LONDON (The Deal) -- European markets were in positive territory Wednesday morning, but with quarterly earnings coming in thick and fast and all eyes on the Federal Reserve's policy decision later, traders were said to be cautious.
In London, the FTSE 100 was up 0.4% at 6,390.66, while in Paris the CAC4 0 rose 0.33% to 4,862.97. In Frankfurt, the DAX climbed 0.30% to 10,353.00
One market that did less well was Norway. The Oslo All Share index was down 0.6% at 654.21 weighed down not only by worse than expected results -- and bigger spending cuts -- at the state-controlled oil company Statoil (STO) , which dropped 2.17% to Nkr135 a share, but also by a big loss announced by the country's $860 billion sovereign wealth fund. The world's largest SWF lost about $32 billion in the third quarter, hit by falls in the Chinese stock market and its holdings in beleaguered auto-maker Volkswagen (VLKAF) .
Yet in Germany, Volkswagen itself motored up 1.45% to 124.65 despite the costly and still unpredictable fallout from its diesel emissions scandal. VW declared a net loss of €1.67 billion ($1.85 billion) for the three months to Sept. 30, largely because of the €6.7 billion exceptional charge it's taking for the costs of the diesel issue; the company admitted these are likely to rise "as the legal risks crystallize." Sales, as measured by the number of cars delivered to customers, have fallen 3.4% compared with the same quarter last year but actually rose slightly within Germany itself. Passenger car sales in North America were up by 5.8%. Revenues for the quarter were up 5.3% on last year. The next quarter may be when the real impact of the scandal becomes visible, analysts said.
In London, telecoms provider BT Group (BT) was the biggest riser on the FTSE 100, up 3.1% at 466 pence a share. That was after the competition regulator provisionally cleared its £12.5 billion ($19.1 billion) deal to buy mobile telecoms business EE Ltd. from Deutsche Telekom (DTEGF) and Orange, saying there was little overlap between BT's largely fixed line and broadband offering and EE's mobile product. Deutsche Telekom was up 0.46% at €16.95 and Orange was up 0.61% at €15.75.
At the other end of the FTSE board this morning, civilian and defense aerospace engineer Meggitt (MEGGY) dropped 21.6% to 361.8 pence after delivering a profit warning, citing both weak military markets and cutbacks in the oil sector. Meggitt is the second British defense contractor to issue a devastating profit warning in as many days, after Chemring blamed a delay in the paperwork for a Middle Eastern contract and an earlier cancelled contract by the U.S. government.
Also down was Lloyds Banking (LYG) - Get Lloyds Banking Group Plc Report . The U.K. lender posted a 28% rise in third quarter pretax profit to £958 million, but was also forced to set aside yet another £500 million for miss-selling payment protection insurance. Rival British bank Barclays (BCS) - Get Barclays Plc Report was off slightly too, falling 0.06% to 250.7 pence despite confirming the appointment this morning of a new CEO James "Jes" Staley. The appointment was widely expected.
In Asia, markets were mixed. In Tokyo the Nikkei 225 closed up 0.67% at 18,903.02 while the Topix finished the day up 0.26% at 1,547.19. But Hong Kong's Hang Seng slipped 0.8% to finish at 22,956.57 and in mainland China the Shanghai Composite dipped 1.72% to 3,375.196. The tech-heavy Shenzhen Composite finished down 1.89% at 3,524.92.