Europe Factors-Shares set to dip in shortened session

(Adds company news items, updates snapshot table)

PARIS, Dec 24 (BestGrowthStock) – European stocks were set to dip on Friday, halting
their sharp December rally as Fitch’s downgrade of Portugal’s credit rating
reignited concerns over the euro zone debt crisis.

But trading will be very light, with markets closed in Germany, Italy,
Spain, Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, Greece, Austria, Hungary,
and Iceland, while Wall Street will remained closed.

The UK stock market will close at 1230 GMT while Euronext stock markets will
close at 1300 GMT.

By 0711 GMT, futures for France’s CAC (FCEc1: ) were flat.

Fitch Ratings on Thursday downgraded Portugal, citing burgeoning debt levels
and a tough financing environment, in a move which analysts said had been
largely expected by markets. The downgrade puts Fitch’s rating for Portugal on a
par with Moody’s A1 rating, but still two notches above that of Standard and
Poor’s A-minus. [ID:nN23149674]

Standard & Poor’s affirmed France’s triple-A credit rating on Thursday,
citing the depth of its economy and the stable political environment. It also
kept a stable outlook on the rating.

The FTSEurofirst 300 (.FTEU3: ) index of top European shares has risen 7.4
percent in December, on track to post its best monthly performance since July
2009 and its best December performance in a decade.

Trading was muted on Thursday, however, with volume on the FTSEurofirst 300
only 43 percent of the index’s 90-day average daily.

—————- MARKET SNAPSHOT AT 0710 GMT ————————-

LAST PCT CHG NET CHG

S&P 500 (.SPX: ) 1,256.77 -0.16 % -2.07

NIKKEI (.N225: ) 10,279.19 -0.65 % -67.29

MSCI ASIA EX-JP (.MIASJ0000PUS: ) 554.79 -0.26 % -1.46

EUR/USD (EUR=: ) 1.3121 0.05 % 0.0007

USD/JPY (JPY=: ) 82.99 0.05 % 0.0400

10-YR US TSY YLD (US10YT=RR: ) 3.397 — 0.00

10-YR BUND YLD (EU10YT=RR: ) 2.981 — 0.00

SPOT GOLD (XAU=: ) $1,384.24 0.32 % $4.35

US CRUDE (CLc1: ) $91.51 1.14 % 1.03

———————————————————————-

GLOBAL MRKTS-Stocks set for best Dec performance in decade [ID:nTOE6BN02I]

Wall St marks 4th week of gains; S&P slips [ID:nN23157802]

Nikkei down on stronger yen in holiday-thinned trade [ID:nTOE6BN029]

Brent crude at 2-yr high on frigid weather, demand [ID:nL3E6NO05X]

Gold bounces from 1-week low, Korea tension eyed [ID:nL3E6NO019]

Copper lower on cash tightness; London steady [ID:nL3E6NO020]

COMPANY NEWS:

AREVA (CEPFi.PA: )

Areva shareholders on Thursday backed a 900 million euro capital increase
that will see Kuwait take a near 5 percent stake and help the French nuclear
power group fund the development of new reactors. For story click on
[ID:E6BM1I9]

AXA (AXAF.PA: )

Bharati Enterprises, which has a 25 percent stake in Bharti-AXA Mutual Fund,
a unit of Axa SA, is likely to sell its stake in the mutual fund firm to Bank of
India (BOI.BO: ), the Financial Express reported on Friday. [ID:nSGE6BN01B]

TOMTOM (TOM2.AS: )

The Dutch navigation device maker expects more deals with car producers and
will increase its workforce by about 14 percent next year s it seeks market
share in Asia, its chief executive told a Dutch paper.

FIAT (FIA.MI: )

Fiat’s (FIA.MI: ) boss Sergio Marchionne scored another victory in his
struggle to boost productivity at loss-making Italian car plants by clinching a
labour deal with unions for the group’s key Mirafiori plant. [ID:nLDE6BM0D2]

GLAXOSMITHKLINE (GSK.L: )

Britain’s state-run health service will get a partial rebate from
GlaxoSmithKline if the company’s new kidney cancer drug Votrient does not match
up to a rival medicine in a head-to-head clinical trial. [ID:nLDE6BL0QS]

SNAI (SNAI.MI: )

Two private equity funds are close to sign a deal to take over Italy’s
leading sports betting company SNAI (SNAI.MI: ), ending a lengthy search for a
buyer for the debt-laden company, a source close to the deal told Reuters on
Thursday. [nWEA9123]

ANGLO AMERICAN (AAL.L: )

Tarmac, a unit of mining group Anglo American said its prefabricated
business would close with the loss of up to 550 jobs because of tough market
conditions, The Times said.

TECHNICOLOR (TCH.PA: )

Technicolor said on Thursday it has received a binding offer from Parter
Capital Group, a private equity investment consultancy firm based in Germany,
for the acquisition of its Transmission business, operating under the Thomson
Broadcast brand. The business provides transmission products for terrestrial
television and radio. It had revenues of about 43 million euros in 2009.
[TCH.PA]

BELVEDERE (BEVD.PA: )

French drinks group Belvedere on Thursday called for the French markets
regulator AMF to launch an inquiry into alleged share price manipulations.
[ID:nLDE6BM1KE]

(Reporting by Blaise Robinson)

Europe Factors-Shares set to dip in shortened session