LONDON, Jan 16 European stocks were set for a subdued opening on Wednesday, with technical charts pointing to a phase of consolidation in key indexes after last week's multi-month highs and concerns about global growth also keeping investors cautious. At 0730 GMT, futures for Germany's DAX, France's CAC and Britain's FTSE were down 0.2 percent. Futures for Euro STOXX 50 were also 0.2 percent lower, signalling a third down session for the euro zone blue chip index as investors take profits on a rally to 1-1/2-year highs of 2,735.36 points. "We had quite a good rally since the middle of November, so short term we are overbought ... In the short term we could consolidate, and we have as the next support the area around 2,660 points," said Petra Kerssenbrock, technical analyst at Commerzbank. "But in the medium and long term, the investment buy signal is intact and is likely to carry EuroSTOXX 50 further up in the course of the next month." From a fundamental viewpoint, global growth concerns were likely to keep markets subdued after the World Bank slashed 2013 economic forecasts for developed nations, predicting that the euro zone economy would shrink 0.1 percent. News of a fall in foreign direct investment into China in 2012 added to the gloomy economic backdrop, ahead of Friday's key fourth-quarter gross domestic product (GDP) data from the world's top metals consumer. In Europe, the strength of the euro - described as "dangerously high" by Eurogroup President Jean-Claude Juncker on Tuesday - could further hurt economic growth and exporters' profits. However, strategists at Societe Generale advised against taking profits on risky assets, with their proprietary risk indicator - which charts equity risk premium against implied volatility - at an all time high. "Despite the recent recovery, euro zone assets are still trading at a significant discount relative to those in the U.S.," SocGen's strategists said in a note. Everything else being equal, the EuroSTOXX should trade at circa 3,300 (i.e. plus-25 percent upside) to normalise its relative valuation." -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- MARKET SNAPSHOT AT LAST PCT CHG NET CHG S&P 500 1,472.34 0.11 % 1.66 NIKKEI 10,600.44 -2.56 % -278.64 MSCI ASIA EX-JP <.MIASJ0000PUS 556.22 -0.53 % -2.94 > EUR/USD 1.3289 -0.11 % -0.0014 USD/JPY 88.15 -0.71 % -0.6300 10-YR US TSY YLD 1.820 -- -0.02 10-YR BUND YLD 1.506 -- 0.00 SPOT GOLD $1,683.69 0.31 % $5.19 US CRUDE $93.52 0.26 % 0.24 > Asian shares fall on growth caution, Nikkei hit as yen gains > Dow, S&P 500 inch up with retailers but Apple drags again > Nikkei suffers biggest fall in 8 months as yen rebounds > Bond prices rise on U.S. debt ceiling jitters > Yen extends gains for second day, euro stung by Juncker > Gold edges higher; platinum pauses after 6-day rally > London copper steadies on U.S. spending uptick > Brent rises towards $111 on US retail sales, small inventory gain COMPANY NEWS EADS The sector will be in focus as Japan's two leading airlines grounded their fleets of Boeing 787s on Wednesday after one of the Dreamliner passenger jets made an emergency landing, heightening safety concerns over a plane many see as the future of commercial aviation. AUTOS Europe's new car market shrank in December at its fastest monthly pace since October 2010, closing a year burdened by heavy declines in all major euro zone economies. UK BANKS Britain's banking industry and financial regulator are in talks to establish a cut-off date to end the costly stream of claims from the public relating to banks' mis-selling of payment protection insurance (PPI), the Times reported. DAIMLER The European Commission will seek to prosecute nations that flout a new EU law requiring use of an environmentally friendly coolant in vehicle air-conditioning, which Daimler says is dangerous. CASINO The retailer said sales fell in the fourth quarter in its core French market - including a near 10 percent drop at its hypermarkets - after it funded permanent price cuts on basic products by reducing promotions, attracting fewer shoppers. VOLKSWAGEN A Brazilian court on Tuesday overturned a ruling made last week ordering Volkswagen to recall up to 400,000 one-litre cars over an unusual engine noise, a statement on the court's website said. DEUTSCHE WOHNEN The German real estate investor plans to increase its capital by 10 percent in a dilutive share issue that will fund recently signed property deals and future acquisitions.. FAURECIA The French auto parts maker posted a 62 percent drop in full-year net income, due partly to restructuring charges related to falls in production in Europe's car markets, and said net debt rose more than forecast. ALCATEL-LUCENT The government is closely examining a loan to the telecom gear company from Goldman Sachs and Credit Suisse to ensure that it does not threaten the future of the group, French Finance Minister Pierre Moscovici said in parliament. GDF SUEZ Two Belgian nuclear reactors owned by GDF unit Electrabel may not need to be halted permanently pending further tests and more information, Belgium's nuclear watchdog FANC said. ADP Traffic at Paris' airports fell 1.8 percent in December to 6.73 million passengers, led by a 4.9 percent drop in France and a 1.3 percent decline elsewhere in Europe. FIAT Chrysler, majority-owned by Fiat, said on Tuesday it has agreed to make Jeeps in China with partner Guangzhou Automobile Group Co Ltd, a key step toward its goal of building Jeep into a global brand. Separately, Fiat has asked the government to approve a special lay-off scheme at its Melfi plant in southern Italy so it can restructure the factory before production of new models starts. FINMECCANICA Italy's state-controlled defense group said on Tuesday that its AgustaWestland unit won a contract to sell eight AW159 helicopters to South Korea for 270 million euros ($360.39 million).
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