|Bid||5.07 x 200000|
|Ask||5.08 x 110000|
|Day's range||5.07 - 5.14|
|52-week range||4.66 - 8.26|
|Beta (5Y monthly)||1.89|
|PE ratio (TTM)||7.96|
|Forward dividend & yield||0.20 (3.89%)|
|Ex-dividend date||07 May 2020|
|1y target est||N/A|
(Bloomberg) -- Sign up here to receive the Davos Diary, a special daily newsletter that will run from Jan. 20-24.European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde warned investors not to assume that current monetary policy is locked in for the foreseeable future just because officials are focused on reviewing their strategy.“To those who think it’s on autopilot, that’s ridiculous,” she said in a Bloomberg Television interview at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. “Let’s look at the facts. Let’s look at how the economy evolves.”Lagarde spoke a day after announcing the first reappraisal of the ECB’s inflation goal and tools since 2003, in a process that won’t conclude until around December. With the euro-area economy stabilizing and a stimulus package already in place, few analysts see much chance of a change in policy any time soon.Economists predict the quantitative-easing program, which was resumed by former President Mario Draghi just before he handed over to Lagarde in November, will run until the end of next year, with interest rates on hold until early 2022. Markets aren’t pricing a change in rates until at least mid 2021.Still, the economic threats haven’t entirely subsided. Data published Friday showed private-sector activity remained muted at the beginning of 2020, despite signs of a pickup in Germany. In its policy meeting, the ECB continued to describe the risks to its outlook as tilted to the downside, if less pronounced. U.S. President Donald Trump used his appearance in Davos to revive the prospect of tariffs on Europe’s car industry.“The ECB is still far from bringing inflation to its target and we believe it will act in the next few months,” said Nick Kounis, an economist at ABN Amro in Amsterdam. “I don’t think a central bank like that can close the shop for a year.”Read more: Euro-Area Economic Growth Remains ‘Muted’ at Start of 2020Lagarde said the rethink will be separate from the monetary-policy decisions that the Governing Council takes every six weeks.Policy “will be conducted irrespective of the strategy review,” she said. “So to those who say it’s going to be completely static and stable for 12 months, I say ‘ah, watch out,’ because things change and we might have different signals and we might reconsider. We might. I don’t know at this point in time.”Scant DetailsDetails on precisely what policy makers will study in their review were scant on Thursday, beyond general observations that it will be wide-ranging and focus on topics such as financial stability and climate change. The key question for the ECB is why it has fallen short of its inflation goal of “below, but close to 2%” for years.Lagarde has her own views on what needs to be done but says she doesn’t want to disclose them for fear of influencing the debate before others have had their say. The intention is to reach out to academics and the wider public via national central banks.“I know some people are disappointed that we didn’t say much more,” Lagarde said. “But a strategy review starts here and finishes there, and you cannot say here what you’re going to do there -- otherwise you don’t do a strategy review.”Bank of France Governor Francois Villeroy de Galhau told Bloomberg Television in Davos that he believes the inflation goal must be “symmetric, flexible and credible” -- reflecting the debate over whether to set a precise 2% goal with a range of tolerance either side.His Dutch counterpart Klaas Knot said in a panel discussion alongside Villeroy that the ECB must be “honest and open” about its failure to hit its target, and “at a minimum, I would say that it needs to be clarified.”For some ECB watchers, officials have effectively hinted that there is little urgency to share their thinking, and that they’re in no hurry to getting back to tweaking their current monetary stance either.“I get the sense that until the review is complete, or at least until you have some idea of what’s going to come out of it, it doesn’t make sense to be very activist,” said Peter Dixon, an economist at Commerzbank AG.The ECB also has less ammunition than it used to, giving it cause for caution before attempting more easing. Resorting to more QE, for example, might mean confronting self-imposed limits on the volume of purchases that could reopen wounds from a bitter showdown among policy makers last year. The program is particularly disliked by the Bundesbank, and indeed faces a ruling on its legality in Germany’s top court in March.The central bank isn’t alone in benefiting from what is, for now, a relatively benign economic outlook. Economists including those at Goldman Sachs Group Inc. predict most major central banks, including the Federal Reserve, which meets next week, is likely to keep its monetary policy on hold for the rest of the year.Lagarde will discuss the global growth outlook at Davos later on Friday with a panel of luminaries including her Bank of Japan counterpart Haruhiko Kuroda, as well as U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, and Kristalina Georgieva, her successor as head of the International Monetary Fund.