LIVE MARKETS Telco M&A fights the gloom

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TELCO M&A FIGHTS THE GLOOM (0836 GMT)

There isn't much to rejoice about this morning across European equity markets so let's start with the good news.

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The telecom sector is one of the only space enjoying a steady flow of buying orders with Vodafone up close to 4% after a Reuters report that it is talks with Iliad to combine their respective businesses in Italy.

The telecom index is up 0.8% with BT, Orange and Telecom Italia enjoying some read-across boost.

Another big winner is Unilever, rising about 5% following reports activist investor Nelson Peltz has built a stake in the consumer goods maker. This comes after Unilever seemed to have abandoned the pursuit of GlaxoSmithKline's consumer healthcare business.

Another stock standing out this morning Renault with a 3.3% jump after Reuters reported the French carmaker and its partners Nissan and Mitsubishi plan to triple their electric vehicle investments.

That's mainly it for the good news with most sectors and regional bourses in the red as the pan-European STOXX 600 loses 0.3% and seems set for a fourth straight week of losses.

As you can see below, there are few stocks making gains among the biggest movers this morning:

sd

(Julien Ponthus)

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BEARS AT THE GATE (0759 GMT)

With a 14% fall from its November peak, not only is the Nasdaq deep in correction territory, it is also now within striking distance of the 20% fall bar which defines a bear market.

And while a U.S. Federal Reserve tightening cycle could be expected to weaken tech and other growth sectors, market stress is actually spread throughout Wall Street.

The S&P 500 has just suffered its biggest weekly loss since the COVID-19 market crash of March 2020 and is less than 2% away from a correction.

Friday's selloff came against the backdrop of a sharp fall in U.S. Treasury yields, which seems to suggest expectations of higher interest rates may not be the only factor denting sentiment ahead of this week's Fed meeting.

Until now, markets have been fairly happy to ignore the simmering tensions between Russia and the West over Ukraine but this might be changing as President Joe Biden weighs options for boosting America's military assets in Eastern Europe.

In this context, stakes are building quickly for fourth-quarter earnings, especially after high-visibility stocks such as Netflix and Goldman Sachs disappointed investors.

Mega-caps due to update the market this week include IBM (IBM.N), Microsoft (MSFT.O) Tesla (TSLA.O) and Apple (AAPL.O).

As the week starts, stress is palpable across most markets -- MSCI's index of Asia-Pacific shares ex-Japan (.MIAPJ0000PUS) is down over 1% while South Korean shares posted their biggest drop in five weeks and European futures are in the red.

In the meantime the dollar index is ticking up and bitcoin down to $35,295, almost 50% down from its November peaks.

Key developments that should provide more direction to markets on Monday:

-US two year note auction ($54 bln)

-EU bond sale

-US earnings: Halliburton, IBM, Logitech

-European earnings: Dior, Swatch, Phillips

-Philips expects summer recovery from supply chain woes read more

-Germany's Lufthansa in talks to buy 40% stake in Italy's ITA Airways - sources

South Korea shares hit 13-mths low

(Julien Ponthus)

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NEW WEEK, SAME TREND (0705 GMT)

European bourses are set for a rough start of the week with futures pointing to losses of about 0.5% after Friday's sell-off on Wall Street.

Asian bourses retreated and worries about a possible Russian attack on Ukraine is denting sentiment while investors brace for the Fed's meeting this week.

All eyes are now on IBM (IBM.N), Microsoft (MSFT.O) Tesla (TSLA.O) and Apple (AAPL.O) which are due to update the market this week.

(Julien Ponthus)

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