Europe Stay updated with Business News, Pakistan news, Current world news and latest world news with Business Recorder.. Fri, 31 Oct 2014 07:23:52 +0000 SRA Framework 2.0 en-gb European stocks slide as Fed winds up QE stimulus imageLONDON: European stocks sank on Thursday, with Athens and Lisbon pulled down sharply by banks, as investors worried over the withdrawal of US Federal Reserve stimulus and the health of eurozone banking.

Losses were capped by news that the US economy grew at an annual rate of 3.5 percent in the third quarter, much stronger than expected, after 4.6-percent expansion in the previous three months.

But the Fed's withdrawal of its vast bond-buying scheme known as quantitative easing (QE), also hit sentiment across global markets.

The US central bank repeated plans overnight to keep record-low interest rates, but also sparked market speculation that it could seek to lift borrowing costs sooner than expected.

In early afternoon trading, Athens stocks plunged 3.68 percent and Lisbon slumped 2.54 percent, on renewed doubts over recent stress tests on the eurozone bank sector.

Milan fell 1.19 percent and Madrid sank 1.34 percent amid lingering concern over the tests conducted by the European Central Bank (ECB).

London's FTSE 100 index fell 0.61 percent, Frankfurt's DAX 30 lost 0.94 percent and in Paris the CAC 40 shed 0.35 percent compared with Wednesday's close.

Asian markets traded mixed while US markets opened weaker, with the Dow losing 0.11 percent and Nasdaq down 0.37 percent.

The euro meanwhile hit a three-week low at $1.2556.

"Stocks ... are now sharply lower," said analyst Fawad Razaqzada at trading site

"This is possibly a delayed response to yesterday's news that the Fed has ended QE.

"There are doubts about the ECB's ability to support the markets in the same way that the Fed has with their use of unconventional policy tools."

He added: "On top of this, there are renewed fears about the health of the banking sector."

The ECB gave most eurozone banks a clean bill of health on Sunday, but said 25 out of a total 130 banks had a combined shortfall of 25 billion euros ($31 billion) at the end of 2013.

"I think (there are) still some concerns over ECB stress tests -- and that ECB might be under-estimating capital required," VTB Capital economist Neil MacKinnon told AFP.

- US monetary policy pressures -

After a two-day meeting, the US central bank's Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) said on Wednesday it would bring an end to six years of monetary easing as the world's biggest economy gets back on track.

The Fed added it would keep near-zero interest rates for "a considerable time" after the end of the QE programme, sticking to its timetable of an increase well into 2015.

However, while the decision was widely expected, optimistic comments on the jobs market were considered by analysts to be more hawkish than in the past, fuelling speculation of a possible earlier-than-expected rate hike.

MacKinnon added that European stock markets on Thursday had a "negative reaction (due to the) less-dovish-than-expected FOMC statement."

In foreign exchange deals, the euro later stood at $1.2625, down from $1.2634 in New York late on Wednesday.

The euro fell to 78.76 British pence from 78.90 pence. The British pound dipped to $1.6003 from $1.6011 on Wednesday.

On the London Bullion Market, gold prices declined to $1,205.70 an ounce, from $1,223.50 an ounce on Wednesday.

Copyright AFP (Agence France-Presse), 2014

]]> (Shoaib-ur-Rehman Siddiqui) Europe Thu, 30 Oct 2014 16:23:11 +0000
Greek stocks fall 4 percent, traders cite political risk imageATHENS: Greek shares fell sharply in early Thursday trade with traders citing political risk and fears of snap elections prompting some investors to reduce exposure.

The Athens Stock Exchange's general index fell 4.6 percent at 0929 GMT, with banks losing 8.9 pct.

"The country's risk is up on political uncertainty and fears of possible early polls, prompting some investors to pull out", said Takis Zamanis, chief trader at Beta Securities.

"Technically, support levels on the benchmark share index broke down, we fell below the 900-points mark and this also weighed on sentiment," he added. Another trader said fund managers were also selling European stocks after the Federal Reserve ended its stimulative monthly bond-buying programme.

Copyright Reuters, 2014

]]> (Shoaib-ur-Rehman Siddiqui) Europe Thu, 30 Oct 2014 12:35:10 +0000
Britain's FTSE feel weight of commodity stocks after hawkish Fed imageEDINBURGH: Britain's top share index edged lower on Thursday, under pressure from commodity stocks after the Federal Reserve struck a surprisingly hawkish tone in its outlook for US interest rates.

The FTSE 100 gave away early gains to trade 0.2 percent lower at 6,442.51 at 0903 GMT, underperforming a 0.4 percent rise on the FTSEurofirst 300 and German DAX and a 0.7 percent rise on the CAC.

