News Archive


Virgin Money eyes 2 billion pound stock market listing: Sky News


(Reuters) – Virgin Money [NRTRK.UL], the British financial services company partly owned by Sir Richard Branson, is in talks over a possible 2 billion pound ($3.32 billion) stock market listing as early as next month, Sky News reported on Sunday, citing people familiar with the matter.

A final decision on the timing of an initial public offering (IPO) has yet to be taken and the company may opt to wait until next year, Sky News said, adding that Virgin Group, which owns more than 46.5 percent of Virgin Money, may retain its ownership after an IPO.

Virgin Group could not be reached for comment outside of normal business hours.

(Reporting by Ankush Sharma in Bangalore; Editing by David Goodman)

Article source: http://feeds.reuters.com/~r/reuters/businessNews/~3/Rfjers9U51U/story01.htm

Weak data to test BOJ’s rosy economic view, policy on hold


TOKYO (Reuters) – The Bank of Japan will maintain its existing stimulus policy and optimistic economic view on when it meets on Thursday, sources say, preferring to take more time to gauge whether a run of weak data is sufficient to threaten a fragile recovery.

But signs of prolonged disruption from a sales tax hike in April are beginning to sap the conviction of many central bankers that the economy will rebound steadily from a severe second-quarter contraction caused by the higher levy.

While the BOJ is likely to stick to its assessment that the economy is recovering moderately, pessimists on the board may propose offering a bleaker view on components such as factory output, say sources familiar with the bank’s thinking.

“It’s pretty clear from data out so far that the economy is undershooting the BOJ’s forecast,” said Yoshiki Shinke, chief economist at Dai-ichi Life Research Institute. “The rebound in July-September may prove to be much weaker than expected.”

The BOJ cut its assessment on exports earlier this month to say they were “weakening” but left intact its view that factory output, while also weakening, continues to “rise as a trend”.

That view may be subject to change after data on Friday showed July’s factory output barely recovered from a steep fall in June, which was the biggest retreat since the March 2011 earthquake as weak sales left firms with huge inventories.

Household spending fell more than expected in July and analysts expect bad weather and lasting effects from the tax hike to weigh on consumption in coming months, casting doubt on the BOJ’s view that domestic demand remains firm.

The recent run of weak data will be closely scrutinized at the BOJ’s two-day rate review that ends on Thursday.

At the meeting, the bank is expected to leave unchanged its policy framework, under which it pledged to increase base money by 60-70 trillion yen ($578-674 billion) per year via aggressive asset purchases to reflate the long-moribund economy.

INFLATION VIEW INTACT

Japan’s economy shrank at an annualized 6.8 percent in the second quarter, more than erasing a first-quarter surge in the run-up to the sales tax hike. Analysts polled by Reuters expect a 3.8 percent bounce this quarter.

The BOJ is likely to cut its economic growth projection for the current fiscal year when it reviews its long-term forecasts in October. But it still expects the economy to ride out the tax hike and recover strongly enough to meet its 2 percent inflation target sometime in the next fiscal year starting in April.

BOJ Governor Haruhiko Kuroda, unfazed by the second-quarter contraction, has stressed that the recovery remains intact and that Japan is making headway in meeting the price target. He is likely to stick to that message at a post-meeting briefing on Thursday, analysts say.

Sources have told Reuters that the BOJ is likely to keep its bullish price forecasts, which see consumer inflation nearing 2 percent next fiscal year, even as it cuts its economic growth forecast in October.

Behind the BOJ’s optimism is a steady improvement in job and income conditions. The jobless rate is at levels the BOJ sees as near full employment and job availability is at a 22-year high.

Companies, after holding down wages for nearly two decades on prospects that deflation will persist, are gradually raising salaries and bonuses, offsetting some of the pressure on households from the sales tax hike.

