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Financial Times: European bourses poised for higher open

By Neil Dennis
Published: February 2 2006
European equities were poised for gains on Thursday following strong sessions in the US and Asia, while fourth-quarter numbers from Deutsche Bank and Royal Dutch Shell provided no nasty shocks.
Spread betters were expecting the three main European indices – London’s FTSE 100, Frankfurt’s Xetra Dax and the CAC 40 in Paris – to open between 15 and 30 points higher.
In New York overnight, the Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 0.8 per cent to 10,953.95 in a choppy session, driven by fluctuations in the price of oil. The Nasdaq Composite added 0.2 per cent to 2,310.56.
Royal Dutch Shell, the oil major, reported fourth-quarter earnings that came in line with market forecasts. A 3 per cent rise in net profit at the current cost of supply (CCS) to $5.395bn beat expectations of $5.385bn. Full-year CCS net profit was $22.94bn a record for a London-listed company.
Deutsche Bank’s full-year pre-tax profit beat expectations thanks to strong growth in trading revenues.
Alcatel, the French mobile phone equipment maker, announced a forecast-beating 16 per cent rise in fourth-quarter operating profit and provided an optimistic outlook on first-quarter sales and 2006 growth. The company said it would propose a dividend for 2005 of €0.16, its first payout since 2001.

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