GLOBAL MARKETS-Euro on shaky ground, stocks up on talk of aggressive ECB easing

* Euro heads back towards Wednesday's low $1.0565* ECB rate talk pushes short-term rates to record low* Market activity thinned by U.S. Thanksgiving holiday* Brent crude futures fall, copper prices rebound (New throughout, updates prices and market activity)By Dhara Ranasinghe and Alastair SharpLONDON/TORONTO, Nov 26 The euro slipped towards seven-month lows, bond yields fell and European shares rallied on Thursday on growing talk of aggressive stimulus from the European Central Bank next week.The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index settled 0.9 percent higher, adding to Wednesday's 1.4 percent gain, while the Euro STOXX 50 index added 1.1 percent.Canada's main stock index rose 0.25 percent, led by gains for its heavyweight financial sector and some of its biggest miners. Wall Street was closed for Thanksgiving, a day after shares closed flat in a pre-holiday lull.Overnight, Asian stocks closed modestly higher. MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan rose 0.2 percent."Expectations surrounding the ECB are running very high and this is driving European markets higher, weakening the euro and helping them do better than U.S. stocks," said Marco Vailati, head of research and investment at Italy's Cassa Lombarda."I think and hope the ECB will not disappoint but I realise that it won't be that easy," he said. Euro zone central bank officials are considering options such as staggered charges on banks hoarding cash and buying more debt ahead of next week's ECB meeting, Reuters reported on Wednesday.That fueled talk that the central bank is preparing aggressive measures to lift inflation and economic growth in the 19-member euro zone.HOW LOW FOR EURO?This view kept the euro under pressure, and it dipped to $1.0605, a day after it tumbled as low as $1.0565, its lowest since mid-April. Against the yen, the euro fell 0.2 percent to 130.12 yen, a day after hitting a seven-month low of 129.77.Market activity was thin due to the U.S. holiday, with the greenback trading in a tight range. "Ultimately, I think the ECB will be aggressive and that divergence in policy with the United States must imply a weaker euro," said Chris Scicluna, head of economic research at Daiwa Capital Markets in London."The question now is how far can we go, and as the Fed tightens, euro/dollar parity is looking likely by the second quarter of next year."Euro zone lending expanded in October at its fastest rate in nearly four years, while a broader measure of money circulating grew well ahead of expectations, ECB data showed.Still, banks continue to park around 160 billion euros in overnight deposits with the ECB, as negative rates and extraordinary stimulus have yet to unblock lending channels.Short-term euro zone interest rates fell to record lows as markets braced for an aggressive cut due to an ECB debate about two-tier deposit rates. German five-year government bond yields fell to a record low of -0.189 percent, while two-year yields hovered just above lows at -0.409 percent.U.S. economic data on Wednesday cemented expectations that U.S. interest rates will rise soon, helping push the gap between short-dated bond yields in the U.S. and Germany to their widest since 2006 and underpinning the dollar.OIL LOWER, COPPER REBOUNDSOil prices fell after six days of gains, as investors grew less worried that violence in the Middle East would disrupt supply, and returned their focus to the global supply glut.Brent crude oil futures fell 1.2 percent to $45.62 a barrel.Spot gold was little changed at $1,071.50 an ounce, close to its lowest in nearly six years on a firmer dollar and expectations for higher U.S. interest rates.Copper prices bounced to their highest in nearly two weeks, then pared gains. A strong dollar has slammed that metal in recent weeks.Turkish assets remained under pressure as Russia threatened economic retaliation over its downed jet, but other emerging equities edged up, snapping a three-day losing streak.Emerging stocks were last up 0.16 percent. (Additional reporting by Alastair Sharp in Toronto and Danilo Masoni; Editing by Dominic Evans) Read more

New York's Thanksgiving parade expected to draw huge crowd despite security jitters