There is also a practical reason for the BOJ to put a brave face. The key goal of its massive stimulus program is to lift public sentiment and make people believe that prices and wages will rise in coming months. Comments revealing concerns over the economic outlook may dampen sentiment and undermine the effect of the stimulus, BOJ officials say.

Still, the widening gap between Kuroda’s upbeat tone and the pessimism spreading among private-sector analysts may dent the BOJ’s credibility, particularly if upcoming data continues to disappoint, analysts say.

“The economy continues to undershoot the BOJ’s forecast but the bank hasn’t changed its bullish price forecasts. With the data so weak, it’s becoming more and more difficult to explain why prices could keep rising even when growth is slow,” said Izuru Kato, chief economist at Totan Research Institute.

“Kuroda probably thinks it’s too early to give up (on meeting the target). But at some stage, he will either have to ease further or delay the timeframe for meeting the price goal.”

Under its “quantitative and qualitative easing” scheme launched in April last year, the BOJ has pledged to engineer 2 percent inflation in roughly two years in a country mired in 15 years of deflation.

None of the analysts polled by Reuters expect the BOJ to meet the target within the two-year timeframe.

(Editing by Eric Meijer)

Article source: http://feeds.reuters.com/~r/reuters/businessNews/~3/4oT22OboIng/story01.htm

Exclusive: Norwegian Cruise nears $3 billion Prestige Cruises deal


(Reuters) – Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd NCHL.O, the world’s third largest cruise operator, is in advanced talks to acquire peer Prestige Cruises International Inc for around $3 billion, according to people familiar with the matter.

A deal would give Norwegian Cruise, a company with a market value of $6.8 billion, access to Prestige Cruises’ luxury cruise ships and affluent clientele as it competes with bigger rivals Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd (RCL.N) and Carnival Corp (CCL.N).

An agreement may be announced as early as this week, the sources said on Sunday, cautioning that the talks could still fall apart. The owner of Prestige Cruises, private equity firm Apollo Global Management LLC (APO.N), also owns a 20 percent stake in Norwegian Cruise.

The sources asked not to be identified because the negotiations are not public. Norwegian Cruise and Prestige Cruises representatives did not respond to requests for comment, while an Apollo spokesman declined to comment.

Miami-based Norwegian Cruise operates 13 cruise ships in routes spanning North America, the Mediterranean, the Baltic, Central America and the Caribbean. It had revenues of $2.57 billion in 2013, up 13 percent from 2012.

Prestige Cruises, also based in Miami, operates under the Oceania and Regent brands, which together have eight cruise ships traveling to Scandinavia, Russia, the Mediterranean, North America, Asia, Africa and South America. It posted revenues of $1.2 billion in 2013, up 6 percent from the year earlier.

The $29 billion cruise industry is expected to benefit in the coming years from the rise of the middle class in emerging economies such as China and India. Companies are racing to position themselves as the cruise operators of choice for these new customers.

Prestige Cruises registered with U.S. regulators for an initial public offering in January 2014. Apollo has been the company’s majority shareholder following an $850 million deal in 2007.

Norwegian Cruise was created in its current form in 2000 through a merger with a cruise operator owned by Genting Bhd (GENT.KL), the leisure and casino conglomerate controlled by Malaysian billionaire Lim Kok Thay. Apollo made a $1 billion investment in Norwegian Cruise in 2008.

Norwegian Cruise went public in January 2013. Genting had a 28 percent stake, Apollo had a 20 percent stake and private equity firm TPG Capital LP had an 8 percent stake in the company as of the end of June, according to a regulatory filing.

Carnival, Royal Caribbean Cruises and Norwegian Cruise together account for 82 percent of the North American cruise passenger berth capacity, according to Prestige Cruises’ initial public offering registration document.

