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Jan 27, 2019

Week Ahead: 28 January-1 February

By Jonas Crosland

Welcome to the week ahead, our summary of the forthcoming key company announcements. Companies are no longer obliged to notify the London Stock Exchange (LSE) of results and trading updates, so this list does not claim to be comprehensive. You can read company announcements at and our daily online news summaries record all key company announcements and business press headlines.
Monday 28 January
Interim: Sensyne Health
Finals: Porvair, SThree
Trading statement: Petra Diamonds
EGMs: Imaginatik, Panthera Resources
Companies paying dividends: Auto Trader (2.1p), Marstons (4.8p)
Tuesday 29 January
Interims: Filtronic, Hargreaves Lansdown, NWF, PZ Cussons
Final: Crest Nicholson
Trading statements: Domino’s Pizza, Greencore, Intermediate Capital, Royal Mail, UDG Healthcare
AGMs: Greencore, Residential Secure Income, UDG Healthcare
EGM: Maistro
Companies paying dividends: Amigo Holdings (1.87p)
Wednesday 30 January
Interims: Best of the Best, Hargreaves Services
Finals: Aukett Swanke, Low & Bonar, Staffline
Trading statement: Wizz Air Holdings
AGMs: Renew Holdings, Topps Tiles
Economics: BRC shop price index, Net consumer credit, Net lending secured on dwellings, Mortgage approvals, M4 money supply
Companies paying dividends: BCA Marketplace (3p), BHP (special) (81.21p), Bilby (0.5p), UP Global Sourcing (1.89p), Vianet (1.7p)
Thursday 31 January
Interims: Alumasc, Angle, Diageo, Rank Group, Renishaw
Finals: Redhall, Royal Dutch Shell, Unilever
Trading statements: 3i Group, BT Group, Dairy Crest, PPHE Hotel Group
AGMs: Avon Rubber, Britvic, Connect Group, Hollywood Bowl, Infrastrata, Utilitywise
EGMs: Altitude Group, Vast Resources
Economics: GfK consumer confidence
Companies paying dividends: Abbey (special) (89.29p), Baillie Gifford UK Growth Fund (1.5p), BMO Global Smaller Companies (5p), BMO Private Equity Trust (3.58p), Dairy Crest (6.4p), DotDigital Group (0.64p), Edistone Property Investment (0.4792p), European Assets Trust (1.77p), European Investment Trust (18p), F&C Commercial Property Trust (5p), International Biotechnology Trust (14p)
Friday 1 February
Trading statements: Euromoney Institutional Investor, TalkTalk Telecom
AGMs: Brewin Dolphin, Catenae Innovation, Euromoney Institutional Investor
EGM: Plexus Holdings
Economics: Markit UK PMI manufacturing
Companies paying dividends: Invesco Perpetual Advanced (1.25p), Iomart (2.45p), Lowland Investment (14p), Middlefield Canadian Investment Trust (1.275p), Schroder Asia Pacific Fund (9.5p), Smith (WH) Group (38.1p), Twentyfour Income Fund (1.5p), Twentyfour Select Monthly Income (0.5p), UK Mortgages (1.5p), BMO UK High Income Trust (1.25p), Burberry (11p), Experian (12.225p), F&C Investment Trust (2.8p), KCOM (1p), McCarthy & Stone (3.5p), Mercantile Investment Trust (1.25p), Schroder UK Mid Cap Fund (12.7p), Unicorn Aim VCT (3.5p), United Utilities (13.76p)
Companies going ex-dividend on 31 January
Axiom European Financial Debt Npv1.522 Feb
Cohort Ord 10p2.8527 Feb
Downing One VCT (Nov2013)322 Feb
Dunedin Income Growth Inv Tst Ord 25p322 Feb
Hipgnosis Songs fund npv0.528 Feb
Hollywood Bowl Group4.2327 Feb
Hollywood Bowl Group4.3327 Feb
NB Private Equity Partners Limited Zero0.2828 Feb
Premier Asset Management1.78 Mar
Renew Holdings Ord 10p6.678 Mar
Stock Spirits Group €5.3524 Feb
Tracsis0.915 Feb
Victrex Ord 1p41.622 Feb
The ex-dividend day is the first day on which it is no longer possible to buy the shares and qualify for the dividend. Ex-days are almost always a Thursday. The record date is usually one day after the ex-date. The payment day is the day on which the funds are transferred to shareholders.
The data in the table above is a small selection of what’s available on  the website and click on the dividend calendar

