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Monday, December 09, 2019 {{ new Date().getDay() }}

LONDON (AFP) – Europe’s stock markets fell on Monday in the absence of major economic and results news from the region, leaving investors to digest Japanese growth data and await U.S. figures.

London’s FTSE 100 index dropped 0.26 percent to stand at 6,566.41 points approaching midday in the British capital.

Frankfurt’s DAX 30 slid 0.80 percent to 8,271.83 points and the CAC 40 in Paris shed 0.43 percent to 4,059.01 compared with Friday’s closing values.

Europe has seen a “subdued session so far with little in the way of corporate and economic news to incentivise the market”, said Ishaq Siddiqi, market strategist at ETX Capital.

European markets had closed higher on Friday, with mining stocks in particular receiving a boost from better-than-expected industrial output data from China, dealers said.

On Monday, indebted eurozone nation Italy raised 7.5 billion euros ($9.9 billion) in one-year bonds at an auction when rates fell slightly, reflecting relative optimism among investors over the country’s short-term political stability.

Milan’s MIB stocks index retreated 0.39 in value to trade at 17,120.11 points.

The Greek economy meanwhile showed improvement in the second quarter of the year, shrinking by 4.6 percent from 5.6 percent in the first quarter, official data showed on Monday.

In foreign exchange, the euro fell to $1.3306 from $1.3336 late in New York on Friday. The dollar rose to 96.66 yen from 96.18 yen on Friday.

On the London Bullion Market, the price of gold climbed to $1,326.65 an ounce from $1,309 on Friday.

On the corporate front, shares in Prudential climbed 2.58 percent to 1,214 .5 pence after Britain’s biggest insurer posted a rise in operating profits on strong product demand in the United States and Asia.

Asian stock markets mostly closed higher on Monday but Tokyo ended lower as Japan posted lower-than-expected economic growth and after US stocks had retreated from record peaks.

Last week’s positive industrial output figures out of China continued to lend support, traders said.

In contrast, disappointing figures out of Japan on Monday showed economic growth in the world’s third-largest economy slowed in the April-June quarter, raising questions about Tokyo’s bid to revive its economy after years of stagnation.

The cabinet office said Japan’s economy expanded 0.6 percent from the previous quarter, slower than a revised 0.9-percent increase between January and March.

The markets will now look to key U.S. economic figures — including retail sales and industrial output — due out this week, as investors eye clues as to when the U.S. Federal Reserve will start rolling back its huge stimulus drive.

Actor as Donald Trump in Russia Today video ad

Screenshot from RT's 'Trump is here to make RT Great Again'

Russia Today, the network known in this country as RT, has produced a new "deep fake" video that portrays Donald Trump in post-presidential mode as an anchor for the Kremlin outlet. Using snippets of Trump's own voice and an actor in an outlandish blond wig, the ad suggests broadly that the US president is indeed a wholly owned puppet of Vladimir Putin– as he has so often given us reason to suspect.

"They're very nice. I make a lot of money with them," says the actor in Trump's own voice. "They pay me millions and hundreds of millions."

But when American journalists described the video as "disturbing," RT retorted that their aim wasn't to mock Trump, but his critics and every American who objects to the Russian manipulations that helped bring him to power.

As an ad for RT the video is amusing, but the network's description of it is just another lie. Putin's propagandists are again trolling Trump and America, as they've done many times over the past few years –- and this should be taken as a warning of what they're doing as Election Day approaches.

The Lincoln Project aptly observed that the Russians "said the quiet part out loud" this time, (Which is a bad habit they share with Trump.)