(Reporting by Soyoung Kim and Greg Roumeliotis in New York; Editing by Paul Simao and Sandra Maler)

Article source: http://feeds.reuters.com/~r/reuters/businessNews/~3/Ly20O7pbQxQ/story01.htm

Merkel unhappy with Draghi’s apparent new fiscal focus


BERLIN (Reuters) – A German news magazine reported on Sunday that Chancellor Angela Merkel is unhappy with European Central Bank chief Mario Draghi for apparently proposing a greater emphasis on fiscal stimulus over austerity in order to boost growth in Europe.

Der Spiegel reported, without citing any sources, that she and Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble had both called the ECB president last week to take him to task about comments he made in a speech at Jackson Hole, Wyoming on Aug 22.

A German government spokesman contradicted Spiegel’s version of events, however, saying that “the assertion that the chancellor took President Draghi to task does not correlate to the facts in any way”. The spokesman would give no further details of the call.

Draghi told a conference of central bankers that it would be “helpful for the overall stance of policy” if fiscal policy could play a greater role alongside the ECB’s monetary policy.

The magazine said Merkel wanted to know if the ECB had decided to change tack away from fiscal austerity in the euro zone, as championed by Germany, among others.

Der Spiegel said Draghi had defended his Jackson Hole speech, which was interpreted as meaning that the ECB, having cut interest rates to record lows and injected money into the economy to support a recovery, was now looking at fiscal stimulus as a way of fomenting growth and facilitating reform.

Schaeuble said last week that he believed Draghi’s comments had been “over-interpreted”.

“The ECB has a clear mandate to ensure currency stability. It doesn’t have a mandate to finance states,” the minister told reporters on Sunday. “All those who can’t manage within their budget want to cross that boundary. They would like to get (financing) from the ECB.”

Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi is leading a push for less focus on austerity and more room for manoeuvre within the European Union’s budget rules, backed by France, whose Prime Minister Manuel Valls on Sunday reiterated calls for the ECB to go “further” in tackling the problem of an overvalued euro.

(Reporting by Stephen Brown, Andreas Rinke and Markus Wacket; Editing by Stephen Powell)

Article source: http://feeds.reuters.com/~r/reuters/businessNews/~3/22AMuaEXLo4/story01.htm

Passive funds an active threat for Europe’s fund managers


LONDON (Reuters) – Warren Buffett built a fortune of nearly $60 billion from astute stock picking, but when the 83-year-old dies, the vast majority of the money he leaves his wife will be parked in a fund that simply moves in step with an index.

The afterlife plans of the man nicknamed the Sage of Omaha, revealed in a letter to his investors earlier this year, underline a sea change afoot in the investment industry.

Fed up with high fees and poor performance, investors are increasingly shunning active fund managers who promise to beat the stock market in favor of cheaper, passive funds, which simply track it.

Such funds account for about a quarter of the money invested in the UK stock market, up from 15 percent a decade ago. The switch is accelerating, with index funds attracting inflows of $3 billion in the first half of this year, while active UK-focused funds saw $4 billion leave, a Reuters analysis of data from fund tracker Lipper showed.

The passive wind blows even stronger in the United States due to years of underperformance by active funds, which has led to institutions parking half of their equity allocations in index trackers, according to data from State Street.

And the shift is spreading to other parts of the world, putting at risk revenues earned by money managers, banks and brokerages that service funds and more than half a million jobs related to fund management in Europe alone.

Industry experts expect Europe, where active mutual funds are still the dominant force, making up 80 percent of allocations, to move more in sync with the United States, following the lead of Britain, the region’s top capital market.

“It’s only a surprise that investors have taken this long to realize that the puffery around long-term outperformance, star managers, etc., is just that … puffery,” said Peter Douglas, founder of investment consultancy GFIA.

NICE N’ EASY, TILL NOW

Patchy economic recovery since the 2008 crisis and increased regulation, such as a proposed clampdown on a fund’s activities in times of a crisis to ensure stability, have hampered active managers’ ability to outperform.