Source: Investors Chronicle

Former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz weighs independent bid for presidency, denounces 'revenge politics'

Javier E. David,Tucker Higgins

GP: Howard Schultz speaking 161110
Howard Schultz
Michael Nagle | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Former Starbucks Chairman and CEO Howard Schultz, who is launching a book tour this week, said he’s “seriously thinking of running for president” as a centrist who is positioned outside the two-party system.
With the field of contenders to challenge President Donald Trump growing daily, the 65-year-old coffee impresario who turned a local Seattle chain into a global coffee behemoth, is weighing the idea of an independent bid, he told 60 Minutes, CBS’s flagship news magazine.
“I am seriously thinking of running for president. I will run as a centrist independent, outside of the two-party system,” the self-described lifelong Democrat told CBS, denouncing the “reckless failure of [the] constitutional responsibility” of both Democrats and the GOP.
“We’re living at a most-fragile time not only the fact that this president is not qualified to be the president, but the fact that both parties are consistently not doing what’s necessary on behalf of the American people and are engaged, every single day, in revenge politics,” Schultz added.
The 60 Minutes interview is timed to the release of Schultz’s book, “From the Ground Up,” which weaves together parts of his personal biography and his vision for the country. The Brooklyn native — who’s worth at least $3 billion, according to Bloomberg data, is still a relative political unknown. It is not clear where Schultz stands on a number of issues that are likely to be contentious on the campaign trail.
Speculation has swirled around Schultz’s second act after Starbucks for at least two years, and the 60 Minutes interview sets the stage for what is shaping up to be a fierce battle for the White House.
In an article published over the weekend by The Atlantic, Democratic insiders are said to be deeply concerned about Schultz’s potential run. They are reportedly concerned that a third-party bid would siphon off Democratic votes, and ensure a re-election for Trump, a subject that Schultz addressed in his CBS interview.
“I want to see the American people win. I want to see America win,” Schultz told 60 Minutes. “I don’t care if you’re a Democrat, Independent, Libertarian, Republican. Bring me your ideas. And I will be an independent person, who will embrace those ideas. Because I am not, in any way, in bed with a party.”
Yet in the interview, the former executive struck a progressive tone on virtually every major topic broached by his interviewer. He declared his support for open immigration, taxes, climate change and universal health care--even as he chided the major parties over the polarized political climate and fiscally irresponsibility.
‘Reimagine US’
Schultz will face fierce headwinds in putting together a national political operation that can be competitive, as he has started later in the game than most top contenders. As of November 2018, Schultz had not traveled to key early contest states Iowa and New Hampshire.
In a series of posts on his newly inaugurated Twitter account, Schultz declared his love for America, and a desire to “create opportunities” for everyone.
However, Schultz did assemble a crack public relations squad last year, including Steve Schmidt, a former vice chairman at public relations powerhouse Edelman who managed the late Republican Sen. John McCain’s 2008 bid.
The former Starbucks chief’s entrance into the race is likely to unsettle progressives, though, whom Schultz has criticized for having what he considers unrealistic goals. Schultz told CNBC last year that the “greatest threat domestically” was the national debt and said cutting entitlement spending was essential.
“I look at both parties we see extremes on both sides...with approximately $21.5 trillion of debt, which is a reckless example, not only of Republicans, but of Democrats, as well,” he told CBS in his interview.

