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* European shares fall slightly, STOXX 600 down 0.2% * Defensive stocks outperform: healthcare, food & bev, utilities top risers * STOXX 600 slipped from 6-week high on Monday * Oil slightly lower after massive jump on Saudi attacks on Monday * Wall Street futures flat Welcome to the home for real-time coverage of European equity markets brought to you by Reuters stocks reporters and anchored today by Danilo Masoni. Reach him on Messenger to share your thoughts on market moves: rm://email@example.com EU BANKS: VICIOUS CIRCLE WITH NEGATIVE RATES (1158 GMT) Five years on and no respite for euro-zone banks from negative interest rates and future looks no better with more rate cuts on the horizon. And, JPM sees Japanification in EU banks due to: * 3M Euribor (accounting for 50% of NII) negative until 2025 * a fragmented banking sector chasing 1.5% lending growth by reducing asset spreads, not reflected by consensus * undiscounted dividend at risk with Basel 4 starting in 2022 * lack of cost cutting by managements and no Euro consolidation drive - operating with a whopping 4,500 banks In this environment, JPMorgan analysts believe banks with exposure to higher-growth Central & Eastern European and EM and banks with upside from cleaning up their non-performing loans will do better. With those filters on, their top picks are KBC, Standard Chartered, UniCredit, Banco Comercial Portugues and Ireland's AIB Group. JPM suggests avoiding Spanish domestic banks on ongoing net interest income pressure and UK domestic banks on Brexit-related uncertainty. Last hope: JPM says consolidation is the only major catalyst that would "trigger a material re-rating of the sector". While, banking is hit by sub-zero rates, will investment banking come to the rescue for big banks? Not quite, JPM points to the ongoing threat from U.S. investment banking counterparts, who are gaining market share in Europe. (Thyagaraju Adinarayan) ***** FAST FORWARD: OIL FUTURES AND SAUDI ATTACKS (1120 GMT) Front-month crude oil futures soared yesterday after the attacks on Saudi Arabia's critical oil infrastructure at the weekend sent shivers through stock markets amid rising geopolitical tensions and stirred worries about major supply shock. Prices surged nearly 20% in intraday trading, the biggest jump in almost 30 years, before closing nearly 15% higher at four-month highs. Markets are calmer today as traders reassess the potential fall-out, particularly after Washington said it stands ready to tap its strategic reserves to ensure supplies, preventing a major escalation in prices at the pump, which would inflame worries about rising costs to households and damage to the global economy. A glance at the forward curve for Brent also suggests the oil market is not worried in the long term about availability and yesterday's rally was a knee jerk reaction to the headlines. The front-month price for delivery in November rose almost $10 yesterday to close just above $69 per barrel, its highest since May, but the far forward prices for delivery didn't rise in kind - for example, futures for May 2022 rose just a couple of dollars. The chart below shows the Brent forward curve - the red line is Friday's curve and yellow is yesterday: "While the spot market has jumped, reflecting near-term impacts on immediate oil availability and supply chain issues, the longer-term price has taken this in its stride, up 2-3%, with a modest bump-up in prices, leading to an uptick in oil stocks or around 3-4%," says Piers Hillier, chief investment office at Royal London Asset Management. (Josephine Mason) ***** "WE HAVEN'T YET SEEN ETF INVESTORS ROTATE" (1038 GMT) Some investment houses may say the rotation out of growth and momentum stocks into value plays may run further, but it seems that the long-term real money investors are staying at the margins, as rates remain low and economic growth slows down. The BAML survey today showed that fund managers have not piled into so-called value stocks and it looks they are not alone with evidence that the move for now is just a tactical trade that follows a long down-trend in global yields. Chanchal Samadder, Head of Equity ETFs at Lyxor Asset Management, says the rotation caught many investors off guard but so far there haven't been flows behind the switch. "We haven't yet seen ETF investors rotate," he said. "That's