Windows Phone grabs one in ten smartphone sales in Europe
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.
Europe soul-searches after Lampedusa exposes tensions
Take the widely held Fidelity Worldwide Fund ( FWWFX ), which has 30% of its assets invested in Europe. Holdings include Swiss bank UBS ( UBS ), German automaker Volkswagen ( VLKAY ) and French food and consumer products giant Danone ( DANOY ). The Dodge & Cox International Stock Fund ( DODFX ), one of the top 25 mutual funds by total assets, also has a 30% allocation in Europe. It owns stakes in German conglomerate Bayer ( BAYRY ) and the U.K. bank HSBC ( HBC ). Then there are funds with an even bigger weighting in Europe, like the Vanguard International Growth Fund ( VWIGX ). About 55% of this fund is invested in European stocks, such as French cosmetics leader L’Oreal ( LRLCF ) and German athletic brand Adidas ( ADDYY ). Investing via ETFs: If you want to buy a fund that focuses more directly on Europe — and pay lower fees in the process — you have many more options in exchange traded funds. The largest dedicated Europe ETF by assets is the Vanguard FTSE Europe ETF ( VGK ), with about $13 billion under management. Top holdings include U.K.-based Royal Dutch Shell ( RDSA ), Swiss consumer products maker Nestle ( NSRGY ) and HSBC. Best of all, the costs are super low. The VGK fund charges just 0.12% in expenses, which works out to a measly $12 a year on every $10,000 you invest. Google+ Market indexes are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET.
Europe’s exemptions could embolden Washington to pursue opt-outs for its shipping industry on security grounds, or restrict access to the vast U.S. government procurement industry. Financial ties between Europe and the United States are already huge, accounting for 60 percent of world banking. EU investors own $2.7 trillion of U.S. stocks and bonds, while U.S. residents hold almost as much in Europe. However, the United States and European countries regulate banks, insurers and traders in very different ways, particularly in the $630 trillion derivatives industry. COLD SHOULDER Never was the difference more evident than during the financial crisis, when Washington moved quickly in 2008 to tackle problems at its banks with a compulsory scheme to take on new capital, reassuring investors. Five years on, Europe and its uneasy alliance of 28 countries is still struggling to impose order on its financial system and has had to give emergency aid to five countries. This is mirrored in regulation, where the two sides have also clashed over the control of derivatives, with Washington demanding that global trading involving U.S. firms be subject only to U.S. rules, regardless of where it happens.
In the three months to August, Windows Phone accounted for 9.2 percent of sales across the U.K., Germany, France, Italy, and Spain, proving especially popular in France (12 percent) and the U.K. (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. This contrasts with the U.S. where Apple’s sales remained strong at 39.3 percent, Sunnebo said.
RPT-Split on finance overshadows Europe-U.S. trade talks
“The Mediterranean cannot remain a huge open-air cemetery. Action must be taken,” France’s Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said Sunday after a boat loaded with migrants caught fire and sank near the island of Lampedusa, killing 300 people. Preventing a repeat of Thursday’s tragedy will top the agenda when interior ministers from European states meet on Tuesday, a day ahead of a visit to Lampedusa by European Commission chief Jose Manuel Barroso. Some argue that radical change is now required, among them as Italy’s Integration Minister Cecile Kyenge, who said the number of places in immigrant centres would be trebled from 8,000 to 24,000. Kyenge, an Italian-Congolese politician who has suffered racist taunts from other lawmakers as the country’s first black minister, told the Corriere della Sera daily the law could “no longer be punitive”. Peope light candles in memory of the victims of Lampedusa on October 4, 2013 in Rome, a day after a Lampedusa is struggling to accomodate 1,000 people in a holding facility with just 250 places — a situation replicated elsewhere in Italy as a new influx of migrants from Syria and Egypt has brought 30,000 arrivals since the beginning of 2013. But with far-right parties peddling xenophobia across Europe and a tough economic climate, hopes are slim that the Lampedusa disaster will spawn a long hoped-for single EU migration policy that could avert further tragedy. Experts in Brussels believe the sympathetic words of politicians all too often clash with the complex and politically explosive issue of illegal immigration in Europe. “We need a new policy at the European level,” said Michele Cercone, spokesman for home affairs commissioner Cecilia Malmstroem. “Migration policies are fragmented, inward-looking, left in the hands of member states and subject to domestic political considerations.” A black flag reading “Shame” in Italian flies in the Lampedusa harbour on October 4, 2013, in Italy, In the short term such a move is unlikely, as asylum-seekers in the European Union must appeal for help in the country through which they enter. This system is frequently criticised by Europe’s southern states, particularly Italy, Greece and Spain, which want a redistribution of asylum applications to even out the burden. But Europe’s northern states say they more than do their bit, as two-thirds of the 102,700 successful applications made to the EU in 2012 were granted by Germany, France, Britain, Sweden and Belgium. Strategies to combat the criminal networks exploiting desperate migrants, as well as maintaining maritime borders, are particularly contentious. Italy is agitating for better surveillance of the coast of Libya, where there has been a marked increase in boats containing migrants since the chaos that followed the fall of the Khadafi regime.