Europe Stay updated with Business News, Pakistan news, Current world news and latest world news with Business Recorder.. Sat, 25 Apr 2015 18:14:28 +0000 SRA Framework 2.0 en-gb European shares rise as DAX and Greek markets rally imageLONDON: European shares climbed higher on Friday, boosted by encouraging corporate earnings and upbeat economic data, while the volatile Athens market also rose on prospects for a deal over Greece's debt crisis.

The FTSEurofirst 300 was up 0.5 percent at 1,629.34 points going into the middle of the trading session.

The index reversed most of the previous session's drop and was just 1.5 percent below a 2015 peak hit last week, which marked its highest level since 2000.

Germany's DAX advanced 0.8 percent, putting it within reach of record highs hit earlier this year, as data showed that German business morale had risen to its highest level in almost a year in April.

There was also optimism regarding Greece, after German Chancellor Angela Merkel said she had a "constructive" meeting with Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras.

The Athens ATG index rose 4.3 percent, with Greek banks up 10.4 percent, although the ATG index remains down 7 percent so far in 2015. Outside of Greece, however, most European stock markets have had a strong start to the year due to new economic stimulus measures from the European Central Bank (ECB) and signs of a pick-up in trade within the euro zone.

The DAX is up 21 percent while the FTSEurofirst 300 is up 19 percent.

"Europe has promised growth only to disappoint before. But, this time around, there isn't yet real cause for concern. In fact in some countries - namely Italy and Spain - the economic momentum seems to be accelerating," said Gary Paulin, co-founder of brokerage Aviate Global.


Swedish home appliances maker Electrolux rose 7.8 percent after reporting a smaller-than-expected fall in first-quarter earnings.

Renault rose 3.5 percent after it said first-quarter revenue rose 13.7 percent, as Europe's auto-market upturn more than made up for collapsing Russian sales and a prolonged emerging-market slump.

HSBC, Europe's biggest bank, also gained 3.5 percent after it said it has started a review of whether to move its headquarters out of Britain following regulatory and structural changes in the industry.

Of the 16 percent of STOXX 600 companies to have reported first quarter results so far, 61 percent have beaten or met expectations, according to Thomson Reuters StarMine data. Thomson Reuters data shows first quarter earnings are expected to grow 2.8 percent from the first quarter of last year.

"Lending is picking up, as is consumer confidence, all of which points to an economic recovery in Europe," said James Butterfill, global equity strategist at Coutts.

Copyright Reuters, 2015

]]> (Shoaib-ur-Rehman Siddiqui) Europe Fri, 24 Apr 2015 11:57:21 +0000
European stocks climb at open

imageLONDON: Europe's main stock markets advanced at the start of trading on Friday, with London's benchmark FTSE 100 index up 0.26 percent at 7,072.36 points.

Frankfurt's DAX 30 index won 0.51 percent to 11,783.56 points and the CAC 40 in Paris gained 0.46 percent to 5,202.63 compared with Thursday's close.

Copyright AFP (Agence France-Presse), 2015

]]> (Parvez Jabri) Europe Fri, 24 Apr 2015 08:23:19 +0000
German bond yields stabilise as weak data shows scale of QE task imageLONDON: German bond yields stabilised after a sharp rise in recent days as weak private sector growth data reaffirmed the size of the ECB's quantitative easing task in buttressing the euro zone's fragile recovery.

German yields remain on track for one of their weakest weeks this year but the 10-year yields fell 1 basis point to 0.16 percent after the data, having hit a two-week high of 0.176 percent in early trading.

"What we have this morning is a correction after a very sharp sell-off," Natixis strategist Cyril Regnat said.

"(ECB President) Draghi was right when he said it (QE) was a marathon. We are at an early stage in this European recovery."

Markit's preliminary business activity survey for April came up short of forecasts with data from the bloc's two major economies, Germany and France, dragging on the average.

Diminishing fears of an imminent default in Greece have drawn investors back to riskier, higher-yielding bonds this week, partly reversing the seemingly unstoppable fall in safe-haven German bond yields towards zero.

In the week to date, German 10-year yields have risen about 8 basis points. Only two other weeks in 2015 have seen rises of this magnitude, in early March and early February.

The sell-off coincided with comments from influential fund manager Bill Gross, who said 10-year German bonds were "the short of a lifetime".

But euro zone data released on Thursday, based on surveys of thousands of companies and seen as a good growth indicator, missed even the lowest forecast in a Reuters poll.

Swivelling investor attention back onto the market importance of the European Central Bank's one-trillion-euro purchase programme, yields across the bloc fell on the day.

