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EUROPEAN MIDDAY BRIEFING - Stocks Rally Stalls -2-

12/08/2021 | 06:23am

Mr. Draghi has presided over a robust economic rebound in Italy this year and launched a number of structural overhauls. Many Italians would prefer him to go on running the government until the end of his mandate in early 2023, amid rising economic uncertainty and the globally spreading Omicron variant of the virus.

Turkey's Woes Haven't Spread to Broader Emerging Markets

The world's biggest emerging markets have dodged contagion from Turkey's currency implosion, but there are other threats looming on the horizon.

Emerging markets such as Russia, Mexico and Brazil are notoriously volatile and prone to getting hit when one of them wobbles. So far, however, Turkey's problems have been contained. An unorthodox series of rate increases has plunged its economy into a spiral without causing much damage elsewhere.

Trafigura Scores $3 Billion Profit on Commodities Rebound

Trading house Trafigura Group Pte. Ltd. rode rising commodity prices to post record profit, making it a big winner from the pandemic economic rebound.

Trafigura reported $3.1 billion in net profit on $231.3 billion in revenue in the 12 months through September. Wednesday's results made the 2021 financial year the most profitable for the company since it was founded in 1993.

Nestlé Cuts Stake in L'Oréal With $10 Billion Deal

Nestle SA has agreed to cut its stake in L'Oreal SA by selling $10.0 billion of shares back to the French cosmetics maker, the latest development toward a long-speculated decoupling of two of the world's biggest consumer-goods companies.

Under the agreement, Nestle will sell 22.26 million L'Oreal shares for a total consideration of 8.9 billion euros, the two companies said late Tuesday. L'Oreal will fund the deal with cash and debt, and cancel the repurchased shares. The transaction will have an accretive effect on its earnings per share of more than 4% in a full year, L'Oreal said.

TUI FY 2021 Pretax Loss Narrowed, Missing Market Views

Shares in TUI AG fell Wednesday after the company reported a narrowed net loss for fiscal 2021, which missed full-year market views, and warned over the potential effects of the new Covid-19 Omicron variant on bookings.

Shares in London at 0910 GMT were down 3.5% at 210.20 pence.

HelloFresh Expects 2022 Earnings Below Expectations Despite Strong Revenue Growth

HelloFresh SE said late Tuesday that it expects to post 2022 earnings that are lower than currently expected, despite a consensus-beating revenue-growth outlook.

The German meal-kit company said 2022 adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization would be between 500 million euros ($563.4 million) and EUR580 million, below brokers' estimates provided by the company of EUR647 million.

Centrica to Sell Spirit Energy's Oil & Gas Assets in Norway

Centrica PLC said Wednesday that it has agreed to the sale of Spirit Energy's oil-and-gas assets in Norway to Equinor ASA and Sval Energi AS for $1.08 billion.

Centrica, which owns 69% of Spirit Energy, said that the deal will also include a deferred commodity price-linked payment, and that the buyers will be transferred all 830 million pounds ($1.10 million) of decommissioning liabilities. The share of headline proceeds for Centrica is expected to be around GBP560 million.

Umicore, Volkswagen Set Up Joint Venture for Battery-Cell Materials

Umicore SA and Volkswagen AG are setting up a joint venture to supply the car maker's European battery-cell production with cathode materials, the companies said on Wednesday.

The deal "aims at jointly building up precursor and cathode material production capacities in Europe, and sustainably securing responsibly sourced raw material capacities at competitive prices," said Volkswagen.

Berkeley Group 1H Profit, Revenue Increased; Raises FY 2022 Guidance

Berkeley Group Holdings PLC said Wednesday that pretax profit and revenue increased for the first half of fiscal 2022, and raised its full-year earnings expectations.

The U.K. house builder posted a pretax profit of 290.7 million pounds ($385 million) for the six months ended Oct. 31 up from GBP230.8 million a year earlier.

Getlink Says Passenger Traffic Rose 89% in November

Getlink SE said Wednesday that November passenger traffic rose sharply from a year earlier due to Covid-19 restrictions being less strict than the same month in 2020.

The French operator of the Channel Tunnel between the U.K. and France reported a 89% rise in passenger vehicles for last month to 96,506.

