Europe Factors-Shares set to extend brisk December rally

(Adds details, company news; updates snapshot table)

PARIS, Dec 23 (BestGrowthStock) – European stocks were set to rise on Thursday,
extending their brisk Christmas rally, with buoyant oil prices lending support
to heavyweight energy shares.

News that China is ready to support debt-swamped euro zone countries will
also add to the upbeat sentiment.

A Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman said on Thursday China is willing
to help countries in the euro zone return to economic health and will support
the International Monetary Fund bailout package for the bloc, and that the
euro zone is one of the important areas for China’s foreign (Read more about foreign investment into China) exchange
investments. [ID:nBJI002501]

By 0732 GMT, futures for Euro STOXX 50 (STXEc1: ), for Germany’s DAX (FDXc1: )
and for France’s CAC (FCEc1: ) were up 0.1-0.2 percent.
Oil prices (CLc1: ) rose near a two-year high above $90 a barrel, lifted by
an unexpected surge in global demand that has fuelled the biggest drop in U.S.
crude stockpiles in more than a decade.

Investors awaited a batch of U.S. macro data, including November durable
goods data and the weekly jobless claims, as well as November new home sales
data.

European stocks inched higher on Wednesday in holiday-thinned trade,
adding to their sharp December rally that has brought benchmark indexes to
two-year highs and back to levels not seen since the collapse of investment
bank Lehman Brothers in 2008.

The FTSEurofirst 300 (.FTEU3: ) index of top European shares has risen 7.6
percent in December, on track to post its best monthly performance since July
2009. Trading was muted on Wednesday, however, with volume on the FTSEurofirst
300 only 65 percent of the index’s 90-day average daily.

So far this year, the FTSEurofirst 300 is up 9.7 percent, the broader
STOXX Europe 600 (.STOXX: ) is up 11 percent, UK’s FTSE 100 index (.FTSE: ) up 11
percent, Germany’s DAX index (.GDAXI: ) up 19 percent, France’s CAC 40 (.FCHI: )
down 0.4 percent, Italy’s FTSE MIB (.FTMIB: ) down 11 percent and Spain’s IBEX
35 (.IBEX: ) down 15 percent.

Despite December’s sharp rally, valuation levels remain relatively low,
with the STOXX Europe 600 carrying a forward P/E ratio of 10.9, well below a
10-year average of 13.8, according to Thomson Reuters Datastream.

———————-MARKET SNAPSHOT AT 0720 GMT—————–

LAST PCT CHG NET CHG

S&P 500 (.SPX: ) 1,258.84 0.34 % 4.24

NIKKEI (.N225: ) 10,346.48 -0.23 % -24.05

MSCI ASIA EX-JP (.MIASJ0000PUS: ) 557.52 0.15 % 0.85

EUR/USD (EUR=: ) 1.3148 0.39 % 0.0051

USD/JPY (JPY=: ) 83.06 -0.59 % -0.4900

10-YR US TSY YLD (US10YT=RR: ) 3.359 — 0.01

10-YR BUND YLD (EU10YT=RR: ) 2.956 — 0.00

SPOT GOLD (XAU=: ) $1,387.00 0.18 % $2.45

US CRUDE (CLc1: ) $90.72 0.27 % 0.24

——————————————————————–

GLOBAL MRKTS-Resource stocks rise on growth view, oil up [ID:nTOE6BM00V]

U.S. bank shares help keep alive year-end rally [ID:nN22109632]

Oil up towards $91 on tighter US crude stocks, cold snap [ID:nL3E6NN011]

China key money market rate jumps on cash crunch [ID:nBJD000143]

Gold inches up, dealers expect buying on EU debt fears [ID:nL3E6NN02I]

Copper drifts on China money drain, profit-taking [ID:nL3E6NN01R]

TREASURIES-Steady ahead of U.S. economic data dose [ID:nL3E6NN07D]

COMPANY NEWS:

RIO TINTO (RIO.L: ), MINING SECTOR

Rio Tinto has offered $3.9 billion to buy African-focused rival Riversdale
(RIV.AX: ) in an agreed deal to tap soaring demand for coking coal but investors
are betting on a possible bidding war from rival suitors. [ID:nL3E6NM1LU]

REPSOL (REP.MC: ), ENI (ENI.MI: ), STATOILHYDRO (STL.OL: ), TOTAL (TOTF.PA: )

Venezuela is expected to modify its gas sector law to increase taxes and
put any future production projects solely in the hands of joint ventures with
majority participation by the South American state. Venezuela has signed gas
exploration deals with Spain’s Repsol, Italy’s ENI, Chevron (CVX.N: ) of the
United States, StatoilHydro of Norway, France’s Total and Russia’s Gazprom
(GAZP.MM: ). [ID:nN22112135]

MINERS

Australia’s government rejected a newspaper report on Thursday that its
controversial mining tax will raise $2.5 billion less in revenue in the first
two years than expected, potentially threatening the budget surplus forecast
for 2012/2013. [ID:nL3E6NM1KO]

DEUTSCHE BANK (DBKGn.DE: )

The bank expects to again achieve strong return on equity in the medium
term, after a dip as tighter banking regulations are introduced, chief
executive Josef Ackermann said in interview.

THALES (TCFP.PA: )

French defence electronics group Thales’ five-year plan targets are
“realistic”, its Chief Executive Luc Vigneron told the Financial Times in an
interview on Thursday. [ID:LDE6BM04]

DEUTSCHE BOERSE (DB1Gn.DE: ) (DB1Gn.DE: )

European trading platform Chi-X Europe has entered exclusive talks with
Bats Europe regarding a sale that would create the largest regional trading
centre. US trading firm Direct Edge, which lists German exchange group
Deutsche Boerse (DB1Gn.DE: ) as a large shareholder, all looked at a possible
deal, according to the sources, but the choice came down to one between Bats
and Nasdaq. [ID:nLDE6BL1QE]

AREVA (CEPFi.PA: )

The nuclear reactor maker holds a shareholders meeting later in the day to
approve a 900 million capital increase that will see Kuwait taking a near 5
percent stake in the state-owned company [CEPFi.PA]

USG PEOPLE (USGP.AS: )

The Dutch staffing company expects to make an acquisition next year,
financing any large deal by issuing debt or shares, its chief executive told
Reuters in an interview on Wednesday. [ID:nLDE6BL1SB]

UBS (UBSN.VX: )

A former UBS banker pleaded guilty on Wednesday to charges he helped
wealthy American clients hide their money from U.S. tax authorities as
American officials stepped up a crackdown on offshore tax evasion.

NOVARTIS (NOVN.VX: )

Novartis said late on Wednesday it had gained FDA approval for
Amturnide(TM), a triple-combination pill to treat high blood pressure in
patients uncontrolled on two medications. For related news, click on
[NOVN.VX-E]

(Reporting by Blaise Robinson)

Europe Factors-Shares set to extend brisk December rally