Europe Biz: UK property prices stagnate, Facebook responds to French minister
Katherine Berjikian, Juliet Mann
Matthieu Pigasse is well known for his investments in French media (Credit: Reuters/Christian Hartmann)

Matthieu Pigasse is well known for his investments in French media (Credit: Reuters/Christian Hartmann)

CEO of Lazard France steps down

Matthieu Pigasse, the CEO of Lazard France and co-owner of Le Monde, announced that he will be stepping down in December. "I am excited to begin my next chapter beyond investment banking in a new entrepreneurial project," he said in a statement on the bank's website. 

The Financial Times reported that Pigasse may have stepped down as CEO to join a rival bank. Pigasse has denied these claims and has not said what his new project will be.

Lazard France will announce its new CEO shortly. 

Global renewable power capacity expected to rise in the next five years 

Solar photovoltaic installations in residential homes and buildings has resulted in a predicted 50 percent rise in Global renewable power capacity in the next five years. Solar and Wind will account for the majority of this growth. 

Solar is expected to make up 60 percent of the rise while wind is expected to make up 25 percent of the increase. The cost of renewable solar power is also expected to decrease by 25 percent within this time frame. 

Major banking companies in the United States have already left the Facebook led project (Credit: Reuters/Dado Ruvi)

Major banking companies in the United States have already left the Facebook led project (Credit: Reuters/Dado Ruvi)

Facebook responds to French minister's concerns over currency control 

David Marcus, Facebook's executive, addressed France's concerns about their new currency project, saying it won't be controlled by a single company. Bruno Le Maire, France's Economy Minister, was concerned that the project will take away a country's right to control their own currency. 

Marcus, speaking at a forum yesterday, said that the Libra Association includes 21 companies, not just Facebook. "The status quo is not an option any longer," he added. 

StanChart's CEO takes pension cut

StanChart's CEO, Bill Winters, voluntarily cut his pension scheme worth $615,598 per annum. Winters was responding to criticisms from investors that his pension was too large.

Almost half of StanChart's shareholders voted against Winter's pension scheme in May in a move he described as "immature.”StanChart has not announced how much Winters' pension will be reduced. 

UK property prices stagnate because of Brexit 

The UK's housing market is experiencing its lowest 'Autumn price bounce' since the 2008 financial crisis because of concerns about Brexit. According to Rightmove, an online real estate portal, the number of people selling their homes have dropped by 13.5 percent compared to this time last year. 

They said that home prices rose by 0.6 percent this month, which is below the expected October increase of 1.6 percent. "Those who are ignoring the Brexit disruption have less competition from stay-away sellers, and their prospective buyers have less negotiating power, with a reduced choice of suitable alternatives,”Rightmove added.

The vote that never was.

The long-promised vote which would allow the UK to set the Brexit process in motion did not happen on Saturday as planned. Instead, MPs placed another spanner in the works and threw the whole process back up into the air.

Sterling dropped by one percent, slipping from its five-month high, but the fall was limited by the fact that despite the high drama, a hard-Brexit is now highly unlikely. Expect volatile, headline-driven trading, at least in the early part of the week.

Busy business

Expect a pretty busy week for UK corporate news. Companies reporting third quarter results include consumer goods giant Reckitt Benckiser, pharma group AstraZeneca, Royal Bank of Scotland and Barclays.

The European Central Bank meets on Thursday with no changes expected. It will be the final meeting with Mario Draghi at the head of the eurozone's central bank. Christine Lagarde, the former head of the International Monetary Fund, is taking over the role.

The markets will also be looking out for further signs of trade-war slowdown with the release of US durable goods data, on Thursday.

Wall Street wobbles

Wall Street was dragged right down last week by plummeting Boeing shares on the news that a 737-Max test pilot found that a fault with MCAS on a simulator was not, in fact, a simulator fault. Meanwhile, US results season continues, holding up well despite trade-war woes. Look out for Caterpillar though, and Amazon this week.

A quick note on the trade war: markets will likely remain fixated on the next critical face-to-face meeting between President Xi and President Trump at the APEC Summit on November 16th-17th, which will limit how far stocks can go, regardless of how good earnings numbers are.

Source(s): Reuters ,AFP