Miners, commodity and oil related stocks, which have a heavy weighting in Britain's top index, combined to take more than 10 points off the FTSE, enough to take it into negative territory.

Oil, copper and gold prices, which are priced in dollars, came under pressure after the greenback benefited from the Fed's rhetoric, which painted a brighter outlook for the US economy and could see interest rates rise sooner than expected. Nine of the top 10 fallers on the FTSE were commodity related.

Providing support to the market, Barclays Plc rose 2 percent, contributing 2.8 points to the FTSE 100, after it posted a rise in third quarter profits despite setting aside 500 million pounds ($800 million) to cover potential fines for manipulating currency markets. Earlier in the week, Lloyds saw its shares drop sharply after receiving a $1.5 billion dollar charge, despite posting encouraging profits.

"For Lloyds, there was a concern that a dividend won't be paid for a little while longer.

By contrast, Barclays is a turnaround play which is starting to bear fruit, even with the currency charge," Chris Beauchamp, market analyst at IG, said.

"But in general, the earnings reports from financials have been in pretty strong." British wealth manager St. James's Place Plc rose 2.8 percent, the top FTSE 100 gainer, after it posted a 17 percent rise in funds under management as more affluent clients sought out its services.

While the broader index struggled to make headway on Thursday morning, the FTSE is up 6 percent in the last few weeks, above the 6,400 level which could act as support should it fall further.

"The UK flagship index FTSE 100 continues to try higher, and now above 6,400 we still expect this to prove supportive for any pull-back," Mike van Dulken, head of research at Accendo Markets, said in a note.

Copyright Reuters, 2014

]]> (Shoaib-ur-Rehman Siddiqui) Europe Thu, 30 Oct 2014 12:33:45 +0000
Emerging assets mostly weaker post-Fed, rouble bears brunt imageLONDON: Emerging markets mostly fell on Thursday after the US Federal Reserve set the clock ticking on its first interest rate rise in almost a decade, with a surging dollar taking an especially heavy toll on currencies.

Russia, hurt by its own domestic woes, continued its run as the worst performing market, with the currency falling to a record low against the dollar.

The greenback firmed after the Fed ended its six-year long asset purchase programme and signalled its first interest rate rise since 2006 would come in 2015.

That pushed most emerging assets lower, with MSCI's emerging equity index falling 0.6 percent off three-week highs. Gulf bourses fell 1-2 percent.

Some markets bucked the trend, with Chinese mainland stocks touchin 20-month highs on reform hopes and India at new record highs, led by shares in software exporters who are expected to benefit from a US economic recovery.

But the rupee fell to two-week lows while other Asian currencies such as Malaysian ringgit and Korean won lost around 0.5 percent to the dollar.

The Turkish lira and South African rand slipped off six-week highs . "This is a market that is in digestion mode after the Fed, we see a bit of weakness after the dollar ticking higher," said Benoit Anne, head of emerging markets strategy at Societe Generale in London. But he is advising clients to disregard the weakness in emerging currencies, arguing that lower oil prices and US recovery would benefit many markets such as South Africa. "The bigger picture has actually not changed," he added. The rouble fell to fresh record lows, with some investors speculating the central bank will announce a move to a free-float regime on Friday.

An interest rate rise is more likely but forwards markets show even this may be ineffective. While the rouble weakened 0.7 percent in the spot market, it fell 1.6 percent to the dollar in the six-month non-deliverable forwards market indicating an almost 5 percent depreciation over this period.

Most analysts predict a 50-75 basis point rate rise though interest rate swaps and cross-currency swaps expect a more aggressive 150-250 bps move.

Societe Generale reckons on a 50 bps hike, explaining that the central bank sees this as sufficient to tame inflation expectations.

"If this scenario does materialise, investors will believe - wrongly - that the central bank has chickened out, which will result in an even weaker rouble," Anne said. Brazil's central bank meanwhile shocked markets with a quarter point rate rise, soon after leftwing President Dilma Rousseff disappointed investors by regaining the presidency.

"This looks like the "credibility hike" that the market would have expected should the opposition have won the presidential election on Sunday," Deutsche Bank analysts said.

"We believe the much faster-than-expected adjustment in interest rates is positive for market sentiment (as it strongly signals austerity), and could contribute to a reduction in the total size of the tightening cycle," they added.

Copyright Reuters, 2014

]]> (Shoaib-ur-Rehman Siddiqui) Europe Thu, 30 Oct 2014 12:20:59 +0000
Oil services group Technip eases concerns over oil sector strife imagePARIS: French oil services group Technip reported higher than expected third-quarter profit and revenue and stuck to its targets on Thursday, reassuring investors spooked by the spending slowdown by oil majors and the decline in oil prices.

