LONDON, March 19 (Reuters) - European stocks were seen pausing after two
sessions of gains on Wednesday as traders held fire ahead of a policy update
from the U.S. Federal Reserve, whose ultra-easy monetary stance has been a key
driver behind a sharp equity rally over the past 1-1/2 years.
At 0728 GMT, futures for the Euro STOXX 50, Britain's FTSE 100
, Germany's DAX and France's CAC were between 0.1 percent
lower and 0.1 percent higher. The cash indexes are up by between 1.2 percent and
2.3 percent so far this week.
The Fed is set to further trim its bond-buying stimulus and could rewrite
its guidance on when it might eventually raise interest rates, with some
expecting chair Janet Yellen to scrap a numerical target on unemployment and
adopt a more flexible stance.
"The Fed have detailed a number of changes recently, so we shouldn't be
surprised by most of the big changes that should be announced," Chris Weston,
chief market strategist at IG, said in a trading note. "The question is how
radical are the changes are? Given price action of late, the market is
positioned for a dovish stance."
The Euro STOXX 50 rose 0.8 percent on Tuesday after comments
from Russian President Vladimir Putin eased concerns that tensions between
Moscow and the West over Ukraine would escalate.
The index has been bouncing back from "oversold" territory after shedding
nearly three percent last week on concerns about the Ukrainian crisis and
jitters in the Chinese credit market.
The Euro STOXX 50 has risen roughly 35 percent since the Fed announced its
monetary stimulus programme in September 2012, also helped by some signs of
economic recovery in the euro zone.
"We're going to have a technical rally and just a glimpse of where we were
at the high, so 6,700 for the FTSE and just over 3,100 for the Euro STOXX 50 and
then we're going to ease back again," Justin Haque, a pan-European broker at HB
Capital Markets, said.
"We were just in the grips of a really healthy correction and now we're
buying back to 'buy the dips' mode."
A reduction in the Fed's asset-purchase programme, along with a slowing
Chinese economy, has already started to hit emerging market economies, causing
sharp fluctuations in currency that had been lifted by strong inflows of money
over the past few years.
That continued on Wednesday, when Germany's Brenntag, the world's
largest chemicals distributor, and Zara owner Inditex, the world's
largest clothing retailer, said depreciating foreign currencies were hitting
Europe bourses in 2014: http://link.reuters.com/pad95v
Asset performance in 2014: http://link.reuters.com/rav46v
> GLOBAL MARKETS -Asian shares slip before Fed policy review
> Wall St rises again as Ukraine woes ease; tech leads
> Nikkei rises as Ukraine tension ebbs
> TREASURIES-Bond yields edge lower ahead of Fed meeting
> Dollar restrained near 4-mth lows ahead of Yellen's debut
> PRECIOUS-Gold ticks higher on bargain hunting; Fed eyed
> London copper steadies; China worries blunt buying
> Brent near six-week low, Ukraine worries ease
The German insurer has started to make payment on claims linked to the
disappearance of a Malaysian airliner earlier this month, the German insurer
A senior Justice Department official talked tough about tax dodging,
particularly involving Americans' use of offshore bank accounts, while two U.S.
senators separately called on the Justice Department to seek extraditions from
Switzerland of bankers accused of aiding Americans in tax evasion.
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BANCA MONTE DEI PASCHI DI SIENA
The top investor in Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena has halved its stake in
Italy's third biggest lender to 15 percent to pay off its debts ahead of a
3-billion euro capital increase the bank needs to avert nationalisation.
Using Roche's medicine Tamiflu saved lives during the H1N1 swine
flu pandemic four years ago, according to a new scientific study published on
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The company plans to cut 4,900 jobs at its T-Systems unit, a spokesman said.
Sources had told Reuters last year Deutsche Telekom planned to cut about 4,000
jobs at the unit.
TELECOM ITALIA, ENI
Telecom Italia's top investor will propose ENI Chairman
Giuseppe Recchi as its candidate to chair Italy's No.1 telecoms group, two
sources with direct knowledge of the situation told Reuters on Tuesday.
The oil major does not expect sanctions against Russia over its actions in
Crimea to stop the oil and gas group importing Russian gas, the company's Chief
Executive said on Tuesday.
The healthcare group has placed 500 million euros in convertible bonds,
higher than the 375 million euros it had aimed for.
The cement maker reported a 79 percent rise in net profit to 945 million
euros last year, slightly below estimates. The group proposed to pay a dividend
of 0.60 euro per share compared with 0.47 euro the year earlier.
The chemicals distributor posted a 1.4 percent decline in 2013 earnings
before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) to 697 million
euros, dragged lower by weak overseas currencies but broadly in line with the
average analysts estimate in a Reuters poll.
Italian gas grid operator Snam SRG.MI said on Wednesday it would spend 6
billion euros ($8.3 billion) to 2017 to upgrade the domestic gas infrastructure
network. The company also signed a memorandum of understanding with state lender
CDP over the sale of a stake in the TAG gas pipeline.
Zara owner Inditex, the world's largest clothing retailer, posted almost
flat full-year net profit, in line with expectations, as results were hit by
depreciating currencies in many of its non-euro markets and by store
(Reporting By Francesco Canepa)