Good morning! Here’s what you need to know in markets on Friday.
The EU Is Stepping Up Its Squeeze On Putin. European Union leaders on Thursday urged Russian President Vladimir Putin to make a “radical change” in his stance on Ukraine as they boosted sanctions against Crimea despite fears of economic blowback from Russia’s spiraling financial crisis.
France Splits From EU On Russian Sanctions. “If gestures are sent by Russia as we expect, there would be no reason to impose new sanctions but on the contrary to look at how we could bring about a de-escalation from our side,” French President Francois Hollande said according to Bloomberg. From Bloomberg: “Hollande is the first major European Union leader to offer to ease the Kremlin’s economic pain as a wobbly truce in eastern Ukraine reduced casualties over the past week in the conflict that’s cracked Europe’s post-Cold War order.”
German Consumer Confidence Hit An 8-Year High. Despite some gloomy headlines about Germany’s economy recently and various signs that the country’s growth is slowing, consumers seem to be unfazed. The GfK consumer confidence index hit 9, the highest the index has been since the end of 2006.
China Revised Up The Size Of Its Economy. China has revised up the estimated size of its economy for 2013 by 3.4% to 58.8 trillion yuan ($US9.5 trillion), the National Bureau of Statistics said Friday, adding that the revision would not affect economic growth this year.
Ruble Strengthens. “Russia’s ruble strengthened on Friday after Finance Minister Anton Siluanov confirmed his ministry had sold foreign currency and on expectations that exporters will step up dollar sales,” Reuters’ Alexander Winning reports. Siluanov also said the ruble would definitely firm at the beginning of 2015.
Markets Are Mixed.US futures are higher, with Dow futures up 46 points and S&P futures up 5 points. Europe is mostly lower, with France’s CAC 40 down 0.4%, Germany’s DAX down 0.3%, Spain’s IBEX down 1.1%, and Britain’s FTSE 100 up 0.4%. Japan’s Nikkei closed up 2.39%, and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng closed up 1.25%.
Very Light US Economic Data. At 11 a.m. ET, we’ll get the Kansas City Fed’s manufacturing activity index. Economists expect this index to be unchanged at 7 in December.
The US State Is Getting Rid Of Its Shares In Ally Financial. The US Treasury Department will sell its remaining 54.9 million shares of Ally Financial, acquired under the government’s bailout of the auto lender, Ally said Thursday.
Aer Lingus Rejected A Bid From IAG. The Irish airline Aer Lingus has rejected a takeover bid from IAG, the airline group that owns British Airways, according to the Financial Times. IAG is headed by Willie Walsh, Aer Lingus’ former chief executive.
A Private Equity Firm Is Trying To Buy American Apparel. The clothing manufacturer American Apparel has been approached by the private equity firm Irving Place Capital for a possible takeover, The Wall Street Journal reported, citing sources.