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FTSE 100 turns positive for the year; European stocks climb as markets assess U.S., China


FTSE 100 inches into positive territory for the year after UK inflation print

A general view inside the foyer of the London Stock Exchange on September 22, 2023 in London, England.

Dan Kitwood | Getty Images News | Getty Images

Britain’s FTSE 100 climbed 0.8% on Wednesday morning to nudge into positive territory for the year, after fresh data showed U.K. inflation fell to a two-year low in October.

Despite a volatile 2023, the U.K. blue chip index is now up 2.6% on the month and 0.8% on the year.

The headline consumer price index fell sharply in October to an annual 4.6%, from 6.7% during the previous month, coming in below economist expectations.

Core CPI — which excludes volatile food, energy, alcohol and tobacco prices — fell to an annual 5.7% in October from 6.1% in September.

“Whether falls in inflation will stall and whether the Bank of England is as keen as Rishi Sunak to declare mission accomplished in the fight against rising prices remains to seen,” said Russ Mould, investment director at AJ Bell.

“What will encourage observers in Threadneedle Street is the fall in services inflation – further falls in this area could be the precursor to a pivot towards bringing rates down. For now, investors are in the mood to celebrate and the prospects of a big Santa Rally are building as we head towards December.”

– Elliot Smith

Biggest movers: Siemens Energy up 7%, Alstom down 10%

Siemens Energy shares climbed more than 7% in early trade after the company secured 7.5 billion euros ($8.15 billion) in project-related state guarantees from the German government.

The German economy ministry announced late on Tuesday that it had granted the backstop as part of a wider package of 15 billion euros in guarantee lines agreed with banks and other stakeholders.

At the bottom of the European blue chip index, shares of French train manufacturer Alstom plunged more than 10% after the company announced that it would cut 1,500 jobs and sell off assets as it looks to shore up its balance sheet.

– Elliot Smith

Positive open for Europe

European stocks made a positive start on Wednesday.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 was up 0.4% in early trade, with basic resources adding 1.2% to lead gains as most sectors and major bourses advanced.

Siemens Energy clinches state guarantees as it posts a 4.6 billion euro annual loss

Siemens Energy site in Muelheim an der Ruhr, Germany, August 3, 2022.

Wolfgang Rattay | Reuters

Siemens Energy has secured 7.5 billion euros ($8.15 billion) in project-related state guarantees from the German government, hours before announcing a nearly 5 billion euro loss for its fiscal year.

The German economy ministry announced late on Tuesday that it had granted the backstop as part of a wider package of 15 billion euros in guarantee lines agreed with banks and other stakeholders, following talks with private lenders and the company’s largest shareholder, Siemens AG.

The company denied the fiscal guarantees constitute “state aid,” with Siemens Energy CEO Christian Bruch telling CNBC on Wednesday that there is no cash involved.

The business will “pay money for these back guarantees, so it is like an insurance package,” he stressed.

Read the full story here.

– Elliot Smith

UK inflation falls by more than expected in October to 4.6%, lowest in two years

Shoppers pass along the main high street in Whitstable, UK.

Bloomberg | Bloomberg | Getty Images

U.K. inflation fell sharply in October to 4.6% from 6.7% the previous month, hitting a two-year low.

The headline consumer price index was flat on a monthly basis. Economists polled by Reuters had expected the headline CPI to rise by 4.8% year-on-year and 0.1% from the previous month.

Core CPI — which excludes volatile food, energy, alcohol and tobacco prices — fell to an annual 5.7% in October from 6.1% in September.

Read the full story here.

– Elliot Smith

CNBC Pro: Time to invest in China? The pros weigh in and name sectors – and stocks to play right now

The Chinese economy has been in a funk this year no thanks to a decline in exports, slowdown in consumer spending and a prolonged slump in the property sector, and several analysts are now bearish on the Asian giant.

Chinese stocks have done poorly – Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index has plummeted around 14% in the year to date, while the Shenzhen Component is down 10%.

Many emerging market funds have also reduced their allocations on China by some 200 basis points this year and shifted their weight to other markets such as Taiwan, India, South Korea, Brazil and Mexico in anticipation of better valuations and growth.

However, analysts see opportunities in the Chinese market right now, naming sectors – and stocks – that are poised

CNBC Pro subscribers can read more here.

— Amala Balakrishner

CNBC Pro: Harvesting tax losses? Scotiabank names 10 Canadian stocks as ‘prime candidates’

As the end of the year approaches, investors are likely to be reviewing their portfolios and considering which stocks to sell to harvest tax losses.

Tax-loss harvesting is a strategy to offset capital gains tax from stocks that have run up in share price with losses from non-performing stocks.

To aid investors, Scotiabank identified several stocks on Canada’s TSX Composite index that are down significantly this year but are still rated as “Sector Outperform” by its analysts.

CNBC Pro subscribers can read more here.

— Ganesh Rao

European markets: Here are the opening calls

European markets are expected to open in mixed territory Wednesday.

The U.K.’s FTSE 100 index is expected to open 4 points lower at 7,419, Germany’s DAX up 10 points at 15,628, France’s CAC up 4 points at 7,191 and Italy’s FTSE MIB up 81 points at 29,251, according to data from IG. 

Earnings come from Infineon, Siemens Energy and Aviva. U.K. inflation figures for October are due.

— Holly Ellyatt



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