Investment strategy correspondent, London
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Mar 29, 2013

French economy dogged by weak spending, fiscal strain

PARIS, March 29 (Reuters) – Bleak French consumer spending
and budget deficit data on Friday highlighted the Sisyphean task
facing the government, which insists it can meet its pledges to
revive growth and the public finances.

President Francois Hollande sought to reassure the public in
a TV interview on Thursday that he has the tools to restore
France to growth, promising measures to boost consumer spending,
which accounts for more than half of the economy.

Mar 20, 2013

France says no change to cuts plan after minister quits

PARIS (Reuters) – France’s new budget minister said on Wednesday he would stick to the spending cuts planned by his predecessor, whose sudden resignation in a tax fraud investigation threw an unwelcome spotlight on the country’s fiscal dilemma.

Jerome Cahuzac, whose brief was to figure out how to rein in public spending further without extinguishing the stagnating economy’s growth prospects, quit late on Tuesday over investigations he held a secret bank account in Switzerland. He has protested his innocence.

Mar 17, 2013

Airbus wins landmark Lion Air order – sources

PARIS (Reuters) – Europe’s Airbus has landed a record order potentially worth $20 billion at list prices from Indonesia’s Lion Air, sources familiar with the matter said on Sunday, smashing rival Boeing’s (BA.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) grip on one of the world’s fastest-growing airlines.

In a sign of the rising importance of Asian budget carriers for high-tech manufacturing jobs, the deal is set to be announced on Monday at a ceremony overseen by French President Franciois Hollande, the sources said, asking not to be named.

Mar 11, 2013

French January industrial output drops, base year change weighs

PARIS, March 11 (Reuters) – French industrial output slid
1.2 percent in January, dragged down by weak auto and agri-food
production but also by a change in the base year used for the
data.

It was the latest gloomy news for an economy struggling to
avoid recession.

The 1.2 percent monthly drop, the sharpest fall since
September, was much worse than a forecast for a flat reading. It
was affected by the change in the base year used by the INSEE
statistics office and by a new weighting of the indices.

Mar 8, 2013

French central bank sees flat economy in first quarter

PARIS (Reuters) – France will barely dodge recession in the first quarter of the year, with the weak economy hurting the government’s efforts to rein in the budget deficit, data showed on Friday.

In a monthly survey, the central bank maintained its forecast of 0.1 percent growth in the January to March period for the euro zone’s second biggest economy, which contracted by 0.3 percent in the last quarter of 2012.

Mar 7, 2013

French unemployment rises again to highest since 1999

PARIS, March 7 (Reuters) – France’s jobless rate hit its
highest level in more than 13 years in the last quarter of 2012,
underscoring the challenge the government faces over its pledge
to reverse the upward trend by year-end.

Thursday’s official data prompted a renewed government plea
for action at European level to spur growth as the euro zone’s
No. 2 economy shows increasing signs of languishing behind a
more resilient Germany.

Feb 28, 2013

Funds lift equity holdings in February, but cash up too

LONDON (Reuters) – Global investors raised their equity holdings to a 10-month high this month as a healing world economy saw portfolios rotate further out bonds, but cash levels also rose, for the first time since May.

In a monthly Reuters poll of 52 leading investment houses in the United States, Europe and Japan, funds on aggregate held 52.2 percent of their investments in equities, the highest since April and up from 52.1 last month. But this marginal rise slowed sharply from the biggest monthly jump in the survey’s history in January, of more than two percentage points.

Feb 1, 2013

Pariahs no more, banks still struggle to lure investors

LONDON (Reuters) – Once-shunned global banking stocks have surged nearly 40 percent in just eight months, but many investors remain wary of buying into a sector whose future size and shape is uncertain.

Asset managers’ allocations to the sector remain well below those seen before the financial crisis – and just half as much among euro zone funds – even if a January fund manager survey saw the first, slight overweight for global banks in six years.

Jan 31, 2013

Bullish global funds pile into stocks, high-yield credit: Reuters poll

LONDON (Reuters) – Global investors piled into stocks and high-yield credit in January and slashed their cash buffers to a two-year low, betting that central banks would keep markets awash with cash and that the worst of the euro crisis is over.

In a month that saw global stock markets gain nearly 5 percent, after ending 2012 more than 13 percent higher, investors took their stock holdings to a nine-month high and bonds to a five-month low, the January Reuters asset allocation poll showed.

Jan 31, 2013

Bullish global funds pile into stocks: Reuters Poll

LONDON (Reuters) – Global investors piled into stocks and high-yield credit in January and slashed their cash buffers to a two-year low, betting that central banks would keep markets awash with cash and that the worst of the euro crisis is over.

In a month that saw global stock markets gain nearly 5 percent, after ending 2012 more than 13 percent higher, investors took their stock holdings to a nine-month high and bonds to a five-month low, the January Reuters asset allocation poll showed.