European stocks open to close; markets brace for more Fed rate action

Oil prices rise after Putin announces partial military mobilization

Bank of England faces pivotal policy decision Thursday, with pound at multi-decade lows

Bank of England Governor Andrew Bailey has said that central bank independence “is critically important.”

Bloomberg | Bloomberg | Getty Images

The Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee will announce its latest decision on Thursday, with analysts divided over whether to expect a hike to interest rates of 50 or 75 basis points.

The Bank faces a crucial choice as it navigates a plunging currency and the effects of a new government energy cost package that has changed the inflation outlook.

The Bank hiked by 50 basis points last month, its largest single increase since 1995, but some analysts believe it will need to up the ante and keep pace with global peers to prevent a capitulation of the currency.

The pound fell to $1.1340 on Wednesday morning, its lowest since 1985.

Read more here.

-Elliot Smith

Stocks on the move: Fortum up 13%, Uniper down 18% after nationalization

Shares of Finland’s Fortum climbed more than 13% in early trade to lead the Stoxx 600 after the company agreed to sell its 56% stake in embattled German utility Uniper to the German government in a nationalization deal. Uniper shares plunged more than 18% during early deals in Frankfurt.

At the bottom of the Stoxx 600, Games Workshop shares fell more than 8% after the British wargame company issued a trading update.

Russia’s Putin announces partial military mobilization

Russian President Vladimir Putin delivers a speech during a ceremony to receive letters of credence from newly-appointed foreign ambassadors at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, September 20, 2022.

Pavel Bednyakov| sputnik | Reuters

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday announced a partial military mobilization in Russia, putting the country’s people and economy on a wartime footing as Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine continues.

In a rare pre-recorded televised announcement, Putin said the West “wants to destroy our country” and claimed the West had tried to “turn Ukraine’s people into cannon fodder,” in comments translated by Reuters.

Putin said “mobilization events” would begin Wednesday without providing many further details, aside from saying that he had ordered an increase in funding to boost Russia’s weapons production.

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– Holly Ellyatt

Germany nationalizes energy giant Uniper as Russia squeezes gas supplies

Uniper has received billions in financial aid from the German government as a result of surging gas and electric prices following Russia’s war in Ukraine.

Picture Alliance | Picture Alliance | Getty Images

The German government on Wednesday agreed to the nationalization of utility Uniper as it strives to keep the industry afloat in the wake of a worldwide energy crisis.

Having already accepted in July to bail out the major gas importer with a 15 billion euro ($14.95 billion) rescue deal, the state will now buy out the 56% stake of Finland’s Fortum for a 0.5 billion euros. The German state is set to own around 98.5% of Uniper.

“Since the stabilization package for Uniper was agreed in July, Uniper’s situation has further deteriorated rapidly and significantly; as such, new measures to resolve the situation have been agreed,” Fortum announced in a statement on Wednesday morning.

Read more here.

Elliot Smith

Oil prices rise as investors brace for more Fed rate hikes

Oil prices rose slightly after shedding in earlier trade on Wednesday ahead of an expected aggressive rate hike by the Federal Reserve.

Brent crude futures rose 0.23% to stand at $90.83 per barrel, while US West Texas Intermediate also gained 0.17% to $84.10 per barrel.

“The US Energy Information Administration expects oil output in the seven major US oil and gas basins to lift modestly in September,” Commonwealth Bank of Australia analyst Vivek Dhar wrote in a note.

— Lee Ying Shan

CNBC Pro: FedEx warned of a bleak outlook — should investors be worried?

FedEx’s bleak preliminary earnings and revised outlook sent stocks tumbling last week, but is it as bad as it looks?

CNBC Pro asked investment experts who weighed in on what the announcement means for the global economy and for investors.

Pro subscribers can read more here.

— Zavier Ong

European businesses are rethinking their China plans

European businesses in China increasingly face an environment in which “ideology trumps the economy,” the European Union Chamber of Commerce in China said in its annual position paper released Wednesday.

Joerg Wuttke, president of the business group, said this year’s Covid controls have turned China into a “closed” and “distinctively different” country that might prompt companies to leave.

Earlier this month, Chinese President Xi Jinping said the country has “continued to respond to Covid-19 and promote economic and social development in a well-coordinated way,” according to a paraphrase of his remarks shared by China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

—Evelyn Cheng

CNBC Pro: Want to play the EV sector? Analysts say this lithium stock could soar 70%

As interest in battery stocks picks up after a tough year so far, CNBC Pro analyzed a number of stocks in the sector that analysts say have serious potential.

CNBC Pro screened the Global X Lithium & Battery Tech ETF on FactSet for stocks that could outperform. One stock that made the list has jumped over 40% this year so far, and analysts say it has further upside of more than 70%.

CNBC Pro subscribers can read more here.

—Weizhen Tan

European markets: Here are the opening calls

European stocks are expected to open in negative territory on Wednesday as investors react to the latest US inflation data.

The UK’s FTSE index is expected to open 47 points lower at 7,341, Germany’s DAX 86 points lower at 13,106, France’s CAC 40 down 28 points and Italy’s FTSE MIB 132 points lower at 22,010, according to data from IG.

Global markets have pulled back following a higher-than-expected US consumer price index report for August which showed prices rose by 0.1% for the month and 8.3% annually in August, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Tuesday, defying economist expectations that headline inflation would fall 0.1% month-on-month.

Core CPI, which excludes volatile food and energy costs, climbed 0.6% from July and 6.3% from August 2021.

UK inflation figures for August are due and euro zone industrial production for July will be published.

—Holly Ellyatt


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