Shares in the group, which have shed 17 percent this year after losing more than 20 percent last year on concerns about spending cuts by oil majors, jumped nearly 8 percent in early trading.

"The stock is rebounding because they have confirmed their 2015 guidance. That quells - temporarily? - concerns about disaster scenarios," Natixis analyst Alain Parent said, adding that recent comments from Technip rival Saipem on the slowdown and from client Total on cost-cutting should encourage investors to remain cautious.

Shares pared gains slightly after the initial leap and were up 3.1 percent at 57.19 euros by 0823 GMT.

Quarterly group revenue rose 18 percent to 2.82 billion euros ($3.55 billion), Technip said in a statement, while operating profit rose 10 percent to 241.5 million euros, giving a margin of 8.5 percent. Net profit was down 12.3 percent at 131.6 million euros.

Analysts had expected net profit of 157.8 million euros, operating profit of 230.5 million and revenue of 2.68 billion on average, according to a Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S poll.

Concerns over Technip's outlook had been heightened by comments from Total's new CEO on Wednesday, saying that his company's priority was to cut costs and investments while seeking better terms from suppliers, and Saipem's warning earlier in the week that its full-year results would be at the low end of expectations.


Technip's Chief Executive Thierry Pilenko said that weaker oil prices, which have dropped by 25 percent over the past four months, and tighter budgets at oil majors had prompted Technip to approach clients to offer less costly options.

"What I said remains valid in an environment where prices are at $85 per barrel or even lower: we engage in discussions with our clients very early to try to find economical solutions," he said in a conference call with reporters.

The Paris-based company cut its targets in July for its onshore/offshore business, which builds oil rigs and liquefied natural gas (LNG) plants, citing the potential impact of economic sanctions against Russia.

Technip won the engineering, procurement and construction contract for the Yamal LNG project in Russia in May. The giant LNG export project in Siberia is owned by Russia's Novatek , Total and China's CNPC.

On Thursday, Technip's CEO told reporters the project was proceeding to plan.

The group is also feeling the effects of slowing investment by oil majors, making life harder for equipment and service suppliers worldwide, but Pilenko said the group could still win contracts from cost-conscious oil companies, pointing to its order backlog of 19.3 billion euros at the end of September.

"If you look at the past nine months, we have had an order intake of around 12 billion euros, which is as much as the whole of 2013," he said.

Copyright Reuters, 2014

]]> (Imaduddin) Europe Thu, 30 Oct 2014 09:29:52 +0000
French stocks lead Europe higher on positive company results imageLONDON: French stocks Alcatel Lucent , Technip and Renault led a rise in European shares early on Thursday after posting upbeat corporate updates.

Auto-maker Renault upgraded its European auto market growth forecast, telecoms equipment maker Alcatel-Lucent improved its gross profit margin in the latest quarter and oil services group Technip posted higher-than-expected operating profit.

The shares rose between 5 percent and 10 percent by 0808 GMT, with France's benchmark CAC 40 index up 0.9 percent.

The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index rose 0.7 percent to 1,328.88 point by 0809 GMT.

Copyright Reuters, 2014

]]> (Saad Jabri) Europe Thu, 30 Oct 2014 09:23:44 +0000
European stocks advance at open imageLONDON: European stock markets rose at the start of trading on Thursday, with London's benchmark FTSE 100 index up 0.40 percent to 6,479.84 points.

Frankfurt's DAX 30 firmed 0.10 percent to 9,091.13 points and in Paris the CAC 40 gained 0.67 percent to 4,138.08 compared with Wednesday's closing value.

In Paris, the price of shares in telecommunications equipment group Alcatel-Lucent surged by 10.13 percent to 2.25 euros on a reduced third-quarter loss, and shares in auto group Renault rose by 6.24 percent to 59.06 euros on strong sales figures.

Copyright AFP (Agence France-Presse), 2014

]]> (Parvez Jabri) Europe Thu, 30 Oct 2014 09:05:08 +0000
Intertek outperforms as UK's FTSE advances ahead of Fed imageLONDON: Britain's top equity index rose on Wednesday as expectations the U.S. Federal Reserve will signal it is in no rush to raise interest rates buoyed stock markets, while positive broker comments lifted Intertek.

Intertek, which carries out tests and inspections to make sure that products meet health and safety standards, rose 4.1 percent to make it the best-performing stock in percentage terms on the blue-chip FTSE 100 index.

Traders attributed Intertek's move higher to a decision by Citibank to reiterate a "buy" rating on the stock, while JP Morgan also kept an "overweight" rating on Intertek after getting positive feedback from a meeting with its management.