Weak gains have already made it harder to justify fees that are sometimes 10 times or more than the cost of a passive fund, which in the case of the most liquid exchange-traded funds can be less than 0.1 percent on a headline level, before factoring in brokerage, transaction and tax costs.

While some active funds have cut their charges or introduced cheaper products in response to the threat, the gap is still large.

Leading index fund providers such as Vanguard, Deutsche Bank and BlackRock have cut fees this year to grab market share, putting further pressure on the active managers to do more.

“You can’t charge what you could in the past,” said Chris Iggo, chief investment officer for fixed income at AXA Investment Managers, which manages 582 billion euros ($764.39 billion).

“In a way it’s a good thing. For many years the fund management industry had it easy … Return on capital in fund management has been very nice.”

Vanguard, whose SP 500 index fund Buffett favored in his letter to investors, and BlackRock have taken in the bulk of new money to European fund houses since the summer of 2013.

The biggest equity fund investing across Europe, Vanguard European Stock Index Fund, managed $22.4 billion at the end of July, more than twice the size of Fidelity Funds-European Growth, the biggest actively managed fund for the region.

The growth in passive funds is reflected in the industry’s net revenues, which have remained flat globally for the last four years, according to the Boston Consulting Group, even as funds under management hit a record $69 trillion in 2013.

ADDED VALUE?

The biggest problem for active fund managers charging more for their services is consistently beating the market.

A study of fund returns in local currency over the last 10 years using data from Lipper shows only 35 percent of the funds investing in Britain have outperformed the FTSE All Share Total Return index, which includes dividend payouts from constituents.

That percentage declined to 29 percent in the first half of the year.

Active funds investing across continental Europe, meanwhile, have performed even worse, with just a fifth of them gaining more than the MSCI Europe Total Return index since 2003.

The star managers that do manage to beat the crowd often fail to maintain their outperformance.

Of the 107 top quartile funds, or those ranking among the top 25 percent by gain from investing in British stocks in 2013, only 18 managed to repeat the feat through June-end this year.

Two of them held that spot for the previous five years, and none managed to achieve the feat over the last 10 years.

A similar pattern is found when looking at other regions around the world, Reuters data showed.

For Buffett, this meant one thing for the average investor.

“The goal of the non-professional should not be to pick winners – neither he nor his ‘helpers’ can do that – but should rather be to own a cross-section of businesses that in aggregate are bound to do well. A low-cost SP 500 index fund will achieve this goal,” he said in his letter to investors.

The struggle to pick a winner consistently has led some leading institutional investors to change how they invest, with some of them putting the bulk of their funds, as much as 70 percent in some cases, in passive investments, said Laurence Wormald, head of research at Sungard APT.

Money managers of all stripes are also developing new products to offer cost-conscious investors a middle ground between the pure passive and active. So-called “smart beta” funds track a bespoke index that has been tweaked to weight it in different ways, using factors such as stocks’ cheapness or price momentum.

Net flows into U.S.-based smart beta equity funds stood at $234 billion in the first seven months of the year, already exceeding the total inflows of $208 billion recorded last year, according to data from BlackRock.

In spite of the strong demand for low-cost passive funds, active fund managers will continue to play a key role in the global investment industry because the possibility of higher returns is always attractive, particularly in a low yield environment.

In addition, there is only so far the market can go passive before the price of a stock – still the most popular asset class for passive investing – becomes detached from fundamentals, thereby allowing an active manager to profit more handsomely.

The ability to profit in such as manner has been evidenced most recently by firms such as Glaucus Research and Gotham City Research, who have spotted corporate fraud through a deep investigation into company accounts, such as at Gowex.

“Passive investing is obviously at the mercy of these frauds,” said Michele Gesualdi, chief investment officer of hedge fund investor Kairos.

“If you are with a long-only active fund or a hedge fund, then certainly you have a chance to avoid these frauds or maybe finding them as shorts,” he added, referring to short-selling, the ability to sell a borrowed stock and profit when it falls.