(Updates with comment from Knot in 13th paragraph)\--With assistance from Carolynn Look and Jana Randow.To contact the reporters on this story: Paul Gordon in Frankfurt at firstname.lastname@example.org;Francine Lacqua in London at email@example.comTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Alaa Shahine at firstname.lastname@example.org, Craig Stirling, Fergal O'BrienFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- Gold futures declined, extending its retreat from a six-year high last week as the soon-to-be clinched U.S.-China trade pact undercuts the case for havens. Palladium hit a fresh record.Comex gold have lost about 1% this week and analysts including those at ABN Amro Bank NV and BMO Capital Markets predict prices may decline further ahead of the signing on Wednesday. The shift has been reflected in an outflow of holdings from exchange-traded funds, which fell more than 20 tons over the four sessions to Monday, the most in a four-day period since November. “Investors who bought gold for the trade uncertainty will likely take profit,” said ABN Amro strategist Georgette Boele.Gold futures, which briefly rose above $1,600 an ounce last week during the U.S.-Iranian standoff, lost ground for a second session, with the February contract falling 0.4% to settle at $1,544.60 an ounce at 13:30 on the Comex in New York.Prices could decline toward $1,525 or even lower as risk-on sentiment returns to the market, said BMO analyst Colin Hamilton.The recent declines come after the rally had pushed the metal’s 14-day relative-strength index to levels that signaled the advance could run out of steam.“The gold price is no longer overbought as it seems,” Carsten Fritsch, an analyst at Commerzbank, said by phone Tuesday. “We’re still in correction mode after the very strong increase early in the year and in late 2019.” That correction is being driven by continued bullish sentiment across the financial markets amid anticipation of the phase-one trade deal between the U.S and China, he said.In other precious metals, silver also declined on the Comex, while palladium and platinum rose on the New York Mercantile Exchange. In the spot market, palladium gained for a ninth session, hitting a fresh record of $2,191.64 an ounce.\--With assistance from Justina Vasquez and Maria Elena Vizcaino.To contact the reporters on this story: Elena Mazneva in London at email@example.com;Ranjeetha Pakiam in Singapore at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Lynn Thomasson at email@example.com, Joe Richter, Christine BuurmaFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- With a trade deal nearly signed and China’s economy on steadier footing, the path for China’s yuan to strengthen is now wide open.The currency on Tuesday touched its highest since July in the offshore market, after punching through 6.9 per dollar for the first time in more than five months on Monday. The latest leg up came from news of the Trump administration removing China from its designation as a currency manipulator.China’s currency has now recouped about a third of the losses it sustained against the dollar since mid-June 2018, when U.S.-China trade tensions soared as President Donald Trump pressed ahead with waves of tariff hikes. The exchange rate has also benefited lately from rising confidence that China has arrested an economic slowdown.Some now predict the currency will touch 6.8 per dollar within three months -- a level not seen since May last year.