May 26, 2016 / 5:36 AM / in 2 years

European Factors to Watch-Shares to edge down from 4 week high

(ADVISORY- Reuters plans to replace intra-day European and UK stock market reports with a Live Markets blog on Eikon - see cpurl://apps.cp./cms/?pageId=livemarkets for site in development. See the bottom of the report)

LONDON, May 26 (Reuters) - European stocks were seen opening slightly lower on Thursday, set to edge down after hitting a four week high in the previous session, with appetite for equities knocked by a drop in Chinese shares.

Futures on the Euro STOXX 50, Germany’s DAX and France’s CAC were up to 0.3 percent lower ahead of the cash market open. Futures on Britain’s FTSE were flat.

Mainland China stocks slumped to a 2-1/2 month low on Thursday, dampening any broader interest in riskier assets in Asia.

The FTSEurofirst 300 rose 1.3 percent in the previous session, hitting its highest level since late April, buoyed by a rise in banks and oil.

Oil shares could be in focus once again on Thursday, after Brent crude rose above $50 a barrel for the first time in nearly seven months. Oil prices were boosted after U.S. government figures showed a sharper-than-expected drawdown in crude stocks last week.

Among individual movers, traders said that Banco Popular could fall between 10 and 15 percent at the open after unveiling a plan to issue 2 billion new shares at a substantial discount to the market price, in order to strengthen its balance sheet, improve profitability and portect its dividend.

COMPANY NEWS

BP, SHELL

Six international oil firms including BP and Royal Dutch Shell Plc have bid to operate Qatar’s largest offshore oil field, two people with knowledge of the matter told Reuters.

BANCO POPULAR

Spain’s sixth-largest lender Banco Popular said on Thursday it plans to issue around 2 billion new shares at 1.25 euros ($1.40) per share to strengthen its balance sheet, improve profitability and protect its dividend.

CREDIT SUISSE

The Swiss bank said it has hired Marco Chisari, a corporate development executive at Abu Dhabi’s state-owned fund Mubadala, as an investment banker focused on technology and semiconductor deals in San Francisco, according to a memo on Wednesday.

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BMW

The German luxury car maker on Wednesday said its BMW iVentures venture capital arm has invested an undisclosed amount in California-based Scoop Technologies, which offers a smartphone-powered carpooling service called Scoop.

SANOFI

One day after recommending approval of a new diabetes drug made by Novo Nordisk A/S a U.S. advisory panel on Wednesday recommended approval of a similar product made by Sanofi SA.

The French drugmaker named eight candidates to replace the entire board of Medivation Inc, stepping up pressure on the U.S. cancer drug company which has rejected its $9.3 billion takeover approach.

EDF

Staff at France’s 19 nuclear plants have voted to go on strike on Thursday as part of the wider protests over the governments proposed reforms to employment laws, a CGT union official said, but no blackouts are expected.

French nuclear power capacity was cut by at least 4 gigawatts (GW) on Thursday after hardline CGT union workers joined a rolling nationwide strike against planned government reforms, grid operator RTE showed on its website.

Separately, French nuclear regulator ASN said anomalies found in the vessel of a nuclear reactor under construction in Flamanville have also been discovered in other French reactors being operated by utility EDF, but the country’s reactors are safe.

PHILIPS

Shares in the initial public offering of Philips’ Lighting division could price above 20 euros, people familiar with the matter said.

PEUGEOT

The French carmaker may raise its forecast for the size of the European car market this year when it publishes half-year results, Chief Executive Carlos Taveres said.

DAILY MAIL AND GENERAL TRUST

The publisher of the Daily Mail newspaper said a downturn in the print advertising market was squeezing margins in its media business, resulting in an 11 percent drop in first-half profit and a lower outlook for the year.

TATE & LYLE

British food ingredients maker Tate & Lyle on Thursday posted a 5 percent rise in full-year profit and said progress in the 2017 financial year would be in line with its expectations.

UNITED UTILITIES

British water utility United Utilities Group Plc said its full-year underlying operating profit fell 9 percent, hurt by new regulatory price controls.

HEIDELBERG CEMENT

Heidelbergcement issued 750 mln eur bond for Italcementi deal.

FCC

FCC said on Wednesday it has proposed a takeover bid for 100 percent of Cementos Portland Valderrivas.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------ > Oil prices top $50, Asian shares struggle on China worries > US STOCKS-S&P 500 ascends 2 percent in two days > Nikkei edges up but wary of yen volatility > TREASURIES-U.S. bond prices fall on stock gains, profit-taking > Yen soars as jittery markets await Yellen, Japan tax decision > Gold rises for first day in 7 as traders cover short positions > LME copper edges up; lower prices loom as seasonal demand ebbs > Brent oil pushes above $50 for first time in nearly 7 months

ADVISORY- Reuters plans to replace intra-day European and UK stock market reports with a Live Markets blog on Eikon (see cpurl://apps.cp./cms/?pageId=livemarkets for site in development). In a real-time, multimedia format from 0600 London time through the 1630 closing bell, it will include the best of our market reporting, Stocks Buzz service, Eikon graphics, Reuters pictures, eye-catching research and market zeitgeist. Breaking news and dramatic market moves will continue to be alerted to all clients and we will continue to provide a short opening story and comprehensive closing reports.

If you have any thoughts, suggestions or feedback on this, please email mike.dolan@thomsonreuters.com.

Mike Dolan, Markets Editor EMEA.

Reporting by Alistair Smout

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