European Midday Briefing: Stocks Fall on New -2-

On Monday the Nord Stream pipeline, which runs 760 miles from northwest Russia under the Baltic Sea to Germany, will go into annual maintenance for 10 days, repairs that are routine in peaceful times. European officials say that Moscow, which has already cut gas deliveries to 40% of the pipeline’s capacity, might not bring it back online.


Saint-Gobain Must Face Challenge to Asbestos Unit’s Bankruptcy Case

Asbestos-injury plaintiffs have made a plausible case that French multinational Saint-Gobain’s CertainTeed unit defrauded them when it pushed its mass asbestos liabilities into chapter 11, a bankruptcy judge ruled.

Judge Craig Whitley of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Charlotte, N.C., said on Thursday that personal-injury lawyers had made sufficient allegations to support a claim that Compagnie de Saint-Gobain SA and its CertainTeed LLC materials division hindered the rights of asbestos victims.


Frontline, Euronav Confirm All-Stock Merger Deal

Norwegian tanker operator Frontline Ltd. and Belgian peer Euronav NV said Monday that they have agreed to merge in an all-stock deal, confirming a plan proposed earlier this year.

The deal is based on an exchange ratio of 1.45 Frontline shares for each Euronav share and is expected to see the combined company held 55% by existing Euronav shareholders and 45% by existing Frontline shareholders, they said.


Danske Bank Cuts Profit Guidance Amid Challenging Market

Danske Bank AS on Sunday cut its full-year net profit guidance amid rapidly rising interest rates and unfavorable financial market conditions.

“We have seen good commercial progress in our core banking activities in the first half of the year driven by volume growth, solid customer activity and a continued solid credit quality,” Danske Bank Chief Executive Carsten Egeriis said.


GlobalFoundries, STMicroelectronics to Build Chip Factory in France

GlobalFoundries Inc. and STMicroelectronics NV have agreed to build a new chip-making plant in France, adding much-needed capacity to manufacture semiconductors in Europe after a global shortage spanning more than two years.

European chip maker STMicroelectronics said Monday that it had signed a memorandum of understanding with GlobalFoundries to deliver the new multibillion-euro project that is set to receive significant financial help from the French government.


Gold Fields Enhances Dividend Policy; Plans TSX Listing

Gold Fields Ltd. said Monday that it is enhancing its dividend policy to 30%-45% of normalized earnings, and that it will seek to list its shares on the Toronto Stock Exchange if it completes the acquisition of Yamana Gold Inc.

The precious-metals mining company said the new dividend policy reflects its strong conviction on cash flows. For the 2023 dividend cycle, the company is targeting a payment totaling 45% of earnings–the top end of the new policy range.


EU Works to Tighten Russia Sanctions Enforcement

The European Union says it is working to improve compliance with and enforcement of its six rounds of sanctions against Russia as the 27-nation bloc seeks to tighten the economic pressure on the Kremlin for its war in Ukraine.

At the heart of the EU’s challenge is the division of powers between Brussels, which sets sanctions policy, and the numerous national ministries, supervisors and industry groups that are asked to interpret and implement it. The sanctions are designed to hit Russia’s economy, financial sector, military and political elite by keeping Russian money and assets locked inside the EU bloc and sharply curbing trade and financial links with Russia.


U.K.’s Next Leader Faces Economic, Political Challenges Unseen Since Thatcher

LONDON-Britain’s next prime minister will have to contend with challenges in governing the country that are arguably unequaled since at least 1979, when Margaret Thatcher took office facing galloping inflation and a battle with powerful trade unions.

Whoever succeeds Boris Johnson is confronting the largest drop in real incomes in the U.K. since the 1950s, with inflation forecast to touch 11% before the end of the year. On top of that, trust in the country’s political institutions has waned significantly.


Ukraine’s Defense Minister Says It Has ‘Passed Test’ on New U.S. Guided Rockets, Needs More

KYIV, Ukraine-Ukraine’s defense minister said his country has “passed the test” with its successful use of recently delivered American long-range artillery systems, but stressed the high attrition rate along its extensive front line has made the demand for additional supplies, such as armored vehicles and drones, more urgent.

Oleksii Reznikov said the need for longer-range weapons continues to outpace the Ukrainians’ demand for shorter-range systems as the war shifts primarily to an artillery battle, and more will be needed if they are to recapture territory lost since Russia invaded on Feb. 24.