Source: CNBC

Australia recognises Juan Guaidó as Venezuela president

Paul Karp

Foreign affairs minister Marise Payne announces Australia will follow the US and other countries in abandoning incumbent president Nicolás Maduro
Juan Guaidó Juan Guaidó speaks to the media on Sunday. Australia has become the latest country to recognise the opposition leader as Venezuela’s interim president as he seeks to oust Nicolás Maduro. Photograph: Luis Robayo/AFP/Getty Images
Australia has recognised Juan Guaidó as interim president of Venezuela, joining the United States, Canada and Venezuela’s South American neighbours in rejecting incumbent Nicolás Maduro.
The statement from Australian foreign affairs minister, Marise Payne, follows a threat from European leaders on Sunday to recognise Guaidó unless Maduro calls an election in the next eight days. The US secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, also urged countries to “pick a side” in the crisis.
Payne said on Monday that Australia “recognises and supports the president of the national assembly, Juan Guaidó, in assuming the position of interim president, in accordance with the Venezuelan constitution and until elections are held”.
“Australia calls for a transition to democracy in Venezuela as soon as possible.”
Payne noted that Australia had supported the Lima Group’s early call for Maduro to refrain from assuming the presidency on 10 January.
“We now urge all parties to work constructively towards a peaceful resolution of the situation, including a return to democracy, respect for the rule of law and upholding of human rights of the Venezuelan people.”
Maduro, who inherited Hugo Chávez’s Bolivarian revolution after his 2013 death, was re-elected in disputed elections last May.
He has so far rejected calls to hold fresh elections and accused Guaidó of violating “the constitution and every law”.
Maduro retains the support of Russia, China, Cuba, Bolivia and Turkey and still has the backing of the military, although his defence attache to the Venezuelan embassy in Washington defected to Guaidó on Saturday.
In one of his first interviews since his surprise declaration as the interim president on Wednesday, Juan Guaidó told the Guardian he was set on “getting the job done” to force Maduro from power and end a humanitarian emergency which has fuelled the largest exodus in modern Latin American history.
Oil-rich Venezuela is wracked with hyperinflation, rendering the bolivar currency practically worthless. Shortages in food staples and basic medicines are rampant and crime is widespread. More than 3 million Venezuelans have fled, causing consternation across the continent.

Source: The Guardian

Remember 5 : EU FX I currencies Closing Report on Friday 25, 2019: Dollar tumbles as focus turns to Fed's policy meeting

Yun Li

Premium: Euro notes 171120
Euro notes and coins
Danita Delimont | Getty Images
The dollar fell on Friday from its three-week highs in the previous session, as traders’ focus shifted to the Federal Reserve’s policy meeting next week when the U.S. central bank is expected to leave interest rates unchanged.
“While the Fed next week may not sound overtly dovish, its tone might emphasize caution and thus do little to alter very low expectations for policymakers to raise rates this year,” said Joe Manimbo, senior market analyst at Western Union Business Solutions in Washington.
The Fed raised interest rates four times last year and has signaled it will probably lift borrowing costs twice in 2019, though some central bank officials have said they will be patient in raising rates.
The dollar index was down 0.85 percent at 95.78, after climbing to a three-week high of 96.676 on Thursday.
The dollar’s decline also coincided with a rally in U.S. stocks, which were bolstered by upbeat earnings.
The euro, on the other hand, rebounded on Friday, steadying after a dovish European Central Bank President Mario Draghi failed to alter an already downbeat assessment on the euro zone’s economy. Draghi warned on Thursday that a dip in the euro zone’s economy could be more pronounced than thought a few weeks ago, comments seen as signaling a delay in the bank’s first interest rate hike.
The euro on Thursday weakened broadly on those comments and fell to a two-month low of $1.1286 against the dollar. But on Friday, the single currency recovered, rising 0.95 percent to $1.1412.
“A relatively dovish performance from Draghi was already priced in,” said John Hardy, head of FX strategy at Saxo Bank.
Markets are pricing in an ECB interest rate rise only for mid-2020 as the euro zone economy is suffering its biggest slowdown in more than half a decade, with no recovery in sight.
Indeed, a key German business morale indicator fell for the fifth straight month in January.
The euro has traded in a range of $1.12 to $1.16 for the past three months, and analysts expect it to underperform in the near term as monetary policy is expected to remain accommodative for now.
Sterling reached an 11-week high on Friday after a report in the Sun newspaper that Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party had privately decided to offer conditional backing for British Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit deal next week.
The report pushed the pound 0.4 percent higher to $1.3139, its highest level since Nov. 9. Sterling has risen about 1.8 percent this week, moving above $1.30 to the dollar on hopes Britain will avoid a no-deal Brexit on March 29.

