LVMH Shuffles Leadership at Louis Vuitton, Dior
Topic of the day
LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton SE, Europe’s most valuable company, is embarking on one of its biggest management shake-ups in years, elevating Pietro Beccari to lead Louis Vuitton and tapping Delphine Arnault, daughter of Chief Executive Bernard Arnault, to run Christian Dior. The changes, effective Feb. 1, involve two of the luxury giant’s largest brands and some of its best-known managers. Both Louis Vuitton and Dior have been on a tear, most recently riding a postpandemic boom in luxury spending that so far has shown little sign of easing. LVMH emerged from the pandemic as Europe’s largest company by market value, far ahead of the continent’s industrial stalwarts such as Shell PLC, Airbus SE and Volkswagen AG . Mr. Arnault, meanwhile, has recently usurped Elon Musk as the world’s richest person. This year, loosened Covid-19 restrictions in China - one of the luxury industry’s biggest markets - have further boosted LVMH’s shares, which rose as much as 2% on Wednesday to hit a record intraday high, bringing year-to-date gains to 13%.
The Switzerland stock market started off on a sluggish note on Wednesday, but recovered soon and gained in strength as the session progressed to eventually close notably higher despite coming off the day's high. Optimism about economic growth following China reopening helped offset concerns about interest rates. The benchmark SMI, which climbed to 11,306.31, ended with a gain of 83.86 points or 0.75% at 11,246.01. Partners Group, Lonza Group, ABB, Logitech and Swisscom gained 2 to 2.6%. UBS Group, Richemont and Credit Suisse climbed 1.7 to 1.8%. Givaudan, Geberit and Nestle surged 1.4 to 1.5%, while Sika ended higher by about 1.05%. Swiss Re drifted down 1.46% and Roche Holding ended nearly 1% down. In the Mid Price Index, AMA climbed nearly 7.5%. Bachem Holding rallied 4.12% and Temenos Group ended 3% up. Flughafen Zurich, Clariant, Barry Callebaut, SGS, Swiss Prime Site, Straumann Holding, Schindler Holding, PSP Swiss Property and Schindler Ps moved up 1.7 to 2.5%.
Despite recent hawkish comments from some Fed officials that raised concerns about tighter monetary policy from the U.S. central bank, European stocks closed higher on Wednesday as optimism over China's reopening helped underpin sentiment. The pan European Stoxx 600 gained 0.38%. The U.K.'s FTSE 100 surged 0.4%, Germany's DAX gained 1.17% and France's CAC 40 climbed 0.8%. Among other markets in Europe, Austria, Belgium, Iceland, Netherlands, Portugal, Russia and Sweden ended with sharp to moderate gains. Czech Republic, Finland, Greece and Spain closed marginally up. Denmark, Poland and Turkiye closed weak. Ireland and Norway edged down slightly. In the UK market, JD Sports Fashion rallied about 7%. Frasers Group, St. Jame's Place, Segro, Unite Group, Kingfisher, Weir Group, Spirax-Sarco Engineering, British Land Co., WPP, IAG, Scottish Mortgage, Next, Schrodders, Hargreaves Lansdown, Berkeley Group Holdings and Halma gained 2 to 4%. Admiral Group plunged nearly 7%. M&G ended almost 3% down. Legal & General, Aviva, Smith & Nephew, BAE Systems, Sainsbury (J), AstraZeneca, Imperial Brands, RS Group and Coca-Cola lost 1 to 2.3%. Shares of insurer Direct Line tanked more than 26% after the company announced it would ditch its final dividend for 2022. It follows a surge of December claims due to bad weather, inflation and supply chain issues taking it to an underwriting loss for the year.
U.S. stocks rose Wednesday as investors grew more confident that Thursday's inflation data would lead to more-muted increases in interest-rates. The S&P 500 climbed 50.36 points, or 1.3%, to 3969.61. The Dow Jones Industrial Average added 268.91 points, or 0.8%, to 33973.01. The technology-focused Nasdaq Composite Index advanced 189.04, or 1.8%, to 10931.67. All three indexes rose on Tuesday as well, and the Nasdaq posted its fourth consecutive gain. Investors' attention for the remainder of this week will likely focus on the December inflation report, which the Labor Department will release Thursday. Economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal expect consumer prices to have risen 6.5% annually, down from 7.1% a month earlier. Fourth-quarter results, which kick off in earnest this week, also remain top of mind for investors. Overall, analysts expect S&P 500 companies to report their first year-over-year decline in quarterly earnings since the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020, according to FactSet. With 2022 in the rearview mirror, investors will also be carefully focused on the profit outlook for the coming year, Goldman Sachs strategists led by David Kostin said in a note published last week. Shares of Bed Bath & Beyond rose $1.42, or 69%, to $3.49, extending a streak of wild trading. The retailer said Tuesday it is planning more layoffs and cost cuts after sales continued to fall. GE HealthCare Technologies climbed $4.99, or 8.3%, to $64.99. The company, which recently spun out of industrial giant General Electric, said it expects 2023 organic revenue to grow from 2022 levels.
Inflation topic dominates on the Asian stock exchanges on Thursday and does not allow investors to find a unified view of things. On the stock market, the Chinese stock exchanges turn slightly negative. The Shanghai Composite loses 0.1 percent and the HSI in Hong Kong 0.2 percent. According to traders, the nervousness before the U.S. data rises.
In U.S. government bond market yields ticked down. The yield on the benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury note fell to 3.554% from 3.618% Tuesday. Yields fall when bond prices rise.
UBS raises Swisscom to Buy (Neutral) – Target CHF 575 (490)
CS lowers United Internet target to EUR 25 (36) – Neutral
CS lowers 1&1 target to EUR 11 (20) – Underperform
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