"Intertek's meeting with JP Morgan last night left them impressed," said Securequity sales trader Jawaid Afsar.

However, clothing retailer Next slipped 1.6 percent after Next cut its profit guidance, saying that unusually warm weather had impacted demand for its winter wear.

The FTSE 100 itself was up by 0.6 percent at 6,442.32 points going into the middle of the trading session, tracking similar gains on global equity markets ahead of the Fed's meeting.

The U.S. central bank is expected to announce after a policy meeting that it is ending its bond purchases amid signs of strength in the U.S. economy, but is also likely to reinforce its willingness to wait before raising interest rates after a volatile month in financial markets.

The FTSE 100 hit a peak of 6,904.86 points at the start of September, its highest since early 2000, but it then slumped to 15-month lows in October as weak European economic data knocked back stock markets.

Traders have said that this backdrop of financial market volatility and a fragile European economy should mean that the Fed will look to reiterate its willingness to hold off from any rise in interest rates in the near term.

"We're seeing evidence that people are anticipating a more dovish Fed in response to the slowdown in the euro zone and the disinflation that has been gripping many of the major economies," said Alpari UK market analyst Craig Erlam.

Copyright Reuters, 2014

]]> (Imaduddin) Europe Wed, 29 Oct 2014 12:20:46 +0000
European stocks rise at open imageLONDON: European stock markets rose at the start of trading on Wednesday, with London's benchmark FTSE 100 index up 0.44 percent to 6,430.14 points.

Frankfurt's DAX 30 advanced 0.78 percent to 9,139.00 points and in Paris the CAC 40 gained 0.35 percent to stand at 4,126.97 compared with Tuesday's closing value.

In Paris, shares in drugmaking group Sanofi fell by 5.38 percent to 70.72 euros after the removal of the group's chief executive. The shares had fallen by more than 10.0 percent on Tuesday on a results setback and speculation that the top executive would be pushed out.

Shares in micro-processor maker STMicroeletronics plunged 7.09 percent to 5.17 euros after the group warned that activity would slow down in the fourth quarter of this year.

Copyright AFP (Agence France-Presse), 2014

]]> (Parvez Jabri) Europe Wed, 29 Oct 2014 10:02:41 +0000
European shares inch higher; Sanofi drops again;-sanofi-drops-again.html;-sanofi-drops-again.html imagePARIS: European stocks inched higher early on Wednesday, tracking sharp gains on Wall Street ahead of a US Federal Reserve policy announcement.

At 0900 GMT, the FTSEurofirst 300 index of top European shares was up 0.3 percent at 1,321.07 points, led by miners including Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton, up 0.9-1.1 percent and climbing along with metals prices.

France's Schneider Electric rose 3.1 percent after reporting a 7 percent rise in third-quarter sales and saying Western Europe showed long-awaited but fragile signs of stabilisation.

French pharma group Sanofi dropped 3.7 percent, adding to the previous session's slump after its board said on Wednesday it had decided to oust chief executive Chris Viehbacher.

"This creates more uncertainty just after the group published results and outlook figures which were not reassuring," a Paris-based trader said.

Dutch marine services group Fugro sank 20 percent after it warned that it will not pay a dividend over 2014 due to deteriorating markets and price pressure on oil and gas projects. The news knocked the shares of peers Saipem, CGG and Subsea, down 1.8-4.4 percent.

Europe's largest semiconductor company STMicroelectronics shed 7 percent after posting higher than expected quarterly net profit but saying margins would be flat and revenue would decline in the final quarter due to a softening market.

Around Europe, the UK's FTSE 100 index was up 0.7 percent, Germany's DAX index up 0.7 percent, and France's CAC 40 up 0.1 percent.

When it concludes a two-day meeting on Wednesday, the Fed is expected to announce the end of its bond-buying stimulus while restating its willingness to wait before hiking interest rates, which should reassure markets.

"All eyes are on the Fed, which is set to announce the end of quantitative easing. Investors will certainly remain cautious ahead of the statement," Barclays France fund manager Philippe Cohen said.

US stocks rose more than 1 percent on Tuesday, with the S&P 500 ending above its 50-day moving average for the first time in almost a month, helped by strong quarterly results from a number of blue-chips.

About a third of companies listed on the STOXX Europe 600 benchmark index have reported results so far in the earnings season, with 67 percent of them meeting or beating profit forecasts, and 59 percent meeting or beating revenue forecasts, according to Thomson Reuters Starmine data.

In absolute terms, European companies have posted a 13.6 percent rise in quarterly earnings, and a 0.7 percent rise in revenue.

Copyright Reuters, 2014

]]> (Saad Jabri) Europe Wed, 29 Oct 2014 09:30:21 +0000