What to Watch: Tata Steel, war for Madrid stock exchange, EasyJet results

Edmund HeaphyFinance and news reporter
A Tata Steel steel plant in Wales. Photo: Ben Stansall/AFP via Getty Images
A Tata Steel steel plant in Wales. Photo: Ben Stansall/AFP via Getty Images

Here are the top business, market, and economic stories you should be watching today in the UK, Europe, and abroad:

Germany’s Deutsche Boerse may enter bidding war for Spanish stock exchange

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The operator of the Frankfurt stock exchange, Deutsche Boerse, is considering making a bid for Spain’s BME stock exchange, according to Bloomberg.

The move would see it enter a three-way bidding war between pan-European stock market operator Euronext and Switzerland's SIX, who are all trying to acquire one of Europe’s last standalone stock exchanges.

SIX has offered to buy BME €34 per share, implying a total value of around €2.8bn. Euronext has not disclosed an offer price.

The Deutsche Boerse consideration process is at an early stage, according to Bloomberg, and it may still decide against making a move.

Euronext is a smaller player compared to the London Stock Exchange and Deutsche Bourse. It nonetheless operates stock exchanges in Norway, Belgium, the Netherlands and Ireland.

SIX, meanwhile, is based in Switzerland, which is outside the European Union.

Snapping up the Madrid stock exchange would give it a base inside the bloc and help the country regain access to EU equity markets, after the European Commission in July blocked access as part of a row about a bilateral treaty deal.

Tata Steel to cut 3,000 jobs in Europe

Tata Steel said on Tuesday that it was planning to cut around 3,000 jobs in Europe as part of a cost-cutting initiative.

Though the company did not give a breakdown as to where in Europe the cuts would be made, it said that two-thirds of the losses would affect office-based workers.

“The programme is needed to ensure the business can thrive despite severe market headwinds which have led to a sharp decline in profitability,” Tata Steel said in a statement.

The move comes after the company in September said that it was proposing to close its Orb Electrical Steels plant in Newport in South Wales, with the potential loss of up to 400 jobs.

Tata Steel employs around 8,000 people in Wales.

EasyJet to become 'world's first major net zero carbon airline'

EasyJet (EZJ.L) on Tuesday said that it would offset carbon emissions from all of its flights, effectively immediately.

The move makes the low-cost carrier the first net-zero carbon airline in the world, and comes as full-year headline before-tax profits at the company fell by 26% to £427m.

EasyJet said it would spend around £25m a year on offsetting, which involves paying for certain initiatives that take planet-warming carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere in exchange for the greenhouse gases generated by its planes.

The announcement came as the airline reported results that were broadly in line with expectations, and at the higher end of its own guidance.

Revenue in the year to the end of September climbed by 8.3% to £6.4bn, while passenger numbers increased 8.6% to 88.5 million.

Revenue per seat, a key metric in the airline industry, fell 1.8% to £60.81 — something the airline said reflected “economic uncertainty” across its markets.

EU car sales grew everywhere in October, except the UK

Passenger car sales across the European Union grew by a robust 8.7% last month, to 1,177,746 units, boosted by strong growth in Germany, France, Italy, and Spain.

Germany’s 12.7% growth in new car registrations in October helped to offset a drop in sales in the UK, where sales contracted by 6.7%. The UK and Cyprus were the only EU countries to see no car market growth last month, according to the European Auto industry association ACEA.

Mike Hawes, head of Britain’s Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders said recently that the UK car market is “in need of an injection of confidence” after eight straight months of decline. “Whether the general election delivers a ‘bounce’ to the economy remains to be seen,” Hawes added.

European stocks in green

European stocks were up on Tuesday, with the FTSE 100 (^FTSE) up more than 1%. Germany’s DAX (^GDAXI) was also up by around 1%, while France’s CAC 40 (^FCHI) was up by 0.43%.

After a strong day on Monday, the pound was even against the dollar (GBPUSD=X) and euro (GBPEUR=X), at around $1.295 and €1.17, respectively.

What to expect in the US

Futures are pointing to a higher open for US stocks.

S&P 500 futures (ES=F) are up 0.33%. Dow Jones Industrial Average futures (YM=F) are up 0.34% and Nasdaq futures (NQ=F) are up 0.37%.

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