“Having a stronger currency is one way to show good will,” said Mitul Kotecha, a senior emerging-markets strategist at Toronto-Dominion Bank in Singapore. “Signs of a gradual, as opposed to rapid, slowdown in China’s economy and limited decline in China rates will provide support to the currency.”With Chinese Vice Premier Liu He expected to seal the partial Sino-American trade deal in Washington Wednesday, the Trump administration said Monday China had made “enforceable commitments” not to devalue the yuan and had agreed to publish exchange-rate information. The U.S. Treasury still kept China on a monitoring list for foreign-exchange practices.The yuan has also been advancing more broadly, climbing the past four sessions against a basket of trading partners’ currencies. The strengthening has helped bolster sentiment in stocks, with the CSI 300 Index closing at its highest level in almost two years Monday. Shares of Chinese companies also surged in Hong Kong.China’s currency weakened past the key 7 per dollar level for the first time in a decade in August, when tensions between the two nations escalated. The yuan’s slide last year reignited one of Trump’s favorite criticisms of China: that Beijing weakens its currency to aid exporters.Now, investor optimism over the economy and trade has kept the currency on the strong side of 7 for more than two weeks. With technical indicators flashing bullish signals, multiple measures of expected volatility are hovering near their lowest in about five months, signaling a reluctance among traders to hedge against swings. The yuan has gained more than 4% since September’s nadir.Why the U.S. Labeled China a Currency Manipulator: QuickTakeSome yuan watchers are advising caution. Cliff Tan, head of global markets research for East Asia at MUFG Bank Ltd., says expectations of fiscal stimulus may be running too high. Khoon Goh, head of Asia research at Australia & New Zealand Banking Group Ltd., says the yuan’s strength is temporary, as it’s partly related to corporate spending and exporter conversion before the Lunar New Year.Analysts started revising their 2020 forecasts for the yuan last month, following news that Beijing and Washington reached an agreement. Evidence that a slowdown in the world’s second-largest economy may not be as bad as feared has also helped, with recent data showing that China’s manufacturing sector continued to expand in December.Expectations that authorities will add to policies supporting growth -- while staying clear of large-scale monetary stimulus -- are also boosting sentiment for the yuan.The median forecast of analysts surveyed by Bloomberg is for the yuan to end 2020 at 6.95.“The yuan’s outperformance since last week has reflected the improving risk sentiment, thanks to signs of the economy bottoming out,” said Tommy Xie, an economist at Oversea-Chinese Banking. “There’s some speculation that China may get a better trade deal than expected.”(Adds context on losses since trade war escalated, in third paragraph.)To contact Bloomberg News staff for this story: Livia Yap in Shanghai at firstname.lastname@example.org;Qizi Sun in Beijing at email@example.comTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Sofia Horta e Costa at firstname.lastname@example.org, Christopher AnsteyFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- Oil ended the first full week of 2020 with the steepest loss since July as geopolitical threats to some of the world’s most important supplies fizzled.Futures settled at a one-month low in New York on Friday to cap a volatile week that saw crude soar and then crash as the U.S. and Iran teetered on the brink of all-out conflict. Ultimately, prices finished the week down more than 6%.“Prices are still sliding because of the easing in tensions in the Middle East,” said Michael Loewen, director of commodity strategy at Scotiabank. “That’s draining the supply risk premium that was injected into the market starting with the killing of the Iranian general.”Against the backdrop of waning Middle East tensions, U.S. crude inventories expanded by 1.16 million barrels last week, confounding analysts and traders who’d expected a decline. With gasoline stockpiles at a 10-month high, supply concerns in the world’s biggest economy were assuaged.West Texas Intermediate crude for February delivery settled down 52 cents to $59.04 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent futures for March settlement declined 39 cents to $64.98 on the ICE Futures Europe exchange. The global benchmark lost more than 5% this week.In addition to ample American supplies, members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries are sitting on huge amounts of spare capacity after cutting production for most of the past three years.“Although the threat of outright war has receded, the industry remains on edge, expecting disruptions like shipping incidents or attacks on oil facilities on par with events last year,” Eurasia Group analysts Robert Johnston and Henning Gloystein said in a note.\--With assistance from Sharon Cho.To contact the reporters on this story: Grant Smith in London at email@example.com;Sheela Tobben in New York at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editors responsible for this story: David Marino at email@example.com, Joe Carroll, Reg GaleFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- Europe’s bond market is wrapping up its biggest week ever, with over $100 billion of new debt sales underscoring its status as a major global funding vehicle.Issuers from China, Indonesia, Japan and the U.S. joined local borrowers in tapping Europe’s super-low funding costs and increasingly mature bond market, helping push sales for the week to 92.5 billion euros ($103 billion). U.S.