Futures Point to Mixed Open Across Europe

European stock market futures pointed to a mixed opening on Wednesday as earnings season got properly underway and Glencore was expected to publish the prospectus for its much anticipated joint flotation on the London and Hong Kong Stock Exchanges.

Sharon Lorimer

Futures pointed to a positive open for the FTSE, although they also suggested Germany’s DAX would fall into negative territory when it openend.

Glencore, the world’s largest commodity trader, is to publish its prospectus for its initial public offering (IPO) in London and Hong Kong on Wednesday morning, expected to be the largest flotation since that of Goldman Sachs .

Reuters reported the commodities trader had set a price range of 480 to 580 pence per share for the IPO, which would value Glencore at $ 48-58 billion,

Meanwhile the banking sector was expected to lead gains as French bank, BNPParibas, surprised analysts after posting better than expected first quarter earnings. It said quarterly net income rose 14.6 percent to 2.62 billion euros ($3.9 billion), beating the average estimate of 2.25 billion in a Reuters poll of 12 analysts.

Revenue grew by 1.3 percent to 11.69 billion euros, also higher than expected.

Standard CharteredBank also said on Wednesday that it recorded double-digit income growth in the first quarter, helped by strong economic growth in its core Asian markets.

European shares had closed lower on Tuesday, snapping their eight-session winning run in a broad retreat led by mining and oil shares, but analysts said the pull-back was technical and the market's upward trend remained intact.

The European Commission, the European Central Bank, and International Monetary Fund officials could reveal details of a bailout package for Portugal as early as Wednesday.

Portugal is the third euro zone country to ask for financial aid after Greece and Ireland. Experts from the EU, ECB, and IMF have been assessing the situation to determine how much money the country needs.

The ECB holds its next policy meeting on Thursday and is expected to keep rates on hold after raising them last month in a move that ended almost two years of record low rates.

Euro zone March retail trade numbers are due on Wednesday, as well the euro zone April Purchasing Managers index and April unemployment figures for Spain.