European Midday Briefing: Stocks Struggle as

The U.K.'s Office for National Statistics Wednesday said consumer prices were 9.4% higher in June than a year earlier, the highest rate of inflation since 1982 and a pickup from 9.1% in May. The figure marks the fastest rise in prices for a Group of Seven economy since the global surge began at the start of last year.

   

Volvo Moves Closer to All-Electric Goal

Volvo Car AB's transformation into an electric-vehicle maker accelerated in the second quarter, reflecting a broader trend in the auto industry, which has seen sales of EVs and hybrids outperform conventional vehicles in many markets as gas prices rise around the world.

The share of pure electric and hybrid vehicles rose sharply to 31% of Volvo's total sales in the second quarter of the year, even as overall unit sales fell by more than a quarter as a result of production and supply-chain woes in the wake of pandemic lockdowns in China.

   

ASML 2Q Net Profit Rose, Lowers 2022 Revenue Guidance on Delays

ASML Holding NV said Wednesday that second-quarter net profit rose, but lowered its full-year revenue growth guidance, due to revenue recognition delays from increased fast shipments.

Net profit for the quarter rose to 1.41 billion euros (£1.44 billion) from EUR695 billion for the same period last year, the Dutch maker of semiconductor equipment said.

   

Akzo Nobel 2Q Net Profit Hit by Higher Costs; Misses Expectations

Akzo Nobel NV on Wednesday reported a more-than halved second-quarter net profit--missing market forecasts--as it booked higher costs, and said it aims to grow at or above its relevant markets, in line with the company's "Grow & Deliver" strategy.

The Dutch paints company--which houses the Dulux, Polycell and Cuprinol brands--made a net income for the quarter of 106 million euros (£108.4 million), compared with EUR261.0 million a year earlier and a consensus of EUR176.5 million.

   

Telia Company Backs FY Guidance

Telia Co. AB on Wednesday backed full-year guidance as it posted in-line net profit for the second quarter of the year.

The Swedish telecommunications operator said it made a second-quarter net profit of 1.52 billion kronor (£148.6 million), compared with SEK8.04 billion a year earlier and the SEK1.59 billion expected in a FactSet poll.

   

VW America Chief Scott Keogh to Head New Scout Brand

Volkswagen AG is realigning its North American management as the company prepares to launch a new brand in its bid to increase electric-vehicle sales and boost its U.S. market share, the company said.

Scott Keogh, current head of Volkswagen Group of America Inc., has been appointed chief executive of Scout, the iconic American off-road vehicle brand that VW is reviving as an all-electric sport-utility vehicle and truck maker.

   

U.K.

Plans Regulation Revamp to Boost London as Financial Center

LONDON-The U.K. government said it is moving to ease rules on banks, insurers and investors to help London remain Europe's financial hub after Brexit and revive the country's stalling economy.

The U.K.'s new finance minister, Nadhim Zahawi, said Tuesday that the government would introduce legislation to replace hundreds of European Union financial regulations. The changes would attract investors and companies to London and "unleash the power of enterprise, boost innovation and support job creation," he said in a speech.

     

GLOBAL NEWS

China's Central Bank Keeps Benchmark Rates Despite Rising Risks

China's central bank Wednesday kept its benchmark lending rates unchanged, in line with market expectations, despite rising financial risks amid slowing economic growth.

The People's Bank of China said it held the one-year loan prime rate steady at 3.7% and the five-year rate at 4.45%, according to a statement published on its website.

   

Senate Votes 64-34 to Advance Chips Bill

WASHINGTON-A bipartisan bill subsidizing domestic semiconductor production cleared its first procedural hurdle on Tuesday in a 64-34 vote, even as the details of the legislation were still being worked out.

The legislation would provide roughly £52 billion in subsidies to encourage chip companies to boost production in the U.S., seen by the White House and leaders of both parties as a critical national-security need. Lawmakers worked until late Tuesday to negotiate other elements in the competitiveness package, dubbed USICA.

   

Truck Protests Bring Port of Oakland Close to a Standstill

Truckers protesting a new California law that toughens the definition of nonemployee drivers shut down some operations at the Port of Oakland on Tuesday, adding new disruptions to already fragile U.S. supply chains.

Ed DeNike, president of SSA Containers, which handles about 70% of the cargo entering and leaving the Port of Oakland, said truckers blocked truck gates into and out of the company's container terminal.

   

Big Tech Antitrust Bill Backers Push for Vote

WASHINGTON-Facing a potential stalemate, lawmakers backing an antitrust bill targeting big tech companies ramped up their push for a vote Tuesday by releasing new internal tech company documents that they say show anticompetitive behavior.

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D., N.Y.) and Rep.

David Cicilline (D., R.I.), the chairman of that panel's antitrust subcommittee, called for a vote on legislation that would make it illegal for the largest tech platforms to favor their own products and services over those of competitors.

   

China Covid-19 Cases Hit Two-Month High

HONG KONG-China reported a two-month high in new Covid-19 infections as outbreaks widened in provincial hot spots.

Authorities logged 906 new locally transmitted cases across mainland China on Tuesday, the highest one-day total since May 20, and up from 643 cases on Monday, according to data released Wednesday by the National Health Commission.

   

Covid-19 Complication Among Children Fades in Latest Wave of Virus

A serious inflammatory complication that strikes some children in the weeks following a Covid-19 infection has almost disappeared. A buildup of immunity and changes to the virus both likely play a part, pediatric infectious-disease doctors and researchers said.

Multisystem inflammatory syndrome is afflicting far fewer children as a proportion of known Covid-19 cases than during earlier waves of the pandemic, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The condition, also known as MIS-C, is similar to Kawasaki disease, another rare pediatric inflammatory condition.

Early in the pandemic, doctors believed they were seeing Kawasaki disease but soon recognized MIS-C as a distinct condition associated with an earlier Covid-19 infection.

   

Sri Lanka's Parliament Elects Ranil Wickremesinghe as President

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka-Ranil Wickremesinghe, a political veteran and six-time prime minister, was elected Sri Lanka's president by Parliament Wednesday, as the country seeks to chart its exit from its economic and social turmoil.

Mr. Wickremesinghe defeated Dullas Alahapperuma, a former journalist and ruling party cabinet minister, by 134 votes to 82 in the secret ballot, Parliament's Secretary-General Dhammika Dasanayake said. He will replace former President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, who fled the country on a military aircraft and resigned over email last week.

A third candidate, Anura Kumara Dissanayaka, the leader of minor opposition party Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna, received three votes, and there were four invalid votes and two abstentions.

   

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(END) Dow Jones Newswires

July 20, 2022 05:39 ET (09:39 GMT)

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