FTSE ticks higher in early trading
Traders have returned from the bank holiday weekend in a reasonable mood, with the FTSE 100 outperforming is European peers in early trading.
- Germany’s DAX: -0.05% at 12,065
- France’s CAC: -0.04% at 5,334
- Italy’s FTSE MIB: -0.9% at 20,185
- Spain’s IBEX: -0.2% at 9,202
- Europe’s STOXX 600: +0.03% at 377
Weber and Vestager among contenders for top EU job
Contenders to succeed Jean-Claude Juncker as president of the European commission include the German MEP Manfred Weber and Margrethe Vestager, the EU’s competition commissioner.
Manfred Weber has the backing of the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel. He leads the the European People’s party of which her CDU party is a member, but faces tough resistance from from the French President, Emmanuel Macron. He remains the bookies favourite, but is likely to meet stiff competition from a number of candidates.
Among them are Margrethe Vestager, the Danish politician with a high profile in her role as competition commissioner, not least for taking on the US tech giants. She has declared her interest in the top post, calling for gender balance in the top ranks of the EU.
Other frontrunners include Michel Barnier, who has so adeptly maintained a united front among the EU countries in his role as the bloc’s chief Brexit negotiator.
Frans Timmermans, the Dutch politician and a centre-left candidate, is another contender to succeed Junker.
Introduction: EU leaders meet to kickstart the process of filling the top jobs
Good morning, and welcome to our rolling coverage of the world economy, the financial markets, the eurozone and business.
With the dust barely settled after the results of the European elections, EU leaders will gather in Brussels today to kickstart the process of filling the top jobs.
The first round of nominations for the heads of the EU institutions – including the president of the European commission and president of the European Central Bank – is likely to mark the start of a long battle as leaders fight for their preferred candidates.
Jasper Lawler, head of research at London Capital Group, says the chosen successor to Mario Draghi at the ECB is currently “too close to call” and will be a highly politicized appointment.
It is most likely to be someone who knows the mechanics rather than an outsider being brought in. This makes the ECB unlikely to benefit from fresh blood. Germany, France and Italy will be trying to push for their own candidates such as Villeroy, Couere or Wiedemann.
Even if the larger EU countries fail, the smaller one’s stand ready with candidates such as Rehn or Liikanean from Finland. Each candidate has a very different profile. Euro traders will be watching the race carefully as the results will impact on the future direction of monetary policy.
Here in the UK, it is the first day of trading after the European election results on Sunday, when voters frustrated by the Brexit impasse dealt a heavy blow to both the Conservatives and Labour.
Also coming up:
- 9.30am BST: UK Finance, the trade body for banks, will publish mortgage approvals data for April
- 10am BST: The latest snapshot of business and consumer confidence in the eurozone
- 2pm BST: Case-Shiller house price index in the US