Still, some 3,200 money managers in Europe will need to broaden their expertise across asset classes and develop new products to reassure investors they are adding value.

“That’s the acid test,” said Thomas Ross, head of European distribution at U.S. money manager William Blair, which manages $62 billion, largely for institutions.

“Can you beat the benchmark after fees? If you can, you’ll fare well, and if not, the market will move against you and you’ll be indexed.”

(Editing by Carmel Crimmins and Will Waterman)

Article source: http://feeds.reuters.com/~r/reuters/businessNews/~3/Fnsk_ZjnpDk/story01.htm

French PM says ECB must do more to tackle overvalued euro


PARIS (Reuters) – French Prime Minister Manuel Valls reiterated on Sunday calls for the European Central Bank to go “further” in tackling the problem of an overvalued euro.

Speaking at a Socialist party gathering in La Rochelle, Valls said the ECB’s June decision to cut interest rates was a “strong signal” but more was needed.

“The ECB is finally acting to sustain growth, but it must go even further,” Valls said.

On Thursday, Socialist President Francois Hollande cited the deflationary risk from the weakened euro and said the ECB needed to do more to fight it and boost growth.

ECB President Mario Draghi hinted last week that weak euro zone growth and inflation could push the body to implement a broad-based asset purchase program.

(Reporting By Alexandria Sage; Editing by Hugh Lawson)

Article source: http://feeds.reuters.com/~r/reuters/businessNews/~3/T5F5UHVh4hs/story01.htm

Swatch prefers go-it-alone route for smartwatch plans


BIEL (Switzerland) (Reuters) – Swatch Group is happy to go it alone with a launch next year of watches with “smart” features to compete with so-called wearable gadgets from the big tech companies, a market potentially worth $93 billion.

The world’s biggest watchmaker, which sees the advent of smartwatches as an opportunity rather than a threat, will unveil its new Swatch Touch next summer.

Swatch Chief Executive Nick Hayek said these new watches might allow the wearer to count the number of steps they take and calories they burn. And there will be a few other cool ‘Swatchy’ things on offer via latest Bluetooth technology, he said in an interview at the company’s headquarters in Biel.

“All the big technology firms want to work with us and I don’t rule out that we are or could be collaborating in some areas. But we can also do many things on our own.”

Wearable gadgets, such as smartwatches that allow users to connect to their phone to check emails, make calls or monitor their health, are expected to be the next big thing in the tech world and a potential threat to traditional wristwatch sales.

Apple Inc has just invited media to a “special event” next month, fuelling speculation it might present a much-anticipated “iWatch.”

The possibility of an iWatch launch is partly responsible for Swatch shares losing almost 15 percent so far this year, lagging a 3 percent rise in the European sector.

“For Swatch, this could mean a 2 percent hit to revenue and earnings before interest and tax for each 10 percent share that the iWatch was able to gain in its addressable market,” Bernstein analyst Mario Ortelli said in a study in July. Ortelli has a “market perform” rating on Swatch’s shares.

Other tech companies are working on smartwatches. Google’s Motorola is set to launch a Moto360 smartwatch next week in the United States.

But the spotlight is on Apple after the company poached executives from the fashion, luxury and medtech (medical)industries and registered the trademark “iWatch” in Japan.

DREAM TEAM

For many analysts, Swatch and Apple would be the dream team for a smartwatch project, but Swatch has always played down its interest in such a relationship. The argument is that Swatch’s business is selling watches not technology.

“Our first message for customers is the watch. If they like it, they might also be interested in the extra functions,” Hayek said. “It is a problem if you only define a product by its technology. Technology alone doesn’t sell, not in watches.”

His comments highlight the importance of fashion and branding for the development of the smartwatch business.

“(Technology firms) that want to strike partnerships with us also want access to brands. They want (their products) to be more than a commodity,” the CEO said.

