European stocks open to close; markets brace for more Fed rate action

Qatar Airways will continue to serve Russia, says CEO

Qatar Airways CEO: The greatest challenge facing aviation is political upheaval

Qatar Airways CEO HE Akbar Al Baker said Wednesday airlines will continue to fly to Russia as long as it is operationally safe.

“We will continue to fly to Russia, we will continue to serve the people,” he told CNBC’s Hadley Gamble on Wednesday. “We are not a political institution. We are an industry that serves the common people.”

The CEO said that China’s Covid policy was “the least of his worries” for him, especially in contrast to the potential escalation of the war between Ukraine and Russia, which he said could fuel inflation and put fewer “passengers on planes”.

“Like any other airline still operating in Russia, we will continue to operate in Russia as long as our operations in Russia are safe,” he said.

— Lee Ying Shan

Oil prices surge after Putin announced partial military mobilization

The Bank of England faces a crucial policy decision on Thursday as the pound is at multi-year lows

Bank of England Governor Andrew Bailey said central bank independence was “vital”.

Bloomberg | Bloomberg | Getty Images

The Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee is due to announce its latest decision on Thursday, with analysts divided on whether to expect a rate hike to 50 basis points or 75 basis points.

The bank faces a crucial decision as it copes with a falling currency and the impact of a new government energy spending package that has changed the inflation outlook.

The bank rose 50 basis points last month, its biggest single hike since 1995, but some analysts believe it needs to up the ante and keep up with global peers to prevent the currency from capitulating.

The pound fell to $1.1340 on Wednesday morning, its lowest level since 1985.

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-Elliot Smith

Stocks on the move: Fortum up 14%, Uniper down 27% after nationalization

Shares in Finland’s Fortum were up more than 14% in early trade, topping the Stoxx 600 after the company agreed to sell its 56% stake in embattled German utility Uniper to the German government under a nationalization deal. Uniper shares plunged more than 21% on early deals in Frankfurt.

At the bottom end of the Stoxx 600, shares in Games Workshop fell more than 13% after the British wargame company released a trading update.

Russia’s Putin announces partial military mobilization

Russian President Vladimir Putin delivers a speech during a ceremony to receive credentials from newly appointed foreign ambassadors at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, September 20, 2022.

Pavel Bednyakov| Sputnik | Reuters

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday announced a partial military mobilization in Russia, putting the country’s people and economy on a war footing as Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine continues.

In a rare, pre-taped televised announcement, Putin said the West wanted to “destroy our country” and claimed the West was trying to “turn the Ukrainian people into cannon fodder,” in comments translated by Reuters.

Putin said the “mobilization events” would start on Wednesday, without giving many other details apart from ordering an increase in funding to boost Russian arms production.

Read more here.

– Holly Ellyatt

Germany nationalizes energy giant Uniper while Russia cuts gas supplies

Uniper received billions in financial aid from the federal government because of the sharp rise in gas and electricity prices after the Russian war in Ukraine.

Picture Alliance | Picture Alliance | Getty Images

The federal government approved the nationalization of the energy supplier Uniper on Wednesday in order to keep the industry afloat after a global energy crisis.

After the state agreed back in July to bail out the big gas importer with a €15 billion ($14.95 billion) bailout, the state will now sell the 56 percent stake in Finland’s Fortum for 0.5 buy billions of euros. The German state is said to hold around 98.5% of Uniper.

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“Since the agreement on the stabilization package for Uniper in July, Uniper’s situation has continued to deteriorate rapidly and significantly; therefore, new measures to resolve the situation have been agreed,” Fortum said in a statement Wednesday morning.

Read more here.

Eliot Smith

Oil prices rise as investors brace for further Fed rate hikes

Oil prices edged higher after falling in earlier trading on Wednesday ahead of an expected aggressive rate hike by the Federal Reserve.

Brent crude futures rose 0.23% to $90.83 a barrel, while US West Texas Intermediate also rose 0.17% to $84.10 a barrel.

“The US Energy Information Administration expects oil production in the seven major US oil and gas basins to increase modestly in September,” Commonwealth Bank of Australia analyst Vivek Dhar wrote in a statement.

— Lee Ying Shan

CNBC Pro: FedEx warned of bleak outlook – should investors be worried?

FedEx’s dismal preliminary results and revised outlook sent shares tumbling last week, but is it as bad as it looks?

CNBC Pro asked investment professionals for their thoughts on what the announcement means for the global economy and for investors.

Pro subscribers can read more here.

– Zavier Ong

European companies are rethinking their China plans

European companies in China are increasingly facing an environment where “ideology trumps business,” the European Union Chamber of Commerce in China said in its annual position paper released on Wednesday.

Jörg Wuttke, president of the group of companies, said this year’s Covid controls had turned China into a “closed” and “unmistakably different” country that could prompt companies to leave the country.

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Earlier this month, Chinese President Xi Jinping said the country has “continued to respond to Covid-19 and promoted economic and social development in a well-coordinated manner,” paraphrasing his remarks, shared by China’s Foreign Ministry.

– Evelyn Cheng

CNBC Pro: Do ​​you want to play in the EV sector? Analysts say this lithium stock could climb 70%

As interest in battery stocks surges after a difficult year so far, CNBC Pro analyzed a number of stocks in the sector that analysts say have serious potential.

CNBC Pro scanned the Global X Lithium & Battery Tech ETF on FactSet for stocks that could outperform. One stock that made the list is up over 40% so far this year, and analysts say it has more than 70% upside potential.

CNBC Pro subscribers can read more here.

— Wheat Tan

European Markets: Here are the opening calls

European stocks are expected to open in negative territory on Wednesday as investors react to the latest US inflation data.

According to data from IG, the UK FTSE index is expected to open 47 points lower at 7,341, the German DAX 86 points lower at 13,106, the French CAC 40 28 points and the Italian FTSE MIB 132 points lower at 22,010.

Global markets retreated after a higher-than-expected U.S. CPI report for August, which showed prices rose 0.1% for the month and 8.3% annually in August, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported on Tuesday, defying economists’ expectations that inflation would fall 0.1% on a monthly basis.

The core CPI, which excludes volatile food and energy costs, is up 0.6% since July and 6.3% since August 2021.

UK inflation figures for August are due and July euro-zone industrial production to be released.

— Holly Ellyatt

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