04.37

Consumer stocks and banks are among the strongest risers in the UK and the rest of Europe today, while miners were hit by disappointing results from Rio Tinto.

The Euro Stoxx 600 rose 0.4%, with Danone the top riser, up 7.6%, after positive results and rumors that the French dairy company Lactalis could bid higher. Heineken rose more than 4% after reporting an increase in beer sales as bars and restaurants reopened in Europe after Covid closures.

Major European stock indices are trading between 0.2% (German Dax) and 0.4% (French CAC) higher, while Britain’s FTSE 100 index gained 18 points, or 0.2%, to 7 619.

In London, consumer stocks such as Kingfisher, Reckitt Benckiser, Unilever and British American Tobacco are up as these stocks are seen as good defensive staples amid the war in Ukraine.

Lloyds banking group was also among the best risers on the FTSE 100 and the banking index rose 1.4%, while the the yield on UK 10-year government bonds exceeded 2% for the first time since late 2015.

04.25

Just Eat plans to sell Grubhub arm after falling orders

Just Eat Takeaway is considering selling its Grubhub arm, after reporting a drop in orders from exceptional levels during the Covid lockdowns.

The takeaway delivery specialist said orders fell 1% to 264.2 million in the first three months of 2022 as it battled levels boosted by last year’s pandemic. As a result, it lowered its trade value and earnings forecast for the year.

The Netherlands-based company agreed to buy US app Grubhub for $7.3bn (£5.8bn) in June 2020 in a deal struck last year that saw created the world’s largest food delivery service outside of China.

Motorcycle courier for the online food ordering and delivery service company, Just Eat, in Spain. Photography: Xavi Lopez/SOPA Images/REX/Shutterstock
03.46

Heineken sells more beer after bars reopen

Heineken, the world’s second-largest brewer, sold more beer than expected thanks to a surge in demand from Europe, where bars and restaurants have reopened since Covid lockdowns in recent months.

The Dutch company said its revenue rose 35% to almost 7 billion euros in the first three months of the year, compared to the same period last year. Beer volumes rose 5.2% on a like-for-like basis from a year earlier, above analysts’ expectations of a 3.5% increase. They were 2.8% ahead of 2019.

Premium beer volumes increased 6.3%, led by Heineken, which grew nearly 13%. Growth was mainly driven by Brazil, China, Netherlands, Spain, Ireland, Italy, UK, Portugal, Nigeria and United Arab Emirates.

Heineken shares rose 3.4% on the news.

Bottles of Heineken beer are seen at a bar in Monterrey, Mexico.
Bottles of Heineken beer are seen at a bar in Monterrey, Mexico. Photography: Daniel Becerril/Reuters

03.24

Rio Tinto warns of inflation and protracted war risks

British-Australian mining giant Rio Tinto reported lower-than-expected iron ore shipments in the first quarter and signaled risks from sustained high inflation, new Covid lockdowns in China and a protracted war between Russia and Ukraine.

The world’s largest producer of iron ore shipped 71.5 million tonnes of iron ore, which is used to make steel, in the three months to March 31, compared with 77.8 million tonnes a year earlier and analysts’ estimates of 76 million tonnes.

Labor shortages and supply chain issues hampered the company’s efforts to ramp up operations in Pilbara, Western Australia in the first three months of the year.

Shares of Rio Tinto fell 2.2%, making it the biggest loser on the FTSE 100 this morning. Other miners, Fresnillo and Anglo American, were also among the biggest fallers.

Rio Tinto Chief Executive Jakob Stausholm said:

Production in the first quarter was difficult as expected, which again underlined the need to improve our operational performance.

Moving on to outlook, he said:

Economic growth and demand for commodities have got off to a positive start this year as the world continues to recover from the pandemic downturn. However, market expectations were revised down amid sustained high inflation, the outbreak of the Russian-Ukrainian war and a resurgence of Covid-19 lockdowns in China. Other downside risks include prolonged war and other geopolitical tensions, prolonged labor and supply shortages, and monetary policy adjustments to curb inflation.