-Iranian tensions also added extra impetus to the traditional year-start rush, as issuers dashed to get deals done before any market deterioration.“It has been a remarkable week given the events in the Middle East,” said Frazer Ross, head of EMEA investment grade DCM syndicate at Deutsche Bank AG. “All areas of the market are functioning well.”Sales in Europe are well ahead of the issuance in the U.S., where about $84 billion in new debt has been offered this week. Demand from Europe’s bond buyers has shown few signs of decline, even with 2020’s blockbuster start coming after a record year for issuance in 2019. Secondary-market bond spreads have barely flickered amid this week’s deal deluge, and issuers including E.On SE, Banco Santander SA and Portugal drew large orderbooks.The rush of deals this week has lifted 2020 sales ahead of 2019’s pace, after a relatively muted start to the year. The boom was partly promoted by companies bringing forward planned deals amid the Middle East tensions.“A lot of issuers who were not minded to do anything a week ago, have now decided that they should do something in case the situation deteriorates further,” said Marco Baldini, head of European bond syndicate at Barclays Plc.The front-loading of January deals, and the upcoming earnings seasons, suggests the sales pace may cool into next week. Still, there are more deals waiting to go in the pipeline including National Grid Plc and European Financial Stability Facility.\--With assistance from Paul Cohen and Allan Lopez.To contact the reporters on this story: Hannah Benjamin in London at firstname.lastname@example.org;Priscila Azevedo Rocha in London at email@example.comTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Vivianne Rodrigues at firstname.lastname@example.org, Neil DenslowFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- Gold neared a six-year high after a U.S. airstrike killed one of Iran’s most powerful generals, ratcheting up tensions in the Middle East and driving demand for havens.Bullion rallied as much as 1.6% to $1,553.52 an ounce in the spot market, reaching the highest since September. Platinum futures briefly topped $1,000 an ounce to touch the highest since early 2018 in New York, while silver and other haven assets rose.The strike in Baghdad ordered by President Donald Trump killed Qassem Soleimani, the Iranian general who led the Revolutionary Guards’ Quds force. Iran’s supreme leader vowed “severe retaliation.” The U.S. now plans to add 2,800 troops to the 700 already dispatched to Kuwait.The news helped gold to build on the biggest annual gain in almost a decade, a rally that was driven by a weaker dollar, lower real rates and geopolitical concerns.“Market players are now afraid that this marks another level of escalation in a region that is characterized by tension,” Daniel Briesemann, an analyst at Commerzbank AG, said by phone Friday. “The U.S. airstrike in Iraq, that’s the one and only driver of gold prices today.”Gold for immediate delivery was up 1.2% at $1,546.91 at 2:46 p.m. in New York, taking this week’s gain to 2.5%, the most since August. The metal jumped 18% last year. Futures settled 1.6% higher.Last year’s advance marked a positive shift in investor attitude toward gold, according to RBC Capital Markets, which predicted further gains this year and next. Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Citigroup Inc. and UBS Group AG have said they’re looking for $1,600 an ounce.“Today’s event has probably only brought forward the inevitable test of the September high,” said Ole Hansen, head of commodity strategy at Saxo Bank A/S. “Rising inflation concerns through higher input prices -- oil and food -- combined with geopolitical uncertainty is a potent cocktail which supports a market already on the move.”January is historically gold’s best month, according to Bloomberg Intelligence commodity strategist Mike McGlone, with an average advance of 2.7% over the past 20 years. The metal will approach $1,600 by February if it matches the 5.2% average increase of the past five years, he said.Still, geopolitics typically doesn’t have a lasting impact on gold unless broader consequences for the economy or financial markets arise, said Carsten Menke, an analyst at Julius Baer.Gold extended gains after the latest U.S. ISM manufacturing data showed the weakest monthly performance since the end of the recession, according to a report Friday. That strengthens the case for