107; U.S., Europe fiscal woes in focus COMPANY NEWS: CREDIT AGRICOLE The French lender reported a steeper-than-expected 2.85 billion-euro ($3.63 billion) quarterly loss on Friday as the French bank was slammed by its exit from Greece and a series of other write-downs. TELECOM ITALIA Italy's biggest telecoms operator stuck to its targets on Friday after posting a 3 percent drop in core profits, as Italian consumers and businesses cut spending in the recession. ROLLS-ROYCE The firm expects to deliver good growth in full-year profit, despite lowering revenue guidance for its marine division, which has been hit by changes to the timing of some deliveries. ALLIANZ The firm confirmed its 2012 target for operating profit to exceed 9 billion euros ($11.5 billion), based on initial estimates of claims from superstorm Sandy in the United States. GENERALI The insurer's third-quarter operating results rose by 43 percent in the third quarter boosted by growth in the life segment, putting Italy's biggest insurer on course to hit its target for this year. RICHEMONT The luxury goods company posted a six-month profit of 1.081 billion euros ($1.38 billion) on a 12 percent rise in sales when stripping out exchange rate swings. The company also said Cartier chief Bernard Fornas and deputy chief executive officer Richard Lepeu will be joint CEOs from April 1. FINMECCANICA The Italian aerospace and defence company said it returned to a profit in the first nine months of 2012 helped by growth at its helicopters and aeronautics segments, rebounding from a loss triggered by provisions on its Boeing 787 contract. The company said it aimed to obtain binding offers on planned asset disposals by the end of the year. LONMIN Platinum miner has priced a $817 million rights issue at a discount of 45 percent, pushing ahead with a cash call to slash its debt and fund a recovery, after it was battered by six weeks of strikes. EADS Boeing Co reported it has bagged more than 1,000 net new orders so far this year, putting the U.S. planemaker on course to sell more aircraft than European rival Airbus for the first time since 2006. LAFARGE The cement maker confirmed its debt reduction and market growth targets for 2012 on Friday despite posting a 5 percent decline in third-quarter net profit. GEOX The Italian shoemaker Geox said it is expecting sales to decline by around eight percent through to the first half of 2013 as a prolonged recession hurt shopping in its core domestic market. It said sales fell nine percent to 701.5 million euros ($892.80 million) in the first nine months of the year. The group expects sales to fall at a slightly lower pace for the whole of 2012. DEUTSCHE BANK Germany's largest bank, which regulators have put on a list of the world's four banks that potentially pose the greatest systemic risk, will never need to be bailed out, its co-Chief Executive Juergen Fitschen said at a conference in Hamburg late on Thursday. SANOFI, TOTAL The drugmaker became France's biggest listed company on Thursday, surpassing oil giant Total as the top stock by market value on the CAC 40 , a position Total had commanded for 12 years. DANONE Japanese lactic drink maker Yakult Honsha is still in talks with Danone over a possible sale of additional Yakult shares to Danone. "The negotiations on the alliance agreement are still ongoing "a Yakult spokesman said. Danone could not be immediately reached for comment. MAUREL ET PROM Maurel Et Prom said nine-month sales rose 22 percent to 322 million euros. The increase was mainly due to the incorporation in 2012 of oil sales from the Sabanero field in Colombia along with a favourable U.S dollar/euro exchange rate. NOVO NORDISK An advisory panel to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration late on Thursday voted to recommend approval of the Danish drugmaker's new ultra-long-acting insulin degludec, despite signals of possible cardiovascular risk.
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