European Shares Set for Mixed Open, Rate Fixing Investigations Widen
Associate Editor, CNBC
European markets were looking at a mixed open on Monday, with investors searching for direction after Chinese premier Wen Jiabao warned at the weekend that China's economic woes will continue for some time but that the country's fundamentals remain favorable, and with the Tokyo market closed due to a public holiday.
His comments came after China announced on Friday that the world's second-largest economy grew by 7.6, a three-year low.
The FTSE was seen higher by 3 points at 5669, the DAX was expected to open higher by 1 points at 6658 as was the CAC, by 9 points at 3171.
Asian markets extended their rally on Monday as fears of a hard landing for the Chinese economy subsided as Jiaboa's comments were interpreted as a willingness to take further monetary stimulus action if needed.
In Europe, the London Interbank Offered Rate (Libor) manipulation scandal remained in the spotlight, with Jerry Del Misseir, Barclays Bank’s outgoing chief operating officer due to be questioned about his knowledge of the situation by UK lawmakers Monday.
His appearance at Treasury Select Committee of UK lawmakers comes after the New York Times reported that the U.S. Justice Department was building criminal casesagainst several financial institutions and their employees related to the manipulation of interest rates.
Citing government officials close to the case who spoke on condition of anonymity, the newspaper said traders at Barclays were among the individuals against whom Justice was building cases.
Authorities expect to file charges against at least one bank later this year, the newspaper reported.
Meanwhile, Barclays plans to pull out of the rate-setting panel for interbank lending in the United Arab Emirates because of its involvement in the Libor scandal in Britain, three industry sources told Reuters on Sunday.
And Deutsche Bank may escape with a lighter penalty than other banks in Europe if investigators impose fines in the wake of the scandal by attaining witness status, two sources familiar with the bank told Reuters on Sunday.
Vikram Pandit, chief executive of Citigroup, rejected the UK proposals to introduce regulations that separate the operations of large banks while at the same time outlining the changes in culture the banks should adopt in the wake of the Libor scandal.
His comments to the UK’s Sunday Telegraph newspaper are, however, unlikely to bear much weight with lawmakers who were already reviewing legislation designed to separate retail banking operations from investment operations, given the likely scale of the Libor scandal.
Away from the Libor scandal Human Genome Sciences has agreed to be a takeover bid by GlaxoSmithKline subject to approval of some last-minute details, for about $14 a share in cash, two sources familiar with the situation told Reuters on Sunday.
The deal is expected to be announced before the U.S. stock market opens on Monday, the sources added. The price represents an increase to Glaxo's previous offer of $13 a share. Human Genome shares ended trading on Friday at $13.58.
The European Central Bank (ECB) backed imposing losses on holders of senior bonds issued by the most severely damaged Spanish savings banks, at a meeting of finance ministers in Brussels on July 9, people close to the discussion told the Wall Street Journal on Sunday.
The decision marks a turnaround in the position of the central bank previous position.
It refused to impose such losses on bondholders as part of the bailout package agreed for Ireland in 2010, which like Spain suffered a collapse in its property market. Finance ministers rejected the policy position.
The head of Europe’s top banking regulator has raised the bar for lenders’ capital requirements, insisting a 9 percent capital ratio the banks had to hit as a “temporary buffer” by June is to become permanent, according to the Financial Times.
Andrea Enria, chairman of the European Banking Authority, said “capital conservation” was his priority, with the euro zone crisis persisting and the six-year phase-in of Basel III global capital standards set to begin next year.
And the French government will unveil a nation-wide plan to support the country's automotive industry, including measures aimed at boosting spending at home, on July 25, French finance minister Pierre Moscovici said Sunday.
Peugeot said it would post a net loss in the first half and an operating loss within the 700 million euro range ($857.5 million) for its core car-making division on Thursday.
That announcement prompted French president Francois Hollande to hit out at the restructuring plan calling it "unacceptable" and insisting that "it must be renegotiated."