March 19, 2018 / 8:19 AM / 9 months ago

LIVE MARKETS-Opening snapshot: European stocks open lower as Micro Focus dives

    March 19 - Welcome to the home for real time coverage of European equity markets brought to
you by Reuters stocks reporters and anchored today by Helen Reid. Reach her on Messenger to
share your thoughts on market moves: helen.reid.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net
 
 
 
    OPENING SNAPSHOT: EUROPEAN STOCKS OPEN LOWER AS MICRO FOCUS DIVES (0818 GMT)
    A drop in Micro Focus' shares and Henkel are contributing to the muted mood among European
shares this morning, which have opened lower.
    Likewise falls among energy stocks and basic resources are also weighing.
    On the positive side, Hammerson is the biggest gainer after that takeover approach from
Klepierre, while British betting firms have jumped after a report from the UK's gambling
commission which recommended a stake limit of at or below 30 pounds sterling for fixed odds
betting terminals (FOBTs).
    Here's your opening snapshot:
    
 
    (Kit Rees)
    *****
    
    WHAT WE'RE WATCHING AHEAD OF THE OPEN (0752 GMT)
    European stock futures were down 0.2 to 0.5 percent, pointing to a more feeble start to a
busy week with investors’ eyes on Wednesday’s Federal Reserve meeting and the EU summit on
Brexit. 
    With earnings season drawing to a close, there are however results from Henkel and Micro
Focus which could jolt the shares. 
    Henkel warned the year was off to a slow start, its shares are indicated down 2-3 percent.
Micro Focus meanwhile is seen falling as much as 15 percent after it said annual
revenue would fall more than expected due to lower licence income and complications from its
purchase of Hewlett Packard assets, prompting its CEO to quit.
    M&A continues apace, and Hammerson’s rejection of Klépierre’s takeover
offer is likely to boost the UK commercial real estate firm’s shares. 
    It is offers such as these that many UK investors are hoping for when they buy into what
many see as the stocks most at risk from a disorderly Brexit, such as commercial real estate
investment trusts. 
    European companies like Klépierre have all the more to gain from buying the depressed shares
with the euro/sterling exchange rate so favourable. With the offer valuing Hammerson’s shares at
a 40.7 percent premium to Friday’s closing price, and the market’s short position on Hammerson
growing in the past month, the shares are likely to jump this morning.
    News that activist investor Sherborne acquired a more than 5 percent stake in Barclays
 should shake up the British bank’s shares too.
    (Helen Reid)
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    COMPANY HEADLINES: MORNING ROUND-UP (0741 GMT)
Melrose pledges to inject 1 bln stg in GKN pension scheme 
Apple is developing own MicroLED screens - Bloomberg 
Pilots set up pan-European association to challenge Ryanair  
Daimler cars unit invests to ramp up output to 3 mln vehicles 
Sherborne acquires voting rights over 5.16 pct in Barclays  
France's Klepierre says offer to buy Hammerson rejected 
Micro Focus downgrades 2018 revenue forecast, CEO steps down 
UK gambling commission makes recommendations on FOBT machines
Henkel warns that delivery woes in North America damp Q1 start 
CEO of Germany's GEA Group to leave in April 2019 
Societe Generale hopes for resolution to IBOR, Libya investigations within weeks
Shipping firm CMA CGM sees industry rebound continuing  
Rocket Internet explores IPO of online shopping group Jumia - sources 
Kering says Swiss activities tax-compliant
    (Tom Pfeiffer)
    *****
    
    FUTURES POINT TO SLOWER START AS FED LOOMS (0712 GMT)
    Futures are down 0.2 to 0.4 percent across the main European benchmarks, confirming
spreadbetters' calls of a more cautious start to the week.
    With earnings season drawing to a close, corporate news is thin on the ground but M&A news
is still coming in: Hammerson has just announced it rejected an acquisition offer by
Klépierre which valued the UK real estate company's shares at a 40.7 percent premium
to their closing price on Friday. 
    
 
 
 (Helen Reid)
    *****
    
    
    MORNING CALL: CAUTION DOMINATES FIRST DAY OF BUSY WEEK
    Good morning and welcome to Live Markets. 
    European stocks are called down this morning, following the lead of Asian markets which hit
a speed-bump in the first trading day of a busy week. Britain prepares for a critical EU summit
this week, and investors are also eyeing Jerome Powell's first press conference as Federal
Reserve Chair and the central bank's decision on Wednesday.
    Asian shares were mixed as tension built ahead of this week's Fed meeting which will likely
result in an interest rate hike.
    Spreadbetters call the DAX 17 points lower at 12,373, the CAC 40 down 17 points at 5,265,
and the FTSE 100 16 points lower at 7,149. 
    (Helen Reid)
    *****

    
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