CAC 40 Subdued After Weak China Data

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French stocks were subdued on Thursday as weak Chinese data as well as lack of progress toward denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula sapped investors' appetite for riskier assets.

A summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and the North Korean leader Kim Jong-un ended with no agreement after North Korea reportedly wanted all sanctions on it lifted in exchange, something the U.S. was not prepared to do.

China's manufacturing sector contracted for a third consecutive month in February, rekindling investor worries over slowing growth.

The benchmark CAC 40 was down 7 points or 0.14 percent at 5,218 in opening deals after declining 0.3 percent in the previous session.

Grocery retailer Carrefour Group advanced 1.5 percent. After reporting a net loss in its fiscal 2018, the company has issued upwards revision of several targets of the Carrefour 2022 plan.

In economic releases, France's household spending grew in January after a decline in the previous month, mainly driven by strong expenditure on energy, preliminary data from the statistical office INSEE showed.

Household spending grew 1.2 percent from December, when it decreased 1.5 percent. Economists had forecast a 1.1 percent increase.

DAX Drifts Lower As Trump, Kim Summit Ends With No Deal

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German stocks fell on Thursday as a historic summit ended without agreement on the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and weak Chinese data reinforced fears that the world's second-largest economy is losing momentum.

A summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and the North Korean leader Kim Jong-un ended with no agreement after North Korea reportedly wanted all sanctions on it lifted in exchange, something the U.S. was not prepared to do.

China's manufacturing sector contracted for a third consecutive month in February, rekindling investor worries over slowing growth.

The benchmark DAX was down 29 points or 0.25 percent at 11,458 in opening deals after losing half a percent the previous day.

Zalando shares soared 17 percent after the online fashion retailer met its 2018 targets and said it expects solid growth this year.

Lender Deutsche Bank slid half a percent and Commerzbank declined 0.7 percent.

Automakers were also broadly lower.

Aston Martin Lagonda Slips To Loss In FY18

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Aston Martin Lagonda Global Holdings plc (AML.L) on Thursday reported loss before tax of 68.2 million pounds or 31.0 pence per share for the year ended 31 December 2018, compared to profit before tax of 84.5 million pounds or 36.5 pence in the prior year.

The company noted that loss for the year reflects 136 million pounds of associated costs related to its IPO on the London Stock Exchange in October 2018, of which 29 million pounds were cash.

Before one-off IPO costs, adjusted profit before tax for the year was 67.8 million pounds, compared to adjusted profit of 73.1 million pounds last year. Normalized adjusted earnings per share for the year were 27.5 pence, compared to 32.9 pence a year ago.

Adjusted EBITDA for the year was 247.3 million pounds, compared to 206.5 million pounds in the prior year.

Revenue for the year grew 25 percent to 1.10 billion pounds from 876.0 million pounds last year.

Total volumes for the year increased 26 percent to 6,441 units, which was ahead of guidance. Core car volumes were up 30 percent. The company noted that special editions continue to be in high demand.

Looking ahead, Aston Martin said it is maintaining its guidance for financial year 2019, whilst also reconfirming its medium-term objectives.

Dr Andy Palmer, Aston Martin Lagonda President and Group CEO said, "Given our progress on the Second Century plan - including completion of our new manufacturing plant at St Athan and our preparations for the DBX, we are confident that Aston Martin Lagonda will deliver another year of growth."

Asian Shares Slip As Trade Hopes Wane

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Asian stocks ended Thursday's session mostly lower as comments by U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer dampened recent optimism about the U.S.-China trade talks.

Investor sentiment was also dented by weak data from China and news that U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un have abruptly ended summit talks earlier than scheduled.

Chinese shares fell as weak data reinforced fears that the world's second-largest economy is losing momentum.

The benchmark Shanghai Composite index dropped 12.87 points or 0.44 percent to 2,940.95 while Hong Kong's Hang Seng index ended down 0.43 percent at 28,633.18.

Activity in China's vast manufacturing sector continued to contract in February, and at a faster rate, the latest survey from the National Bureau of Statistics revealed with a manufacturing PMI score of 49.2.

That missed expectations for a score of 49.5, which would have been unchanged from the previous month.

The non-manufacturing PMI came in with a score of 54.3 in February - shy of expectations for 54.5 and down from 54.7 in the previous month.

Japanese shares fell as hopes for progress in U.S-China trade talks faded and a historic summit ended without agreement on the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. Weak industrial output and retail sales data also weighed on markets.

The Nikkei average fell 171.35 points or 0.79 percent to 21,385.16 while the broader Topix index closed 0.79 percent lower at 1,607.66.

