November 20, 2014 / 6:47 AM / 4 years ago

European Factors to Watch-Stocks seen steady; PMIs in focus

EDINBURGH, Nov 20 (Reuters) - European stocks were set to open steady on
Thursday, with sentiment subdued by weak factory output data in China ahead of
similar data in Europe that was expected to provide direction in morning trade. 
    Futures on the Euro STOXX 50, French CAC and German DAX
 were flat to 0.1 percent higher at 0727 GMT.
    Asian shares fell after the China flash HSBC/Markit manufacturing purchasing
managers' index (PMI) published on Thursday showed factory output contracted in
the world's second-biggest economy for the first time in six months.
    PMI data from France, Germany and the broader euro zone are all due out in
the first hour of trade after the open in Europe.
    "These are all preliminary readings for November and are expected to show
marginal improvements on the month," Craig Erlam, market analyst at Alpari, said
in a note. 
    "While this may be seen as a positive as the bar has been set very low in
recent months, I think we'd have to see more of an improvement to get investors
    Among corporate reports, Germany's biggest steelmaker ThyssenKrupp 
will pay a dividend a year earlier than expected, suggesting that a tough
turnaround is bearing fruit, although its profit came in below the average of a
Reuters poll of analysts. 
    Europe bourses in 2014: (
    Asset performance in 2014: (
                                            LAST        PCT CHG        NET CHG
 S&P 500                                2,048.72        -0.15 %          -3.08
 NIKKEI                                 17300.86         0.07 %          12.11
 MSCI ASIA EX-JP                          470.77        -0.47 %           -2.2
 EUR/USD                                  1.2542        -0.09 %        -0.0011
 USD/JPY                                  118.63         0.56 %         0.6600
 10-YR US TSY YLD                          2.347             --           0.00
 10-YR BUND YLD                            0.840             --          -0.01
 SPOT GOLD                             $1,185.62         0.24 %          $2.79
 US CRUDE                                 $74.59         0.01 %           0.01
  > GLOBAL MARKETS- Asia shares fall as soft China data sours mood   
  > Wall St edges lower as Fed minutes offer few clues on rates     
  > Nikkei advances on weak yen, global demand hopes             
  > U.S. TIPS breakeven rates fall further after FOMC minutes     
  > FOREX-Yen slides to fresh 7-year low vs dollar; Aussie falters    
  > Gold extends losses below $1,200 on Swiss poll, Fed minutes    
  > METALS-London nickel hits 5-week high as shortfall eyed        
  > Brent sticks above $78 a barrel as market waits for OPEC    
    The global miner is confident of at least maintaining its dividend even at
current weak commodity prices, shrugging off an iron ore price slide triggered
by increased output by BHP and other mega producers. 
    BHP Billiton said on Thursday it plans to hold a shareholder vote in May
2015 on its plan to spin off its aluminium, coal, manganese and silver assets
into a separate company. 
    The company would be open to selling off more non-core assets such as its
interests in Australia, Hungary and the Czech Republic if it received the right
offer, Chief Executive Vittorio Colao said on Wednesday. 
    BMW's profit margins in China are narrowing partly due to increased market
competition, the German carmaker's China head said on Thursday, but the firm
still expects to outpace growth of the wider premium car market. 
    Separately, BMW said Takata plans to shift production of BMW air
bag inflators from Mexico to Germany following investigations by U.S. safety
regulators into the quality of manufacturing at the plant. 

    Bloomberg cites Deutsche Telekom as saying T-Mobile US could
attract suitors again. 
    Shareholders of Concur have approved the planned acquisition of the
company by SAP, Concur and SAP said, adding they expect the transaction to be
completed on or around Dec. 4.
    Germany's biggest steelmaker will resume paying dividends a year earlier
than expected as it reported its first net profit in four years and showed
confidence that a tough turnaround is already bearing fruit. 
    Separately, the company's supervisory board will propose to add Jens
Tischendorf, the German chief of Swedish activist investment firm Cevian, to the
company's supervisory board, the group said on Wednesday. 
    Volkswagen's Audi luxury division will maintain spending on its
two key German plants even as it pushes foreign expansion, the brand's top
labour representative told Reuters. 
    European planemaker Airbus has won a crucial order worth roughly
$14 billion at list prices from Delta Air Lines for 50 long-haul,
wide-bodied jets, three people familiar with the matter said. 
    German broadcaster ProSiebenSat.1 does not rule out a partnership for its
fast-growing online video streaming service Maxdome, which competes with Amazon
 and Netflix in the nascent market, a senior executive at the
firm said on Wednesday. 
    Sky Deutschland said on Wednesday it had elected Jeremy Darroch, chief
executive of British Sky Broadcasting, as the chairman of its
supervisory board. 
    Spanish bank BBVA is raising its stake in Garanti, one
of Turkey's biggest lenders, in a deal worth $2.5 billion that will give it
control of the board as it pursues its strategy of overseas expansion.
    Italy's biggest utility Enel is on track to raise up to 3.2 billion euros
($4 billion) from the sale of shares in its Spanish subsidiary Endesa, three
sources with knowledge of the deal said on Wednesday. 
    The infrastructure and services company is due to hold an extraordinary
shareholders' meeting to approve a 1 billion euro rights issue.
    Separately, a consortium consisting of Fortress, King Street and Azora are
in talks with FCC and Bankia over their 60 percent stake in Realia as part of a
full takeover bid for the company,  Expansion reported without citing sources.
    Bankia plans to sell its 19.07 percent stake in Metrovecesa within 25 days
for 80 million euros, ABC reported, citing market sources. 
    The Italian aerospace and defence group said expected to cash in more than
400 million euros ($502 million) from a contract the Eurofighter consortium
signed with a North Atlantic Treaty Organization's (NATO) agency.
    Rating agency Moody's said on Wednesday the car maker's ratings and stable
outlook were unaffected by the company's planned mandatory convertible
    Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and Guangzhou Automobile Industry Group have
agreed to expand the GAC Fiat joint venture in a preliminary accord that
includes the production of a Chrysler brand vehicle in China. 
    Fiat Chrysler Automobiles expects its yet-to-be launched Fiat 500X crossover
sport utility vehicle to be even more popular in North America than its 500
microcar, senior executives said on Wednesday. 
    BofA-Merrill Lynch, Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, JPMorgan, UniCredit have
joined as co-global coordinators and joint- bookrunners a consortium led by
Mediobanca which is guaranteeing Carige's planned share sale for up to
650 million euros, the Genoa-based lender said on Wednesday.
    Banco Santander, Commerzbank, Nomura International will be joint
bookrunners. Banca Akros, Banca Aletti, Equita SIM, Intermonte SIM, Keefe
Bruyette and Woods will be co-lead managers.
    Gemalto, which makes smart chips for mobile phones, bank cards and biometric
passports, is considering acquisitions to speed up plans to surpass 600 million
euros ($754 million) in revenue from operations by 2017, its CEO said.
    French seismic oil and gas services group CGG is considering putting itself
up for sale after rebuffing an offer from Technip, Bloomberg reported.
    French retailer Casino said that its e-commerce business Cnova would be sold
on the stock market at $7 per share, well below a $12.50-$14.0 target range. 
    Dutch telecoms group KPN may sell its 20.5 percent stake in German mobile
operator Telefonica Deutschland O2Dn.DE, but it has not yet decided to do so,
the group's chief executive told an investor conference.
    PSA Peugeot Citroen is preparing to cut another 3,450 French jobs next year
as the troubled carmaker pursues a recovery plan under new Chief Executive
Carlos Tavares, two sources with knowledge of the matter said. 

 (Reporting by Alistair Smout)
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