Source: CNBC

Remember 4 : US Treasury yields rise after Trump announces deal to end government shutdown

Alexandra Gibbs,Thomas Franck

U.S. government debt yields rose on Friday after President Donald Trump announced that he had reached a deal with congressional lawmakers to reopen the federal government for three weeks.
The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note was up at 2.755 percent at 1:11 p.m. ET, while the yield on the 30-year Treasury bond rose, trading at 3.06 percent. Bond yields move inversely to prices.
The short-term resolution would leave open the possibility that lawmakers fail to come to terms and end up at another impasse in mid-February.
The remarks on the 35th day of the closure came amid calls from senators of both parties to temporarily fund the government while they try to strike a wider immigration deal. Lawmakers have floated a three-week continuing resolution to reopen nine unfunded U.S. departments.
Until now, Trump has insisted that any funding bill include cash for a U.S.-Mexico border wall, representing a longstanding campaign promise to crack down on immigration. Prices of Treasurys often move in the opposite direction of stocks, as investors shift money between riskier and safer assets.
The U.S. Senate blocked bills on Thursday to fund the government.
A Republican-backed proposal and a measure supported by Democrats didn't acquire the 60 votes they needed to be cleared. The Democratic plan to reopen the government without funding for the president's border wall, received more votes in the GOP-held chamber.

U.S. Markets Overview: Treasurys chart

US 3-MOU.S. 3 Month Treasury2.3830.000.00
US 1-YRU.S. 1 Year Treasury2.5960.000.00
US 2-YRU.S. 2 Year Treasury2.600.000.00
US 5-YRU.S. 5 Year Treasury2.587-0.0020.00
US 10-YRU.S. 10 Year Treasury2.746-0.0050.00
US 30-YRU.S. 30 Year Treasury3.055-0.0060.00
As another trading week draws to a close, jitters continue to reverberate across markets as concerns surrounding the U.S.-China trade talks resurface.
On Thursday, markets were rattled after U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said that trade negotiations with China were far from complete. "We would like to make a deal but it has to be a deal that will work for both parties," Ross told CNBC. "We're miles and miles from getting a resolution."
Ross' comments come as Washington and Beijing try to remedy their trade disputes, during a tariff cease-fire which is slated to finish at the start of March.
CNBC's Jacob Pramuk contributed to this report

Source: CNBC

Remember 3: Energy : US crude rises 1.1%, settling at $53.69, boosted by concerns over Venezuelan crisis

Tom DiChristopher

Reusable: Oil worker 130728
Andrew Burton | Getty Images
Oil prices rose on Friday as political turmoil in Venezuela threatened to tighten crude supply, but concerns over surging U.S. fuel stocks and global economic woes weighed on sentiment.
The United States signaled on Thursday it may impose sanctions on Venezuelan exports after recognizing opposition leader Juan Guaido as interim president this week, prompting President Nicholas Maduro to cut ties with Washington.
But the ongoing U.S.-China trade dispute and broader gloom over world economic growth put a check on prices.
U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude futures ended Friday’s session 56 cents, or 1.1 percent, higher at $53.69 per barrel. WTI fell about 0.2 percent for the week, the first weekly decline in four weeks.

