World Bank Praises India. Fresh European Data. Oil Moves Higher.
Asian markets were a mixed bag today. India’s NIFTY50 looked set to be the biggest gainer, having jumped by 50 points at the start of the session from 10,433 to 10,486, but it then erased practically all of those gains. The Shanghai SSE Composite index came out on top against its regional peers. India has recently received praise from the World Bank. In its latest ‘Ease of Doing Business’ global rankings released October 31st, the WB placed India in the top 100 (up from 130 last year). The institution predicts India could be a high middle-income economy in 30 years, and applauded its extraordinary achievement of quadrupling per capita income over the last 3 decades. WB CEO Kristalina Georgieva said that given India’s track record so far, she is in ‘no doubt’ that extreme poverty in India could be eradicated by 2022 – a date put forward by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Elsewhere in Asia, SoftBank shares took a hit after the firm announced it was ending talks to merge its telecommunications firm Sprint (of which SoftBank owns 80%) with T-Mobile US. The merger would have combined the third and fourth largest wireless operators in the USA. SoftBank is allegedly still weighing up injecting $10 billion into Uber, though it is still having issues with the firms ex-CEO Travis Kalanick. In Europe this morning we received plenty of new data. Losses came for Italian banks at the open, alongside news that growth in Italy’s service sector slowed for a third straight month in October. Further north in Europe, the UK auto industry continues to suffer. Car sales have fallen significantly since April this year, mainly stemming from a lower interest from customers in diesel vehicles. This is likely due to the emissions scandals that have gripped major auto firms like Volkswagen. Data also showed German factory orders increased by 1% in September, against expectations they would fall by 1.5%. It is just one of many indicators that Germany’s economy is performing well this year, even during periods that are usually ‘slower’ for business (the summer months), as August’s data was equally impressive. Raw economic data aside, European indices are a bit lower today. The FTSE100 leads, but not by much! Interestingly, the FTSE usually climbs thanks to a weakerPound, but the Pound is rising today against many major currencies including the Yen, Swiss Franc, Euro and Dollar. In German equities, shares in pharma firm Bayer were up +0.52% thanks to a move to widen the use of its clot prevention drug Xarelto. The firm has requested that patients in Europe with atherosclerosis (a disease in which plaque builds up in the arteries), are made eligible for treatment using the drug. Xarelto works in a number of cardiovascular conditions and can prevent strokes caused by atrial fibrillation. Bayer predicts 30 million extra patients could benefit from the drug once regulators give the go-ahead – which means more profits. In commodities today – oil investors rejoice! Brent is up to $62 a barrel off the back of a tightening of supply in the markets, much of this due to OPEC cuts. Considering the rise in prices since the summer this year, $70 a barrel doesn’t seem far off anymore.
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