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Europe Top News and Analysis Italy

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    Markets are heading back to the "bad old days of 2010", with investors trading off headlines, rather than fundamentals and correlations between asset classes strengthening, according to research by ConvergEx.

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    Tobacco companies have long been the defensive stock of choice for investors, offering strong dividends and generating large amounts of cash. But as austerity packages bite and household budgets are squeezed, some analysts have questioned the continued health of the sector.

  • A broker works as his control screen shows a graph of activity on the French Stock Exchange in Paris.

    European stocks were expected to open mixed on Friday after hitting a one-week closing low on Thursday amid fresh concerns over the pace of the US recovery..

  • European Central Bank

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  • A broker works as his control screen shows a graph of activity on the French Stock Exchange in Paris.

    European stocks were expected to open sharply lower on Thursday after tumbling on Wednesday in response to US data showing a slowdown in manufacturing activity in May and a lower than expected increase in private sector jobs.

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    One fund manager calls it a horror show, others are predicting the Federal Reserve will have to extend its unconventional measures and stocks across the world are falling heavily.

  • Swimming pool in Greece

    Past voluntary debt reprofilings in Latin America have worked to varying degrees, but "soft" restructuring is not going to solve Greece's debt problems, according to Stuart Culverhouse, chief economist of frontier markets specialist Exotix

  • Formula 1 track, Bahrain

    The state of emergency in Bahrain, a business hub scrambling to salvage its business-friendly brand, has now been lifted.

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    The eurozone, as designed, has failed. It was based on a set of principles that have proved unworkable at the first contact with a financial and fiscal crisis, according to the FT.

  • Tobacco

    Buying defensives that make cash and hand money back to shareholders via buybacks and dividends is a popular strategy at the moment, as macro headwinds keep the bulls at bay.

  • Jean-Claude Trichet

    Since Europe’s debt crisis became acute last year, the European Central Bank has gone beyond its role as arbiter of monetary policy to become in effect the adult supervision for quarreling heads of government.

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    The complexity of European politics should prevent any reprofiling of Greek debt this year, according to a political analyst, but markets are still waiting for any sign of a prospective default.

  • The International Monetary Fund (IMF) headquarters building is seen in Washington, DC.

    It seems certain the IMF will not pay its share of an aid tranche to Greece at end-June but the global lender is seen taking part in a new programme, a German newspaper reported on Wednesday without quoting any sources.

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    Confidence in the new plan to save Greece is misplaced according to Carl Weinberg, the chief economist at High Frequency Economics.

  • Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.

    The strongest case for stocks is a lack of alternatives but investors should be prepared for setbacks and get into defensive shares like consumer staples and healthcare as global growth has peaked, according to Philipp E. Baertschi, the chief strategist at Sarasin in Zurich.

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    European shares were set to edge up on Wednesday, adding to gains in the previous session, and after a rally on Wall Street, though renewed worries about the US economy and caution ahead of employment data were expected to limit the upside.

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    Commodity prices are once again reaching record highs, supported by a weak dollar and improving global demand, whether it be speculative or not.

  • Euro bills

    The euro is gaining and stocks are following the single currency higher, but investors should avoid chasing the risk-on trade according to one analyst.

  • A man walks outside the Bank of Greece headquarters during a demonstation against government's austerity measures in central Athens.

    Following months of talks, Germany now appears ready to drop demands it has made in order to allow Greece to restructure its debt and prevent the government in Athens from running out of cash over the summer.

  • A woman leaves a branch of Barclays Bank in central London, Monday, April 23, 2007. ABN Amro NV and Barclays PLC announced Monday they have agreed to merge, in the largest cross-border combination in European banking history. (AP Photo/Sang Tan)

    Investors should buy UK banks now while they are cheap as their share prices will rise significantly over the next two years, a report published by Societe Generale said; but other analysts contradicted this view because of the gloomy economic outlook.