NEW YORK Onlookers crowded Manhattan sidewalks and rooftops on Thursday to glimpse the marching bands, floats and massive balloons of Macy's annual Thanksgiving Day Parade, held under tight security two weeks after deadly attacks in Paris. New York officials said about 3.5 million spectators would turn out for the city's signature parade, in its 89th year. They urged residents and visitors to carry on with holiday plans, saying there were no credible threats to the most populous U.S. city.Jacqueline Williams, 52, of Atlanta, said the Nov. 13 Paris attacks in which 130 died were in the back of her mind as she attended the parade for the first time. Islamic State militants have claimed responsibility for the assault."We live in a society of being fearful. But it's almost like you can't be, because whatever's going to happen is going to happen, you can't stop it," said Williams, an insurance agent and realtor, who was accompanied by her son San, a 21-year-old student.Police officers guarded subway entrances under mostly sunny skies. They also were scattered through the crowd lined up 20 deep. Police Commissioner William Bratton said on Wednesday that attending the parade with its giant helium balloons of Snoopy, Hello Kitty and dozens of other characters was a way to fight international events that were designed to foment fear.The New York Police Department is ramping up parade security, adding members of a new counter-terrorism unit, officials said.About 50 million people worldwide were expected to watch the televised parade that snakes through 2.5 miles(4 km) of Manhattan. The show ushers in the holiday season and the busiest U.S. travel time. President Barack Obama sought to reassure Americans on Wednesday they were safe to take to roads, trains and planes over the holiday.A Reuters-Ipsos poll shows Americans have become more concerned about threats since the Paris attacks and identified terrorism as the most important problem facing the nation. Eric Blanc, 44, a logistics expert from Marseilles, France, said the prospect of an attack had not crossed his mind or those of three French friends he was traveling with."There's lots of security here and we feel safe," he said.New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said on Wednesday police had fine-tuned their response to a possible strike since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks in which the World Trade Center was toppled by two hijacked airliners. (Additional reporting and writing by Victoria Cavaliere and Alexander Besant; Editing by Alan Crosby) Read more