Machinery and shipping stocks fell the most, with Fanuc, Mitsui OSK Lines and Komatsu falling 2-3 percent. Gaming firm Nexon Co soared 4.7 percent on the buzz that its holding firm NXC Corp is up for grabs.

In economic news, industrial production in Japan fell a seasonally adjusted 3.7 percent month on month in January, a government report showed. That missed expectations for a decline of 2.5 percent following the 0.1 percent fall in December.

The total value of retail sales in Japan was down a seasonally adjusted 2.3 percent sequentially in the month, missing expectations for a decline of 0.8 percent following the 0.9 percent increase in December.

Australian markets eked out modest gains, with financials and healthcare companies leading the surge.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index rose 18.70 points or 0.30 percent to 6,169, taking the monthly gain to over 5 percent, its biggest monthly gain since July 2016. The broader All Ordinaries index ended up 19.10 points or 0.31 percent at 6,252.70.

The big four banks rose between 0.4 percent and 1.3 percent in view of a less harsh outcome from a bank inquiry into financial misconduct. Healthcare stocks witnessed defensive buying, with CSL climbing as much as 3.1 percent.

Ramsay Health Care surged 5.9 percent as it reported a nearly 10 percent increase in first-half profit and reaffirmed its outlook for full-year earnings.

Mining stocks ended mixed after the release of weaker Chinese factory data. BHP fell 1.2 percent and Fortescue Metals Group tumbled 5.2 percent while Rio Tinto rose over 1 percent.

On the data front, reports on private capital expenditure and private sector credit proved to be a mixed bag.

Seoul stocks closed sharply lower as the U.S.-North Korea summit ended abruptly with no deal. The benchmark Kospi plunged 39.35 points or 1.76 percent to 2,195.44 ahead of a long holiday weekend.

The local markets will be closed Friday to commemorate the March 1 Independence Movement, which took place in 1919.

Tech stocks succumbed to heavy selling pressure, with LG Electronics, Samsung Electronics and SK Hynix losing 2-5 percent.

Investors ignored positive industrial output data showing that production in South Korea climbed a seasonally adjusted 0.5 percent month on month in January, - rebounding from the 0.8 percent contraction in December.

New Zealand shares rose as the local earnings season drew to a close. The benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index gained 43.56 points or 0.47 percent to finish at 9,325.03, led by utilities.

Fonterra Shareholders' Fund units plunged 6.4 percent after the dairy cooperative cut its forecast earnings and said it won't pay an interim dividend.

Overnight, U.S. stocks ended mixed after U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said that China needs to go beyond pledging to buy more U.S. goods to reach to a long-term trade agreement.

The Dow dropped 0.3 percent and the S&P 500 edged down 0.1 percent while the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite inched up 0.1 percent.

France Household Spending Rebounds In January

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France's household spending grew in January after a decline in the previous month, mainly driven by strong expenditure on energy, preliminary data from the statistical office INSEE showed on Thursday.

Household spending grew 1.2 percent from December, when it decreased 1.5 percent. Economists had forecast a 1.1 percent increase.

Spending on energy grew 5.4 percent following a 4.3 percent slump in December. Expenditure on engineered goods grew 1.4 percent after a 1.9 percent decline.

In contrast, food consumption decreased 0.9 percent after a 0.5 percent increase in December.

On a year-on-year basis, household spending grew 1 percent in January.

Things in tech you need to know today

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This is the tech news you need to know this Thursday.

  1. Leaked documents obtained by a right-wing activist group have provided an interesting insight into how Facebook has considered tackling organised harassment campaigns.Project Veritas claims it has evidence of an anti-conservative bias at Facebook, but Facebook says the group is misinterpreting the info and it shows nothing of the sort.

  2. Apple's autonomous car project layoffs targeted engineers and project managers, it revealed in a filing. Those affected will officially be out of a job in mid April.

  3. Nintendo announced two brand-new Pokémon games coming to the Nintendo Switch later this year. Two new Pokémon games are called "Pokémon Sword" and "Pokémon Shield."

  4. TikTok was fined $5.7 million by the FTC for violating children's privacy rights. In an update released on Wednesday, users will now have to verify their age.

  5. TikTok was bigger than Instagram last year after passing the 1 billion download mark. The short-form video app has now been downloaded 1 billion times across Android and iOS, according to Sensor Tower figures.

  6. Amazon announced on Wednesday that it's backing out of moving into a huge Seattle office building. Ten months ago Amazon threatened to abandon the move if the city went ahead with a head tax on large businesses.

  7. IBM apologized after its online jobs page asked applicants if they were "yellow" or "mulatto." IBM's job application site featured a drop-down menu in which applicants had to list their ethnicity, and options included "yellow" and "mulatto."

  8. Volvo's high-performance Polestar brand just unveiled Sweden's answer to the Tesla Model 3. The Polestar 2 is a compact electric sedan designed to rival Tesla's hot-selling Model 3.

