Europe Stocks Post Second Weekly Drop Amid U.s. Shutdown

Windows Phone grabs one in ten smartphone sales in Europe

Mediobanca SpA and Banca Popolare di Milano Scarl led a rally in Italian banks as Prime Minister Enrico Letta won a confidence vote. The Stoxx Europe 600 Index fell 0.7 percent to 309.89 this past week, after declining 0.6 percent in the previous five days. The gauge has still climbed 11 percent in 2013 as the euro area emerged from a recession and central banks maintained stimulus measures to support the global economy. The U.S. shutdown is a comment on the dysfunctional ways of U.S. politics, Andrew Parry, who oversees about 2 billion euros ($2.7 billion) at Hermes Sourcecap Ltd. in London , said in a phone interview. We came out of the summer months too optimistic about Europe, so some pause for breath was needed. We saw the profit warning from Nokian Renkaat and the numbers from Unilever. I think well continue to get more profit warnings going into the earnings season. The U.S. government began a partial shutdown on Oct. 1 after Democrats and Republicans failed to agree on a budget, closing some services and placing as many as 800,000 federal employees on unpaid leave. A two-week halt could shave 0.25 percentage point off fourth-quarter economic growth, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco President John Williams forecast. Debt Limit In addition to passing a budget, Congress must authorize an increase to the $16.7 trillion debt ceiling this month to avoid a default.

(10.8 percent), according to figures from analysts at Kantar Worldpanel ComTech. These are its highest ever sales numbers and take Microsoft’s platform to within one percentage point of matching sales of Apple’s iconic iPhone on the largest market of all, Germany. Android remains on top of the pile with 70.1 percent of sales to August although its growth rates have tailed off compared to its rivals. “Windows Phone’s latest wave of growth is being driven by Nokia’s expansion into the low and mid-range market with the Lumia 520 and 620 handsets. These models are hitting the sweet spot with 16- to 24-year-olds and 35- to 49-year-olds, two key groups that look for a balance of price and functionality in their smartphone,” said Dominic Sunnebo, strategic insight director at Kantar Worldpanel ComTech. Android’s growth was being driven by Samsung’s marketing effort, ahead of other firms developing for the platform, Sony, HTC, and LG, in that market share order. “After years of increasing market share, Android has now reached a point where significant growth in developed markets is becoming harder to find,” he said. What the figures suggest is that there is a natural ceiling for any platform and Android has probably reached that. There is also room for three platforms although with only 2.4 percent of sales that will not include the “fourth way” of BlackBerry. Longer term, Microsoft’s growth on the back of its acquisition of Nokia is likely to be in the mid-market sector. Exactly how Apple and Microsoft will fare is hard to call but it looks possible that Windows Phone will move into second place in Europe in the next two years; Apple’s year-on-year numbers dropped from 16.1 percent to 14.1 percent.