January 24, 2018 / 7:56 AM / a year ago

LIVE MARKETS-What you need to know before Europe opens

    * European shares seen little changed
    * Novartis beats analyst forecasts

    Jan 24 (Reuters) - Welcome to the home for real time coverage of European equity markets
brought to you by Reuters stocks reporters and anchored today by Danilo Masoni. Reach him on
Messenger to share your thoughts on market moves: danilo.masoni.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net  
    European shares are seen opening flat to slightly lower ahead of the release of PMI data
later today. Some strong corporate updates however could provide support, helping the regional
STOXX 600 benchmark index stay close to its highest levels since August 2015. 
    Futures were last trading between flat and a fall of 0.1 percent, reversing opening gains.
    The pharma sector, recently penalized by a rotation into cyclicals, could be on the
watchlist after Swiss heavyweight Novartis posted better-than-expected core net income
in the fourth quarter and forecast 2018 operating profit would grow faster than sales as revenue
from drugs accelerates.
    The retail sector could find support after Dutch-Belgian supermarket Ahold Delhaize
reported fourth-quarter sales growth at at the high end of market expectations, while France's
Carrefour saw upgrades from SocGen, Bernstein and HSBC.
    The overnight headlines:
    Novartis beats forecasts, sees new drugs fuelling 2018 growth  
    Ahold Delhaize Q4 sales lifted by strong Dutch performance  
    MEDIA-Maersk in talks with possible Norwegian partners for drilling unit 
    UK pub firm JD Wetherspoon posts strong Christmas sales 
    Italian local utilities approve six-way merger  
    UK's Purplebricks taps into U.S. East Coast with New York launch
    Barry Callebaut expects chocolate recovery to continue 
    Estate agent Countrywide CEO Alison Platt resigns 
    Average UK motor insurance premiums paid in 2017 highest since 2012 
    Tesco poaches Ulster Bank CEO Mallon for its financial services arm -Sky News
    Anglo American expects to get licenses to expand in Brazil
    Wirecard rejects report on India business that hit stock
    Publicis says was the victim of anonymous destabilisation attempt 
    MEDIA-RBS to sell London headquarters - The Telegraph bit.ly/2E3CTy7
    BMW and Daimler close to merging car-sharing units - executive
    BRIEF-Sage posts 6 pct Q1 revenue growth, in line with expectations
    BRIEF-Fresnillo Says Set To Increase Throughput And Silver Ore Grades
    (Danilo Masoni and Tom Pfeiffer)
    European shares are expected to open just marginally higher with stock index futures moving
between flat and a gain of 0.1 percent. 
    Some strong corporate updates including from drugmaker Novartis, which we mentioned in our
previous post, and Dutch-Belgian supermarket Ahold Delhaize could
provide support, while on the macro front PMI data will grab the attention ahead of tomorrow's
European Central Bank meeting. And Talking about the ECB here is a graphic piece from Reuters
with five questions for Mario Draghi.
    Here is your futures snapshot:
    (Danilo Masoni)
    The healthcare sector could be one to watch this morning after Swiss-based heavyweight
Novartis posted better than expected results. European healthcare stocks have
underperformed the broader market so far this year as expectations of stronger economic growth
caused a switch from defensives into cyclicals.
    The Swiss drugmaker forecast 2018 operating profit would grow faster than sales as revenue
from drugs including its latest blockbuster Cosentyx accelerates and the company exits a period
when patent losses dented results.
    Will Novartis figures help the sector catch up today?
    (Danilo Masoni)
    Good morning and welcome to Live Markets. European shares are set to open little changed
today after Asian shares took a breather, while a fresh burst of speculative selling took the
U.S. dollar to three-year lows on the euro.
    Financial spreadbetters expect London's FTSE to open 9 points lower at 7,722.5, Frankfurt's
DAX to open 2 point higher at 13,561.5 and Paris' CAC to open 1 point higher at 5,536.3.
    (Danilo Masoni)

 (Reporting by Danilo Masoni, Helen Reid, Kit Rees and Julien Ponthus)
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