Crude Oil Futures Flat Amid Concerns About Weak Demand

European markets edge lower with Brexit standoff in focus

  • The EU on Thursday urged the U.K. to abandon its plan to renege on the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement and threatened legal action, but U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson's government has vowed to press ahead with its Internal Market Bill.

European markets opened slightly lower Friday as investors monitor tense negotiations between the U.K. and the European Union.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 slid 0.1% below the flatline in early trade, with oil and gas stocks falling 0.8% while telecoms added 0.2%.

The EU on Thursday urged the U.K. to abandon its plan to renege on the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement and threatened legal action, but U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson's government has vowed to press ahead with its Internal Market Bill, despite acknowledgment that the move violates international law.

In corporate news, Anglo-Australian mining titan Rio Tinto has announced the departure of its CEO and two senior executives following an extensive shareholder campaign focusing on the company's demolition of two Aboriginal rock shelters. 

Meanwhile, Louis Vuitton owner LVMH is countersuing acquisition target Tiffany, alleging that the U.S. jeweler's mismanagement through the coronavirus pandemic invalidates a $16 billion takeover agreement. Tiffany had already filed a lawsuit against LVMH over its withdrawal from the deal.

Ashmore Group FY Pretax Profit Rises – Quick Facts

Ashmore Group plc (ASHM.L) reported profit before tax of 221.5 million pounds for the year ending 30 June 2020 compared to 219.9 million pounds, last year. Earnings per share was 25.68 pence compared to 25.04 pence. On an adjusted basis, earnings per share increased by 12% to 26.1 pence from 23.4 pence.

Fiscal year net revenue increased to 330.5 million pounds from 314.3 million pounds. Adjusted net revenue increased by 5% year-on-year, driven by 7% growth in net management fees.

The directors have recommended a final dividend of 12.10 pence per share for the year ending 30 June 2020, which if approved by shareholders will be paid on 11 December 2020 to all shareholders on the register on 6 November 2020. Total dividends paid and recommended for the year are 16.90 pence.

Assets under management (AuM) declined by 9% to $83.6 billion.

VW’s MAN Truckmaker to Cut As Many As 9,500 Jobs

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Volkswagen AG’s MAN SE truckmaker plans to cut as many as 9,500 jobs, almost a quarter of its workforce, and potentially close three factories to improve earnings.

Plants in Steyr, Austria, as well as Plauen and Wittlich in Germany are “up for discussion,” the company said in a statement Friday. The restructuring is expected to bolster the firm’s operating result by 1.8 billion euros ($2.1 billion).

Increasing MAN’s profit margin is key for its parentTraton AG so the VW business can finance investments in new technologies like electric trucks. The division has lagged behind sister brand Scania in terms of profitability for years.

Altice Europe shares soar after founder Drahi offers buyout

Telecoms and cable group Altice Europe said on Friday its founder Patrick Drahi has offered to buy back the telecom and cable group and take it private.

Altice Europe said the board fully supports and recommends the offer.

"The board believes that the transaction is in the best interests of Altice Europe," the company said.

Drahi, who owns 39.85% of Altice Europe, offered to buy all the company's shares for 4.11 euros each in cash, representing a premium of 23.8% over their closing price on Sept. 10, the group said in a statement.

Europe Altice shares were up 24% at 0700 GMT.

Moody’s projects Indian economy to contract 11.5% this fiscal

It said India’s credit profile is increasingly constrained by low growth, high debt burden and weak financial system.

Moody’s Investors Service on Friday slashed India’s growth projection for the current fiscal to (-)11.5 %, from (-)4 % estimated earlier.

It said India’s credit profile is increasingly constrained by low growth, high debt burden and weak financial system. These risks have been exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic.

“Mutually reinforcing risks from deeper stresses in the economy and financial system could lead to a more severe and prolonged erosion in fiscal strength, exerting further pressure on the credit profile,” Moody’s said while projecting an 11.5 % contraction in Indian economy this fiscal.

For 2021-22, it projected the economy to clock a growth of 10.6 %.

Moody’s action follows another global rating agency Fitch, which earlier this week, projected a 10.5 % contraction in Indian economy this fiscal. Domestic agencies Crisil and India Ratings and Research have projected contraction of 9 % and 11.8 %, respectively.

Live Updates: America remembers 9/11, 19 years later

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The U.S. on Friday is marking the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. There will be ceremonies in New York City, Washington D.C. and Pennsylvania.

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Crude Oil Futures Flat Amid Concerns About Weak Demand

Crude oil prices are moving in a tight range Friday morning amid continued worries about outlook for energy demand.

With rising coronavirus cases raising concerns about global economic growth, it is widely felt that energy demand is unlikely to see any significant improvement in the near term.

Recent data showing a jump in crude inventories in the U.S., and increased supply levels overall due to relaxation in output curbs by OPEC members weigh on crude prices.

West Texas Intermediate Crude oil futures for October are down $0.04 or 0.11% at $37.26 a barrel.

Brent crude futures are falling $0.37 or 0.9% at $39.69 a barrel.

According to data released by Energy Information Administration (EIA) on Thursday, crude inventories in U.S. increased by about 2 million barrels last week compared to expectations for a draw of 1.3 million barrels. Crude inventories saw a draw of 9.4 million barrels a week earlier.

At the Cushing facility in Oklahoma, oil stockpiles rose by 1.8 million barrels.