August 29, 2013 / 6:32 AM / 4 years ago

European Factors to Watch-Shares to halt slide as Syria strike seen delayed

By Francesco Canepa
    LONDON, Aug 29 (Reuters) - European stocks are seen opening little changed
on Thursday, finding some technical support after a three-day slide as the
threat of an imminent attack on Syria appeared to be delayed, although the
lingering prospects of a wider Middle Eastern conflict sapped appetite for
    At 0623 GMT, futures for the Euro STOXX 50, Britain's FTSE 100
, Germany's DAX and France's CAC were between flat and
0.1 percent higher.
    U.S. President Barack Obama made the case for a limited military strike but
he faced obstacles from British allies and U.S. lawmakers, which could delay any
imminent action. 
    "There appears to be some prevarication over possible military strikes on
Syria resulting in less angst in markets," Credit Agricole said in a note.     
    The euro zone Euro STOXX 50 index has fallen 4 percent in the
past two weeks, weighed down by expectations of a dialling back in U.S. monetary
stimulus, political tensions in Italy and escalating tensions in the Middle
East, which have boosted oil prices this week.
    The index staged a late recovery on Wednesday, as oil companies led a
recovery in global shares, but 30-minute charts still suggested further losses
were likely.
    Philippe Delabarre, a technical analyst at Paris-based Trading Central, said
the Euro STOXX 50 was supported by Wednesday's low at 2,720 points and then at
2,715, the 38.2 percent retracement of the rise between June 24 and August 16.
    But he cautioned fresh losses were on the cards as 30-minute charts Euro
STOXX 50 was still trading below its 50-period moving average.
    "Expect choppy price action with a bearish bias," Delabarre said.
  > GLOBAL MARKETS-Asian shares rise, Syria worries cap gains     
  > Wall St rebounds as energy stocks rise over Syria             
  > Nikkei rebounds on weaker yen, set to end 3-day losing run    
  > U.S. bond prices dip after 3 days of gains                    
  > Yen off three-week highs but markets still cautious on Syria  
  > Gold eases after 5-day rally, Syria eyed                      
  > London copper drifts as dollar rises                          
  > Brent falls below $116 after 2-day surge                      
    Verizon Communications Inc is in advanced talks to buy Vodafone Group
Plc's 45 percent stake in their U.S. joint venture for about $130 billion,
Bloomberg reported late on Wednesday, citing people with knowledge of the
    The world's second-largest retailer reported a 4.9 percent rise in
first-half recurring operating profit as a sharp improvement in earnings at its
core French business offset weakness in Spain, Italy and Asia. 
    The world's biggest ad group said like-for-like revenue rose 5 percent in
July, the strongest rate this year, and said it saw a "slight increase" in its
full-year forecast. 
    The company experienced continued pressure at its SFR telecom unit in the
second quarter and posted financial results on Thursday shorn of two business
units sold in the quarter. 
    The French spirits maker said it had hit its full-year target of around 6
percent organic profit growth from continuing operations, despite an ongoing
slowdown in China, and raised its dividend. 
    The world's largest maker of lenses said organic sales growth accelerated in
the second quarter and forecast a full-year rise in sales of close to 7 percent.
    Zurich Insurance said its chairman, ex-Deutsche Bank AG 
head Josef Ackermann, will step down immediately, following what appeared to be
the suicide of the insurer's financial chief earlier this week. 
    Spanish renewable energy and engineering firm Abengoa posted on Wednesday a
11 percent drop in first-half net profit from a year earlier to 67 million
    Business at Frankfurt airport was "very good" in August, while reservations
for the winter were modestly positive, the airport operator's Chief Executive
Stefan Schulte told German newspaper Boersen Zeitung. 
    EU telecoms chief Neelie Kroes has scrapped a draft proposal to cut
wholesale roaming fees by as much as 90 percent, a European Commission document
seen by Reuters showed, following criticism from major telecom companies.
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