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Lufthansa eyes Boeing freighter as cargo grabs spotlight

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Lufthansa eyes Boeing freighter as cargo grabs spotlight
© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: German airline Lufthansa’s Chief Executive Officer Carsten Spohr attends the company’s annual news conference in Frankfurt, Germany March 14, 2019. REUTERS/Ralph Orlowski

By Ilona Wissenbach and Riham Alkousaa

FRANKFURT/BERLIN (Reuters) -Germany’s Lufthansa is in talks with Boeing (NYSE:) on buying a possible new freighter version of the 777X jetliner, while welcoming competition with a new Airbus A350 cargo plane, Chief Executive Carsten Spohr said on Friday.

“We have been negotiating about this morning, but there is much more negotiation to be done,” Spohr said at an event to present the upcoming Boeing 777X passenger plane.

Fitted with bulky test equipment instead of seats, the giant twin-engined test plane stopped off in Frankfurt after visiting the Dubai Airshow, where host Emirates is the largest 777X customer, and Qatar, whose flag carrier is also a customer.

Spohr’s comments come amid competition to sell new cargo planes to meet demand in the wake of the coronavirus crisis.

Qatar Airways said this week it had an “interesting” proposal from Boeing for a potential 777X freighter, for which it is widely expected to be a launch customer later this year.

Airbus this week announced an inaugural leasing customer for the freighter version of its A350 as it seeks to break into a Boeing-dominated market for cargo planes.

Bloomberg News reported it may announce a new freighter order later on Friday.

Cargolux, a major operator of Boeing 747 freighters, is being heavily wooed by Airbus, industry sources said.

Simple Flying reported last month that a delegation from the Luxembourg-based cargo carrier had visited Airbus headquarters in Toulouse. Online publication ‘aero Telegraph’ reported that two recent A350 test flights had carried the call sign CARGOLUX.

Speaking in Frankfurt, Spohr said Lufthansa would be the first airline to receive the 777X passenger plane in 2023.

“That was confirmed today … we will be the first operator to receive the aircraft,” Spohr added.

It also expects to receive its first Boeing 787 plane on time for the summer season next year.

The first 777X delivery has been delayed by two and half years, partly due to coronavirus pandemic and talks with aviation regulators in the U.S. and Europe, Boeing said.

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Stock Markets

European stock markets mostly closed lower

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european stock markets

In yesterday’s trading, most European stock markets declined after the release of statistical data, which showed a decline in business activity in the region for the fifth month in a row.

The composite index of the largest companies in the region, Stoxx Europe 600, by market close fell by 0.3% to 441.47 points. Germany’s Dax Index fell by 0.56%; France’s CAC 40 – by 0.67%; Italy’s FTSE MIB – by 0.3% and Spain’s IBEX 35 – by 0.15%. Meanwhile, the British FTSE 100 added 0.15%, thanks to growth in shares of some major companies. 

Why are European stock markets falling?

According to final data, the composite purchasing managers’ index (PMI) of the euro area, calculated by S & P Global, in November rose to 47.8 points from 47.3 points a month earlier. The dynamics of the indicator coincided with the preliminary estimate and with the expectations of analysts.

The indicator value below 50 points indicates a reduction in business activity in the sector. The index has remained below that mark for five consecutive months amid an energy and geopolitical crisis in Europe, the acceleration of inflation and rising interest rates, says Trading Economics.

PMI in the euro area services sector in November was 48.5 points, down 0.1 points compared with October. Preliminary data indicated that the indicator remained at the October level of 48.6 points.

Retail sales in the euro area fell 1.8 percent in October compared with the previous month, according to a report from the European Union Statistics Office (Eurostat). Analysts polled by Bloomberg expected on average a decline of 1.7 percent.

Sales of food, beverages and tobacco products in the currency bloc fell 1.5% in October compared with the previous month, with non-food products down 2.1%. Motor fuel sales increased by 0.3%.

Meanwhile, some support to the European market was provided by news about the relaxation of anti-coronavirus restrictions in several major cities in China.