Germany's Scholz Takes Power After Merkel's 16-Year Rule

BERLIN-Germany's parliament elected a new chancellor on Wednesday, ending Angela Merkel's 16-year rule. The country's new center-left leader inherits longstanding challenges from his predecessor and faces a cluster of short-term crises that could complicate his plans to modernize the German state and its economy.

Olaf Scholz, 63, and his Green and free-market coalition partners have agreed on a four-year program to overhaul Germany's economy, fight climate change, digitize public services and reverse its demographic decline.

Blinken Calls China, Russia Efforts to Disrupt Global Order Serious Mistakes

Attempts by China or Russia to expand their territory by invasions of Taiwan or Ukraine, respectively, would be serious mistakes with severe consequences, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Tuesday at The Wall Street Journal's CEO Council Summit.

President Biden's warning to Russian President Vladimir Putin on a secure video call Tuesday about the consequences of a potential invasion of Ukraine should "affect President Putin's calculus going forward," Mr. Blinken said.

GLOBAL NEWS

Giant Gap Persists Between Job Openings and Available Workers

U.S. job openings continue to far outpace the number of available workers, with nearly five million more open positions than people seeking work.

There are around 11 million job openings in the U.S., according to estimates from job-search site ZipRecruiter, based on their analysis of online job postings and government data sources. That compares with 6.9 million people who are unemployed but say they want to work.

Crypto CEOs to Testify Before Lawmakers Weighing Greater Regulation

WASHINGTON-The chief executive officers of half a dozen cryptocurrency firms are set to appear before Congress on Wednesday, as lawmakers and regulators wrestle with how to bring the more than $2 trillion market under government oversight.

The House Financial Services Committee, led by Rep. Maxine Waters (D., Calif.), called the hearing in hopes of improving lawmakers' understanding of crypto assets and how the sector fits into existing regulations.

Japan's Economy Shrank More Than Estimated in Third Quarter

Japan's economy shrank more than initially estimated in the July-September quarter due to weaker spending by consumers and the government, revised data showed Wednesday.

The world's third-largest economy after the U.S. and China contracted 3.6% on an annualized basis, which reflects what would happen if the third-quarter pace continued for a full year.

House Votes to Approve Bill Setting Up Process for Lifting Debt Limit

WASHINGTON-Top Republicans and Democrats struck a deal for a process to raise the debt ceiling in the Senate, with the House passing a bill late Tuesday that paves the way for Congress to prevent a calamitous default.

The bill, which also prevents cuts to Medicare and other programs that threatened to kick in at the end of the year, is the product of weeks of talks between Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.). It doesn't itself raise the debt ceiling. Instead, it sets up a procedure for an additional vote on the issue that would require a simple majority in the Senate rather than the 60 votes needed for most legislation.

China Auto Sales Decline as Covid-19 Outbreaks Hurt Retail Spending

BEIJING-China's car sales declined for the sixth straight month, as sporadic Covid-19 outbreaks in the world's biggest auto market hit retail, even as shortages of chips and components eased.

Sales of passenger cars in November fell 12.7% from a year earlier to 1.82 million vehicles, the China Passenger Car Association said Wednesday. January-November sales rose 6.1% compared with the same period last year, the association said.

Sen. Joe Manchin Holds Back Support for Social-Spending Bill

WASHINGTON-Sen. Joe Manchin declined to commit to voting for Democrats' roughly $2 trillion social-policy and climate package, citing concerns about inflation and the length of programs, weeks before the Christmas deadline party leaders are racing to meet.

Mr. Manchin, a West Virginia Democrat, made the remarks during The Wall Street Journal's CEO Council Summit at a pivotal moment for Democrats in Washington-and one where he has been a key figure. Because Senate Democrats are using a special budget maneuver to pass their education, healthcare and climate package without any GOP support, they can't lose a single senator from their own party.

Commission Approves Report on Supreme Court Amid Partisan Differences

WASHINGTON-A bipartisan commission appointed by President Biden unanimously adopted a report detailing controversies over the Supreme Court and assessing proposals to address them, but few expected the 294-page document to resolve political divisions concerning the judiciary that have intensified in recent years.

At Tuesday's meeting, members of the commission universally praised the report-writing process for its civil dialogue and regard for all views. However, the final report was neither designed to nor did it produce consensus or any recommendations.

China Aims to 'Revise the Global Rule Set,' Top U.S. General Says

(MORE TO FOLLOW) Dow Jones Newswires

12-08-21 0622ET

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