Europe’s Appliances Are Smarter – Prettier, Too

Europe Factors to Watch-Shares set to rise, telecoms in focus

Siemens showed off a fridge that takes a picture of its own interior, so that you can see its contents while you’re away at the supermarket, for instance. Totally flat, monolithic induction cooktops were everywhere, including one from Bosch with two huge “flex” cooking zones (rather than four individual zones for pots and pans). Miele’s new flagship W1 washer, introduced at IFA , has a feature called TwinDos. It’s a big compartment that holds two pre-measured detergent tubs, which only need to be filled every few dozen cycles. The W1’s PowerWash feature can re-circulate soapy water rather than just dredging clothes through the same dirty puddle. The matching T1 dryer has a nozzle in the door, meant for a steam cycle. Miele also debuted a new dishwasher that opens by knocking twice on the front panel. It has no exterior handle or buttons, so it can just blend into your cabinetry. There are giant booths at this conference dedicated to these machines, and actual press conferences to announce them. (In the U.S., most products are introduced through statements, or just quietly appear in showrooms.) It’s a world apart from any stateside show. So what will it take for Americans to start celebrating appliances, rather then treating them like a chore? A place to get excited about them would be a great start.

Europe Drives McDonald’s Aug Comps

At 0621 GMT, futures for Euro STOXX 50, for UK’s FTSE 100, for Germany’s DAX and for France’s CAC were up 0.1-0.3 percent. German Bund futures also rose on Thursday, tracking gains in U.S. Treasuries after strong investor demand at a $21 billion auction of 10-year notes. The euro zone industrial production figure for July, due at 0900 GMT, is seen rising 0.1 percent month-for-month. European stocks have rallied strongly this week, with the euro zone’s blue-chip Euro STOXX 50 index hitting a two-year high on Wednesday, helped in part by recent better-than-expected macroeconomic data. “The trend is pretty strong, although it’s better to wait for the index to close the week at this level before we can talk about a 10 percent upside potential in the next six to eight months,” Aurel BGC chartist Gerard Sagnier said. ——————————————————————————– MARKET SNAPSHOT AT 0620 GMT: LAST PCT CHG NET CHG S&P 500 1,689.13 0.31 % 5.14 NIKKEI 14,387.27 -0.26 % -37.8 MSCI ASIA EX-JP 535.73 -0.08 % -0.45 EUR/USD 1.3306 -0.02 % -0.0003 USD/JPY 99.30 -0.54 % -0.5400 10-YR US TSY YLD 2.877 — -0.04 10-YR BUND YLD 1.957 — -0.04 SPOT GOLD $1,357.91 -0.6 % -$8.23 US CRUDE $107.65 0.08 % 0.09 > GLOBAL MARKETS-Asia shares inch up, dollar stays under pressure > US STOCKS-Wall St rises on Syria talks, Apple falls further > Nikkei edges down on stronger yen; Sharp sags on dilution fears > FOREX-Dollar under duress as markets temper Fed taper view > PRECIOUS-Gold hits 3-wk low on hopes Syria strike will be averted > METALS-Copper sinks to lowest in four sessions ahead of Fed > Brent holds above $111 as investors watch Syria developments COMPANY NEWS: TELEFONICA, TELECOM ITALIA Telefonica is studying different options to buy out fellow investors in Telecom Italia without the Spanish group adding to its own substantial debt burden, a source familiar with the situation told Reuters on Wednesday. VIVENDI, HAVAS French telecom-and-media group Vivendi said it aimed to decide on whether to split its media businesses from its French telecom unit SFR by early 2014 and named its largest shareholder Vincent Bollore as board vice-chairman. TELECOM OPERATORS The European Commission on Wednesday proposed a price cap on cross-border phone calls in Europe and asked for veto power over sales of mobile spectrum, as part of a fresh attempt to overhaul the bloc’s telecommunications sector. EDF Norges Bank Investment Management, the asset management unit of the Norwegian central bank, is selling 13 million shares in the French electricity company, according to a source involved in the sale. SOCIETE GENERALE France’s No. 2 listed bank, is exploring the sale of its Asia private banking arm, people familiar with the matter told Reuters, seeking to exit a market where small managers are getting hit by rising costs and competition. RICHEMONT Luxury goods group Richemont said five-month sales rose 9 percent, just shy of estimates in a Reuters poll amid weak demand for its high-end watches in Greater China.

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Europe In Europe, comps grew 3.3%, higher than 3.1% growth in the year-ago period and a decline of 1.9% in the previous month. As expected, UK and Russia performed strongly. France too put up a good show this month thus reinvigorating European comps. However, Germany continued to remain tepid. The rollout of blended-ice beverages in the U.K., strong premium food events in U.K. and Russia and focus on core products in France were the high points of the month. APMEA APMEA continued to underperform with a 0.5% decline in comparable store sales, in stark contrast to 5.7% growth recorded in the comparable period of last year. Comps were hurt by the continued weak results in Japan, Australia and China. Japan is still recovering from the aftermath of last years earthquake with consumers dining out less frequently. Also, the lingering impact of the avian flu outbreak in China earlier this year put Chinese comps under pressure. However, the decline in comps was narrower than last months decline of 1.9%, probably due to the positive results from the shift in timing of Ramadan. Going forward, everyday affordability, locally-relevant menu and convenience will play a key role in reviving comps in APMEA. Breakfast will also be a crucial growth catalyst. The number of Asians eating breakfast at restaurants is 50% less than the U.S.