Brent crude oil futures were up 61 cents, or 1 percent, at $61.70 a barrel around 2:20 p.m. ET. Brent has shed about 1.6 percent since Monday and was also on track for its first week of losses in four weeks.
RBC Capital Markets predicted that U.S. sanctions could nearly double projected output shortfalls from Venezuela.
“Venezuelan production will decline by an additional 300,000-500,000 barrels per day this year, but such punitive measures could expand that outage by several hundred thousand barrels,” it said.
Still, some analysts said the possibility of immediate sanctions were unlikely.
“We view a blockade on Venezuelan imports as low probability and a last resort measure that is likely weeks if not months away should it materialize,” Jim Ritterbusch, president of Ritterbusch and Associates, said in a note.
“The evolving situation in Venezuela appears capable of delaying our expected test of $50 support.”
Global oil markets are still well supplied, however, thanks in part to a spike in U.S. output.
Record U.S. production would likely offset any short-term disruptions to Venezuelan supply due to possible U.S. sanctions, Britain’s Barclays said in a note. The bank cut its 2019 average Brent forecast to $70 a barrel, from $72 previously.
The output surge has swollen U.S. fuel stocks, and crude inventories rose by 8 million barrels last week, according to official data released on Thursday.
Companies added 10 oil rigs in the week to Jan. 25, bringing the total count to 862, Baker Hughes energy services firm said in its closely followed report on Friday.
Refining profits for gasoline are crashing around the world as consumption stalls amid a huge wave of new supplies, resulting in record inventories in Asia, America and Europe.
In the U.S. market, gasoline margins sank to $5.70 per barrel on Thursday, the lowest seasonally since 2009, weighed down by weak demand for the fuel and excess supply.
Analysts have predicted a more balanced market due to a production cut pact by OPEC and its allies including Russia, as well as potential export disruptions in Venezuela, Iran and Libya.
“While the current state of affairs is price constructive for oil, the market is hesitant when it comes to the global outlook,” Harry Tchilinguirian, global head of commodity markets strategy at BNP Paribas, told the Reuters Global Oil Forum.
Demand may start to stutter because of a global economic slowdown, which is likely to dent fuel consumption.
A trade dispute between the United States and China and tightening financial conditions around the world have hurt manufacturing activity in most economies, including in China, where growth last year was the weakest in nearly 30 years.
According to Reuters polls of hundreds of economists worldwide, a synchronized global economic slowdown is underway and would deepen if the U.S.-China trade war escalated.
WATCH: Here’s what drives the price of oil

Source: CNBC

Remember· 2: Futures & Commodities - Gold soars to over 7-month high as dollar falls ahead of Fed meeting on January 25, 2017

Gold soars to over 7-month high as dollar falls ahead of Fed meeting

Stephanie Landsman

Reusable: Gold coins 001
Gold jumped over 1 percent to a more than seven-month high on Friday, briefly surpassing the $1,300 mark, as the dollar slid ahead of a U.S. Federal Reserve meeting next week where the central bank is widely expected to leave interest rates unchanged.
Spot gold rose 1.29 percent to $1,297.13 per ounce as of 1:58 p.m. ET, having earlier touched a peak of $1,300.30, its highest since June 15, 2018. The metal was on course for its best week in four.
U.S. gold futures settled $18.30 higher at $1,298.10 per ounce.
“The major catalyst supporting gold is a big drop in the dollar, amid expectations the Fed will reiterate a pause to its hiking cycle next week,” said Fawad Razaqzada, an analyst with
Gold tends to appreciate on expectations of lower interest rates, which reduce the opportunity cost of holding non-yielding bullion.
The dollar fell off a three-week high it scaled in the previous session, as investors turned their attention to the Fed meeting next week. This made gold, which is traded in dollars, cheaper for holders of other currencies.
“There are also some rumours that the Fed is backing off their quantitative tightening program, which would mean they are going dovish. This would in turn mean a probable end of rate hikes in 2019, which would be supportive for gold,” said Bob Haberkorn, senior market strategist at RJO Futures.
Investor sentiment toward gold has been considerably ripe with holdings of SPDR Gold, the largest gold-based Exchange Traded Fund, hovering around their highest levels since late June 2018.
Risks “from economic and political perspectives, are keeping gold relatively well supported going forward,” said Commerzbank analyst Daniel Briesemann.
A synchronised global economic slowdown is underway and any escalation in the U.S.-China trade war would trigger a sharper downturn, according to the latest Reuters polls of hundreds of economists from around the world.
Investors are also worried about the impact of the longest U.S. government shutdown in history, with two bills to end the partial shutdown failing to win enough votes in the Senate.
Yet another key focus is U.S.-China trade relations. U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said on Thursday the two countries were “miles and miles” from resolving issues.
Among other metals, palladium, which hit a record high of $1,434.50 an ounce last week on low inventories and rising demand, gained 3.03 percent to $1,360 but remained on course for its first weekly drop in five after falling over 1 percent so far this week.

