Europe Stay updated with Business News, Pakistan news, Current world news and latest world news with Business Recorder.. http://www.brecorder.com/markets/equity/europe.html Wed, 25 May 2016 03:19:35 +0000 Joomla! 1.5 - Open Source Content Management en-gb Bank shares boost TSX ahead of earnings http://www.brecorder.com/markets/equity/europe/298117-bank-shares-boost-tsx-ahead-of-earnings.html http://www.brecorder.com/markets/equity/europe/298117-bank-shares-boost-tsx-ahead-of-earnings.html imageTORONTO: Canada's main stock index closed higher on Tuesday as strength in the financial sector ahead of the bank earnings season helped overcome a slump in shares of gold miners.

The TSX, which also received support from the energy group, hit a seven-month high earlier in the session.

The index pushed above the 14,000 threshold for the first time since October, as trading resumed after the Victoria Day holiday on Monday. It has rebounded 21 percent from its almost 3-1/2-year low of 11,531.22 in January.

Financials rallied as banks were among the biggest gainers on Wall Street on speculation that the U.S. Federal Reserve might hike interest rates in June.

Royal Bank of Canada rose 0.9 percent to C$78.52, and Bank of Nova Scotia advanced 1.1 percent to C$63.76, while the overall financials group was up 1.2 percent.

Canada's biggest banks are expected to set aside more funds to cover bad loans to the oil and gas sector when they announce second-quarter results this week.

The energy group climbed 0.6 percent, including a 2.6 percent gain for Suncor Energy Inc to C$35.39. U.S. crude prices were up 1.5 percent at $48.80 a barrel.

Industrials rose 0.3 percent, led by railway stocks, while the consumer staples group was up 1.2 percent.

The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index closed up 33.27 points, or 0.24 percent, at 13,952.85. Nine of the index's 10 main groups were higher.

"The index is in pretty decent shape," said Elvis Picardo, strategist and vice president of research at Global Securities in Vancouver.

"This is going to be a pivotal week for the TSX because of bank earnings," he added. "A lot of attention will be paid to what the banks have to say."

The sole sector that ended lower was the materials group, which includes precious and base metals miners and fertilizer companies. It lost 4.5 percent.

Barrick Gold Corp fell 6.8 percent to C$22.24, while Goldcorp Inc was down 5.4 percent at C$21.55.

Gold fell 1.8 percent as comments from Fed officials on Monday sent the dollar to a two-month high against a currency basket.

Copyright Reuters, 2016

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fawad@br-mail.com (Fawad Maqsood) Europe Tue, 24 May 2016 21:57:12 +0000
Britain's FTSE 100 hits three-week high as banks, Kingfisher rally http://www.brecorder.com/markets/equity/europe/298080-britains-ftse-100-hits-three-week-high-as-banks-kingfisher-rally.html http://www.brecorder.com/markets/equity/europe/298080-britains-ftse-100-hits-three-week-high-as-banks-kingfisher-rally.html imageLONDON: Britain's top share index rose on Tuesday, bolstered by a rally in banking stocks and a well-received trading statement from Kingfisher.

The FTSE 100 index was up 83.32 points, or 1.4 percent, at 6,219.75 points by 1429 GMT, touching a three-week high.

The rally was broad-based, with grocer Tesco, Royal Bank of Scotland and Old Mutual all gaining between 4.9 percent and 6.9 percent.

Royal Bank of Scotland rose after a U.S. appeals court voided a Bank of America Corp mortgage penalty.

Investors said this could mean that the U.S. Department of Justice might now relax its stance on mortgage settlements. RBS is preparing for the biggest fines in its history to settle U.S. investigations into accusations that it misled investors in mortgage-backed securities.

Analysts also said that the UK banking sector, which rose 2.6 percent, was boosted by readacross from a 9 percent rise in underlying profit at Nationwide Building Society, Britain's biggest customer-owned lender, as mortgage lending increased to volumes last seen before the 2007-08 financial crisis.

"UK banks are once again in demand, with a reported rise in mortgage activity at Nationwide further enhancing the attractiveness of names like RBS," Chris Beauchamp, senior market analyst at IG, said in a note.

Kingfisher rose 3.2 percent, among top gainers after the owner of the B&Q chain reported a 3.6 percent increase in like-for-like sales in the first three months of its financial year. Traders said its UK and French divisions had performed better than expected.

