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European Midday Briefing: Stocks Buoyed by Fed's -2-

Publicis Groupe SA said Thursday that organic revenue grew 9.4% in the fourth quarter as its data and technology services continued to capture a shift in client spending.

The Paris-based advertising holding company, which owns agencies such as Saatchi & Saatchi, Leo Burnett and Zenith, said brands continued to move spending to tasks like managing first-party data collected from their consumers. It also cited demand for its digital business transformation offerings. The company and its competitors have developed consulting businesses to help clients adapt their businesses digitally, whether it be building apps or developing new e-commerce strategies.


ING 4Q Net Profit, Final Dividend Beats Expectations

ING Groep NV reported Thursday fourth-quarter net profit ahead of expectations and proposed a final dividend.

The Dutch bank posted a net profit of 1.09 billion euros ($1.20 billion), compared with EUR945 million a year earlier and with the EUR931 million expected in a company-compiled consensus. Net interest income was EUR3.86 billion, against consensus' expectation of EUR3.79 billion, which excludes a EUR315 million charge related to the change in targeted longer-term refinancing operations (TLTRO) terms.


Telenor Lifts Dividend After 4Q Earnings Beat Forecasts

Norwegian telecommunications provider Telenor ASA on Thursday posted a forecast-beating fourth-quarter net profit and raised its dividend as improved mobile growth in the Nordics boosted service revenue and earnings, despite increased energy costs.

The company posted a net profit of 37.91 billion kroner ($3.82 billion), compared with a net profit of NOK587 million a year earlier and versus a company-compiled median consensus of NOK31.32 billion. The company registered a gain of NOK32.9 billion in the quarter after closing the merger between its Malaysian mobile operator Digi and Axiata Group Bhd's Celcom.


EU Doubles Ukraine Military Training Effort

KYIV, Ukraine-The European Union will double the number of Ukrainian troops it trains to 30,000, a senior EU official said, in a sign of the bloc's continued support for Kyiv's war effort.

The EU launched a training mission for Ukraine's military in November and at the time said the aim was to teach battlefield skills to 15,000 people by May. EU officials say 10,000 Ukrainians have already been trained or are currently receiving individual, collective or specialized training.


Russia Claims Gains in Battle for Bakhmut

KYIV, Ukraine-Russian forces claimed new advances in their effort to encircle the eastern Ukrainian city of Bakhmut, while European leaders arrived in Kyiv to discuss further military aid.

Yevgeny Prigozhin, leader of Wagner Group, a Russian paramilitary organization that is leading the assault in Ukraine's east, said Wednesday that his forces had seized the village of Sacco and Vanzetti, north of Bakhmut. Rybar, a Telegram channel linked to the Kremlin, said Thursday that Wagner was claiming territory on the contested east side of the city, seizing a sparkling-wine factory and a meat-processing plant.


Ukraine Ramps Up Corruption Fight as Zelensky Races to Assure Wary West

Ukrainian authorities launched criminal cases against six former defense-ministry officials and raided the home of a former political backer of President Volodymyr Zelensky Wednesday, amid a flurry of attempts by Mr. Zelensky to show Western governments that he is serious about an anticorruption drive.

With billions of dollars in aid flowing into Ukraine monthly, Mr. Zelensky is under pressure from Western backers to take a firm stance against endemic Ukrainian corruption. He also faces calls from ordinary Ukrainians who are fighting and dying in the country's war with Russia to uproot corruption for good.


Airbus Revives Order From Qatar Airways Following Paint-Dispute Settlement

LONDON-Airbus SE agreed to revive orders for close to 75 aircraft from Qatar Airways after reaching a settlement with the Middle East airline over a long-running dispute about chipping paint on its A350 wide-body models.

A spokesman for Airbus said it would now go ahead with delivering 50 A321 narrow-bodies and 23 remaining A350 twin-aisles previously ordered by Qatar.


EU Tightens Oversight of Data-Privacy Regulators to Speed Up Decisions

European officials are introducing a new oversight process to monitor major data-privacy investigations following criticism of the glacial pace of enforcement, particularly against multinational tech firms.

Regulators that handle large-scale cases affecting people in more than one European Union country will need to report on their progress every other month to the European Commission, the EU's executive arm. The commission disclosed the new procedure in response to a complaint alleging that the commission itself had violated EU law by not properly overseeing the Irish privacy regulator.



