The European markets are mostly higher in afternoon trading Wednesday, even as apprehension prevailed ahead of the meeting of European leaders in Brussels, with reports suggesting disagreement between Germany and France.
The reported cancellation of a planned meeting of European finance ministers today has led to speculation that a concrete resolution to the debt crisis gripping the region may not evolve out of the summit happening later today.
The German lower house of parliament Bundestag is discussing leveraging of the eurozone bailout fund before the EU summit. Chancellor Angela Merkel requires the approval of the German parliament on the European Financial Stability Facility guidelines before she can give nod in the European Council.
The Euro Stoxx 50 index of eurozone bluechip stocks is losing 0.16 percent, while the Stoxx Europe 50 index, which includes some major U.K. companies, is sliding 0.22 percent.
The DAX index is adding 0.13 percent, the French CAC 40 is gaining 0.28 percent and the FTSE 100 index is advancing 0.16 percent. However, Switzerland’s SMI is retreating 0.22 percent.
In Germany, SAP is losing 1.1 percent, despite reporting stellar third-quarter results. Merck is climbing 6 percent after reporting increases in third-quarter profit and revenue.
Commerzbank and Deutsche Bank are adding 1.4 percent each. Morgan Stanley reduced its rating on Adidas to “Equal Weight” from “overweight” and lowered the price target to 51.90 euros from 54.80 euros. The stock is falling 2.75 percent. Praktiker is up 1.3 percent. The company reported a loss for the third quarter.
Krones, a maker of beverage filling and packaging machines, reported a higher profit for the nine-month period, as sales increased about 15 percent on higher demand across all major sales regions. The board anticipates full-year 2011 result to show a significant improvement from last year. The stock is falling 3.9 percent. Meanwhile, Goldman Sachs cut its price target on the stock to 47.30 euros from 56 euros.
Air Liquide is losing 0.7 percent in Paris. The industrial gas maker said its total revenue of the third quarter increased about 5 percent from last year, helped by strong activity levels, particularly in developing economies.
Renault is rising 2.6 percent and Peugeot is adding 1.1 percent. Peugeot said its revenues for the third quarter increased 3.5 percent from last year.
Societe Generale is up about 1 percent, while Credit Agricole is modestly higher. BNP Paribas is losing 0.4 percent. Michelin is gaining 1.4 percent. BBVA is losing 1.1 percent in Madrid. The lender reported a decline in profit in the third quarter.
Svenska Handelsbanken is rising about 2 percent in Sweden. After reporting higher revenues in the third quarter, Heineken is up 1.1 percent. British American Tobacco is up 0.8 percent in London. The company said its nine-month revenue increased 7 percent from last year on continued good pricing.
Nokia is adding 0.9 percent in Helsinki. At the Nokia World event in London, the company unveiled its first smartphone in its Windows Phone-based Nokia Lumia range, named Lumia 800. Norway-based telecommunication company Telenor, which reported a rise in profit in the third quarter, is advancing 3.2 percent.
In economic news, France’s manufacturing business leaders’ expectations for domestic as well as export demand significantly declined, a quarterly survey by the statistical office INSEE showed. The October quarter survey showed that indicator reflecting the total demand outlook fell to -6 from 7 in the July survey.