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Airbus slips on tariff threat

Stock markets in Europe are muted this morning. 

Global equity markets have been relatively quiet in the past 24 hours and we are stuck in the low volatility mode. Modest gains we made in Asia overnight and the picture in Europe is mixed. Sentiment in Continental Europe is holding up well considering the heightened tensions between Washington DC and Brussels in relation to the threat of $11 billion worth of tariffs being imposed on European imports. 

Airbus shares are in the red after the US threatened to impose new tariffs on EU products as the argument over subsidies heats up. The US claims that Brussels have been subsidising Airbus and that has led to an adverse effect on the US, meanwhile, the EU claim the US government has given illegal aid to Boeing. The ratcheting up of tensions between the US and the EU comes at a time when the EU economy is struggling, and given the Brexit uncertainty, the last thing the EU needs is a full-on trade war with the US.

Societe Generale revealed restructuring plans and could lead to up to 1,600 job losses. The bank is looking to wind-down its over-the-counter commodity business, and it proprietary-trading unit. The wealth management business will cut costs, and the company plans to merge two divisions in its financing and advisory department.   

Hays shares are in the red after Morgan Stanley reduced its rating on the stock to equal-weight from overweight, and it reduced its price target from 200p to 185p. 

JP Morgan lowered its rating for Pennon Group to neutral from over-weight, and the bank cut its price target to 780p from 800p.

The currency markets are quiet today as there has been little in the way of news. Italian retail sales increased by 0.1% in February, and the January report was revised higher to 0.6% from 0.5%. EUR/USD and GBP/USD are fractionally higher today. 

Boeing and GE are likely to remain in focus today after both stocks suffered yesterday on the back of broker downgrades. Boeing shares lost over 4% after Bank of American lowered its price target to $420 from $480. The finance house predicts that production of the 737 Max jet will be set-back by six to nine months. GE’s value declined in excess of 5% on Monday after JP Morgan trimmed their price target to $5 from $6.

We are expecting the Dow Jones to open 31 points lower at 26,310 and we are calling the S&P 500 down 3 points at 2,892.    


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