Stock, Bond and Crypto Investors Call Fed's Bluff on Interest Rates

The market's big comeback in January is indicative of one thing: Investors don't believe the Federal Reserve is going to keep interest rates high for long.

Stock and bond prices have jumped to start the year. Particularly risky assets have run up even faster.


Beneath the Surface, Fed Sees No Letup in Inflation Pressure

Recent readings on wages and prices have markets increasingly optimistic inflation can be brought down without a recession.

The Federal Reserve would love to agree, but it can't. Not yet, anyway. In its quarter-percentage-point rate increase Wednesday, the accompanying statement and Chair Jerome Powell's press conference, the central bank made it clear its views had not changed. Inflation is still too high and won't return to its 2% target without higher interest rates and a weaker labor market.


Silver Is Outpacing Gold. That's a Good Sign for the Global Economy.

Silver has sharply outpaced gold's gains in the past three months, and its classification as both an industrial and precious metal may lead it on a path to even higher prices.

From Oct. 31 to Jan. 31, Comex silver futures climbed nearly 25%, outpacing gold's almost 19% climb, a "statistically unusual amount that shows the precious metals market is bullish on global economic growth in 2023," wrote Nicholas Colas, co-founder of DataTrek Research, in a Jan. 25 report.


Rising Jet-Fuel Costs Threaten to Send Airfares Higher

Airfares have eased from last year's highs. Now a resurgence in jet-fuel prices is threatening to push them higher again.

Prices for the kerosene-based product have been climbing since December, propelled by diminished supplies after winter storms shut down refineries. Swelling demand has also pushed up prices, as millions of Chinese travelers took to the skies to celebrate the Lunar New Year and newfound freedom from Covid restrictions.


BOJ Deputy Gov. Wakatabe: Commitment to Monetary Easing Hasn't Changed

Bank of Japan Deputy Gov. Masazumi Wakatabe said Thursday that the central bank's easy stance and its commitment to achieving sustainable 2% inflation remain unchanged.

"The bank's commitment to continuing with monetary easing has not changed at all," Mr. Wakatabe said in a speech.


Fed Slows Its Tightening With Quarter-Point Interest Rate Rise

WASHINGTON-The Federal Reserve nudged up short-term interest rates by a quarter-percentage point and signaled it was on track to do so again at its meeting next month while officials consider whether and when to pause increases late this spring.

The decision Wednesday to raise the Fed's benchmark federal-funds rate followed six larger, consecutive increases to combat inflation, which hit a 40-year high last year. Officials raised rates by a half point in December and by 0.75 point in November.


North Korea Accuses U.S. of Raising Tensions

SEOUL-North Korea said the U.S. had pushed tensions on the Korean Peninsula to an "extreme red line," responding to recent promises by U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin to expand joint military drills with South Korea and enhance nuclear deterrence.

North Korea said it isn't interested in any contact or dialogue with the U.S. as long as Washington pursues what Pyongyang describes as a hostile and confrontational policy. The U.S. actions threatened to turn the Korean Peninsula into a "huge war arsenal," Pyongyang's Foreign Ministry said Thursday, adding that it would respond to military moves by the U.S. with "overwhelming nuclear force."


Biden, McCarthy Start Debt-Ceiling Talks to Prevent Default

WASHINGTON-President Biden and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy began face-to-face debt-ceiling discussions, with the latter expressing cautious optimism that they can come to a deal to avoid the first-ever default of the country's debt.

The meeting Wednesday afternoon at the White House came as Republicans in their new House majority have said they want an agreement to cut government spending in exchange for voting to increase the nation's borrowing limit, but haven't agreed among themselves on what cuts they want. The White House has insisted that there will be no negotiating over the debt limit and reiterated on Wednesday that Congress should raise it without conditions, though past presidents of both parties have negotiated on the topic.


House Republicans Probe Covid-19 Origins, Government Response

House Republicans kicked off hearings exploring the origins of the Covid-19 pandemic and scrutinizing the federal government's response.

The hearings on Wednesday, by the House Oversight and Accountability committee and an Energy and Commerce subcommittee, were the first in what is expected to be a series by Republican lawmakers who had been airing concerns about the Biden administration's handling of the public-health crisis and are now in charge of the chamber.


U.S., Philippines Strike Military-Base Deal

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February 02, 2023 05:59 ET (10:59 GMT)

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