Silver rose 2.27 percent to $15.66 per ounce, while platinum gained 1.75 percent to $815, on track for its first weekly gain in three.                             

Remember · 1: to bear in Mind:: How did Asia , Europe and Us Markets Closed Last Friday.


Asian stocks gain despite US-China trade jitters

Eustance Huang

Major stock indexes in Asia closed higher on Friday despite fresh overnight uncertainties surrounding the ongoing U.S.-China trade negotiations.
The mainland Chinese markets, watched in relation to Beijing’s trade fight with Washington, mostly advanced: The Shanghai composite gained around 0.39 percent to close at about 2,601.72. The Shenzhen component rose 0.29 percent to finish its trading week at approximately 7,595.45 while the Shenzhen composite shed earlier gains to close 0.176 percent lower at about 1,319.97.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index gained 1.65 percent to 27,569.19. Shares of Chinese tech juggernaut Tencent bounced 4.12 percent on the back of the company receiving approvals for two new games after months of waiting.
“This is a fourth round of approvals and finally Tencent get two games, I think investors will view this as a good sign that (the) China government is finally approving some games for Tencent,” Jackson Wong, associate director at Huarong International Securities, told CNBC’s “Street Signs ” on Friday.
“Approval for Tencent’s games is very important because unlike other gaming companies, Tencent can utilize or monetize their games very well,” Wong said, in reference to the tech giant’s ability to make money from its games.
The Nikkei 225 in Japan added about 0.97 percent to close at 20,773.56 while the Topix index gained 0.87 percent to finish its trading day at 1,566.10. Shares of conglomerate Softbank Group rose 1.83 percent.
Before the market open, official data showed core consumer prices in Tokyo rose 1.1 percent on-year in January, beating an estimated 0.9 percent increase predicted in a Reuters poll. The inflation measure accounts for oil products but does not include fresh food prices.
South Korea’s Kospi advanced 1.52 percent as shares of industry heavyweight Samsung Electronics and chipmaker SK Hynix extended their gains from Thursday.
In Australia, the ASX 200 rose 0.68 percent to close at 5,905.60, with most sectors seeing gains.
The heavily-weighted financial subindex added about 0.37 percent as shares of the country’s so-called Big Four Banks gained. Australia and New Zealand Banking Group was up 1.04 percent, Commonwealth Bank of Australia rose fractionally, Westpac advanced 0.62 percent and National Australia Bank added 0.65 percent.
“Global financial markets continue to crave certainty on a number of issues and are still finding trends hard to come by as they are pushed and pulled in either direction on an almost daily basis,” analysts at Rakuten Securities Australia said in a morning note.

Asia-Pacific Market Indexes Chart

NIKKEINikkei 225 IndexNIKKEI20773.560.000.00
HSIHang Seng IndexHSI27569.190.000.00
ASX 200S&P/ASX 200ASX 2005905.6039.900.68
KOSPIKOSPI IndexKOSPI2177.730.000.00
CNBC 100CNBC 100 ASIA IDXCNBC 1007738.26116.551.53
US-China trade uncertainty
U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said on Thursday that China and the U.S. were not close to striking a trade deal. He told CNBC’s “Squawk Box” that the U.S. is “miles and miles ” from a trade deal with China, adding the two countries have “lots and lots of issues.”
Ross’ comments come as China and the U.S. are racing to strike a trade deal by early-March. If they don’t, additional U.S. tariffs on Chinese goods will come into effect. The two economic powerhouses have been engaged in an ongoing trade fight since last year.
“I think there are fundamental differences here between ... the two largest economies in the world,” Jonathan Pain, author of The Pain Report, told CNBC on Thursday.
Recalling U.S. Vice President Mike Pence’s speech at Washington’s Hudson Institute last year, Pain said Pence’s words “basically told me that the United States and China are engaged in a long-term economic war.”
“My personal view is that (U.S. President) Donald Trump actually wants to do a deal, and we also know the Chinese want to do a deal, ” he said. “I think the critical issue is, will Donald Trump be able to tame the trade hawks?”
Chinese Vice Premier Liu He is set for a scheduled visit to the U.S. next week for high level talks.
In overnight market action on Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average slipped 22.38 points to close at 24,553.24 while the S&P 500 advanced around 0.14 percent to finish its trading day at 2,642.33. The Nasdaq Composite gained 0.68 percent to close at 7,073.46.
The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 96.432 after seeing a session low of 96.357 earlier.
The Japanese yen, widely seen as a safe-haven currency, traded at 109.79 against the dollar after touching highs below 109.5 in the previous session. The Australian dollar was at $0.7101.
The British pound  gained 0.37 percent to $1.3112 during Asian hours, as Prime Minister Theresa May attempts to win over U.K. lawmakers with tweaks to her much-maligned Brexit deal before the Mar. 29 deadline. As things stand, the legal default is that the United Kingdom will leave the EU with no agreed deal on trade, laws or travel.
— Reuters contributed to this report.


