Moderate Leftists Narrowly Win in Germany
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Germany faces weeks and perhaps months of uncertainty after Sunday’s narrow victory for the center-left in the national election left open the shape and agenda of its next government and offered little clarity about who would succeed Chancellor Angela Merkel. Ms. Merkel will continue to rule in a caretaker capacity for now. Germany’s allies in Europe and the U.S. will have to wait before the country is ready to discuss urgent issues ranging from a European package of measures to combat climate change to how to approach China. Preliminary results gave the center-left Social Democratic Party 25.7% of the vote against 24.1% for Ms. Merkel’s conservatives. The Greens have made their participation conditional on slashing the country’s C02 emissions and subsidizing a green transformation of the economy. They call for an annual stimulus for green subsidies of more than €50 billion on top of existing public expenditure. The FDP has vowed to prevent any tax increases. If the coalition talks extend beyond Dec. 17, Ms. Merkel will have surpassed her former mentor Helmut Kohl as the longest-serving German chancellor in the modern era.
The Swiss stock market ended Friday's trading on a weaker note. The SMI lost 1 per cent to 11,817 points. Of the 20 SMI stocks, 18 recorded price losses. The only winners were Credit Suisse and UBS. 26.04 (previously: 28.66) million shares were traded. The shares of the banks Credit Suisse (+0.9%) and UBS (+0.5%) held up better than the market thanks to higher bond interest rates. Moreover, Western credit institutions seem less involved in Evergrande than feared. Otherwise, defensive stocks were sold as well as cyclicals. The SMI heavyweight Nestle, which is considered defensive, fell by 1.4 per cent. Givaudan closed 3.0 per cent lower. Among the cyclicals, ABB posted losses of 1.9 per cent. Geberit fell by 2.4 per cent and Holcim by 0.7 per cent. In the second tier, Dufry rose 2.3 per cent. The operator of duty-free shops benefited from a new law in Spain: According to it, airport operator Aena must adjust concession fees at Spanish airports to passenger numbers until they return to 2019 levels. For Dufry, which operates shops at 26 Spanish airports, this means a considerable financial relief.
European stocks were lower Friday as bond yields continued to rise and investors kept an eye on troubled real estate giant China Evergrande headed into the weekend. The Stoxx Europe 600 index fell by 0.9% to 463.3 points. In Paris, the CAC 40 and SBF 120 were down 1% and 0.9%, respectively. In Frankfurt, the DAX 40 lost 0.7%, and the FTSE 100 in London shed 0.4%. Antin Infrastructure Partners shares closed at €30.30, 26% higher than the €24 IPO price announced on Thursday evening, which gave the company a valuation of €4.1 billion. Stocks had enjoyed two strong days of gains following the Federal Reserve's policy meeting on Wednesday, as markets seemed to welcome a delay to the start of tapering and ignored the hawkish undertones of the central bank's outlook. But a delayed taper tantrum appeared to show up for bonds on Thursday, as yields shot higher and remained elevated on Friday. Major indexes were holding on to slim weekly gains, in a week that began with sharp losses linked to fears over global contagion from troubles surrounding property group China Evergrande. German sportswear companies Adidas and Puma both slip in opening trade Friday after U.S. peer Nike missed 1Q sales expectations and said continued supply-chain disruptions would mean lower revenue for the fiscal year than previously thought. Drugmaker AstraZeneca rose nearly 3% after reporting results on a prostate cancer treatment.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 ticked up on Friday, clinching weekly gains despite uncertainty over the fate of indebted property giant China Evergrande Group. The Dow added 33.18 points, or 0.1%, to close at 34798.00. The S&P 500 rose 6.50, or 0.1%, to 4455.48. The technology-heavy Nasdaq Composite slipped 4.54, or less than 0.1%, to 15047.70. Friday’s session was a quiet end to an eventful week. Markets were whipsawed in recent days by fears that the possible collapse of Evergrande could spill over into global markets and add to an already darkening outlook for global growth. Investors who own Evergrande’s U.S. dollar bonds hadn’t received an interest payment by a Thursday deadline, raising concerns about a potential default. Evergrande shares fell 11.6% Friday in Hong Kong, and are down more than 84% this year. Cryptocurrencies were also in the spotlight this week as the tremors from China and mounting pressure from regulators around the world jolted digital-asset markets. On Friday, crypto prices fell after China’s central bank declared all cryptocurrency-related transactions illegal. Bitcoin fell 3.8% from its 5 p.m. ET level Thursday to about $43,000, according to CoinDesk. Ether slumped more than 6%. Shares of cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase Global fell $5.68, or 2.4%, to $231.82. Meredith Corp. surged $11.41, or 25%, to $56.30 per share on Friday after The Wall Street Journal reported that the People Magazine publisher was in talks to be acquired by Barry Diller’s IAC/InterActiveCorp. Shares of Nike tumbled $9.99, or 6.3%, to $149.59 after the sportswear giant lowered revenue guidance, citing supply-chain disruptions in Asia.
At the start of the new week, the stock exchanges in East Asia are showing a mixed picture. The crisis surrounding the heavily indebted Chinese real estate group Evergrande is still weighing on sentiment. In addition, the Chinese stock markets are facing an extended holiday break for the "Golden Week", which begins on Friday this week. In Shanghai, prices are down by an average of 1.3 per cent. On the Hong Kong stock exchange, the Hang Seng Index is up 0.3 per cent. Shares in Evergrande's electric mobility subsidiary China Evergrande New Energy Vehicle Group (Evergrande Auto) slump by over 10 per cent in Hong Kong. At times, the loss was more than 25 per cent after the company warned of a liquidity shortage and shelved plans for a secondary listing on the Shanghai Stock Exchange. In Japan, investors are staying on the sidelines as the new leader of the ruling LDP party is elected on Wednesday. The Nikkei 225 index is barely changed.
Government bond yields have climbed this week after several central banks - including the Fed -signaled they were on the path toward removing pandemic-era stimulus measures. The yield on the benchmark 10-Year U.S. Treasury note rose to 1.459% on Friday, its highest settle value since July, from 1.408% on Thursday.
Deutsche Bank increases Flutter target to 17,987 (17,004) p - Buy
Montega lowers Fortec target to EUR 25 (26) - Buy
Stifel reduces BASF target to EUR 81 (93) - Buy
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