"In its first half-year, it is a little early to be judging the returns from the five-year 'One Kingfisher' strategy but management is pleased with progress so far," David Stoddart, analyst at Edison Investment Research, said in a note.

Financial services firm Old Mutual rallied after confirming that it had received multiple approaches from potential buyers of its stake in U.S. fund firm Old Mutual Asset Management (OMAM).

Tobacco firm Imperial Brands rose 2.8 percent, benefiting from an upgrade by Barclays to "overweight" from "equal weight".

"Imperial is executing strongly. Organic sales momentum is improving and margin/cash generation increases underpin (at least) 10 percent dividend growth," analysts at Barclays said in a note.

"Moreover, we are increasingly confident margins will surprise to the upside and that the U.S. is performing ahead of expectations."

The top faller was Coca-Cola HBC, down 3.5 percent after a shareholder said it was going to sell its 1.5 percent stake in the bottling company.

Copyright Reuters, 2016

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imad_kueconomist@yahoo.com (Imaduddin) Europe Tue, 24 May 2016 17:26:03 +0000
European shares climb to 4-week highs as financial stocks rally http://www.brecorder.com/markets/equity/europe/298073-european-shares-climb-to-4-week-highs-as-financial-stocks-rally.html http://www.brecorder.com/markets/equity/europe/298073-european-shares-climb-to-4-week-highs-as-financial-stocks-rally.html imageLONDON/MILAN: European shares rose to their highest point in almost 4 weeks on Tuesday as firmer financial stocks lifted the region's equity markets.

The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 and STOXX 600 indexes rose 2.2 and 2.3 percent respectively, extending earlier gains helped by a weakening euro and a reversal of crude oil prices into positive territory.

Sentiment was also underpinned by comments from European Central Bank supervisory chief Daniele Nouy, who said the bank was working on new proposals for non-performing loans that remain one of the biggest problems for the region's economy.

The STOXX Europe 600 Banks Index outperformed with a 3.5 percent rise. KBC and ING climbed 5 and 3.9 percent respectively after Goldman Sachs upgraded them both to "buy" from "neutral".

Italian bank UniCredit also rose 4.9 percent ahead of a board meeting expected to formally approve the search for a new chief executive. Traders

Shares in French household equipment manufacturer SEB surged more than 10 percent as investors welcomed SEB's move to buy WMF, a German maker of coffee machines and silverware, from KKR in a 1.6 billion-euro deal.

Swiss drugmaker Galenica fell more than 6.6 percent, among the biggest losers on the FTSEurofirst 300, as investors were disappointed by its decision to postpone a break- up of the group.

Some traders remained sceptical about the market rebound, with concerns about the possibility of a U.S. interest rate increase in coming weeks having weighed on world stock markets over the last month.

In spite of Tuesday's move higher, which lifted the FTSEurofirst to its highest closing level since April 29, the index remains down by over 6 percent so far this year.

"This is a bear market rally," said Andreas Clenow, chief investment officer of ACIES Asset Management in Zurich, pointing to headwinds from future U.S. rate rises and slow global economic growth.

Copyright Reuters, 2016

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imad_kueconomist@yahoo.com (Imaduddin) Europe Tue, 24 May 2016 17:17:04 +0000
European stocks bank higher http://www.brecorder.com/markets/equity/europe/298069-european-stocks-bank-higher.html http://www.brecorder.com/markets/equity/europe/298069-european-stocks-bank-higher.html imageLONDON: European stock markets rebounded Tuesday, led sharply higher by banking shares boosted by an apparent ebbing in the chances of a leave vote in Britain's upcoming referendum on EU membership.

London's benchmark FTSE 100 index climbed 1.4 percent compared with Monday's close, while the pound picked up a couple of cents against both the dollar and euro.

Frankfurt's DAX 30 index rose 2.2 percent and the Paris CAC 40 jumped 2.5 percent.

"European markets firmed on Tuesday boosted by a rise in financial shares, a drop in the euro and oil prices rising for the first time in three days," said Jasper Lawler, market analyst at traders CMC Markets.

"Investors in the banking sector have seemingly taken heart from the suggestion from UBS Chairman Axel Weber that trading activity will pick up after the Brexit vote. Flows out of the much-hated financial sector have abated since the Fed realigned expectations of a US rate hike this summer," he added.

Shares in Barclays climbed 3.2 percent and RBS jumped 4.8 percent in London, while in Paris shares in BNP Paribas rose 3.7 percent and Societe Genarale shot up 5.4 percent. In Frankfurt Deutsche Bank shares gained 2.6 percent and Commerzbank added 2.7 percent.

