Europe Factors-Shares seen fdown; focus on Portugal

 (Adds company news, detail; updates snapshot table) 
 LONDON, March 24 (Reuters) - European shares are expected to fall in early
trade on Thursday, with investors seen avoiding to take big positions following
the resignation of Portugal's prime minister after parliament's rejection of
austerity plans.
 There are concerns that Portugal could join Greece and Ireland in seeking a
bailout package. A summit of European Union leaders this week is also not
expected to take tough decisions to address the region's debt situation.
[ID:nLDE72M00L]
China's foreign ministry said the country still sees risks from eurozone
debt problems and has taken steps to support Europe since last year.
[ID:nBJB004056]
 Futures for Euro STOXX 50 (STXEc1: Quote, Profile, Research), for Germany's DAX (FDXc1: Quote, Profile, Research) and for
France's CAC (FCEc1: Quote, Profile, Research) were 0.2 to 0.6 percent lower.
 A nuclear crisis in Japan, persisting political unrest in parts of the
Middle East and violence in Libya are also seen weighing on market sentiment and
prompting investors to trade cautiously in riskier assets such as equities.
[ID:nL3E7EN3MI]
 "With Europe having seen a relatively successful day of gains yesterday, it
seems unlikely that we'll see much more on the table at the open, whilst concern
over the sovereign debt situation in Portugal could once again raise concerns
over any euro denominated assets," IG Markets trader Terry Pratt said.
 Portuguese Prime Minister Jose Socrates resigned on Wednesday and warned of
grave consequences for the country after parliament rejected his government's
latest austerity measures aimed at avoiding a bailout. 
 The FTSEurofirst 300 (.FTEU3: Quote, Profile, Research) index of top European shares ended 0.5 percent
higher on Wednesday, while key U.S. indexes rose 0.3 to 0.6 percent. On
Thursday, Japan's benchmark Nikkei average (.N225: Quote, Profile, Research) fell 0.2 percent.
 Investors will wait for durable goods orders and weekly U.S. jobless claims
data, due at 1230 GMT, for near-term direction. Economists forecast a total of
383,000 new jobless claims filings, compared with 385,000 in the prior week.
 
 ----------------------MARKET SNAPSHOT AT 0740 GMT----------------------  
                                      LAST        PCT CHG        NET CHG 
 S&P 500                  (.SPX: Quote, Profile, Research)   1,297.54       0.29 %            3.77 
 NIKKEI                  (.N225: Quote, Profile, Research)   9,435.01      -0.15 %          -14.46 
 MSCI ASIA EX-JP (.MIASJ0000PUS: Quote, Profile, Research)     552.19       0.75 %            4.09 
 EUR/USD                  (EUR=: Quote, Profile, Research)     1.4059      -0.22 %         -0.0031 
 USD/JPY                  (JPY=: Quote, Profile, Research)      80.80      -0.20 %         -0.1600 
 10-YR US TSY YLD    (US10YT=RR: Quote, Profile, Research)      3.324         --             -0.02 
 10-YR BUND YLD      (EU10YT=RR: Quote, Profile, Research)      3.194         --             -0.02 
 SPOT GOLD                (XAU=: Quote, Profile, Research)  $1,436.10      -0.01 %          -$0.10 
 US CRUDE                 (CLc1: Quote, Profile, Research)    $105.53      -0.21 %           -0.22 
 
 * Japanese stocks fall as nuclear worries sap appetite     [ID:nL3E7EO04P]
 * Materials lead Wall St higher but turmoil remains        [ID:nN23273745]
 * Hong Kong, China shares up, earnings stay in focus       [ID:nL3E7EO0GF]
 * Euro stung by Portugal, euro zone debt issues            [ID:nL3E7EO0B3]
 * Brent falls to $115 as Portugal rekindles euro-zon woes  [ID:nL3E7EO0AU]
 * Shanghai lead jumps 6 pct at debut, LME copper eases     [ID:nL3E7EO07A]
 * Treasuries ease on stocks, but safety bid remains        [ID:nLDE72N021]
 * Euro pressured by Portugal; shares mostly gain           ID:[nL3E7EO01U]
 * Gold extends gains as Middle East crisis supports        [ID:nL3E7EO03L]
 
