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Europe Factors - Shares seen higher on renewed recovery hopes

Source: Reuters - Mon 24th Aug 2009

European shares are set to open higher on Monday, according to financial bookmakers, extending the previous session's sharp gains and taking cues from the U.S. and Asian markets on hopes that the global economic recovery is picking up steam.

By 0629 GMT, futures for Euro STOXX 50, Germany's DAX and France's CAC 40 were up 0.6-0.9 percent. Earlier, financial spread betters expected Britain's FTSE 100 to open up 54 to 71 points, or as much as 1.5 percent.

"The rally seems like building strength again. We saw that on Friday. We've seen it in Asia overnight. The U.S. index futures are rising rapidly" said Matthew Buckland, a dealer at CMC Markets. "This broad rally shows no sign of running out of steam as yet."

Japan's Nikkei average rose 3.4 percent on Monday, while U.S. stock index futures were also higher, pointing to a stronger open on Wall Street, which ended last week at 2009 highs.

The FTSEuro first 300 index of top European shares rallied 2.3 percent to hit their highest close since early November as better-than-expected U.S. July existing home sales and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke's comment that the global economy appeared on the mend lifted investor sentiment.

The pan-European index has rallied nearly 50 percent since hitting a floor in early March, and is up 16 percent for the year.

European Central Bank Governing Council Member Ewald Nowotny said over the weekend that the European economy will improve in the second half, driven by policy measure, but a sustained recovery will likely not take hold until the beginning of 2010. But Nouriel Roubini, one of the few economists who accurately predicted the magnitude of the world's recent financial troubles, sees a "big risk" of a double-dip recession, according to an opinion piece posted on the Financial Times website on Sunday.

Euro zone industrial new orders, due out at 0900 GMT, will provide a further gauge on the state of the region's economic picture. Investors will also keep an eye on Chicago Fed Index for July, due at 1230 GMT, and U.S. Midwest manufacturing data, which will be released at 1600 GMT.

Clients of UBS facing disclosure of their accounts to U.S. tax authorities were not harmless victims, and legal cases against former UBS bankers did not affect the bank, its chairman told Sunday newspapers.

Kaspar Villiger said he did not believe systematic tax evasion had been aproblem in countries other than the United States and that the decision of international institutional investors to buy the government's 9 percent stake showed confidence in the bank.

Novartis said its asthma drug Xolair has been approved by the European Commission as an add-on therapy for children aged 6 to 11 suffering from severe persistent allergic.

Separately, Belgian pharamceutical group UCB and the Swiss drugmaker have entered a licensing agreement for cardiovascular and diabetes products in Germany, UCB said in a statement.

LLOYDS BANKING GROUP - Entrepreneur Clive Cowdery's Resolution has held early stage talkswith Lloyds Banking Group over the sale of the bank's Clerical Medical unit, the Mail on Sunday reported, citing an unnamed source.

Separately, Victor Blank, outgoing chairman of Lloyds Banking Group, said the bank's board was behind the decision to buy HBOS, not the UK government.

ROYAL BANK OF SCOTLAND, LLOYDS BANKING GROUP - Britain's taxpayer-owned banks are selling repossessed property assets to their own subsidiaries to avoid billions of pounds of losses that would be incurred by selling them in the open market, the Times newspaper said.

RBS, which is part-owned by the government, has set up West Register to buy properties taken over by RBS after borrowers had fallen into default, it said.

Lloyds is understood to have a similar subsidiary that buys assets from its owner, the newspaper said.

Chief Executive Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo told the Financial Times newspaper that the world's top mobile phone maker aims to become "even more competitive" in the smartphone market as it battles Apple's successful iPhone.

But Kallasvuo said Nokia only needs some "fine tuning" as it focuses ongrowing its

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