UPDATE 1-Big brands don't mind live Periscope stumbles to reach millennials

(Adds details of BMW campaign)By Jessica ToonkelNEW YORK Nov 25 When Benefit Cosmetics, a San Francisco-based maker of skin care and makeup, used Twitter's Periscope live-streaming video service to make a product demonstration, a heckler became part of the live show, typing to the presenter, "I can see down your top" even though there was no wardrobe malfunction.During BMW of North America's debut of its M2 coupe on Periscope last month, the sound dipped in and out as the driver talked about how the car handled.And one of Royal Caribbean International's first video streams was disrupted by a viewer posting the alphabet one letter at a time, in an attempt to clog the comment feed. Still, the company was happy with the 30,000 viewers the campaign attracted, said Kara Wallace, the cruise operator's vice president, North American marketing.While glitches like those would be unthinkable in a produced, controlled advertising environment, big brands such as Royal Caribbean, BMW and Benefit are going ahead with plans to use live-streaming video to attract some of the most finicky consumers, young millennials who ignore many traditional and online ads."There is an authenticity to this kind of campaign," Wallace said. "This is going to be the future of marketing."Periscope, which Twitter Inc bought earlier this year, allows anyone to live-stream an event through a mobile phone, while viewers can participate by sending cartoon hearts across the video feed and typing comments that scroll across the screen for all to see. Some viewers love the chance to interact, with results that can surprise the advertisers. It is still early days for Periscope, which currently does not charge advertisers, and had 10 million accounts as of August, compared with more than 300 million at Twitter.Some brands are not sure about using Periscope to market to consumers. Snack and beverage company Mondelez International Inc has experimented with it a bit, but has not decided if it wants to make it a staple part of its marketing, said Cindy Chen, global head of e-commerce."Periscope isn't really set up right now to accommodate brands," said Dustin Callif, managing director, digital at Tool North America, which produced the Royal Caribbean streams. "It's an experiment which is fun for a brand, but it is also risky."WORKING ON THE FLY While brands are well-versed in handling outside comments that come with all social media, live streaming video is extra tricky as everything is real-time, executives said.Even Twitter was caught off guard on a Periscope stream of an earnings call when a watcher asked CEO Jack Dorsey if he was single, sending a flood of cartoon hearts across the screen."The biggest sort of potential headache of Periscope is that it is a live event and you can't script anything," said Pete Harmata, digital innovations manager at BMW of North America. "You have to adjust on the fly, which can be pretty strenuous."BMW pulled a 24-hour teaser of its M2 coupe, showing just the front of the car, after a few minutes, when impatient viewers demanded to see the vehicle immediately. Hours later, the automaker debuted the M2, streaming a test drive while taking questions and comments from viewers. The debut drew 5,000 viewers, a drop in the bucket compared with television, but it was a lot cheaper, and it reached its biggest fans, said Dan Kelleher, co-chief creative officer at kirshenbaum bond senecal + partners, or kbs, which created the campaign.Benefit, owned by luxury-goods conglomerate LVMH, has at least one person ready to block inappropriate comments during each stream, said Claudia Allwood, director of U.S. digital marketing. Benefit's Periscope streams have averaged 2,000 viewers per stream.Similarly, thousands viewed Royal Caribbean's Periscope streams, which showed scenes of everything from customers riding a zip line on the island of St. Kitts to chefs preparing meals on its ships. The Miami-based company streamed the clips live on Periscope and ran them on 80 digital billboards across New York City after a slight delay.To prepare for any potential problems, Royal Caribbean had ads ready to run on the billboards if the Periscope stream went down or something unsavory happened.While it did not need to run the replacement ads, some issues arose. A video from a natural water slide in Puerto Rico had so many viewers that after a few minutes commenting was shut down, said John Kearse, creative director at Boston-based Mullen Lowe Group, which worked on the campaign.With the delay between the live stream and digital billboards, the company had time to strip out the alphabet comments that delayed its stream. They prepared for worse."We had to know what the F-bomb was in Russian," Kearse said. (Reporting by Jessica Toonkel; Additional reporting by Anjali Athavaley in New York and Yasmeen Abutaleb in San Francisco. Editing by Peter Henderson and John Pickering) Read more

Novartis heart failure medicine Entresto wins EU approval

ZURICH The European Commission has approved Novartis' Entresto drug for the treatment of adult patients with symptomatic chronic heart failure with reduced ejection fraction, the Swiss drugmaker said on Tuesday. Entresto is the first new drug in decades for helping patients whose lives are in danger because their hearts cannot pump blood efficiently. Analysts estimate it could have annual sales of some $5.4 billion by 2020. (Reporting by Joshua Franklin; Editing by Maria Sheahan) Read more

Roche buoyed by early data on atezolizumab in advanced melanoma

ZURICH Swiss drugmaker Roche released on Monday what it called encouraging early data on cancer drug atezolizumab in combination therapy for treating a form of advanced melanoma.A phase Ib study of atezolizumab (MPDL3280A), used in combination with the BRAF inhibitor Zelboraf for previously untreated BRAFV600 mutation-positive inoperable or metastatic melanoma, showed adverse events were "manageable and generally reversible", it said. It showed the combination resulted in an objective response rate of 76 percent of people, including three complete responders.Roche is banking on atezolizumab to bring in billions in revenue by 2020 as a centre-piece of its strategy to counter the threat of biosimilar versions of its older medicines with new drugs to fight cancer. "These early efficacy results encourage us to further evaluate combination strategies of atezolizumab and targeted therapies like Zelboraf in people living with advanced melanoma, a disease which is still associated with a poor prognosis," Roche head of global product development Sandra Horning said. Roche's immune-system boosting atezolizumab, which the company hopes will win approval for bladder and lung cancer in 2016, is one of its most anticipated prospects, along with its ocrelizumab medicine for multiple sclerosis and its ACE-910 investigational treatment for people with haemophilia.They are expected to rake in combined annual sales of $5 billion by 2020, according to Thomson Reuters Cortellis. (Reporting by Michael Shields; Editing by Mark Potter) Read more

Older Post