In March, Rio Tinto became the first major mining company to announce it was cutting all ties with Russian companies. It held an 80% stake in Queensland Alumina as part of a joint venture with Russia’s Rusal, the world’s second-largest aluminum producer.

03.09

European stocks opened cautiously higher.

Germany’s Dax rose 0.1%, France’s CAC and Italy’s FTSE MiB gained 0.3% and Spain’s Ibex edged up 0.2%, while Britain’s FTSE 100 index rose 0.2%. 0.1% to 7,608.

03.03

Sunak to skip some G-20 meetings and keep pressure on Russia

Britain’s Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak will only attend selected G-20 meetings in Washington this week, Reuters reports, citing a government source, after US officials said they would avoid meetings with Russian officials.

US officials said on Monday that Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen would skip some meetings of finance ministers from the G-20 group of advanced and emerging economies if Russian officials were present.

Sunak will also not attend all G-20 meetings. A government source told Reuters:

According to the United States, the Chancellor will attend key G-20 sessions…and continue to work with our allies to call for Russian aggression and push for stronger coordinated action to punish Russia and support Ukraine .

Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov will lead the Russian delegation to the sessions, which will take place on the sidelines of the biannual IMF and World Bank meetings in Washington.

Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov.
Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov. Photograph: Maxim Shemetov/Reuters
02.43

Introduction: German producer prices at record high, ongoing IMF/World Bank meetings

Hello and welcome to our ongoing coverage of business, the global economy and financial markets.

In Germany, ex-factory prices jumped 30.9% on the year to March, the biggest increase since records began in 1949, according to the Federal Statistical Office. This reflects for the first time the impact of the war in Ukraine, with soaring energy costs being the main culprit. The concern is that increases in producer prices will feed through to consumer prices and push inflation even higher.

netflix Shares tumbled 25% last night after the US streaming giant said it lost subscribers for the first time in 10 years earlier this year, and expects to lose even more in spring.

After earnings on wall street Tuesday, with the Nasdaq up 2.15% and the Dow Jones up 1.45%, Asian stocks are mostly higher in choppy trading, with the exception of the Shanghai Composite, which fell 1%. Japan’s Nikkei rose 0.86%, Hong Hong’s Hang Seng fell 0.47% and the Singapore Stock Exchange ended up 0.9%.

central bank of china kept its benchmark lending rates unchanged but announced some measures to help people and businesses affected by Covid. Iris Pang, Chief Economist for Greater China at ING, says:

Most of the measures mentioned are window tips for banks to be flexible in lending to individuals and businesses who are temporarily affected by lockdowns and credit problems, but who are willing to repay their debts when the lockdowns are lifted. . The outcome depends on how banks react to the central bank’s suggestions. The metrics also suggest that the monetary policy response will remain modest relative to fiscal stimulus.

European stock exchanges were in the red yesterday as Russia launched the “second phase” of the war in eastern Ukraine. Futures point to a higher open today, but risks remain on the downside.

Oil prices rebounded amid concerns over tight supplies from Russia and Libya. Yesterday, Brent and US light crude fell more than 5% after the International Monetary Fund cut its forecast for global growth due to the war in Uraine. Brent crude, the global benchmark, is currently nearly $1 higher at $108.18 a barrel, while US light crude is trading at $103.02 a barrel.

Also coming soon

the spring meetings organized by the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank are underway in Washington, with speeches this afternoon by IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva on the global political agenda, followed by World Bank President David Malpass .

Agenda

  • IMF/World Bank Spring Meetings in Washington
  • 10am BST: Eurozone trade and industrial production for February
  • 1:30 p.m. BST: Inflation in Canada for March (forecast: 6.1%)
  • 1.30pm BST IMF chief Kristalina Georgieva speaks
  • 2.15pm BST: World Bank President David Malpass speaks
  • 3:00 p.m. BST: US home sales for March

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