Meanwhile, Yoav Nizzard at FXCM currency traders said that "European markets are sustained by a return in risk appetite by the intervention of Mark Carney, the governor of the Bank of England, who is determined to fight against a clearly harmful Brexit for the British economy which would also provoke a period of uncertainty in the eurozone."

Carney has been outlining the risks of Brexit to lawmakers.

"Sterling saw a big move higher during the appearance of Bank of England governor Mark Carney at Brexit-focused inflation hearings, whilst another poll showed rising public support for Britain remaining in the EU," said Lawler.

The pound rose to $1.4629 from a close of $1.4484 on Monday. Against the euro, it climbed to 1.3120 from 1.2909.

Investors brushed off a survey showing that investor confidence in Germany fell unexpectedly in May as uncertainty over a possible exit by Britain from the European Union overshadows better-than-expected economic data.

The investor confidence index calculated by the ZEW economic institute decreased by 4.8 points to 6.4 points in May, the think tank said in a statement.

"The strong growth of the German economy in the first quarter of 2016 appears to have surprised the financial market experts. However, they seem not to expect the economic situation to improve at the same pace going forward," said ZEW president Achim Wambach.

"Uncertainties regarding developments such as a possible 'Brexit' currently inhibit a more optimistic outlook," he said.

Britain goes to the polls on June 23 to decide whether to remain in the European Union.

US stocks also pushed higher, with the Dow climbing 1.2 percent in late morning trading as sales of new homes in the United States surged in April to their best level since January 2008.

Asian stock markets meanwhile slipped Tuesday as falling oil prices deflated energy shares,.

Investors were eyeing also the start on Thursday of a Group of Seven summit in Japan, where US President Barack Obama and other leaders from the club of rich nations will meet for annual talks largely focused on the sluggish global economy.

- Key figures around 1530 GMT -

===============================

London - FTSE 100: UP 1.4 percent at 6,219.26 points (close)

Frankfurt - DAX 30: UP 2.2 percent at 10,057.31 (close)

Paris - CAC 40: UP 2.5 percent at 4,431.52 (close)

EURO STOXX 50: UP 2.8 percent at 3,013.84

New York - Dow: UP 1.2 percent at 17,697.45

New York - S&P 500: UP 1.2 percent at 2,072.69

New York - Nasdaq: UP 1.7 percent at 4,847.94

Tokyo: Nikkei 225: DOWN 0.9 percent at 16,498.76 (close)

Shanghai - Composite: DOWN 0.8 percent at 2,821.67 (close)

Hong Kong - Hang Seng: UP 0.11 percent at 19,830.43 (close)

Euro/dollar: DOWN at $1.1147 from $1.1219 on Monday

Dollar/yen: UP at 109.96 yen from 109.25 yen

Copyright AFP (Agence France-Presse), 2016

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imad_kueconomist@yahoo.com (Imaduddin) Europe Tue, 24 May 2016 16:53:26 +0000
European stocks rebound http://www.brecorder.com/markets/equity/europe/298052-european-stocks-rebound.html http://www.brecorder.com/markets/equity/europe/298052-european-stocks-rebound.html imageLONDON: European stock markets rebounded on Tuesday, as traders brushed off more warnings linked to Britain's upcoming referendum on EU membership.

Around 1330 GMT, London's benchmark FTSE 100 index was up 1.0 percent compared with Monday's close.

Frankfurt's DAX 30 index grew 1.5 percent and the Paris CAC 40 jumped 1.8 percent.

"European markets firmed on Tuesday in what was basically an unwinding of yesterday's modest losses," said Jasper Lawler, market analyst at traders CMC Markets.

"The gain in equity markets came in spite of another fall in oil prices after Iraq announced its exports grew to a new record."

A leading survey Tuesday showed that investor confidence in Germany fell unexpectedly in May as uncertainty over a possible exit by Britain from the European Union overshadows better-than-expected economic data.

The investor confidence index calculated by the ZEW economic institute decreased by 4.8 points to 6.4 points in May, the think tank said in a statement.

"The strong growth of the German economy in the first quarter of 2016 appears to have surprised the financial market experts. However, they seem not to expect the economic situation to improve at the same pace going forward," said ZEW president Achim Wambach.

