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LIVE MARKETS-On the radar: Q3 starters and a Franco-Italian banking merger

Thu, 15th Oct 2020 07:38

Welcome to the home for real-time coverage of European equity markets brought to you by Reuters
stocks reporters. You can share your thoughts with Joice Alves (joice.alves@thomsonreuters.com)
and Julien Ponthus (julien.ponthus@thomsonreuters.com) in London and Stefano Rebaudo
(stefano.rebaudo@thomsonreuters.com) in Milan.

ON THE RADAR: Q3 STARTERS AND A FRANCO-ITALIAN BANKING MERGER (0638 GMT)

There's been a lot of M&A talk in the European banking sectors lately but rarely has there
been more than rumours for investors to act upon in terms of cross-border deals.

Now - it has not yet been confirmed by the involved parties - Italian daily Il Messaggero
reported that Banco BPM and France's Credit Agricole have signed a
confidentiality agreement which could lead to some sort of tie-up.

With so many analysts waiting for some sort of catalyst for the sector, a merger might be
just what markets need to get more optimistic even if for now, the mood has been soured by the
first Q3 results on Wall Street.

Talking about Q3s, we've got a few coming in: Switzerland's Roche said the frantic
global effort to test people for COVID-19 boosted its diagnostics division and kept it on track
to meet full-year 2020 targets.

France's Publicis, the world's third-biggest advertising company, beat market
expectations for the second quarter in a row with a less severe fall in sales than feared as the
COVID crisis continues hit ad spending worldwide.

Less positive tone from Swedish homeware retailer Clas Ohlson which posted an 8%
drop year-on-year in September sales.

Going back to M&A, in France, Les Echos reported that Engie has put its
industrial maintenance unit Endel up for sale.

Also worth noting, Volkswagen's truck unit Traton said its revised
takeover bid of $43 per share for U.S. truck maker Navistar International will expire on Oct.
16, if not accepted by then.

Eyes also on French leisure stocks such as Accor and Sodexo after
France's new curfew in big cities.

(Julien Ponthus and Danilo Masoni)

*****

MORNING CALL: IT LOOKS LIKE RISK-OFF (0540 GMT)

European futures are trading well into negative territory and why wouldn't they?

Asian bourses are in the red and Wall Street closed lower as the hope of further U.S. fiscal
stimulus seems to be fading away.

With France implementing a new curfew in big cities to try to curb the curve of COVID-19
infections, the newsflow has clearly worsened on the pandemic front with the spectre of
full-scale national lockdowns suddenly looming over a fragile economic recovery.

The EU summit which starts this afternoon can't do much to ease the mood as arguably one of
the best outcome would only be a mandate for trade talks with the UK to drag on for another few
weeks.

The earnings season could provide some well needed positive news in the coming days and
weeks but in the meantime, Q3s from Bank of America and Wells Fargo did sour the mood for the
banking sector.

(Julien Ponthus)

*****

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