Ukrainian Office Workers and Tradesmen Receive Training From U.K. for War

Until recently, most of them were civilians, working in offices or jobs such as plumbing. This past week, a group of new Ukrainian military recruits found themselves on a hillside in northwestern England, aiming rifles at a line of targets as a British military instructor looked on. Within weeks, they could be thrown into Europe’s biggest land war since World War II.

A woman armed with a megaphone translated his instructions into Ukrainian: “Don’t forget to breathe….Take your time…. Ten shots at the left-hand target…. Fire!”


U.S. Moves to End Tax Treaty With Hungary

WASHINGTON-The U.S. Treasury Department is moving to terminate its tax treaty with Hungary, ending an agreement with a country that has been resisting the global minimum tax deal pushed by the Biden administration.

The move will take six months to complete, the department said Friday.


Biden’s Middle East Trip Is a High-Risk Bid to Reset Saudi Relations

President Biden’s Middle East trip this week marks a move toward a more traditional American foreign policy with Saudi Arabia, as the realities of oil diplomacy and geopolitics lead him to compromise on campaign promises to isolate the kingdom over human-rights violations.

The shift in U.S. priorities has led to starkly divergent views being put forth by U.S. and Saudi officials over how the visit will unfold.


Egyptian Activist Is Litmus Test for the West as Biden Visits Middle East

CAIRO-The family of one of Egypt’s most prominent pro-democracy activists is calling on Western leaders to help secure his release from prison, where he has been on hunger strike for 100 days, as President Biden prepares to visit the Middle East next week.

Alaa Abdel-Fattah, a 40-year old author and software developer, rose to prominence during the country’s 2011 revolution that toppled longtime President Hosni Mubarak. He has spent most of the past decade behind bars, as Egypt’s security forces have sought to keep people associated with the uprising from inspiring another revolution.



The Stock Market Faces Next Test as Inflation Looms Over Earnings Season

Investors expect concerns about hot inflation and strapped consumers to dominate the corporate-earnings season that kicks off this week, creating winners and losers in the battered stock market.

Stocks have come under pressure this year with inflation hovering at a four-decade high and the Federal Reserve in the midst of an aggressive campaign to raise interest rates to rein it in. The S&P 500 has fallen 18% in 2022, even after rallying 3% to start July.


Macau Shuts Casinos as City Enters Weeklong Lockdown

HONG KONG-The gambling enclave of Macau will enter a citywide lockdown early Monday, as authorities seek to contain a spiraling Covid-19 outbreak.

Aside from essential services such as supermarkets, healthcare facilities and restaurants selling takeaway, all other businesses have been ordered to shut for a week, with residents required to stay at home. City officials urged the public not to panic-buy food, asking people to make purchases at staggered times to enable social distancing in queues.


China Inflation Rises on Gains in Food and Fuel Prices

SINGAPORE-Inflation in China accelerated more than expected in June as prices for food and fuel picked up, but cost pressures remain muted compared with blistering gains in Europe and the U.S.

Consumer prices rose at a 2.5% annual pace in June, China’s National Bureau of Statistics said Saturday, picking up from a 2.1% increase recorded in May. Economists polled by The Wall Street Journal had expected year-over-year inflation of 2.4%.


Sri Lanka Crisis Flashes Warning for Other Indebted Economies

Uncertainty over Sri Lanka’s leadership set in on Sunday as protesters continued to occupy the president’s residence a day after they stormed it, and President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s whereabouts remained unknown.

The president hasn’t yet directly addressed an announcement by the speaker of the parliament that Mr. Rajapaksa would resign on Wednesday. His only communication since massive protests overran his official residence was a statement from his office ordering officials to expedite the distribution of a shipment of natural gas due to arrive Sunday.


For the Fed, Easing Too Soon Risks Repeat of Stop-and-Go 1970s

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell is raising interest rates at the fastest pace since the 1980s. That has been easy so far because rates are low and the economy has been strong.

The hardest part lies ahead. Just as it proved difficult for the Fed last year to tell when to start raising rates, it is tough to know when to stop. What happens, for example, if the economy begins slowing sharply but inflation stays too high?


Freight Rates Are Starting to Fall as Shipping Demand Wavers

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July 11, 2022 05:47 ET (09:47 GMT)

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