"Uncertainties regarding developments such as a possible 'Brexit' currently inhibit a more optimistic outlook," he said.

Britain goes to the polls on June 23 to decide whether to remain in the European Union.

Asian stock markets meanwhile slipped Tuesday as falling oil prices deflated energy shares, while Singapore said it was kicking out a Swiss bank linked to Malaysia's 1MDB.

Investors were eyeing also the start on Thursday of a Group of Seven summit in Japan, where US President Barack Obama and other leaders from the club of rich nations will meet for annual talks largely focused on the sluggish global economy.

Elsewhere, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) said it had served Switzerland's BSI Bank -- which has been linked to a global money-laundering scandal rocking Malaysia's state fund 1MDB -- a notice of intention to withdraw its status as a merchant bank.

Sentiment in Asia took a hit also from worries over a possible US interest rate rise as early as next month, analysts said.

Adding to the US central bank's hawkish signals last week that a June rate raise could be on the cards, Fed board member James Bullard weighed in with comments in Beijing on Monday that suggested markets could be behind the curve on the Fed's intentions.

Since raising rates in December for the first time in nine years, the US central bank in March essentially forecast two rate rises for this year. But markets have had much lower expectations amid lacklustre US economic data.

US stocks opened on the positive side, with the Dow climbing 0.7 percent in the first five minutes of trading, having fallen on Monday as investors focused on the Fed's intentions.

Analyst Patrick O'Hare noted that the broader S&P 500 stock index has had a six-session string of alternating gains and losses that has left it little changed.

"That's a pretty good indication of a market that has basically gone sideways amid a lack of conviction from buyers and sellers alike," he said.

"This morning, it appears that buyers have the upper hand ... There isn't any particularly good reason why either," said O'Hare

- Key figures around 1330 GMT -

===============================

London - FTSE 100: UP 1.0 percent at 6,195.01 points

Frankfurt - DAX 30: UP 1.5 percent at 9,988.60

Paris - CAC 40: UP 1.8 percent at 4,403.527

EURO STOXX 50: UP 1.7 percent at 2,983.57

New York - Dow: UP 0.7 percent at 17,615.99

New York - S&P 500: UP 0.6 percent at 2,514.50

New York - Nasdaq: UP 0.7 percent at 4,797.43

Tokyo: Nikkei 225: DOWN 0.9 percent at 16,498.76 (close)

Shanghai - Composite: DOWN 0.8 percent at 2,821.67 (close)

Hong Kong - Hang Seng: UP 0.11 percent at 19,830.43 (close)

Euro/dollar: DOWN at $1.1159 from $1.1219 on Monday

Dollar/yen: UP at 109.79 yen from 109.25 yen

Copyright AFP (Agence France-Presse), 2016

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imad_kueconomist@yahoo.com (Imaduddin) Europe Tue, 24 May 2016 15:23:48 +0000
Shares climb as markets play Fed waiting game http://www.brecorder.com/markets/equity/europe/298016-shares-climb-as-markets-play-fed-waiting-game.html http://www.brecorder.com/markets/equity/europe/298016-shares-climb-as-markets-play-fed-waiting-game.html imageLONDON: Oil prices fell for a fifth consecutive day on Tuesday and financial markets were volatile as investors wait to see whether U.S. interest rates will be raised next month.

Asian shares stumbled to near 2-1/2-month lows overnight though Europe was in better form as confirmation that Germany's economy had a solid start to the year added to hopes that talks in Brussels will secure an unusually swift aid deal for Greece.

Britain's FTSE 100, Germany's DAX and France's CAC climbed 0.8 to 1 percent as even markets like Russia shrugged off the dip in commodity prices to carve out gains.

In currency markets, the dollar continued to feed off revived U.S. rate hike bets although it was the Aussie dollar that caught the eye as speculation about more rate cuts there triggered its heftiest fall in 4-1/2 years.

New Zealand's dollar, which tends to follow the Aussie's movements, also fell 0.7 percent to a two-month low of $0.6706 , while oil exporter Canada's dollar hit a seven-week low to underscore the ongoing market uncertainty.

"Everyone is worried about a June hike from the Fed so we are in a bit of a directionless market at the moment," said Allianz Global Investors' Shahzad Hasan.

"I think what is more important is the language if they do hike. Do they continue or do they stop after June, and what is the trajectory for the Fed funds rate in 2017."

