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EUROPEAN HEADLINES TO WATCH: STMICRO, TOD'S, GJENSIDIGE (0652 GMT)
It's the first bumper Thursday of Europe's earnings season today and there's no shortage of news both from company results and ongoing sagas like Renault (LSE: 0NQF.L - news) 's leadership, no-deal Brexit preparations and emissions lawsuits.
The chipmaker will be particularly closely watched after the tech sector came out of favour late last year as the U.S.-China trade war ramped up a clash over technology and IP. STMicro said it saw Q1 sales falling by about 21 percent, joining peers predicting a slowdown.
Italian fashion group Tod's reported a fall in like-for-like sales as the luxury sector suffers from slowing economic growth in Europe and China. Tod's blamed a worsening of performance in Italy and the rest of Europe.
Norwegian insurer Gjensidige said its 2018 was "significantly impacted by extraordinary weather conditions" and that even when adjusting for these, it was "not satisfied" with its results.
We'll see the next step in the Carlos Ghosn saga today with Renault's board meeting to pick a successor.
Airbus adds to a long list of companies sounding the alarm about a no-deal Brexit, with Chief Executive Tom Enders warning in a video released on the planemaker's website that it could shift future wing-building out of Britain in the absence of a smooth exit.
And lawyers suing Fiat Chryself in a U.S. case over excess emissions are seeking more than $100 million.
Here's your sweep of headlines:
Airbus CEO sees 'harmful decisions' for British presence in a no-deal Brexit
Renault board meets to choose successor to Ghosn
Lawyers suing Fiat Chrysler in U.S. diesel case seek over $100 mln
Tod's like-for-like sales fall 3 pct in 2018
STMicro sees Q1 net revenues sink by 21 pct from previous quarter
Activist target Pernod boosts board independence with new role
Elior Group Q1 Consolidated Revenue Increases To 1.75 Billion Euros
SUBDUED TRADING TO CONTINUE AS INVESTORS EYE ECB (0618 GMT)
Spreadbetters don't expect any fireworks this morning from European shares, but a slew of earnings reports will keep trading busy at least at the stock level.
Today's ECB meeting is also eyed as a potential catalyst for markets which have seen subdued trading the past few days.
"The first ECB meeting of the year (today) is unlikely to lead to any material changes to communication or forward guidance," Societe Generale (Swiss: 519928.SW - news) economists write, "although the risk assessment should move further to the downside."
"The state of the economy is of immediate concern for the ECB at the start of the year," they add.
Asian shares were subdued overnight as political uncertainty in the United States and worries about weakening global economic growth left investors wary of riskier assets.
Financial spreadbetters at IG (Frankfurt: A0EARV - news) expect London's FTSE to open 3 points lower at 6,840, Frankfurt's DAX to open 9 points lower at 11,062 and Paris' CAC to open 2 points lower at 4,838.
(Reporting by Helen Reid, Danilo Masoni, Julien Ponthus and Josephine Mason)