European stocks close higher amid tech rally; US-China trade in focus

Chloe Taylor,Ryan Browne

European stocks traded higher on Friday, amid a rally among technology shares and as investors continued to monitor U.S.-China trade developments.

European Markets: FTSE, GDAXI, FCHI, IBEX

FTSEFTSE 100FTSE6809.22-9.73-0.14749997085
The pan-European Stoxx 600 index rose 0.6 percent during trade, with tech stocks and trade-sensitive sectors like autos and basic resources among the top gainers.
The FTSE 100 was the only major bourse to close lower, dragged by Vodafone’s disappointing earnings and a rise in the value of sterling against the dollar.
Europe’s tech sector saw big gains even after U.S. chipmaker Intel posted earnings and guidance that missed analysts’ expectations. Semiconductor firm Siltronic was up more than 5 percent, while competitors STMicro and Infineon were more than 4 and 2 percent higher respectively by the close.
Looking at individual stocks, French automaker Renault climbed near to the top of the Stoxx 600 after Japanese Trade Minister Hiroshige Seko said it should maintain a stable alliance with Nissan. Concerns over their future ties have risen since the arrest of Carlos Ghosn, who led the car alliance. Shares of Renault were up almost 5 percent for the day.
In corporate news, Ericsson reported a 10 percent rise in quarterly sales year-on-year. The firm also trimmed operating losses, which came in lower than market forecasts. Ericsson’s share price jumped 3.1 percent.
U.K. rival Vodafone, on the other hand, fell 5.1 percent after reporting disappointing earnings. The firm said its key measure of revenue slowed in the third quarter, falling 40 basis points from the previous quarter to 0.1 percent. Chief Executive Nick Read also said the firm would “pause” further purchases of Huawei equipment for its core network.
Swedish telecommunications firm Telia, meanwhile, sunk towards the bottom of the European benchmark after it released worse-than-expected results and warned of a “challenging environment” in its home market. The stock fell 4.6 percent.
Elsewhere, Reuters reported on Friday that no one on the supervisory board of Deutsche Bank was pushing for a near-term merger with rival Commerzbank.
Meanwhile, the European Central Bank held interest rates steady on Thursday, and President Mario Draghi sounded the alarm on risks surrounding the euro area. The central bank’s chief warned on a “persistence of uncertainties related to geopolitical factors and the threat of protectionism, vulnerabilities in emerging markets and financial market volatility.”
Draghi’s comments sent the euro lower to a one-month low. However, the currency later broke off from that trend, rising 0.87 percent against the dollar to $1.1404 shortly after the closing bell for stocks.
As for data, German business morale fell for the fifth consecutive month in January and its lowest since February 2016, according to Munich-based Ifo Business Institute.
Trade spat
A big focus for investors this week has been the unresolved trade battle between Washington and Beijing. The two countries have been trying to find agreement over a 90-day tariffs truce, but talks appeared to hit a roadblock following a report that the Trump administration had cancelled a trade planning meeting with Chinese counterparts due to outstanding disagreements.
Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross told CNBC on Thursday that the U.S. and China are “miles and miles” away from reaching agreement on their trade issues. The two countries are trying to meet a March 1 deadline to reach a deal.
Ross’ comments put pressure on U.S. equities on Thursday, although all major indexes opened higher on Friday morning while trade-sensitive Basic Resources stocks listed in Europe jumped nearly 3 percent on average.


