Fast Europe Open: Germany, France CPI

A top-five shareholder in Unilever has warned of forced selling of the consumer giant’s shares as unrest grows among British investors worried that the group has been “totally unreceptive” to fears over its HQ move to the Netherlands. 

Unilever has embarked on a charm offensive among its UK shareholders, which have been alarmed by the likely ejection of the company from the FTSE 100 index that many use as a benchmark. The company has attempted to woo investors through a series of meetings ahead of a crucial vote on abandoning the company’s 89-year-old Anglo-Dutch structure. 

Nick Train, joint founder of Lindsell Train, a top-five shareholder with a 2.5 per cent Unilever stake, urged holders of Unilever’s UK-listed stock to “give serious consideration over the summer as to whether the proposal is in their interest”.

In markets, Asia Pacific stocks recovered from the sell-off during the previous session in response to the latest US move in its trade dispute with China. The CSI 300 index of Shanghai and Shenzhen stocks was 2.1 per cent higher at the lunch break, on track to erase Wednesday’s losses. In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng index was 0.7 per cent higher while Japan’s Topix rose 0.6 per cent. China’s currency remained weak, with the onshore renminbi dipping a further 0.2 per cent to Rmb6.6877 per dollar.

Oil prices also staged a partial recovery following a sharp 6.9 per cent tumble for Brent crude on Wednesday. The international benchmark was 1.6 per cent higher at $74.53 a barrel and West Texas Intermediate rose 0.6 per cent to $70.83.

Futures tip both the FTSE 100 and S&P 500 to gain 0.3 per cent at the open.

Corporate earnings and updates for Thursday include Asos and Dunelm. The economic calendar is inflation themed (all times London):

  • 07.00: Germany consumer price index (final reading)
  • 07.45: France CPI (final reading)
  • 08.30: Sweden CPI
  • 10.00: eurozone industrial production

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