owning bullion as a hedge against dimming growth outlook.The purchasing managers’ index fell to 47.2 in December from 48.1, missing estimates for a rise in a Bloomberg survey of economists.Prices held their advance after minutes from Federal Reserve officials’ December meeting showed their monetary policy was likely to remain appropriate “for a time” even amid what they saw as persistent downside risks.Other precious metalsPlatinum futures for April delivery climbed as much as 1.7% to $1,001.40 an ounce on the New York Mercantile Exchange, the highest for a most-active contract since February 2018The price settled 0.5% higherPalladium futures also advanced on the Nymex, while silver futures rose on the Comex(An earlier version corrected a platinum superlative in the second paragraph.)\--With assistance from Justina Vasquez.To contact the reporters on this story: Ranjeetha Pakiam in Singapore at email@example.com;Elena Mazneva in London at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Lynn Thomasson at email@example.com, ;Luzi Ann Javier at firstname.lastname@example.org, Nicholas Larkin, Steven FrankFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
Commerzbank has purchased a block of shares in Comdirect that pushes its ownership of the online brokerage to over 90%, paving the way for a full takeover, the German lender said on Friday. Commerzbank, which previously owned more than 82% of Comdirect, has been in the process of taking over the entire online bank as part of a broader restructuring. Commerzbank bought the stake from Petrus Advisers, which said in December that it owned 7.5% in Comdirect.
Welcome to the home for real-time coverage of European equity markets brought to you by Reuters stocks reporters and anchored today by Thyagaraju Adinarayan. European bourses closed the day in positive territory as they got a boost from the news that China's central bank is cutting the amount of cash that all banks must hold as reserves, releasing around 800 billion yuan ($114.91 billion) in funds to revive the economy. The pan-European index was up 1% and the euro-zone blue chip index was up 1.37% at the end of the session, led by banks up 2%.
(Bloomberg) -- Commerzbank AG is in advanced talks to buy an activist fund’s stake in its online broker Comdirect Bank AG in a move to speed up the German lender’s controversial overhaul, people familiar with the matter said.Commerzbank could announce an agreement to buy Petrus Advisers’ 7.5% stake in the coming days or weeks, reaching a deal after the activist fund criticized its previous offer as too low, the people said. Petrus’s stake currently has a market value of 137.7 million euros ($153.9 million).No final decisions have been taken and the talks could falter, the people added. Representatives for Commerzbank and Petrus Advisers declined to comment.The move would boost Commerzbank’s holding in the online broker to around 90% and mark its second attempt in the past few months to take full control of the subsidiary. The bank’s initial approach to buy out Comdirect’s minority shareholders failed three weeks ago after too few investors agreed to sell.Taking over the digital lender is a cornerstone of a broad overhaul presented by Commerzbank Chief Executive Officer Martin Zielke in September in the wake of failed merger talks with crosstown rival Deutsche Bank AG.Read More: Zielke’s Commerzbank Strategy Hits Speed Bumps Three Months InIn September, Commerzbank announced a voluntary offer of 11.44 euros per share for the outstanding 18% in its online bank. But the move was blocked as Petrus Advisers Ltd. amassed shares and demanded a higher price, jeopardizing the swift integration necessary to reap cost savings Zielke is counting on.Buying Petrus’s stake would give Commerzbank the legal right to squeeze out remaining shareholders and facilitate its integration.The move will likely come at a price. Petrus earlier this month said the voluntary offer “does not reflect the fair value of Comdirect on a standalone basis, and it is significantly below the current share price,” indicating it would seek a substantially higher payout for its stake.Some bankers suggested Commerzbank could have used other options such as simply buying shares over the market during the voluntary buyout offer or delisting Comdirect to keep activist investors from swooping in.CEO Zielke has been facing mounting opposition to his turnaround plan from some of his largest shareholders and regulators. They have said the announced cost cuts, including the planned sale of Polish subsidiary mBank SA, do not go far enough, people familiar with the matter have said.To contact the reporters on this story: Eyk Henning in Frankfurt at email@example.com;Steven Arons in Frankfurt at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Kenneth Wong at email@example.com, Daniel Schaefer, Amy ThomsonFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