Europe's government bond markets saw a broad fall in yields. Greek yields hovered at six-month lows on hopes that euro zone finance ministers may be able to agree a new aid plan for Athens without any last minute panics.

Greek lawmakers on Sunday approved tax increases and a new privatisation fund to pave the way for a deal, leaving the onus on the rest of the bloc as the International Monetary Fund reiterated its demands for full-blooded debt relief.

"Providing an up-front, unconditional component to debt relief is critical to provide a strong and credible signal to markets," a report from the Fund's staff said.

WILTING COMMODITIES

Stocks in China and Japan lost 0.7 percent apiece, leading Asian markets down, though some investors were wary of chasing markets lower after their recent retreat.

Yang Hai, analyst at Kaiyuan Securities, said trading is likely to remain dull for a while amid economic sluggishness.

"The current economic environment doesn't justify a sustainable rebound. In addition, regulators are reducing leverage in the asset management industry so money is not flowing in."

Oil prices fell for a fifth day in thin trade as the dollar's strength and talk of Iran upping production kept them under downwards pressure.

The strong dollar also took its toll on gold, which dipped to a 3-1/2 week low and industrial metal copper, which neared a three-month low.

The U.S. currency clawed back some of Monday's 1 percent losses against the yen and was last up 0.3 percent at 109.50 yen and at $1.11 to the euro.

Philadelphia Fed President Patrick Harker said on Monday a rate hike in June would be appropriate unless data weakens, while St. Louis Fed President James Bullard said holding rates too low for too long could cause financial instability.

Fed Chair Janet Yellen will appear at a panel at Harvard University on Friday, a day on which investors will also see the second estimate of U.S. first-quarter growth.

"We are seeing more dollar strength and a lot of it against the smaller currencies," said Saxo Bank FX strategist John Hardy. "The Chinese authorities are keeping the yuan exchange rate quiet, too, which is giving the Fed the room to wax lyrical and be as hawkish as they are being."

Copyright Reuters, 2016

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imad_kueconomist@yahoo.com (Imaduddin) Europe Tue, 24 May 2016 14:11:17 +0000
European shares rise as financial stocks gain ground http://www.brecorder.com/markets/equity/europe/298008-european-shares-rise-as-financial-stocks-gain-ground.html http://www.brecorder.com/markets/equity/europe/298008-european-shares-rise-as-financial-stocks-gain-ground.html imageLONDON: European shares rose on Tuesday, recovering from losses at the start of trading as firmer financial stocks lifted the region's equity markets.

The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 and STOXX 600 indexes were both up around 1 percent by 1024 GMT, rebounding from losses of a similar scale incurred on Monday.

The STOXX Europe 600 Banks Index outperformed with a 1.4 percent rise. KBC and ING both climbed after Goldman Sachs upgraded them both to "buy" from "neutral".

Italian bank UniCredit also rose 2 percent ahead of a board meeting expected to formally approve the search for a new chief executive.

Shares in French household equipment manufacturer SEB surged 11.5 percent as investors welcomed SEB's move to buy WMF, a German maker of coffee machines and silverware, from KKR in a 1.6 billion-euro deal.

Swiss drugmaker Galenica fell more than 6 percent, making it the biggest loser on the FTSEurofirst 300, as investors were disappointed by its decision to postpone a break up of the group.

Some traders remained sceptical about the market rebound, with concerns about the possibility of a U.S. interest rate increase in coming weeks having weighed on world stock markets over the last month.

In spite of Tuesday's move higher, the FTSEurofirst remains down by around 4 percent over the last month.

"This is a bear market rally," said Andreas Clenow, chief investment officer of ACIES Asset Management in Zurich, pointing to headwinds from future U.S. rate rises and slow global economic growth.

Clenow said he retained a short position on European equities, namely betting on future declines on that market.

Hantec Markets' analyst Richard Perry also expected stock markets to stay choppy before Britain's June 23 vote on membership of the European Union, and until investors got more clarity on the timing of any future U.S rate rises.

"I expect us to be in a sideways trend over the coming month, although the longer-term trend is still a downwards one," said Perry.

Copyright Reuters, 2016

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imad_kueconomist@yahoo.com (Imaduddin) Europe Tue, 24 May 2016 13:53:46 +0000
Solid Kingfisher, banks lift Britain's FTSE 100 http://www.brecorder.com/markets/equity/europe/297992-solid-kingfisher-banks-lift-britains-ftse-100.html http://www.brecorder.com/markets/equity/europe/297992-solid-kingfisher-banks-lift-britains-ftse-100.html imageLONDON: Britain's top share index rose on Tuesday, helped by a well-received trading statement from Kingfisher and a rally in banking stocks.