The attention of market participants is gradually shifting to the last meetings of the US Federal Reserve System (Fed) and the European Central Bank (ECB) this year, which will be held next week.

The consensus is that both the U.S. and European Central Banks will slow the pace of key interest rate hikes to 50 basis points. The Fed has raised the rate by 75 bps at the previous four meetings, while the ECB has raised the rate at two meetings.

Earlier we reported that the main European stock indices fell during the trading on December 3.

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Stats had a positive effect on the European stock market. European growth stocks

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european growth stocks

West European stock indexes closed Wednesday’s trading with a confident growth. Traders evaluated the fresh batch of statistics and bought European growth stocks.

What influenced European stocks to high growth?

GDP volume in France rose 0.2% in the third quarter compared to the previous three months, final data from the national statistics institute Insee showed. The final data coincided with a preliminary estimate. Analysts, on average, had not expected a revision, according to a Trading Economics survey. GDP growth slowed from a 0.5% rebound in the second quarter.

Consumer prices in France, harmonized with European Union standards, rose 7.1% year-over-year in November. Insee also reported. The November rate of increase in consumer prices coincided with that of October, and analysts polled by Trading Economics expected inflation to remain at the same level.

Consumer spending in the country collapsed by 2.8% in October compared with the previous month. Analysts polled by Bloomberg expected a more moderate decline of 1 percent. The consensus forecast of experts polled by Trading Economics envisioned a 0.6% decline. The decrease in consumer spending was the maximum since April 2021.

The number of unemployed in Germany increased by 17 thousand in November, according to the Federal Employment Agency of Germany. The rise in the index was marked at the end of the sixth month in a row. Experts interviewed by Bloomberg agency, on average, predicted an increase of 13.5 thousand. Respondents to Trading Economics expected an increase of 13 thousand.

Additional positives for investors in European markets on Wednesday were messages about easing of coronavirus restrictions in a lot of cities in China. Note that Amazon’s stock price is also rising if you are interested in the U.S. stock market.

Earlier, we reported that U.S. stock indices were up 2.2-4.4%.

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U.S. stock indices today rose 2.2-4.4%

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U.S. stock indices today

The U.S. stock indices today closed the trading on Wednesday with the confident growth due to the statements of the Federal Reserve Chairman, Jerome Powell, who confirmed that the U.S. Central Bank could slow down the basic rate rise as early as in December.

Judging by the quotations of futures on the level of the prime rate, U.S. stock market indices expect the Federal Reserve to raise it by 50 basis points (bps) in December – to 4.25-4.5%. The U.S. Central Bank has increased the rate by 75 bps at each of the previous four meetings. Against this background, the current stock price of Facebook also rose.

The report by the industry organization ADP, published on Wednesday, showed a slowdown in job growth in the U.S. private sector. Their number increased by 127,000 in November, the lowest rate since January, said the ADP. Analysts polled by The Wall Street Journal on average had forecast job growth of 190,000 after a jump of 239,000 in October.

Data from the U.S. Commerce Department, also released Nov. 30, showed higher-than-reported growth in the U.S. economy in the third quarter. U.S. GDP grew at an annualized rate of 2.9% in the July-September quarter, rather than the previously reported 2.6%. Experts polled by Trading Economics had expected an average revision of 2.7%.

Also, the Federal Reserve released its regional Beige Book survey Wednesday, showing that economic activity in the United States was little changed in the fall.

Federal Reserve banks in five counties reported a weak increase in activity in October and November, while the other seven reported a stable or slightly declining economy.

  • The Dow Jones Industrial Average index was up 737.24 points (2.18%) at 34589.77 as of Wednesday’s market close.

  • Standard & Poor’s 500 rose 122.48 points (3.09%) to 4,080.11 points.

  • The Nasdaq Composite added 484.22 points (4.41%) to 1,468.

All three U.S. stock market indices closed November, with the Dow Jones gaining 5.3%; the S&P 500 gaining 4.6%, and the Nasdaq Composite gaining 3.3%.

Earlier we reported that Main European stock indices were rising during trading.

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