Low-rated Italian and Spanish 10-year yields were down 1-2 bps at 1.39 percent and 1.36 percent . Portuguese yields fell 3 bps to trade back below 2 percent.

Lisbon swapped over 4.5 billion euros in bonds expiring in 2017 and 2018 for 4 billion euros in much longer maturities, alleviating its medium-term bond redemptions.

Greek yields fell 41 bps to 12.50 percent, easing back from 2-1/2-year highs hit this week as the government looks likely to be able to scrape together enough cash to meet its payment obligations into June.

Greek newspaper Kathimerini reported on Thursday that Athens is considering asking the European Stability Mechanism to buy Greek government bonds held by the European Central Bank to pay for debt redemptions this summer.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel was expected to press Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras later on Thursday to move faster to agree detailed economic reforms crucial to unlocking bailout funds before Athens runs out of cash.

Copyright Reuters, 2015

]]> (Imaduddin) Europe Thu, 23 Apr 2015 20:10:53 +0000
UK's FTSE back near record high as utility stocks rise imageLONDON: Britain's top equity index pushed higher on Thursday, boosted by a bump-up for utilities stocks just two weeks before a general election, while mining stocks also outperformed.

United Utilities climbed 1.1 percent, SSE advanced 1.4 percent and National Grid rose 0.6 percent after investment bank Citigroup said the sector would be favoured as a protection against any market volatility caused by the election.

Utility stocks are often preferred in times of market unease due to their stable profits and relatively high dividend yields.

Even though uncertainty over the May 7 vote has hit sterling on currency markets, Britain's benchmark FTSE 100 index has been relatively steady.

The FTSE 100 closed up 0.4 percent at 7,053.67 points, near a record high of 7,119.35 reached on April 16. The index is up 7.4 percent so far in 2015.

While no single party is expected to win an outright majority, the UK stock market has shown few signs of edginess as some investors choose to stay steady rather than cash out on a market still trading near record highs.

Opinion polls put the right-wing Conservatives neck-and-neck with the opposition left-wing Labour party, while the Scottish National Party (SNP) could emerge as the third-biggest party.

A further risk also stems from the Conservatives promising a referendum on Britain's membership of the European Union by the end of 2017, if they win.

"The Conservatives are so driven by this European vote, it's a red line for them. It's possible that a weak Labour coalition may be marginally better for the stock market, although I suspect it won't matter one way or another as long as it doesn't include the SNP," said Ewen Cameron Watt, global chief investment strategist at BlackRock Investment Institute.


Shares in sportswear retailer Sports Direct and electrical goods group Dixons Carphone weakened after an unexpected fall in UK retail sales data.

WPP, the world's biggest advertising company, also fell after posting a slowdown in first-quarter like-for-like net sales, which traders said were more sluggish than anticipated.

However, supermarket chain Sainsbury rose after deciding to axe 800 store jobs in a drive to cut costs.

Mining stocks such as Antofagasta and Anglo American also performed well. Antofagasta was helped by its plan to sell off a business for $965 million while Anglo American benefited from higher iron ore output at its Kumba unit.

Copyright Reuters, 2015

]]> (Imaduddin) Europe Thu, 23 Apr 2015 20:05:12 +0000
European shares fall after PMI surveys, Ericsson down 10pc imageLONDON: European shares slipped on Thursday, with Germany's DAX index underperforming following a disappointing purchasing managers' survey while weak results from Ericsson hit technology stocks.

Tech shares were hit as telecom equipment maker Ericsson slumped 10.3 percent after it posted weaker-than-forecast first-quarter operating profit and said it expected sales in its main North American market to stay sluggish.

The STOXX Europe 600 Tech index dropped 2.1 percent.

After opening higher on the back of some positive company updates, the pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index was down 0.4 percent at 1,622.73 points by 1404 GMT.

Euro zone purchasing managers' surveys disappointed investors with the German PMI index falling to 54.2 from March's eight-month high of 55.4, while France's PMI showed a slower expansion than forecast in the services sector and a faster contraction than expected in manufacturing.

"Even though there is a clear improvement on the economic front in Europe, the game is not won," BNP Paribas Fortis Global Markets' head of research, Philippe Gijsels, said.

"The market's reaction after German and French surveys shows that equities are vulnerable to disappointing economic figures."

Germany's benchmark DAX index fell 0.8 percent.

Among standout stock movers, German building services firm Bilfinger slumped 14.3 percent after issuing its fifth profit warning in less than a year after the market close on Wednesday, saying its U.S. oil and gas business was faring worse than expected and demand in its power plant business remained weak.