 COMPANY NEWS
 
 MINERS
 Australia's biggest mining companies, BHP Billiton (BHP.AX: Quote, Profile, Research) (BLT.L: Quote, Profile, Research), Rio
Tinto (RIO.AX: Quote, Profile, Research) (RIO.L: Quote, Profile, Research) and Xstrata (XTA.L: Quote, Profile, Research) won a major concession over a planned
new 30 percent profits tax on Thursday, with the government agreeing to refund
any future increases in state-based royalty charges. [ID:nL3E7EO04L]  
 
 SPANISH BANKS
 Ratings agency Moody's said Spanish banks' outlook remained negative and
added that credit profiles of many Spanish banks were weak and there was little
sign of material strengthening in the foreseeable future. [ID:nWEA0516]
 
 LLOYDS BAKING GROUP (LLOY.L: Quote, Profile, Research), ROYAL BANK OF SCOTLAND (RBS.L: Quote, Profile, Research)
 A sale of the British government's $107 billion stake in Lloyds Banking
Group and RBS may start next year, Bloomberg said, citing four people familiar
with the matter. [ID:nL3E7EO0KP]
  
 WPP (WPP.L: Quote, Profile, Research)
 Advertising giant WPP is likely to move its tax base back to the UK
following changes to taxation proposed in Wednesday's budget. [ID:nLDE72N04C]
 
 NEXT (NXT.L: Quote, Profile, Research)
 Britain's No. 2 fashion retailer said trading conditions in 2011 were likely
to get worse before they get better, as it posted an expected 9 percent rise in
year profit. [ID:nLDE72L0HG]
 
 KINGFISHER (KGF.L: Quote, Profile, Research)
 Europe's biggest home improvement retailer plans to step up its expansion as
well as measures to boost profit margins, as it battles tough trading conditions
in many markets. [ID:nLDE72M1C5]
 
 RIO TINTO (RIO.L: Quote, Profile, Research)
 The quake disaster in Japan had no material impact on global miner Rio
Tinto's shipments to the country so far, the head of its iron ore division said
on Thursday. [ID:nL3E7EO04C]
  
 EADS (EAD.PA: Quote, Profile, Research)
 The European aerospace company hopes it can win some work linked to
replacing the U.S. Air Force's refueling planes, a contract its U.S. rival
Boeing (BA.N: Quote, Profile, Research) won last month, the Financial Times reported on Thursday.
[ID:nLDE72N04A] 
 
 DEUTSCHE BOERSE (DB1Gn.DE: Quote, Profile, Research)
 The operator of the Frankfurt stock exchange has made a provision of $250
million for potential damages relating to a lawsuit in the United States.
[ID:nLDE72M2J7]
 
 PARMALAT (PLT.MI: Quote, Profile, Research)
 Rome is poised to bolster Italian food, energy, defence and telecoms firms
against foreign takeovers, in a move that could stymie a bid by French dairy
giant Lactalis to gain control of rival Parmalat. [ID:nLDE72M1AO] 
 
 SWATCH GROUP (UHR.VX: Quote, Profile, Research)
 Omega and Longines, two of Swatch Group's biggest brands, on Wednesday said
the year had started well and they planned to make further inroads into China by
opening dozens of shops. [UHR.VX] 
 
 ROCHE (ROG.VX: Quote, Profile, Research)
 Scientists seeking treatments for a deadly type of skin cancer say an
existing arthritis drug slows the growth of melanomas and could be combined with
a drug being developed by Plexxikon and Swiss drugmaker Roche. [ROG.VX]
  
 BASF (BASFn.DE: Quote, Profile, Research)
 BASF said late Wednesday that first quarter earnings before interest and
taxes (EBIT) and sales will be significantly higher year-on-year. [ID:nWEA0467]
 
 (Reporting by Atul Prakash)

Europe Factors-Shares seen fdown; focus on Portugal