PARIS, April 17 (Reuters) - European stocks were set to open steady on Thursday, halting the previous session's rebound as lower-than-expected results from Google and IBM and a warning by SAP over the negative impact of a strong euro eclipsed dovish comments from the head of the U.S. Federal Reserve. Investors were also reluctant to chase stocks higher ahead of long Easter weekend and as tensions in Ukraine continued to rise. Ahead of a meeting of Foreign ministers from Russia and the West in Geneva on Thursday, separatists flew the Russian flag on armoured vehicles taken from the Ukrainian army on Wednesday, humiliating a Kiev government operation to recapture eastern towns controlled by pro-Moscow partisans. "With no one quite clear what is going on the ground in the Ukraine following numerous reports of gun battles, mass defections, building occupations, and tank thefts; it's unlikely that traders will want to put on large positions going into a long weekend when the expectations for the talks are so low," Capital Spreads trader Jonathan Sudaria wrote in a note. Shares in European spirits makers will be in the spotlight after Remy Cointreau warned full-year operating profit would plunge by between 35 percent and 40 percent after cognac sales sank 32 percent in the fourth quarter due to a Chinese government crackdown on ostentatious spending. The day's focus will also be on the impact from the strength in the euro currency, with German business software maker SAP warning that it expected the hit from volatile exchange rates to worsen in the second quarter. At 0627 GMT, futures for Euro STOXX 50, for UK's FTSE 100, for Germany's DAX and for France's CAC were up 0.1 percent to down 0.1 percent. Shares in Internet giant Google lost around 4 percent after hours in New York as first-quarter revenue missed estimates, while shares of IBM also lost 4 percent after it reported its lowest quarterly revenue in five years. Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen reaffirmed the Fed's commitment to keep interest rates low, even after ending its bond-buying program, as long as inflation remains below target and unemployment elevated. The dovish comments helped fuelled a rally on Wall Street. Europe bourses in 2014: http://link.reuters.com/pad95v Asset performance in 2014: http://link.reuters.com/rav46v ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ MARKET SNAPSHOT AT 0626 GMT: LAST PCT CHG NET CHG S&P 500 1,862.31 1.05 % 19.33 NIKKEI 14,417.53 0 % -0.15 MSCI ASIA EX-JP 480.98 0.30 1.46 EUR/USD 1.3841 0.2 % 0.0027 USD/JPY 102.00 -0.22 % -0.2200 10-YR US TSY YLD 2.625 -- -0.01 10-YR BUND YLD 1.485 -- 0.00 SPOT GOLD $1,301.20 -0.09 % -$1.20 US CRUDE $104.13 0.36 % 0.37 > Global Markets-Asian stocks struggle higher, lack conviction > US Stocks-Wall St gains on Yellen comments and Yahoo; BofA falls > Nikkei flat in choppy trade as profit-taking offsets U.S. optimism > FOREX-Yen grinds lower as global stocks rally, dollar holds steady > Gold holds above $1,300 on Ukraine; fund outflows pose risk > Copper up 2nd day on china growth; nickel near 14-month peak > Brent holds near $110 on Ukraine crisis COMPANY NEWS: SAP German business software maker SAP warned on Thursday that it expected the negative impact of volatile exchange rates to worsen in the second quarter as the strong euro weighs on its financial results. AUTO MAKERS Europe's car sales recovery may be taking hold, according to registrations data published on Thursday, but confidential industry surveys show the price war is raging on. PUBLICIS Advertising agency Publicis, which is merging with larger rival Omnicom OMC.N, achieved 3.3 percent revenue growth on a comparable basis in the first quarter, helped by strong digital sales and an uptick in China and Europe. BP BP said the U.S. Coast Guard on Tuesday ended patrols and operations on the final three shoreline miles in Louisiana, bringing to a close the four-year cleanup of the Gulf Coast following the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. VOLKSWAGEN, SCANIA Sweden's Investor AB said on Wednesday it was turning down a 200 crown per share bid by Volkswagen for Swedish truckmaker Scania. ACTELION Actelion, Europe's biggest biotech company, signalled it might raise its guidance for earnings growth at mid year as it posted first-quarter earnings that beat expectations. CARREFOUR, AXA, BNP, KLEPIERRE The French retailer completed the purchase of Klepierre's shopping centres located in France, Spain and Italy for about 1.98 billion euros. It also announced the formation of CARMILA, a company which owns a portfolio of 171 shopping centres, in which Carrefour will hold a 42 percent stake alongside partners including AXA and BNP Paribas. TELECOM ITALIA Telecom Italia investors on Wednesday elected Giuseppe Recchi as chairman in a board renewal that for the first time puts independent directors in charge of overseeing Italy's largest phone group. THYSSENKRUPP The steelmaker has agreed a 2 billion euro, three-year revolving credit facility to replace an existing 2.5 billion euro facility that was due to mature in July, banking sources said on Wednesday. BASF The European Commission on Wednesday urged Germany to take urgent steps to regulate polymer producers under the bloc's Emissions Trading System or face being sued over the breach of EU law. PROSIEBENSAT.1 The German broadcaster carried out a refinancing that will lead to an improved pretax cash flow and financing costs of around 50 million euros over four years, it said on Wednesday. BANCA POPOLARE DI MILANO Banca Popolare di Milano said on Wednesday rejection of corporate governance reforms by its shareholders over the weekend would not delay plans it has for a capital increase of 500 million euros. SAIPEM An Italian court has ruled that Pietro Varone, former chief of oil service firm Saipem's engineering business, was improperly dismissed in connection with corruption allegations in Algeria, according to a court document seen by Reuters. TUI AG The travel and tourism group's stake in Hapag-Lloyd will drop to 13.9 percent in two stages as part of the container shipping company's tie-up with Vapores, announced late Wednesday. (Reporting by Blaise Robinson; Editing by James Regan and Sudip Kar-Gupta)
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