  9. Elon Musk's erratic Twitter behavior escalated on Wednesday when he changed his name to "Elon Tusk." It's the latest in a strange social-media saga for the billionaire this week, after US regulators accused him of misleading investors in a tweet last week.

  10. A Hawaiian war god statue that Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff bought for $7 million and donated to a museum could be a Tiki bar tchotchke worth just $5,000. The Benioffs, who own land in Hawaii, donated the carving to Bishop Museum in Honolulu, where they felt it belongs.

Asian Shares Rise On Dovish Fed Comments

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Asian stocks closed mostly higher on Wednesday as investors welcomed dovish comments on monetary policy from the U.S. Federal Reserve and eagerly looked forward to the second summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Vietnam later in the day.

Chinese shares ended higher after Fed Chair Powell reiterated the U.S. central bank would stay patient on monetary policy in the face of a slowing economy.

The benchmark Shanghai Composite index rose 12.31 points or 0.42 percent to 2,953.82 while Hong Kong's Hang Seng index ended marginally lower at 28,757.44.

Japanese shares ended higher as gains in the defensive sector offset profit taking in China-related stocks. The Nikkei average climbed 107.12 points or 0.50 percent to 21,556.51, while the broader Topix index closed 0.20 percent higher at 1,620.42.

Pharma and realty stocks gained ground, with Takeda Pharmaceutical, Daiichi Sankyo and Mitsui Fudosan rising 2-4 percent. Komatsu, Keyence Corp and Yaskawa Electric dropped 1-2 percent.

Australian markets eked out modest gains as higher commodity prices on the back of a weaker U.S. dollar supported mining stocks. The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index rose 21.90 points or 0.36 percent to 6,150.30 while the broader All Ordinaries index ended up 24.60 points or 0.40 percent at 6,233.60.

Mining giant Rio Tinto rose 0.6 percent ahead of its FY earnings announcement, while BHP added 0.4 percent.

Woodside Petroleum, Beach Energy and Santos gained over 1 percent as oil prices bounced back on news that OPEC plans to continue production cuts despite comments from Trump.

The big four banks rose between half a percent and 0.9 percent. Bubs Australia soared 4.4 percent after it announced a long-term supply agreement with Bega Cheese subsidiary Tatura.

On the data front, official data showed that the value of construction work completed in Australia fell a seasonally adjusted 3.1 percent sequentially in the fourth quarter of 2018, missing forecasts for an increase of 0.5 percent.

Seoul stocks closed modestly higher as investors eagerly awaited the outcome of the historic summit between Washington and Pyongyang slated for later in the day. The benchmark Kospi gained 8.19 points or 0.37 percent to finish at 2,234.79.

Carmakers led the surge as Hyundai Motor Group rejected demands by U.S. activist investor Elliott Management for a combined 7 trillion won ($6.3 billion) dividend payout.

Hyundai Motor shares rallied 5.3 percent, its affiliate Kia Motors advanced 1.5 percent and auto parts maker Hyundai Mobis added 3.8 percent. On the flip side, steelmaker Posco fell 2.7 percent.

New Zealand shares fell, with the benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index ending down 41.66 points or 0.45 percent at 9,281.47. Shares of Air New Zealand declined 2.3 percent after it slashed airfares by up to 50 percent.

New Zealand posted a merchandise trade deficit of NZ$914 million in January, Statistics New Zealand said today - marking the largest deficit on record for a January month.

The Taiwan Weighted was marginally lower after a government report showed Taiwan's industrial production fell for a second straight month in January.

Overnight, the major U.S. averages slipped around 0.1 percent as corporate earnings proved to be a mixed bag and Fed Chair Powell reiterated a dovish approach to further interest rate hikes while warning about potential headwinds.

DAX Edges Down Amid Geopolitical Tensions

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German stocks fell slightly on Wednesday as tensions escalated between India and Pakistan, sapping demand for riskier assets.

After Indian warplanes destroyed Jaish-e-Mohammad terror camps in Pakistan, the latter said it shot down two Indian jets in its territory.

Investors also looked forward to the second summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Vietnam for directional cues.

The benchmark DAX was down 67 points or 0.58 percent at 11,474 in opening deals after gaining 0.3 percent in the previous session.

Steel producer Salzgitter Group rose over 1 percent after confirming its guidance for the financial year 2019.

Chemicals and pharmaceutical group Bayer rallied 3.4 percent after its adjusted core earnings rose 15.8 percent in the fourth quarter.

Cloud and ICT provider QSC fell 2.4 percent after its consolidated net income for fiscal year 2018 declined to 3.3 million euros from 5.1 million euros in the prior year.