mainly because most ETF investors are real money investors, asset managers and wealth managers and we see this move has more been driven by quant hedge funds and non-real money investors like high frequency trading houses," he adds. "A lot of investors are watching this trend closely. Value stocks are undoubtedly cheap relative to themselves historically, and relative to quality, low-vol, but for the rally to really have legs you need positive economic newsflow," he concludes. For more reading on the rotation check out: Fund managers have not joined race into cheap, value stocks - BAML survey U.S. value fund managers betting shift to value stocks won't last LIVE MARKETS-To rotate or not to rotate LIVE MARKETS-Hedge funds: On the wrong side of the brutal rotation? (Danilo Masoni) ***** UK INDUSTRIALS RIPE FOR M&A (0958 GMT) With sterling slowly recovering from multi-year lows, it could likely be one of the last opportunities for foreign buyers to snap up some UK companies at cheap prices and Berenberg believes the industrials sector is probably the next one to see a wave of M&A activity. Within industrials, Berenberg says automotive, distribution and paper, plastic and packaging are the most likely ones to consolidate. The brokerage points to heightened private equity action in the space with latest deals of Cobham, Howden Group and BBA Aviation's Ontic business. "Several large European PE funds have launched in the past 18 months, dry powder levels (cash reserves) are currently high and sterling remains weak, so we believe further activity is likely." Among targets Berenberg notes there have been rumours circulating about Spectris and Smiths Group recently, but believes it sees high M&A opportunities in companies that are a part of niche industry and have high market share, naming RHI Magnesita, Coats and Vitec as some of them. "These characteristics have obvious attractions but it is also worth noting that UK industrials are: 1) in much better shape than a decade ago; and 2) less exposed to direct Brexit risk given their global manufacturing and sourcing footprints, and with most sales earned overseas," Berenberg analysts write in a note. UK industrial companies forward P/E: (Thyagaraju Adinarayan) ***** WEIGHING OIL (0815 GMT) Black gold has been the talk of the town this week and its 15% jump yesterday after attack on Saudi Arabia crude facilities has had positive impact on oil & gas stocks and slightly negative on the others. As an oil importer, Europe's GDP could take a half-a-percentage-point hit on a 10% supply-driven oil price increase, Goldman Sachs analysts say, adding that the impact globally is around half of this. While some may argue that a surge in oil & gas stocks could offset any impact from slowing economic growth, GS says it has typically been an offset but this time it's different given the sector's weight has halved from 10% of STOXX 600 to just 5%. Yesterday, oil & gas stocks rose about 3%, while Brent crude surged 15% after the Saudi attacks cut the Kingdom's production in half. "It tends to be positive early in the cycle, when positive growth shocks typically drive up equities and commodities together (2009-10), and to turn negative or closer to zero towards the end of the cycle, when the capacity of the economy is more constrained and rising commodity prices are more likely to reflect constraints on growth," GS says. Goldman, which is "overweight" on oil & gas stocks, says there is no evidence that the sector has become "less sensitive" to changes in oil prices, but highlights that the proportion of oil stocks in European indices has fallen. (Thyagaraju Adinarayan) ***** STOXX FLAT, BANKS DOWN, OIL STOCKS RISE (0732 GMT) European shares have opened flat to lower as the focus turns from the attacks to the Saudi facilities that sparked a broad risk-off move at the start of this week to the Federal Reserve which is widely expected to cut interest rates when its two-day meeting ends tomorrow. The Fed rate cut would follow easing policy measures taken by the ECB last week and that's going to eat further into margins of rate sensitive banks, which are among leading sectoral losers at the start of trade in Europe, falling by 1%. Oil stocks instead are rising for a second day, up 1%. Crude prices are pulling back slightly but remain near May 2019 highs with a threat of a military response to the Saudi attacks