European Markets
European Factors to Watch-European shares seen mixed at open
Mon, Feb 18 02:52 AM EST

LONDON, Feb 18 (Reuters) - Futures contracts on Europe's major stock markets pointed to a flat to slightly higher open on Monday and some traders were still expecting equity markets to maintain an upwards trajectory in the near-term, with any immediate decline to be short-lived and relatively shallow.

The futures contracts for the Euro STOXX 50 was down by 0.1 percent by 0745 GMT. The futures contract for Germany's DAX rose 0.2 percent while it was flat on France's CAC-40. The FTSEurofirst 300 closed down 0.2 percent at 1,161.39 on Friday, around levels seen at the start of January. The euro zone's blue-chip Euro STOXX 50 index shed 0.8 percent to 2,615.26 points. The Group of 20 nations declared on Saturday there would be no currency war and deferred plans to set new debt-cutting targets, underlining broad concern about the fragile state of the world economy. However, equity traders saw little impact on stocks from the G20 meeting and added that a market holiday in the United States on Monday might also leave some investors to stay on the sidelines.

"While we may be prone to a correction, it still looks as if the market wants to move higher. The market will not have any substantial correction until we reach new highs on the U.S., and in the meantime people are still looking to buy the dips," said Central Markets trader Joe Neighbour.

Capital Spreads dealer Jonathan Sudaria said European equity markets may get a lift from gains in Asian markets overnight.

"Markets closed flat on Friday as the G20 meeting got underway as traders remained cautious of any moves that escalated the tension surrounding the brewing currency war," Capital Spreads dealer Jonathan Sudaria wrote in a research note.

"However, expectations that Japan would receive a ticking off never materialised and they looked to have avoided any serious backlash for their ultra easy monetary policy. With the threat of a currency war appeased for now, bulls may emulate Asian markets and go on the offensive," he added. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- MARKET SNAPSHOT AT 0744 GMT LAST PCT CHG NET CHG S&P 500 1,519.79 -0.1 % -1.59 NIKKEI 11,407.8 2.09 % 234.04 7 MSCI ASIA .MIASJ0000P 557.03 -0.18 % -0.98 EX-JP US EUR/USD 1.3341 -0.13 % -0.0017 USD/JPY 94.02 0.58 % 0.5400 10-YR US TSY 2.005 -- 0.00 YLD 10-YR BUND YLD 1.634 -- -0.03 SPOT GOLD $1,615.6 0.41 % $6.55 1 US CRUDE $95.58 -0.29 % -0.28 Japan stocks rally to near 4-yr highs after G20 US STOCKS-Wall Street ends slightly down, S&P positive for 7th week Nikkei jumps exporters after Japan avoids G20 criticism US STOCKS-Wall Street ends slightly down, S&P positive for 7th week Yen nears 33-mth low as Japan avoids direct G20 criticism Gold bounces off 6-month low; jewellers buy Copper falls on signs of dimmer global growth Brent steadies below $118, supported by global growth hopes COMPANY NEWS: CARLSBERG : Danish brewer Carlsberg on Monday reported operating earnings slightly below forecasts as its key Russia market stalled and Western Europe sales remained sluggish. FRANCE TELECOM : The telecom group said it agreed on an option to sell its 20 percent minority stake in Portugal-based telecom operator Sonaecom to majority owner Sonae for about 100 million euros.

PHILIPS : A Dutch legal group said about 1,000 consumers registered with it on Saturday to claim damages against Philips, one of several consumer electronics firms fined late last year by the European Commission for uncompetitive practices. BMW : The German automaker is recalling 30,265 of its X5 utility vehicles from model years 2007-2010 to correct a brake vacuum pump leak, according to U.S. safety regulators. DEUTSCHE TELEKOM : Paulson & Co, a top shareholder in MetroPCS Communications Inc, became the second big investor in a week to criticize the wireless service provider's plan to merge with T-Mobile USA, potentially signalling trouble for the deal. DAIMLER : The company will stick to its Formula One engagement, a spokesman told Bild newspaper in reaction to shareholder criticism. Asset management firms DWS and Union Investment, two of Daimler's shareholders, had called on the carmaker to exit the Formula One, Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung quoted the two groups as saying.

METRO : The German retailer will keep costs under tight control to improve the group's performance, its chief executive said in an interview.

NOVARTIS : Chairman Daniel Vasella said he will receive up to 72 million Swiss francs ($77.94 million) over the next six years after leaving the company this month, news that might play into the hands of supporters of a referendum to limit "fat cat" pay.The news has unleashed a wave of indignation among activist shareholders and politicians.

U.S. regulators approved Novartis AG's Zortress as the first new drug in more than a decade for preventing organ rejection in adult patients receiving a liver transplant, the company said on Friday.

ROCHE Roche and biopharma company Chiasma announced a deal to develop and commercialize Chiasma's Octreolin for acromegaly and neuroendocrine tumors, giving Roche a worldwide exclusive license and entitling Chiasma to upfront and milestone payments of up to $595 million.

NATIXIS French bank Natixis said on Sunday it would simplify its finances by shedding a 20 percent stake in BPCE, a network of cooperative lenders which controls it, paving the way for higher dividends in the future.

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