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(Bloomberg Opinion) -- Jean Pierre Mustier’s new four-year plan for Italy’s UniCredit SpA marks a victorious milestone for the chief executive officer. He’s managed to turn a sprawling European bank laden with bad loans into a simpler entity that promises to improve its returns to shareholders. It leaves him well-placed to plot his biggest move yet (should he so choose): cross-border M&A.The Italian bank has cut costs, sold non-core units and eliminated a bad-debt mountain. While he’s forfeited growth by exiting businesses in Poland and Italian online lending, Mustier has improved profitability. The group return on tangible equity is targeted to exceed 9% this year, up from just 4% in 2015.He’s convinced regulators that the bank doesn’t need as much capital and he’ll seek their approval for the company’s first share buyback since 2004. The 27.8 billion-euro ($31 billion) lender plans to return 8 billion euros ($8.9 billion) to investors in dividends and stock purchases through 2023, giving an implied yield of as much as 7%. That compares with a 6% average for the sector, according to UBS Group AG analysts.All this good work is just as well. While the Frenchman has made UniCredit a more stable, cross-border commercial lender, it still faces huge challenges. That was plain to see in some of the key targets in his “Team 23” strategic plan unveiled on Tuesday.Under assumptions for interest rates that UniCredit says are more severe than the market’s, it sees ROTE declining again. Under this scenario, the measure will be no higher than 8% through 2022, while the bank’s revenue will increase by a meager 0.8% on average annually during the four-year plan. That’s below analyst estimates. Mustier won’t be able to do much more on costs, either; they’ll remain little changed throughout the plan’s duration.Crucially, eking out that modest growth in revenue will depend on UniCredit expanding loans to Europe’s small and medium-sized businesses and consumers at a pace that exceeds GDP expansion.There are some more levers Mustier can pull. UniCredit plans to set up an Italian holding company for foreign assets that could lower its capital needs. It still owns 32% of the Turkish bank Yapi ve Kredi Bankasi, a stake that could be sold.But Mustier’s vision for a “pan-European winner” (his words) may require more radical thought. For the moment, he’s adamant there will be “no M&A,” pointing to smaller, bolt-on purchases. Valuations are a stumbling block to large deals. With UniCredit’s shares trading well below its book value, it makes more sense to pursue buybacks — as Mustier says.Nonetheless, the bank’s smaller, nimbler form positions it for a cross-border deal should the European Union ever complete its banking union. Germany’s Commerzbank AG is often mooted as a partner. If UniCredit’s share price ticks up in the meantime, that would certainly help.To contact the author of this story: Elisa Martinuzzi at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editor responsible for this story: James Boxell at email@example.comThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Elisa Martinuzzi is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering finance. She is a former managing editor for European finance at Bloomberg News.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinion©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
Commerzbank managers are keeping employees in the dark about the German lender's overhaul plans, a union representative said on Wednesday. The state-backed bank earlier this year announced plans to restructure after a failed merger attempt with Deutsche Bank .
* Qiagen surges as it explores sale Welcome to the home for real-time coverage of European equity markets brought to you by Reuters stocks reporters and anchored today by Julien Ponthus. ARE EUROPEAN BANKS GETTING NAUGHTIER? "While U.S. banks were particularly hit by misconduct costs in the immediate aftermath of the global financial crisis, European banks have been more exposed since 2015", a study published today by the ECB found.
Commerzbank AG on Thursday said its 2019 profit would be lower than last year, partly due to the impact of euro zone monetary policy that has pressured margins. The state-backed bank, which is restructuring after a failed merger attempt with Deutsche Bank , also cited trade conflicts and expectations for a higher tax rate in the fourth quarter for the profit downgrade. "We deliberately set long-term success above short-term return targets," Chief Executive Officer Martin Zielke said.