Swatch has a well-established list of brands, including its colorful Swatch watches, sporty Tissot and Longines, elegant Omega and hand-decorated Breguet timepieces.

There are already smartwatches on the market from companies like Samsung, Sony Corp and LG Electronics, but these have had mixed reviews.

Experts say even if the technology is cheap and small enough for wearable gadgets, this is not enough for consumers. “Nobody has hit on the right combination of problems a wearable should solve and convinced mainstream consumers,” Avi Greengart, research director at IT research firm Current Analysis, said.

The rewards are potentially huge for whoever comes up with a winning formula. Andrew Sheehy, chief analyst at Generator Research, sees the retail value of wearable Internet-connected devices at $93.1 billion by 2018, versus $4.1 billion in 2014, with smartwatches accounting for about two thirds of the market’s value in 2018.

TECH EXPERTISE

Swatch itself is already in the tech business, making microchips, displays and batteries, mainly for third parties, including mobile phone and smartwatch makers.

“We work with many companies, but there’s no reason to shout it from the rooftops,” Hayek said. “EM Marin supplies tiny parts to many, maybe also Apple. We also make batteries for others. But that’s not our core business.”

Swatch’s electronic systems arm includes semiconductor maker EM Marin, battery maker Renata, quartz maker Micro Crystal and its sports timing business. It had sales of 299 million Swiss francs (327.31 million US dollar) in 2013, but the strong franc led to an operating loss of 12 million francs.

“I don’t know if it will turn profitable this year, that depends on the dollar,” Hayek said.

Almost 500 people work at EM in Marin, about a half-hour drive from Biel, and another 500 at sites worldwide.

“Low-power and low-voltage microchips are our specialty. The Swatch Touch, for example, is the only battery-powered device to have a touch screen that is always active because its power consumption is so low,” Michel Willemin, head of EM Marin, said.

EM Marin supplies components and Renata long-life batteries for Garmin’s Vivofit fitness band that monitors distances walked and calories burned.

“Fitness bands are a trend,” Hayek said. “They are selling like crazy in the U.S., but our Swatch and Tissot brands still have double-digit sales growth there. People wear the band on the other wrist and often take it off again after a few weeks.”

(1 US dollar = 0.9135 Swiss franc)

(Reporting by Silke Koltrowitz. Additional reporting by Eric Auchard. Editing by Jane Merriman)

Article source: http://feeds.reuters.com/~r/reuters/businessNews/~3/BIihmqqsmNo/story01.htm

Investors’ eyes pinned on ECB as Europe’s health deteriorates


BRUSSELS (Reuters) – The European Central Bank meeting on Thursday is the prime event for markets seeking clarity on the bank’s response to a stalled recovery, disappearing inflation and the sluggish pace of reform in the euro zone.

Inflation in the 9.6 trillion euro economy dropped to a fresh five year low of 0.3 percent in August and as the months fly by, the bloc’s cushion against Japan-style deflation is getting smaller and smaller.

Increased geopolitical risks from the intensifying conflict in Ukraine forced Europe to impose sanctions on its third biggest trade partner Russia, a move which dented the faltering economic rebound even further.

“Pressure for the ECB to do more has returned, not only because of weak output/inflation data, but mostly following (ECB’s President Mario) Draghi’s speech in Jackson Hole,” said Frederik Ducrozet, senior euro zone economist at Credit Agricole.

Draghi struck a new, for some a groundbreaking, tone trying to cajole European governments into agreeing a common approach to reforming their economies – a drive he sees as necessary to allow the stagnant euro zone to grow with verve.

He will have a hard time selling his message. Countries like the euro zone’s second and third largest economies France and Italy are not growing and lag behind significantly with reforms.

So the ECB may have to reach deeper into its policy toolbox, with some analysts even betting on an interest rate cut at the bank’s meeting on Thursday.

“We expect the ECB to cut all key interest rates by a further 10 basis points, thereby delivering a larger negative deposit rate (-0.20 pct) as well as a refi rate even closer to zero (0.05 pct),” Nomura wrote in its global market research.