The FTSE 100 index was up 50.70 points, or 0.8 percent, at 6,187.13 points by 1135 GMT, having opened the day lower.

Kingfisher rose 2.8 percent, among top gainers after the owner of the B&Q chain reported a 3.6 percent increase in like-for-like sales in the first three months of its financial year. Traders said its UK and French divisions had performed better than expected.

"In its first half-year, it is a little early to be judging the returns from the five-year 'One Kingfisher' strategy but management is pleased with progress so far," David Stoddart, analyst at Edison Investment Research, said in a note.

Royal Bank of Scotland was also a notable gainer, rising 2.7 percent after a U.S. appeals court voided a Bank of America Corp mortgage penalty.

Investors said this could mean that the U.S. Department of Justice might now ease its stance on mortgage settlements. RBS is preparing for the biggest fines in its history to settle U.S. investigations into claims it misled investors in mortgage-backed securities.

Analysts also said that the UK banking sector, which rose 1.6 percent, was boosted by readacross from a 9 percent rise in underlying profit at Nationwide Building Society, Britain's biggest customer-owned lender, as mortgage lending increased to volumes last seen before the 2007-08 financial crisis.

"UK banks are once again in demand, with a reported rise in mortgage activity at Nationwide further enhancing the attractiveness of names like RBS," Chris Beauchamp, senior market analyst at IG, said in a note.

Tobacco firm Imperial Brands rose 2.2 percent, benefiting from an upgrade by Barclays to "overweight" from "equal weight".

"Imperial is executing strongly. Organic sales momentum is improving and margin/cash generation increases underpin (at least) 10 percent dividend growth," analysts at Barclays said in a note.

"Moreover, we are increasingly confident margins will surprise to the upside and that the U.S. is performing ahead of expectations."

The top faller was Coca-Cola HBC, down 3.8 percent after a shareholder said it was going to sell its 1.5 percent stake in the bottling company.

Copyright Reuters, 2016

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imad_kueconomist@yahoo.com (Imaduddin) Europe Tue, 24 May 2016 13:29:47 +0000
European stocks drop at open http://www.brecorder.com/markets/equity/europe/297915-european-stocks-drop-at-open.html http://www.brecorder.com/markets/equity/europe/297915-european-stocks-drop-at-open.html imageLONDON: European stock markets dropped at the start of trading on Tuesday, following on from losses the previous session.

London's benchmark FTSE 100 index slipped 0.4 percent to 6,114.71 points compared with Monday's close.

Frankfurt's DAX 30 index shed 0.4 percent to 9,798.94 points and the Paris CAC 40 lost 0.4 percent to 4,309.30.

Copyright AFP (Agence France-Presse), 2016

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parvezjabri@yahoo.com (Parvez Jabri) Europe Tue, 24 May 2016 08:24:03 +0000
Global stocks mostly down as strong yen hits Nikkei http://www.brecorder.com/markets/equity/europe/297889-global-stocks-mostly-down-as-strong-yen-hits-nikkei.html http://www.brecorder.com/markets/equity/europe/297889-global-stocks-mostly-down-as-strong-yen-hits-nikkei.html imageNEW YORK: Global stocks mostly fell Monday, with Japanese shares taking a hit as a stronger yen weighed on exporters after the G7 pressed Japan not to weaken its currency.

Equity markets dropped in Europe as investors continued to mull over the prospect the US Federal Reserve could raise interest rates in June.

Worries about the Fed were also a drag in the US, where stocks finished modestly down.

Lower oil prices also hit sentiment, with petroleum producers including Anglo-Dutch Royal Dutch Shell, Japan's Inpex and the US' Chevron all falling.

In Japan, the benchmark Nikkei 225 index fell 0.5 percent as investors digested weak trade figures and the unsympathetic reception by other countries to Japanese talk of intervening in the currency market.

At a weekend gathering, the Group of Seven presented a clear rebuff to Tokyo's warnings that it may intervene take action to stop the yen's rise.

The group agreed on the "importance of all countries refraining from competitive devaluation", while US Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew pressed Tokyo to uphold its earlier commitments not to interfere with exchange rates.

The statement "signaled a red light for Tokyo to intervene to weaken its currency," said Joe Manimbo, senior market analyst at Western Union Business Solutions.