hanging over the market. Here's your opening snapshot: Among single stock movers, Zalando is sliding 10% to the bottom of the STOXX after top shareholder Kinnevik placed a stake in Germany-based online fashion retailer at a discount to market prices, while Husqvarna is down 6% after the Garden equipment maker set new financial goals starting from 2020. (Danilo Masoni) ***** WHAT'S ON OUR RADAR AT THE OPEN (0658 GMT) European shares are expected to open lower on Tuesday but futures point to easing selling pressure as oil prices pull back from a massive spike even though they remain elevated in what could pressure falling corporate earnings even further. Future on the Euro STOXX 50 index and Germany's DAX are both down 0.2%, while FTSE futures decline 0.5%. The pan-European STOXX 600 index, which fell 0.7% from six week highs on Monday, remains up 15% so far this year as central bank stimulus measures have helped offset concerns over a slowing economy and rising political tensions. The latest Refinitiv data point to a 1.8% decline in earnings for corporate Europe in Q3 following a 2.6% fall in Q2 as margins come under pressure. On the corporate front, newsflow is thin. Among possible movers, trader point to AB Inbev as the brewer moves ahead in plans to list in Hong Kong its Budweiser unit. Traders say the stock could fall 1% on talk the company targets up to $4.85 billion from the IPO, half of the previous target. Still in dealmaking eyes on ThyssenKrupp after the FT said Advent International, Cinven and the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority are teaming up to bid for the German conglomerate's elevator business. Its shares are seen rising 1%. Finland's Kone is open to a co-shareholding structure in a potential deal to merge with the German company's elevator division, its chief executive told Bloomberg News. Meanwhile, a share placement in Zalando by top investor Kinnevik has sent shares in the German e-commerce company down 6.6% in early Frankfurt trade. Eni shares could fall after reports of an explosion of a refinery near northern Italian town of Pavia. In the UK, eyes on Ocado after the online supermarket and technology company reported an acceleration in retail sales growth in its latest quarter, helped by additional capacity from its fourth automated warehouse. In airlines, which face higher fuel bills stemming from spiralling oil prices, Wizz Air has increased its fuel hedge position beyond its policy minimum levels, a first sign that airlines are taking steps to protect themselves from rising costs. Other stock movers: Sweden's Husqvarna sets new financial targets, nudges up growth goal; French Connection posts smaller loss, expects sale to conclude by year-end; Swedbank says authorities can quiz lawyer over money laundering reports; ADO Properties confirms talks about property portfolio sale; Instone Real Estate sees FY adjusted revenues of 700-750 mln euros; Soitec Announces Successful Placement Of Shares; U.S. value fund managers betting shift to value stocks won't last UK headlines Britain's Ocado sees retail sales growth accelerate Recruiter Staffline reports first-half loss French Connection posts smaller loss, expects sale to conclude by year-end Aquis Exchange Posts Smaller HY Loss; Says Brexit Uncertainty Impacting Market Volumes Wizz Air Increases Fuel Hedge Position Beyond Its Policy Minimum Levels (Danilo Masoni) ***** EUROPE SEEN LITTLE CHANGED AS OIL PRICES PULL BACK (0532 GMT) It seems the oil-related sell-off that hit risky assets following the weekend attacks on Saudi facilities may loose steam in Europe with early calls from financial spreadbetters calling for a flat open, as oil prices pull back after a massive spike. On Monday, concerns over disruptions to global oil supplies and of mounting geopolitical tensions pulled the STOXX 600 regional benchmark down 0.7% from a 6-week high. Financial spreadbetters expect London's FTSE to open 7 points higher at 7,328, Frankfurt's DAX to open 14 points higher at 12,395, and Paris' CAC to open 5 points higher at 5,607. In Asian hours, oil shed some of its massive gains as the United States flagged the possible release of crude reserves, but the threat of military action over the attacks on Saudi oil facilities kept prices elevated and stocks under pressure. (Danilo Masoni) ***** (Reporting by Danilo Masoni, Josephine Mason and Thyagaraju Adinarayan)