European equities closed little changed, paring a second weekly advance, amid mixed data on the services and manufacturing industries.
The STOXX Europe 600 Index dropped 0.1 percent, trimming a loss of as much as 0.7 percent. Germany’s manufacturing output reached the highest level since early 2014 and a composite purchasing managers’ index (PMI) for France stood at 50, the threshold that divides expansion from contraction, according to Markit Economics. For the UK, the composite data slumped to its lowest since April 2009 in the wake of the referendum to leave the EU.
“Investors remain concerned on the prospects for economic growth in the eurozone after Brexit,” said Arno Endres, head analyst at Luzerner Kantonalbank in Switzerland. “The confidence level will be a problem longer term because overall central banks are running out of ammunition, and I’m not so confident helicopter money will have the desired effect. Earnings are contributing to the negativity as it’s been a mixed picture.”
While the STOXX 600 closed at a four-week high on Wednesday, it has alternated between daily gains and losses for most of the past week amid corporate earnings and speculation about central bank stimulus.
European Central Bank President Mario Draghi on Thursday said that the bank would consider increasing stimulus when it has a cleared picture of the impact of the UK’s vote to leave the EU.
The STOXX 600 ended little changed for the past two days amid thin trading, trimming its weekly advance to 0.7 percent. On Friday, the number of its shares changing hands was almost 40 percent below the 30-day average.
Britain’s FTSE 100 Index of megacaps rose 0.5 percent, reversing a 0.5 percent drop as the pound weakened following the PMI data. The FTSE 250 Index tracking mid-cap firms, more sensitive to the local economy, dropped 0.4 percent.
Miners and energy producers in the STOXX 600 fell amid declines in commodities. Skanska AB lost 4.8 percent as the Swedish construction company lowered its outlook for UK non-residential construction activity. Spain’s Banco de Sabadell SA tumbled 7.5 percent after posting a drop in quarterly profit. Vodafone Group PLC, on the other hand, rose 4.6 percent to its highest price since August last year after reporting service revenue that beat analysts’ estimates.
Manufacturers are on a mission to produce desperately needed medical ventilators for the COVID-19 pandemic, even if it means converting assembly lines now making auto parts. Along with a shortage of masks and gloves, the spread of COVID-19 to almost every corner of the globe has highlighted a great need for specialized machines that help keep severely afflicted patients alive. “As the global pandemic evolves, there is unprecedented demand for medical equipment, including ventilators,” GE Healthcare chief executive officer Kieran Murphy said. The group has hired more workers and is making ventilators around the clock. Swedish group Getinge AB is also ramping up output
Facing the rapidly evolving global COVID-19 pandemic, Citibank Taiwan Ltd (台灣花旗) has proactively taken precautionary measures. “The health and safety of our colleagues and their families, as well as our clients and the communities we serve, are of the utmost importance. We continue to take proactive measures to preserve their well-being while we maintain our ability to serve our clients,” Citibank Taiwan chairman Paulus Mok (莫兆鴻) said in a statement yesterday. “We have local and regional contingency plans in place, and we have well-established business continuity plans for the firm. We are monitoring the situation closely, adjusting our operations accordingly,
UPGRADE AND TRANSFORM: Although the cross-strait trade deal might remain, the Ministry of Economic Affairs said businesses should prepare for any disruptions Taiwan might face a decline in foreign trade with China if the cross-strait Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA) ends this year, Minister of Economic Affairs Shen Jong-chin (沈榮津) said yesterday. The agreement, which was signed and put into effect in 2010 to reduce trade barriers across the Taiwan Strait, is expected to end this year, despite not having an exact termination date. “We have not received notification [from China] that it wishes to terminate ECFA,” Shen told reporters prior to attending a meeting at the Legislative Yuan. “Even if we are notified, the agreement would only cease after six months.” While acknowledging the
GoShare, an electric scooter sharing service provider with Gogoro Inc (睿能創意), plans to expand to Tainan next quarter in a strategic alliance with Aeon Motor Co (宏佳騰). The company currently offers its services in Taipei and Taoyuan. “Tainan is very popular among tourists. The city receives an average of 22.94 million tourists every year,” GoShare head Henry Chiang (姜家煒) told a news conference yesterday in Taipei, citing Tourism Bureau statistics. “Besides, the city has a long history of riding scooters,” he said. Each household owns an average of 2.5 scooters, he added. “Expanding presence” is one of four strategies GoShare is adopting for this