February 6, 2013 / 6:42 AM / 5 years ago

European Factors to Watch - Shares seen little changed as earnings curb optimism

LONDON, Feb 6 (Reuters) - European stocks were seen opening little changed
on Wednesday as disappointing updates from some industrial heavyweights and
lingering concerns about Europe's peripheral economies kept investors on
    Two brokers expected shares in Syngenta to open at least 1 percent
lower after the world's largest agrochemicals company reported sales below their
    ArcelorMittal's, the world's largest steelmaker, made a net loss
of $3.73 billion for the year, sending shares in its sending shares in its South
Africa listing 3 percent lower. 
    At 0743 GMT, futures for the Euro STOXX 50 and Germany's DAX
 and France's CAC were flat to 0.1 percent lower.
    Adding to the gloomy earnings picture, French builder Vinci warned
of a flat 2013 for its construction and concessions businesses and Swedish
lender Handelsbanken's reported a disappointing operating profit.
    With nearly a fifth of the earnings season now behind us, 38 percent of
companies in the STOXX Europe 600 index that have reported results so
far have missed consensus expectations, Starmine data showed. 
    The euro zone blue-chip Euro STOXX 50, which closed up 1 percent
at 2,651.21 points on Tuesday, has been retreating from an 18-month high of
2,754.80 points hit a week ago as corporate and macroeconomic figures sent mixed
signals and concerns mounted about the outcome of Italy's upcoming general
elections and a corruption scandal in Spain. 
    "Although European traders have been caught up in the global risk on rally,
the foundations of the euro zone still remain weak and susceptible to sudden
downside shocks," Jonathan Sudaria, a dealer at Capital Spreads, said in a
trading note.
    "The political uncertainty in Spain and Italy was probably a timely reminder
to traders that such risks still need to be priced in."
 S&P 500                                   1,511.29     1.04 %             15.58
 NIKKEI                                   11,463.75     3.77 %            416.83
 MSCI ASIA EX-JP                                        0.04 %              0.20
 EUR/USD                                     1.3537    -0.32 %           -0.0044
 USD/JPY                                      93.72     0.12 %            0.1100
 10-YR US TSY YLD                             2.011         --              0.01
 10-YR BUND YLD                               1.642         --             -0.02
 SPOT GOLD                                $1,672.20    -0.02 %            -$0.40
 US CRUDE                                    $96.48    -0.17 %             -0.16

  > Asian shares recover on firm euro zone data, yen slips      
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  > Japan's Nikkei rallies 3.5 pct to 52-month high             
  > U.S. Treasuries slip as investors flock to riskier assets   
  > Dollar rises above 94.00 yen, highest since May 2010        
  > Platinum hits 4-month high on global economy hopes          
  > LME copper near 4-month top on upbeat US, euro zone data    
  > Brent holds above $116 on US data, euro zone optimism       
    The world's largest agrochemicals company said it will hike its dividend 19
percent after strong sales helped it post full-year net profit that beat
    The company warned of a flat year for its construction and concessions
businesses after reporting what it called a "robust performance" in 2012 when
its net profit edged up despite the difficult economic climate in Europe.
    Italy's Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena would be happy with
Deutsche Bank investing in the lender as "an industrial partner, if there was no
one else", its chairman Alessandro Profumo said on Tuesday. 
    Separately, European Central Bank Governing Council member Erkki Liikanen
said European banks need to concentrate on getting the economy back to growth by
lending to firms and households even as they face challenges. 
    The Airbus parent paved the way to getting its first independent chairman,
as it unveiled proposals for a new board to include the former head of French
defence group Thales. 
    French oil major Total said it picked a consortium led by Italian gas
transport group Snam, including EDF, for exclusive talks on the sale of
its TIGF gas network business. 
    The chief executive of Total told a French court he had no knowledge that
the French oil giant was buying illegally procured oil during the United Nations
oil-for-food programme over a decade ago. 
    The utility is considering cutting the number of staff at its holding
company in Essen, Germany by 200 to 250, Handelsblatt daily reported, citing
company sources. It said the plan was still at an early stage.
    The steelmaker plans to streamline its business structure by reducing the
number of business areas to five from seven and the number of central corporate
functions to 13 from 20, Die Welt daily reported, citing an internal memo it
    The Swiss bank said full-year net profit rose 15 percent, as the Swiss bank
kept a lid on costs amid a rise in client fees and commissions.
    Marine Harvest, the world's largest salmon farmer, expects its overall costs
to increase over the next quarters due to higher raw material prices and
increased production costs as it reported full fourth-quarter results that
slightly beat analysts' expectations on Wednesday.

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