DAILY EUROPEAN EQUITY OPENING NEWS: Highlights include stories from Siemens, Airbus, AXA and RBS

**EUROPEAN EQUITY COVERAGE WILL ONLY COVER COMPANIES IN THE STOXX 600 OR COMPANIES OF SYSTEMIC IMPORTANCE TO PARTICULAR SECTORS**

5th March 2018

The Daily European Equity Opening News is uploaded at 0700GMT/0100CST recapping all of the overnight equity news

From 0700GMT/0100CST all equity news will be covered in real time over the audio and headline feed and the full audio rundown will be at 0715GMT/0115CST.

There will be an additional audio rundown at 0750GMT/0150CST recapping any company news which has hit the wires since 0715GMT/0115CST ahead of the European equity open

ASIA

Asian equity markets began a risk-packed week with a downbeat tone as region digested Italian elections, China economic announcements and continued trade war concerns. This ongoing political uncertainty and rise of the Euro sceptics dampened the risk tone with ASX 200 (-0.6%) and Nikkei 225 (-1.0%) negative throughout the session, while Japanese steel names and automakers remained pressured on lingering tariff/trade war concerns. Elsewhere, Hang Seng (-1.2%) underperformed and Shanghai Comp. (-0.1%) initially bucked the trend as participants contemplated over China’s economic work report in which the official GDP growth target was maintained at 6.5% as widely expected, before disappointing Chinese Caixin Services and Composite PMI data eventually weighed on the mainland.

FTSE

Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS LN) – Co. could be reaching a multi-billion dollar settlement with the US Department of Justice over its mis-selling of toxic mortgage-backed securities within weeks as reported by Sky News on late Friday. Separately, the Court of Appeal rejected claims by Property Alliance Group against the bank regarding mis-sold interest rates swaps related to the Libor scandal, as reported on Monday. (The Times)

UK Homebuilders – UK PM May is set to urge UK homebuilders to build more UK homes, threatening companies that delay building properties with losing their permits in the future. (Newswires)

UK Energy Co.’s – Energy firms will be banned from charging catch-up bills for gas and electricity used more than 12 months earlier. (BBC)

OTHER UK COMPANIES

Ladbrokes (LCL LN) – Co. will have to slash the GBP 8mln spending on sports events sponsoring if maximum stakes on gaming machines are reduced. (BBC)

Morrison (MRW LN) –Co. is facing a GBP 100mln equal pay compensation claim from hundreds of staff who believe to have been underpaid in comparison to their peers. (Newswires)

BROKER MOVES

WPP (WPP LN) DOWNGRADED TO HOLD FROM BUY AT PIVOTAL RESEARCH

DAX

BASF (BAS GY) – Co. in talks with Bayer (BAYN GY) to purchase its vegetable seeds business, could fetch EUR 1.5bln. (Newswires)

Siemens (SIE GY) – Co. will press ahead with IPO of its health-care unit Healthineers. Price range is set between EUR 26/shr and EUR 31/shr. Co. is expected to take in between EUR 3.9bln and EUR 4.65bln. The IPO values Siemens Healthineer at around EUR 31bln which is less than the estimated EUR 40bln.  (Newswires)

Car makers – US President Donald Trump threatened to impose EU auto companies with steep tariffs. This comes in retaliation to EU threats of targeting US imports in response to the steel tariffs. Separately, late on Friday, a US judge discharged a lawsuit filed by institutional investors holding bonds in the Volkswagen’s US unit, reporting that the co. had made misleading statements prior to the diesel scandal. (Newswires)

BROKER MOVES

CAC

Airbus (AIR FP) – Co. is planning to move or cut 3600 positions within the group as a result of a decline in production rates of the A380s and the A400M. (Challenges Magazine)

AXA (CS FP) – Co. is in advanced talks to purchase XL (XL) for USD 15bln, which represents a 37% premium. (Newswires)

Carrefour (CA FP)/ Casino (CO FP) – Amazon (AMZN) is aiming to launch a grocery delivery services in France, though the move is not imminent. (Newswires)

OTHER FRENCH COMPANIES

ADP (ADP FP) – The French transport minister stated that the French government is yet to make a decision on whether to privatise Co., which is a “strategic asset”. (Newswires)

BROKER MOVES

PAN-EUROPE

Steel makers – White House officials stated that President Trump plans to apply steel and aluminium tariffs globally and will not exempt allies such as Canada and Europe. (Newswires)

Telecom Italia (TIT IM) has transferred their stake in Persidera into a trust, sale negotiations will continue. (Newswires)

BROKER MOVES

SMI

OTHER SWISS COMPANIES

Helvetia (HELN SW) – FY 2017 net CHF 402.9mln vs. Exp. CHF 419.6mln and business volume CHF 8.64bln vs. Prev. CHF 8.51bln. (Newswires)

BROKER MOVES

SCANDINAVIA

BROKER MOVES

NOVOZYMES (NZYMB DC) DOWNGRADED TO UNDERWEIGHT FROM NEUTRAL AT JP MORGAN CHASE

US

EQUITIES: SPX +0.5%, NDX +0.9%, DJI -0.3%

Stock index futures pared-back pre-market weakness, bouncing off 2650. As VIX eased after the US open (falling from ~26 to ~21), stocks caught a bid, closing the session near highs around 2690. SPX closes the week down around 2.5%

Top sectors: IT +1.0%, Health +1.0%, Cons Stap +0.8%

Bottom sectors: Materials -0.25%, Utilities -0.25%, Industrials -0.1%

 

(RANsquawk)