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EUROPEAN MIDDAY BRIEFING - Stocks Rise, Unilever -2-

01/17/2022 | 06:28am EDT

The strategic update Monday came days after Unilever said it had approached GlaxoSmithKline PLC and Pfizer Inc. about buying their consumer-healthcare joint venture, GSK Consumer Healthcare. A successful acquisition of the business, which sells everything from Aquafresh toothpaste to Advil painkillers, would greatly expand Unilever's presence in categories such as oral care and vitamins.


Supply-Chain Constraints Might Have Peaked, But Will Continue Damping Growth -- Analysis

The combination of pandemic-related supply constraints and strong global demand for goods has led to bottlenecks and disrupted supply chains. Supply issues should continue to damp growth and boost inflation in the near term, Commerzbank says.

In recent weeks, overall supply bottlenecks haven't changed much on balance, economists at the German bank say. In maritime transport, congestion remains a problem and freight rates remain high. While prices for wood have fallen, memory chips and aluminum have become more expensive, they say. In all, supply issues are likely to continue to damp growth, Commerzbank says.


London Stock Exchange Proposes Special Listings for Private Companies

The London Stock Exchange Group is seeking to blur the line between public and private companies, part of a plan to attract fast-growing technology firms to list in the U.K. in the wake of Brexit.

The LSE has proposed the creation of a special market for private companies to trade their shares publicly on the exchange on certain days, according to a person familiar with the matter and proposals from the LSE to its regulators, the Financial Conduct Authority, and the U.K. Treasury, seen by The Wall Street Journal.


Putin Wants NATO to Back Off but Is Achieving 'Exactly the Opposite,' Says Alliance Chief

BRUSSELS-Russian President Vladimir Putin has said he wants NATO to reduce its presence in Eastern European countries that were once part of the Soviet bloc but his actions are achieving the opposite, said NATO's chief.

If Russia attacks Ukraine, as it is threatening with a deployment of almost 100,000 troops, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization will further expand its presence near Russia, Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said in an interview. He said the alliance is assessing how it could do so.


Russia's European Neighbors Rattled by Putin's Moves

BERLIN-Europe's relations with Russia are sinking to depths unprecedented in the three decades since the collapse of the Soviet Union.

After more than 20 years in power, President Vladimir Putin is rattling his European neighbors more than ever, signaling that he might invade Ukraine, deploying troops to shore up the autocracy in Kazakhstan, weaponizing his country's natural-gas exports and demanding sweeping security concessions from the West.


Behind United Front, U.S. Approach on Russia Unsettles Some Allies

BRUSSELS-In public, the U.S. and its allies this week presented a united front in rejecting Russian demands that they rule out NATO enlargement and pull military forces back from the alliance's eastern flank.

Behind the scenes, some allies-particularly those close to Russia-are perturbed by several ideas floated by U.S. officials at talks with Russian counterparts before they were aired with allies, according to diplomats at the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.


Yemen's Houthi Rebels Claim Suspected Drone Strikes on U.A.E. Capital

Yemen's Houthi rebels claimed Monday to have carried out suspected drone attacks on two locations in the United Arab Emirates that caused an explosion involving three fuel trucks and a fire at a construction site at Abu Dhabi's airport, in a rare attack on the neighboring Gulf state which recently intensified its role in the Yemeni war.

The Iran-backed Houthis said they had targeted the U.A.E. in a "military operation" in retaliation for its recent escalation in Yemen, where Emirati-backed rebels last week dealt the Houthis an unexpected defeat in the oil-rich province of Shabwa.


U.K. National Average House Prices Rose Again in January

U.K. house prices rose in January in the busiest start to the year on record, according to new data from property portal Rightmove PLC.

The average price of property coming to the market rose by 852 pounds ($1,168) in January, an increase of 0.3% and bringing the national average to GBP341,019. First-time buyer asking prices hit a record GBP214,176 after climbing 1.4% in a month. The portal measured 53,813 prices across the U.K over the period from Dec. 5 to Jan. 8.


Loop, Suez to Build $285 Million Recycled-Plastic Factory in France

Plastic-recycling startup Loop Industries Inc. plans to build a factory in France with waste-management company Suez SA, aiming to tap demand from businesses that want to reduce their plastic waste.

The Normandy plant, which will produce recycled plastic resin, is expected to begin operating in 2025 and construction is scheduled to start next year, Loop said Sunday.


U.S. Businesses Sour on Saudi Arabia in Blow to Crown Prince's Growth Plans

RIYADH-Saudi Arabia courted the world's top companies to modernize its economy. Instead, the business environment has grown more hostile and investors are souring on the oil-rich kingdom.

Uber Technologies Inc., General Electric Co. and other foreign firms were hit by surprise tax assessments often totaling tens of millions of dollars.


GLOBAL NEWS

China Cuts Two Key Rates to Support Slowing Economy

China's central bank on Monday cut two key interest rates that would likely translate into lower benchmark lending rates, in a bid to provide more support for the slowing economy.

The People's Bank of China lowered rates on the one-year medium-term lending facility and seven-day reverse repurchase agreements by 10 basis points each, according to an official statement.


China GDP Grew 8.1% in 2021, Though Momentum Slowed in Fourth Quarter

BEIJING-China's economy expanded 8.1% last year as a pandemic-plagued world snapped up its goods, though slowing growth in the final months of the year points to challenges ahead for its economy.