Swiss Re fell 9.5 percent after shares in the world's No. 2 reinsurer traded without the attraction of its latest dividend payouts.

Investors kept a close eye on Greece's debt situation, which has created volatility in financial markets in recent weeks. Shut out of bond markets and fast running out of cash, Greece faces big redemptions to the European Central Bank as remaining bailout money stays locked until it agrees with creditors on reforms.

However, there were positive updates from some companies.

Shares in tyre maker Michelin jumped 6.2 percent, making them top gainer in the FTSEurofirst 300, after first-quarter revenue rose 5.6 percent, boosted by a weaker euro.

French spirits maker Pernod Ricard climbed 2.2 percent after posting better-than-expected third-quarter sales, reflecting improving cognac sales in China, its second-largest market, and also stronger sales in the Americas.

Copyright Reuters, 2015

]]> (Imaduddin) Europe Thu, 23 Apr 2015 20:04:24 +0000
European stocks close mostly lower imageLONDON: European stock markets closed mostly lower Thursday as more disappointing Chinese data weighed on the global economic outlook, and investors awaited developments in Greece's debt stand-off.

Frankfurt's benchmark DAX 30 index closed down 1.21 percent to 11,723,58 points as the market brushed off data showing that consumer confidence in Germany is at its highest since late 2001.

The CAC 40 in Paris ended 0.62 percent lower at 5,178.91 after a key survey showed growth in business activity in France's private sector slowed in April amid signs that the eurozone's second-biggest economy was on the verge of stalling.

London's FTSE 100 closed out 0.36 percent higher to 7,053.67 points, with dealers reacting to a drop in British retail sales numbers, along with official data showing the British government beat its deficit-reduction target before next month's general election.

The euro rose to $1.0804 from $1.0725 late in New York on Wednesday.

"European equity markets remained in negative territory in today's trading session with ... indices (retreating) between 0.2% and 1.2% amid ongoing concerns regarding Greece's economic stability and poor US economic data," said Sucden senior research analyst Myrto Sokou.

Sales of new US homes plunged by 11.4 percent month-over-month in March, the Commerce Department reported Thursday.

Worries about the health of China's economic activity also weighed on trading.

"In recent weeks, data from the world's largest economies -- the US and China, in particular -- have generally been disappointing. This trend continued for China overnight," said Fawad Razaqzada, technical analyst at trading group

HSBC said its preliminary purchasing managers' index (PMI) of manufacturing activity in China had slipped to a 12-month low in April, the latest data to show the world's number two economy slowing.

The reading of 49.2 was down from the 49.6 seen in March, and well below the 50 break-even point that separates growth from expansion.

But Asian stock markets mostly rose Thursday on hopes for further Chinese stimulus in reaction to the data, analysts said.

The PMI by Markit Economics for the French private sector dropped to 50.2 points in April from 51.5 points the month before, data showed Thursday.

"Slowing manufacturing and service sector data for France and Germany stifled hopes of a eurozone economic recovery and sent shares lower on Thursday," said CMC Markets analyst Jasper Lawler.

"The PMIs were against a recent trend of improved data from the eurozone, though do match a fall in German investor confidence reported by ZEW on Monday."

Markets were also looking with concern to Friday, when eurozone finance ministers are due to meet in Latvia's capital Riga.

With Greek government coffers rapidly emptying, analysts warn Athens may have only weeks left before defaulting and possibly exiting the euro unless it reaches a deal with the EU and IMF to unlock 7.2 billion euros in remaining bailout loans.

"Greek default fears are back at the forefront of traders' minds," said David Madden, market analyst at IG traders.

"Greece is getting used to entering crisis talks and the (ruling) Syriza party seem all too happy to be haggling with creditors, but the equity markets haven't got the stomach for it."

US stocks were mixed in late morning trading, after key companies including GM, Caterpillar and Procter & Gamble all reported falling revenues in earnings reports.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average slid 0.07 percent to 18,025.19 points approaching midday.

The broad-based S&P climbed 0.51 percent to 2,107.96 points while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index slipped 0.05 percent to 5,032.90 points.

Copyright AFP (Agence France-Presse), 2015

]]> (Imaduddin) Europe Thu, 23 Apr 2015 19:51:01 +0000
European stocks rise at open imageLONDON: Europe's main stock markets climbed at the start of trading on Thursday, with London's benchmark FTSE 100 index up 0.18 percent at 7,041.03 points.

