European markets marginally lower than investors digest central bank announcements

UK business downturn is easing, according to PMI data

The downturn faced by UK businesses has eased slightly in the last month, according to UK S&P Global Composite Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) data.

The index unexpectedly rose to 49.0 from 48.2 in November, well above the Reuters economists’ estimate of 48.0.

The services sector headed up increases, while British manufacturing continued to decline.

— Hannah Ward-Glenton

Norwegian oil firm Aker BP to invest $20.5 billion in new oil and gas projects

The Norwegian oil firm Aker BP will invest more than 200 billion Norwegian krone ($20.5 billion) to develop oil and gas fields around Norway in the upcoming years, the company said.

Aker BP was one of several oil firms working off Norway to submit project plans for approval before temporary tax benefits expire at the end of the year.

Aker BP is partly owned by BP and is the second-largest petroleum producer off Norway after Equinor.

— Hannah Ward-Glenton

Games Workshop shares up 12% after announcing Amazon agreement

Shares of Games Workshop shot up 12% after the company announced an agreement with Amazon to develop one of its games into film and TV productions.

The British game manufacturer is best known as the maker of miniature wargame Warhammer 40,000, which Amazon now has rights to use for its content services.

— Hannah Ward-Glenton

European markets: Here are the opening calls

European markets are expected to open higher Friday.

Britain’s FTSE 100 is seen around 33 points higher at 7.456, Germany’s DAX is set to jump by around 33 points to 14.019 and France’s CAC 40 is expected to add around 18 points to 6.533. Italy’s MIB index is set to add 32 points to 23,787.

— Hannah Ward-Glenton

CNBC Pro: Morgan Stanley doubles down on Big Tech stock – and says it can rally up to 65% more

Big Tech stocks have been hit hard by this year’s sell-off, but Morgan Stanley thinks the current share price weakness of one stock presents an “opportunity to own one of the highest quality tech platforms.”

Pro subscribers can read more here.

— Zavier Ong

UBS upgrades outlook for China 2023 growth, downgrades 2022 forecast

UBS upgraded its outlook for China’s 2023 gross domestic product to 4.9%, versus 4.5% previously, according to its chief China economist Wang Tao, citing an earlier and faster reopening in the nation.

Wang said the firm expects a weaker fourth-quarter GDP for 2022, downgrading its full-year forecast to 2.7% from 3.1%, pointing out November’s weakened growth with a recent surge in Covid cases.

The firm added that the Central Economic Work Conference will likely prioritize stabilizing growth as well as supportive macro policies for the upcoming year.

“We expect fiscal policy to stay proactive with small increase of headline deficit and new special LG [local government] bonds, monetary and credit policy to keep supportive with continued ample liquidity but unlikely any additional policy rate cut,” Wang said in the note.

— Jihye Lee

Stock futures open lower

Stock futures opened lower as investors came off a second day of selling off.

Futures tied to the Dow lost 40 points or 0.1%.

S&P 500 and Nasdaq 100 futures both shed 0.1%.

— Alex Harring


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