UK Markets close in 7 hrs 40 mins

LIVE MARKETS-On our radar: earnings, earnings, and earnings

* European shares seen higher

* China to halve tariffs on some U.S. imports

* S&P 500, Nasdaq post record closing highs

* Big earnings day in Europe Welcome to the home for real-time coverage of European equity markets brought to you by Reuters stocks reporters. You can share your thoughts with Thyagaraju Adinarayan (thyagaraju.adinarayan@tr.com), Joice Alves (joice.alves@tr.com), Julien Ponthus (julien.ponthus@tr.com) in London and Danilo Masoni (danilo.masoni@tr.com) in Milan.


ON OUR RADAR: EARNINGS, EARNINGS, AND EARNINGS (0753 GMT)

Futures are pointing to a higher open today and it looks like Europe's top benchmark could break above its previous record high. No coronovirus surprises, lifetime closes on Wall Street and China's move to cut tariffs on some U.S. imports are all adding to the ubeat mood, along with some good-looking earnings updates.

On the corporate news front, it's a heavy day for bank earnings that show how the sector is coping with negative rates. Numbers from Italy's No.1 bank UniCredit, Nordic leader Nordea and Austria's Raiffeisen are looking good so far and come as analysts have started to edge up their forecasts on the sector's profits following nearly two years of downgrades, although Societe Generale and ING Groep fell short of analyst expectation. Despite the Q4 miss, some traders see Soc Gen shares rising at the open, supported by a pledge to boost shareholder returns.

Decent numbers in the energy sector from oil majors. One trader sees shares in Total up 2% after Q4 net adjusted profit steadied at $3.2 billion, beating expectations, while Equinor could rise 1% after a smaller-than-expected drop in Q4 core operating profits.

The trade-sensitive car sector, the worst performer in Europe so far in 2020, could be underpinned by the China tariff news while Toyota raising its full-year profit forecast on better-than-expected vehicle sales could also be sector positive, even though Japan's No. 1 carmaker said he impact of the new coronavirus was difficult to gauge. Meantime, cost cuts and sales growth helped unlisted Volvo Car post an 18% rise in Q4 operating profit.

In tech, possible read-across from U.S. chip maker Qualcomm which said overnight coronavirus poses a potential threat to the mobile phone industry, overshadowing results that otherwise beat expectations. A surprise net profit could push shares in telecom network equipment maker Nokia up 3-5%.

Other stock movers: ArcelorMittal sees 2020 steel pick-up as debt hits low, Sanofi eyes more EPS growth this year as it narrows focus; BP eyes sale of Algerian gas plant after Rosneft talks fail -sources; Royal Mail says outlook "challenging" as mail recovery lags.

(Danilo Masoni)

*****



EUROPE SET FOR MORE GAINS (0640 GMT)

Record closes on Wall Street and a move by China to halve tariffs on some U.S. imports are expected to help push European stocks higher today despite the coronavirus threat and as earnings expectations for Q4 stabilise after a string of downgrades.

On the corporate front, it's a busy earnings day, especially in the banking sector.

France's third-biggest bank Societe Generale boosted its capital after asset sales; Q4 earnings at Nordic leader Nordea Bank topped expectations; Italy's biggest bank UniCredit posted a lower-than-expected Q4 net loss; while ING Groep's Q4 pre-tax profit fell slightly short of expectations.

Elsewhere, Nokia posted a surprise Q4 profit and Equinor's profit beat expectations.

Financial spreadbetters at IG expect London's FTSE to open 42 points higher at 7,482, Frankfurt's DAX to open 82 points up at 13,478 and Paris' CAC to open 36 points higher at 5,985.

(Danilo Masoni)

***** (Reporting by Danilo Masoni, Joice Alves, Julien Ponthus and Thyagaraju Adinarayan)