As expected, the annual gross domestic product figure easily topped Beijing's official growth target of 6% or more, as exports surged to a record high. The 8.1% growth figure for 2021, which matched economists' forecasts, adds to the country's post-pandemic recovery, after China eked out a 2.2% expansion in coronavirus-ravaged 2020.


Economy Week Ahead: China GDP, U.S. Housing


Supply-Chain Constraints Might Have Peaked, But Will Continue Damping Growth -- Analysis

The combination of pandemic-related supply constraints and strong global demand for goods has led to bottlenecks and disrupted supply chains. Supply issues should continue to damp growth and boost inflation in the near term, Commerzbank says.

In recent weeks, overall supply bottlenecks haven't changed much on balance, economists at the German bank say. In maritime transport, congestion remains a problem and freight rates remain high. While prices for wood have fallen, memory chips and aluminum have become more expensive, they say. In all, supply issues are likely to continue to damp growth, Commerzbank says.


China's Property Market Cooled in 2021 as Beijing Reined in Developers

BEIJING-Property investment and new construction starts slumped in China in 2021 as the government's move to rein in developers' debt hobbled an important pillar of growth for the country.

Overall investment in China's property sector increased 4.4% in 2021, down from the 7.0% growth rate marked in 2020, the country's National Bureau of Statistics said Monday. The result was weaker than the 6.0% year-over-year gain recorded over the first 11 months of 2021.


Big Tech Braces for a Wave of Regulation

Big tech companies are facing the biggest expansion in potential technology regulation in a generation. And while the jury is out on whether all that sound and fury will signify anything, for the first time there are signs that the big-tech backlash could have a substantive impact.

New laws under consideration in Europe, Asia and the U.S. could put sharp limits on how big tech companies can treat smaller competitors and restrict their use of artificial intelligence like facial recognition. Some proposals could ban common practices such as companies giving their own products a boost in their own rankings, something that could have an operational impact, executives and analysts say.


Day Traders as 'Dumb Money'? The Pros Are Now Paying Attention

Last year, amateur investors took financial markets by storm. This year, Wall Street professionals are watching them closely.

Fund managers who might have once derided small-time day traders as "dumb money" are scouring social-media posts for clues about where the herd might veer next. Some 85% of hedge funds and 42% of asset managers are now tracking retail-trading message boards, according to a survey by Bloomberg Intelligence.


Why Has the U.S. Stock Market Done So Well? And Can It Continue?

The U.S. is on a winning streak. Four years running, through political turmoil and Covid-19, American stock markets have beaten the world. As we hit the second anniversary of the pandemic, investors should be asking whether it can continue.


North Korea Fires Two Suspected Ballistic Missiles From Airfield, South Korea Says

SEOUL-North Korea test-fired two suspected short-range ballistic missiles off its east coast on Monday, South Korean and Japanese militaries said, in what is Pyongyang's fourth weapons launch of the month.

The missiles were fired at 8:50 a.m. and 8:54 a.m. from the Sunan airfield, which is located in the northern outskirts of Pyongyang near the country's main international airport, South Korea's military said. They flew about 235 miles and at an altitude of about 26 miles before splashing into the waters between Korea and Japan, it said.


Omicron Surge Pressures U.S. Hospitals

(MORE TO FOLLOW) Dow Jones Newswires

01-17-22 0627ET

Stocks mentioned in the article
ChangeLast1st jan.
BANK OF CHINA LIMITED 0.65% 3.08 Delayed Quote.8.90%
COMMERZBANK AG -0.65% 7.66 Delayed Quote.14.52%
EURO / BRITISH POUND (EUR/GBP) -0.28% 0.85328 Delayed Quote.1.18%
GENERAL ELECTRIC COMPANY -1.25% 74.52 Delayed Quote.-21.12%
GLAXOSMITHKLINE PLC 0.00% 1782 Delayed Quote.10.92%
LONDON BRENT OIL 0.30% 114.34 Delayed Quote.44.68%
LONDON STOCK EXCHANGE PLC 0.03% 7306 Delayed Quote.5.43%
LOOP INDUSTRIES, INC. -3.28% 5.31 Delayed Quote.-56.72%
ON SEMICONDUCTOR CORPORATION -2.49% 54.5 Delayed Quote.-19.76%
PFIZER, INC. 1.00% 53.41 Delayed Quote.-9.55%
PROS HOLDINGS, INC. -6.27% 25.86 Delayed Quote.-25.02%
RIGHTMOVE PLC -1.24% 556.8 Delayed Quote.-29.96%
S&P 500 -0.81% 3941.48 Real-time Quote.-16.63%
S&P GSCI ALUMINUM INDEX -0.67% 182.725 Real-time Quote.5.09%
S&P GSCI NATURAL GAS INDEX 0.43% 415.4884 Real-time Quote.136.65%
UBER TECHNOLOGIES, INC. -9.38% 21.55 Delayed Quote.-48.60%
UNILEVER PLC 0.20% 3541 Delayed Quote.-10.25%
US DOLLAR / RUSSIAN ROUBLE (USD/RUB) 0.55% 56.685 Delayed Quote.-21.84%
WASTE MANAGEMENT 0.97% 157.6 Delayed Quote.-5.57%
WTI 0.11% 110.593 Delayed Quote.46.38%
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