Beyond the euro zone, the week is packed with monetary policy meetings, with Sweden’s Riksbank, the Bank of Canada, the Bank of Japan and the Bank of England all taking the stage. The latter will be closely watched as investors seek guidance on the timing of an expected tightening.

Although no policy action from the Bank of England is foreseen on Thursday, it is still expected to be the first major central bank to lift interest rates when it makes a move early next year, just ahead of the U.S. Federal Reserve.

A string of data about the health of manufacturing in the euro zone countries and Britain will shed fresh light on how European businesses feel about their prospects amid the deepening crisis in Ukraine.

In North America, the calendar will be dominated by Friday’s U.S. jobs report for August, after the Fed suggested in its last minutes that the recent good economic news makes it more inclined to raise interest rates sooner.

Markets see a U.S. rate hike coming in spring 2015.

In China, the PMI reading for August is likely to print lower as the property slowdown weighs, reinforcing expectations that further policy steps may be needed to keep economic growth on track.

Beijing will seek to implement much needed reforms to unleash fresh growth drivers and put the world’s second-largest economy on a more sustainable footing over time.

The government has pledged to keep policy support “targeted” by boosting investment in bottleneck areas. The chances of imminent cuts in interest rates and bank reserve ratios for all banks look slim.

The Bank of Japan was expected to stay put this week despite household spending falling much more than expected and weak factory output in July.

Analysts said the country was, for now, in no mood to expand monetary stimulus. However, such data undermines the BOJ’s rosy economic forecasts and will keep it under pressure to act if the economy fails to gather momentum.

THE ECB CONUNDRUM

The question most ECB watchers are now asking is when, not if, the Frankfurt-based bank will embark on quantitative easing — the printing of money to buy government bonds which is now the markets’ base scenario.

Even though central banks in the United States, Japan and Britain among others embarked on such a course several years ago, the ECB has been reluctant to follow suit. This is partly due to strong resistance from German central bankers and policymakers and the perceived complexity of buying state debt in a multi-national bloc.

However, a number of economists deciphered Draghi’s tone at Jackson Hole as signaling that deflationary risks had risen enough to merit further policy easing, following a rate cut in June combined with measures to flood banks with more cheap money.

The euro zone recovery stalled in the second quarter and the outlook looks poor, even with the bloc’s powerhouse Germany expected to return to growth in the three months to September.

“We tend to see the first bond purchases next year. We do not expect the ECB Council to act next Thursday, because it wants to wait for the targeted longer-term refinancing operations (TLTROs) to take effect,” Commerzbank wrote in its Week in Focus research.

(Additional reporting by Jonathan Cable in London, Jason Lange in Washington and Kevin Yao in Singapore; Editing by Toby Chopra)

Article source: http://feeds.reuters.com/~r/reuters/businessNews/~3/_vdvomJAq7g/story01.htm

Worried EU leaders call jobs, growth summit for October 7: draft


BRUSSELS (Reuters) – European Union leaders are set to hold an emergency summit on promoting growth and jobs on Oct. 7 at the suggestion of Italy, according to a draft of a statement to be issued after an EU summit on Saturday.

Previous drafts before weak euro zone economic data in the past few days made no mention of the economic situation. In contrast the latest document read: “In recent weeks economic data have confirmed that the recovery, particularly in the euro area, is weak, inflation exceptionally low and unemployment unacceptably high.”

As a result there would be a summit, hosted by Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi on Oct. 7, that would focus on “employment, especially youth employment, investment and growth”. A “dedicated Euro Summit” would also be held in the autumn.

(Reporting by Barbara Lewis; Writing by Alastair Macdonald; editing by Foo Yun Chee)

Article source: http://feeds.reuters.com/~r/reuters/businessNews/~3/MraMLfAQyWU/story01.htm