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Ready, set, COP28



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STOXX Europe 600 up 0.5%

DAX hits 4-month high

German inflation shows more signs of cooling

S&P 500 futures edge higher

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READY, SET, COP28 (1235 GMT)

The 28th United Nations meeting on climate change (COP28) kicks off in Dubai today. Some investors are optimistic that the momentum to tackle global warming will continue to grow even given some recent hurdles.

Focus will also be on a proposal by the world's second-biggest greenhouse gas emitter, the United States, along with the European Union, to triple renewable energy capacity this decade.

"We believe efforts to address climate change will gain ground, with a growing focus on the problem from governments, companies, investors, and consumers," said Mark Haefele, global wealth management chief investment officer at UBS, in a note.

"Beyond public markets, investors can tap into energy disruption opportunities in private markets, including in renewable infrastructure development, energy networks, storage, carbon capture, energy efficiency, and circular economy solutions."

The share of renewables in electricity generation has already risen to 30% from 20% over the past decade, UBS said, while global solar capacity is on track to triple in the coming years from the current 1,000 GW.

UBS also estimated battery electric and hybrid EVs will make up more than 60% of global auto sales by 2030.

Nevertheless, the surge in energy prices last year, has pushed governments to focus on improving affordability, reliability, and the resilience of energy supply, which led to a rise in coal consumption, they also said.

Global fossil fuel subsidies topped $7 trillion last year, equivalent to about 7.5% of GDP and exceeding 4.3% in government spending on education 4.3%, according to the IMF.

There is some concern about how some participants might use COP28 to strike deals for more fossil fuel production.

"Last year witnessed over 600 fossil fuel lobbyists participating in COP, often outnumbering delegations, and projections indicate a further increase in their numbers this year," said Tara Clee, Hargreaves Lansdown ESG analyst, in a note.

COP's incoming president, Sultan al-Jaber, who is also CEO of host country UAE's national oil company ADNOC, told a press conference on Wednesday: "I will hold every country and every company and every stakeholder accountable for keeping 1.5°C within reach."

(Bansari Mayur Kamdar)


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EURO ZONE INFLATION ON TRACK FOR 2% - ING (1130 GMT)

Euro zone inflation looks on track to slow back to the bloc's 2% target, ING said, referencing Spanish and early German price data for November and sluggish economic sentiment figures all released on Wednesday.

"Overall, inflation looks to be benign in the eurozone with weak demand and supply-side pressures remaining mild," Bert Colijn, Senior Economist, Eurozone at the Dutch bank wrote in a note. "For the ECB, this confirms the view that next year could bring about a first rate cut. With inflation trending down better than expected, this could happen earlier than expected".

The euro zone Economic Sentiment Indicator ticked up a fraction in November to 93.8 compared to October's 93.5, according to data released on Wednesday which ING described as "in line with an economy mildly contracting in the current and coming quarter".

Other data from Wednesday showed inflation eased in November in Germany's most populous state of North Rhine-Westphalia to 3.0% year-on-year, as well as slowing other major states, pointing to a further cooling in headline inflation in the euro zone area's largest economy.

Spain's annual inflation rate fell to 3.2% in November.


(Alun John)

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EUROPE CHEAP, JPM STAYS UNDERWEIGHT "FOR NOW" (1044 GMT)

Whether European stocks will manage to beat Wall Street - a topic often at the centre of investor debate - has shown up again as the end of the year approaches.

JPM has returned to the theme and while they stick to their underweight euro zone over the U.S. stance they hint at a possible change in Europe's favour further down the road.

"We stay UW Eurozone vs the US, for now, a call we initiated in early May, but given the increasingly attractive valuations, where SX5E trades sub 12x forward P/E, we would consider potentially changing this call as we move through 1H of 2024," writes JPM strategist Mislav Matejka.

This call comes in the context of their broader view that risky assets will face a challenging backdrop in H1 2024 "with spells of material weakness, and could potentially improve thereafter".

"We believe that the risk-reward for equities will start fundamentally improving once the Fed is advanced with interest rate cuts, especially if that is happening without clear consumer and labour deterioration," Matejka notes.

The STOXX 600 .STOXX is up 8% this year, while the S&P 500 this year has gained more than 18%. .SPX The European index has outperformed the U.S. index only twice in the decade to 2022.

Here are a couple of recent stories highlighting possible opportunities across the European stock market:

  • Investors spy value in cheap Finnish stocks after China and Russia pain

  • Growing Italy risk puts equities at deepest discount in 35 years

(Danilo Masoni)

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EYES ON GERMANY (0910 GMT)

Germany has been the stand out in a fairly quiet early trading for European stocks, with the benchmark DAX hitting a four-month high, and early inflation-reporting states showing further cooling.

The DAX .GDAXI rose 0.75% to its highest since August 2, outperforming most other major national indices. The broad STOXX 600 benchmark .STOXX gained 0.3%, heading back towards last week's highs and set for its best month since January.

Britain's FTSE .FTSE was the standout laggard, off 0.33%, hurt by falls in China exposed names.

Inflation in the early reporting German states, including North Rhine-Westphalia, the most populous, showed month-on-month declines, and slowing year-on-year increases. That contributed to lower yields on benchmark German Bunds. DE10YT=RR GVD/EUR

The biggest faller on the STOXX 600 was Swedish online gambling group Kindred KINDsdb.ST whose shares slumped 7.5% after reporting lower-than-expected Q3 results and announcing its exit from North America.

Shares of Ferrovial FER.MC are up 2.4% after the Spanish infrastructure giant agreed to sell its 25% stake in London's Heathrow Airport.

(Alun John)

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A TOUCH OF SOFTNESS FOR EUROPEAN STOCKS (0740 GMT)

Futures are pointing to a modicum of weakness for European shares at the open on Wednesday, as the STOXX benchmark continues to edge below Friday's three-month high, with investors watching German state inflation data come in.

Euro Stoxx 50 futures were down 0.05%, <STXEc1>while the FTSE looked set to underperform, with futures down 0.3%. <FFIc1>

German inflation is the main European macro news of the day, and data from the state of North Rhine-Westphalia showed consumer prices fell by 0.3 % month-on-month in November and were up by 3.0 % year-on-year, hinting at a lower nationwide figure when it is released later in the day.

In terms of company news, investors are watching infrastructure giant Ferrovial FER.MC FERF.AS which said Tuesday it has reached an agreement with two different buyers to sell its entire 25% stake in Britain's busiest airport, Heathrow, for 2.37 billion pounds ($3.01 billion).

And Cartier-jewellery owner Richemont CFR.S said on Wednesday said it was "carefully monitoring" the situation after Farfetch's FTCH.N founder said he was considering taking the online luxury retailer private.

There is also some regulatory news in Britain, where the antitrust regulator said it would launch a review of loyalty scheme pricing by supermarkets, such as Tesco's TSCO.L Clubcard and Sainsbury's SBRY.L Nectar, considering its impact on consumers and competition in the groceries sector.

Britain's financial watchdog proposed that personal investment firms that give bad advice would need to set aside capital to cover compensation costs when consumers are harmed.


(Alun John)

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