In corporate news, German chemicals giant Bayer announced a $62 billion bid for US agriculture group Monsanto in the biggest takeover ever attempted by German company. Bayer argued the deal would make it a global leadier in the farm technology.

But the move spells a public relations risk for Bayer, especially in Germany, where popular skepticism is high of the genetically modified crops and patented plant varieties the Monsanto specialiZes in. There is also concern about the health risks of the pesticide glyphosate, which Monsanto markets as Roundup.

Bayer dropped 5.7 percent, while Monsanto surged 4.4 percent. Monsanto has not responded publicly to the offer, which comes amid a wave of consolidation in the agrochemical sector.

US tech giant Apple jumped 1.3 percent after Taiwan's Economic Daily News reported the technology giant ordered at least 72 million units of the upcoming iPhone 7 series, a significantly higher figure than the 65 million-level previously predicted by some analysts.

- Key figures around 2100 GMT -

===============================

New York - Dow: DOWN 0.1 percent at 17,492.93 (close)

New York - S&P 500: DOWN 0.2 percent at 2,048.04 (close)

New York - Nasdaq: DOWN 0.1 percent at 4,765.78 (close)

London - FTSE 100: DOWN 0.3 percent at 6,136.43 (close)

Frankfurt - DAX 30: DOWN 0.7 percent at 9,842.29 (close)

Paris - CAC 40: DOWN 0.7 percent at 4,325.10 (close)

EURO STOXX 50: DOWN 1.0 percent at 2,932.93 (close)

Tokyo: Nikkei 225: DOWN 0.5 percent at 16,654.60 (close)

Shanghai - Composite: UP 0.6 percent at 2,843.65 (close)

Hong Kong - Hang Seng: DOWN 0.2 percent at 19,809.03 (close)

Euro/dollar: DOWN at $1.1219 from $1.1220 on Friday

Dollar/yen: DOWN at 109.25 yen from 110.15 yen

Copyright AFP (Agence France-Presse), 2016

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fawad@br-mail.com (Fawad Maqsood) Europe Mon, 23 May 2016 22:26:36 +0000
Britain's FTSE ends lower as commodities stocks slip http://www.brecorder.com/markets/equity/europe/297804-britains-ftse-ends-lower-as-commodities-stocks-slip.html http://www.brecorder.com/markets/equity/europe/297804-britains-ftse-ends-lower-as-commodities-stocks-slip.html imageLONDON: Britain's top share index ended lower on Monday, with a drop in the prices of crude oil and industrial metals putting pressure on commodities-related stocks.

The UK energy index dropped 1.2 percent as the oil price fell for a fourth consecutive session after Iran insisted it would not freeze crude output, returning investor attention to a global glut. Shares in BP and Royal Dutch Shell were down more than 1 percent.

The mining index also came under pressure, edging down 0.3 percent, after copper slipped towards a three-month low as expectations that the U.S. Federal Reserve will raise interest rates in June reinforced worries about weak demand growth in top consumer China. BHP Billiton fell 0.8 percent.

"The two sectors could face further selling pressure in the near term as sentiment towards commodities prices remains fragile," Securequity senior trader, Jawaid Afsar, said.

"There are numerous headwinds such as a stronger dollar and lingering concerns about the pace of economic growth in China, Europe and the United States," he said.

The blue-chip FTSE 100 index closed 0.3 percent lower at 6,136.43 points. Losses were mitigated by a 4.3-percent gain in Royal Mail shares after upgrades from brokers Cantor Fitzgerald and RBC Capital Markets.

"We expect parcels in the UK and Europe to drive the top-line and restructuring and productivity gains to support the bottom-line," Cantor Fitzgerald analysts said in a note.

"(Royal Mail) faces potentially tough wage and pension negotiations this year but the risks are probably overstated," they said.

Among mid-caps, sports retailer Sports Direct dropped 4 percent after Goldman Sachs downgraded the stock to "neutral" from "buy".

"The UK high street is changing - we're seeing quite an uptick in online shopping," Charles Hanover Investments advisory investment manager, Jonathan Roy, said.

"The retail space that (Sports Direct is) occupying is becoming a bit of a burden and that's a trend that we expect to see follow through for the rest of 2016 and beyond."

Copyright Reuters, 2016

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imad_kueconomist@yahoo.com (Imaduddin) Europe Mon, 23 May 2016 16:57:23 +0000