Europe midday: Brussels´s crystall ball darkens



LONDON (ShareCast) - -European Commission lowers 2013 EZ GDP forecast
-Commerzbank (Other OTC: CRZBF.PK - news) may lay-off between 5,000 and 6,000 workers
-Ericsson (Stockholm: ERIC-B.ST - news) to cut 1,500 positions in Sweden
-Eurozone recession getting worse -N.Roubini
-Draghi (ECB) takes note of investors´ return to euro assets

FTSE-100: -0.29%
Dax (Xetra: ^GDAXI - news) -30: -0.68%
Cac (Frankfurt: 924169 - news) -40: -0.73%
FTSE-Mibtel 30: -1.24%
Ibex 35 (Madrid: IBEX.MC - news) : -1.05%
Stoxx 600: -0.28%

The main European equity indices have turned around despite the somewhat unexpectedly clean and quick resolution to the election uncertainty in the United States, which is a positive for the market. Nevertheless, it is true that investors were expected to soon turn their attention to the looming "fiscal cliff" in the United States, not to mention the crisis in Greece.

Acting as a backdrop, today has seen the release of a smattering of weak macro-economic figures Europe (Chicago Options: ^REURUSD - news) -wide, particularly in Germany and Spain, alongside several big corporate lay-off announcements.

As if that were not enough, the European Commission has today cut its forecasts for gross domestic product growth in the Eurozone this year to 0.1%, from 1% before. Even in the case of Germany Brussels´s crystal ball now shows economic expansion coming in at a rate of 0.8% instead of the 1.7% rate hereto foreseen.

Adding to the gloom, well-known economist Nouriel Roubini has warned that the Eurozone´s monetary policy settings are too tight even as the recession gets worse.

Not to be lost in the haze, the latest reports indicate that the Greek parliament is expected to vote on the government´s proposed new austerity measures this evening, towards 22:00 London time, although different votes are scheduled to take place throughout the entire day

Delhaize shoots higher

Meantime, and on the corporate front, Finnish cell phone maker Nokia (Stockholm: NOKI-SEK.ST - news) is now falling slightly after US telecommunications provider AT&T (NYSE: T - news) set a $50 price for the manufacturer´s latest Windows smartphone.

Shares of Belgian supermarket group Delhaize are rocketing higher after it announced that it bested third-quarter profit expectations.

Danish brewer Carlsberg (Dusseldorf: 461893.DU - news) has announced a 10% rise in its third quarter operating profit to 3.6bn Danish crowns.

Munich Re, the reinsurer has raised its full year net profit target to around €3bn.

From a sector stand-point the best performers now are Automobiles (Euronext: SAU.NX - news) (1.51%), Insurance (Euronext: SIN.NX - news) (0.81%) and Health (Euronext: IXSHL.NX - news) care (0.75%).

German industrial production undershoots, as for Spain´s: No comment

German industrial production contracted at a 1.8% month-on-month pace in September (Consensus: -0.7%), led by drops in Manufacturing output and, more specifically, the production of capital goods.

Eurozone retail sales dropped by 0.2% month-on-month in October (Consensus: -0.1% month-on month).

Spanish industrial production fell by 11.7% year-on-year in September, after a drop of 2.5% in the previous month, and with weakness to be seen in all sectors.

The Austrian wholesale price index for the month of October retreated by 0.4% month-on-month, versus the 0.4% rise which had been expected.

Single currency knocked lower

The euro/dollar is now moving lower by 0.37% to the 1.2762 dollar mark.

Front month Brent crude futures are falling by 0.753 dollars to the 110.25 dollar per barrel mark on the ICE.