Dow gains for fifth straight week after deal reached to temporarily reopen government

Michael Sheetz

U.S. stocks rose on Friday as investors looked past a poor Intel earnings report, instead focusing on a partial government shutdown solution.
President Donald Trump announced that he reached a continuing resolution deal with Congress to reopen the U.S. government. The temporary deal will fund the government for three weeks until Feb. 15.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed higher by 184 points, or 0.8 percent, to 24,737.20. The S&P 500 also rose nearly 1 percent, while the Nasdaq Composite moved higher as constituent Starbucks gained on strong earnings.
The Dow squeaked out a weekly gain of 0.1 percent for the week, its fifth straight positive week as investors continued to buy after the market’s big December drop. That five week win streak was the Dow’s longest since August.
“For the government to be open, for both sides to be talking – has got to be a positive for Wall Street. Everyone agreed there was measurable economic damage each week,” Tom Block, Washington policy strategist at Fundstrat Global Advisors, told CNBC.
Apple, Amazon Alphabet and Facebook led the gains as investors got back into a risk-taking mood with the shutdown ending, buying their favorite technology names. Apple jumped 3.3 percent.
Additionally, two other themes added positive sentiment to Friday’s trading: Federal Reserve monetary policy and trade negotiations with China.
The Wall Street Journal reported that the Fed is closer than expected to ending its balance sheet unwind. The Fed’s decision is a key consideration for investors as they gauge the extent to which the central bank will tighten its monetary policy.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin projected confidence about the status trade negotiations between the U.S. and China in comments to Reuters. Mnuchin said both sides were “making a lot of progress” in the talks.
Major indexes pared their gains slightly after Trump made the official announcement the government would temporarily re-open, as some traders were disappointed that it wasn’t a more comprehensive agreement.
“We’ve become conditioned to the D.C. dysfunction. Traders will take profits and prepare themselves for additional stalemates,” Jeff Kilburg, CEO of KKM Financial, told CNBC.
Intel reported fourth quarter earnings which beat Wall Street expectations but missed on revenue. The company’s 2019 forecast showed revenue growth of just 1 percent, with Intel expecting to report first quarter earnings of 87 cents a share – 14 cents below Wall Street expectations. Intel continues to search for a new CEO, seven months after Brian Krzanich was forced out. The stock was down more than 7 percent in trading, but other chip stocks were holding steady.
Starbucks stock gained as the company reported strong sales and earnings growth for its first quarter report. The coffee giant saw revenue climb 9 percent compared to the same period last year.
The government shutdown took on a new phase of seriousness Friday as the FAA halted some flights at New York’s LaGuardia airport on Friday because of a shortage of air traffic control workers. Traders are betting that increasing fallout from the shutdown may force Republicans and Democrats to at least come together for a short-term compromise.
The U.S. Senate, after rejecting two shutdown-ending bills, continues to search for a way to end a government closure entering its 35th day. The shutdown was threatening the economy, as hundreds of thousands of federal workers missed a second paycheck on Friday. Trump said federal workers would receive back pay in four or five days.
Investors are also continuing to monitor concerns surrounding a trade deal with China. Markets came under pressure Thursday after Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said that trade negotiations with China were far from complete. “We would like to make a deal but it has to be a deal that will work for both parties,” Ross told CNBC. “We’re miles and miles from getting a resolution.”
Mnuchin’s comments about progress in the trade talks came a few hours after Ross spoke. The Treasury secretary said he is looking forward to speaking with Chinese Vice Premier Liu He next week, when the representative visits the U.S.
— CNBC’s Alexandra Gibbs, Jacob Pramuk and Reuters contributed to this report.

Source: CNBC