Frankfurt's DAX 30 index gained 0.17 percent to 11,887.14 points and the CAC 40 in Paris advanced 0.11 percent to 5,217.08 points compared with Wednesday's close.

Copyright AFP (Agence France-Presse), 2015

]]> (Parvez Jabri) Europe Thu, 23 Apr 2015 07:46:44 +0000
UK gilts take biggest dip in 6 months as market reprices BoE bets, election risk imageLONDON: British government bond prices took their biggest one-day tumble in six months on Wednesday as markets priced in an earlier rate rise by the Bank of England after it published its latest policy minutes.

Five- and 10-year government bond yields jumped more than 12 basis points on the day, taking yields to their highest in nearly six weeks, while interest rate futures markets brought forward by three months to May 2016 the expected timing of a first rise in BoE rates from their record-low 0.5 percent.

Minutes of the BoE's April policy meeting showed the central bank saw a chance that inflation could rebound faster than expected next year, and that it thought the rate tightening priced in by markets was "exceptionally slow".

Even so, the scale of Wednesday's market move was large and might also reflect previously latent concerns about an inconclusive result to Britain's May 7 election, said RBS fixed income strategist Simon Peck.

"The only obvious catalyst is the MPC minutes, which did not seem as hawkish as something that should justify an 11-12 basis point sell-off," he said. "But we have been expecting gilts to underperform and this could be what they needed to start motoring. The political backdrop provides a challenging environment for sterling assets," he added.

Central banks and others have also warned about a lack of liquidity in bond markets, which can lead to an exaggerated reaction to events.

The gilt market's reaction to the BoE minutes was initially relatively limited, but steadily increased over the day, while sterling strengthened past $1.50 to its highest in five weeks.

Ten-year gilt yields were 13 basis points up on the day at 1.70 percent at 1500 GMT, the largest rise since Oct. 16 and their highest level since March 13. Five-year yields rose by a similar amount to 1.316 percent.

While prices for German Bunds and U.S. Treasuries also fell on Wednesday, gilts led the downward move. The spread in yields between 10-year gilts and Bunds widened by 8 basis points to a six-week high of 154.8 basis points. Against Treasuries, gilts underperformed by 7 basis points.

Short-sterling interest rate futures also fell sharply as markets priced in higher rates, with the most heavily traded contract, that for December 2015, dropping 5 ticks to 99.24. Contracts further into the future fell as much as 12 tick.

Peck said gilts were at risk of further falls in the run-up to May's election, which could leave neither major political party with enough seats to form a stable government.

"We are now right on the cusp of the period when markets really focus in on prices and political risk," he said.

Copyright Reuters, 2015

]]> (Imaduddin) Europe Wed, 22 Apr 2015 21:12:45 +0000
Weak earnings and fall in luxury stocks weigh on European shares imageLONDON: A raft of weak corporate earnings coupled with sharp drops in some major luxury goods stocks weighed on European equities on Wednesday.

Luxury group Kering was among the worst performers after reporting sales dropped by more than expected, with rivals such as Burberry and Hugo Boss also retreating. Kering fell 3.9 percent.

Finnish elevator company Kone slumped 5.3 percent after warning of uncertainty in its main market, China, and posting weaker than expected profits.

British supermarket operator Tesco dropped 5.2 percent after reporting its worst ever loss.

Tesco's shares initially rose as much as 2.4 percent, with some traders expressing relief at Tesco's determination to restructure its business, but the stock then lost ground as more pessimism set in, with one major institutional investor saying that the results were as ugly as feared.

The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index closed flat at 1,628.35 points. Germany's DAX closed down 0.6 percent.

"I'm short on the markets here. There are a lot of negative factors coming together, such as the weak earnings and the ongoing worries over Greece," said Clairinvest fund manager Ion-Marc Valahu.


Shut out of bond markets, Greece is on the verge of bankruptcy and could run out of cash in weeks unless it strikes a deal with foreign creditors to unlock further bailout aid.

The Athens stock market rose 2.1 percent on Wednesday after the European Central Bank raised its emergency funding cap for Greek banks to 75.5 billion euros, according to a source , but some traders remained wary.

"With no chance of a deal at Friday's Eurogroup meeting in Riga, Greece has missed its latest chance to show genuine intent in regards to reforms, leaving it friendless, penniless and pretty much hopeless," said Spreadex analyst Connor Campbell.

Among standout gainers, shares in Volvo jumped 15 percent after the company named the head of Volkswagen-owned Scania as its chief executive.

In spite of the pullback on Wednesday, the backdrop of a weak euro and monetary stimulus from the European Central Bank's bond-buying scheme has fuelled investor demand for equities.

Germany's DAX remains near record highs while the FTSEurofirst 300 is also near its highest level in more than 14 years. The FTSEurofirst has risen 19 percent so far this year.

"We are generally quite bullish on western Europe at the moment here, and have been buyers in particular of German and French equities," said Sanlam Securities' head of execution trading Mark Ward.

Copyright Reuters, 2015

]]> (Imaduddin) Europe Wed, 22 Apr 2015 21:03:00 +0000
European stocks jittery as Greek debt drama drags on imageLONDON: Europe's main stock markets diverged Wednesday as investors reacted to mixed corporate news and awaited the next moves concerning Greece.

London's benchmark FTSE 100 index ended the day down 0.49 percent to 7,028.24 points, while the CAC 40 in Paris finished 0.36 percent higher at 5,211.09 points.

Frankfurt's DAX 30 index fell 0.60 percent to 11,867.37 points despite the German government raising its 2015 growth forecast to 1.8 percent.

Milan added 0.32 percent while Madrid shed 0.20 percent.

The euro slid to $1.0728 compared with $1.0735 late in New York on Tuesday.

"Investor sentiment was dampened by the overhanging concerns regarding Greece's debt crisis as officials on both sides struggle to make meaningful progress," said analyst Kash Kamal at Sucden Financial Research.

Markets were looking ahead to the end of the week when eurozone finance ministers are due to meet in Latvia's capital Riga.

Eurogroup president Jeroen Dijsselbloem offered a glimmer of hope on the negotiations with Athens on Tuesday, saying some progress had been made, with the EU pressing Athens to detail a programme of acceptable reforms by Friday.

With Greek government coffers rapidly emptying, analysts warn Athens may have only weeks left before defaulting and possibly exiting the euro unless it reaches a deal with the EU and IMF to unlock 7.2 billion euros in remaining bailout loans.

But Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis downplayed the chances of a breakthrough in Riga, though he expressed confidence in eventually reaching a deal.

"This Eurogroup is informal and will last around two or two-and-a-half hours, and no Eurogroup decides on something so important in such a short meeting," he told Greek media late on Tuesday.

However he said he hopes the meeting "will be an important step in advancing the negotiations," and that "very soon we'll be able to talk about reforms that will be the backbone of a new growth programme."

The Athens stock exchange traded as much as 3 percent lower, before picking up after the ECB stepped up its support for Greek banks to close with a 2.1 percent gain.

Shares in Britain's biggest retailer Tesco slumped 5.15 percent to 1,048 pence after the supermarket group announced it had plunged into a record loss last year as it took a huge writedown on the value of its property.

Tesco, which was hit by a major crisis last October after accounting errors that overstated profits, reported a loss after tax of £5.74 billion ($8.58 billion, 8.0 billion euros) in the 12 months to the end of February.

"The extent of the impairments are eye-watering," said Richard Hunter, head of equities at Hargreaves Lansdown Stockbrokers.

"In addition, the outlook for the business remains unclear as management seek to spin several plates at once, with focus on such matters as the general restructuring, cost savings and an effort to regain some competitive composure."

Rolls-Royce shares meanwhile climbed 4.07 percent to 1,048 pence after the British maker of aircraft engines unveiled a new chief executive days after announcing a record deal.

John Rishton will retire from the top post on July 2 to be replaced by Warren East, a non-executive director at the company and former chief executive of British semiconductor manufacturer ARM Holdings.

Rolls last week said it had won a contract from Dubai's Emirates Airline worth a record $9.2-billion to supply and maintain Trent 900 engines for 50 Airbus A380 superjumbos.

In Asia, Japanese shares ended above 20,000 Wednesday for the first time in 15 years as the country recorded its first trade surplus for almost three years.

Tokyo's Nikkei jumped 1.13 percent to finish at 20,133.90 points, with analysts saying the monthly trade surplus was a good sign for corporate earnings.

Meanwhile Shanghai climbed 2.44 percent, and Hong Kong rose 0.30 percent.

But Seoul ended marginally lower while Sydney shed 0.36 percent.

Wall Street stocks pushed higher Wednesday on a flood of mixed earnings reports, some of which bested expectations.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 0.24 percent to stand at 17,991.99 points in midday trading.

The broad-based S&P 500 rose 0.21 percent to 2,101.75, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index added 0.15 percent to 5,021.72.

Copyright AFP (Agence France-Presse), 2015

]]> (Imaduddin) Europe Wed, 22 Apr 2015 19:48:41 +0000