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There’s some interesting news flow today on Europe, which appears to be having a bit of a tricky time of it at the moment.

The latest PMI shows European growth at its lowest ebb for two years as manufacturing orders fell across the Eurozone.

Then there are more problems looming for embattled Chancellor Merkel in upcoming regional elections as well as Italy cosying up to the Russians as Italian PM exchanges warm words with Putin on his Moscow visit. I suspect the Italians are trying to rile the EU with the implied threat of getting closer to the Russians following the EU’s rejection of its recently-proposed budget.

All three of the eurozone’s top economies are experiencing issues at the moment – Germany’s Merkel continues to look vulnerable at the head of a fragile coalition, France’s Macron has just presided over a number of senior resignations and now Italy is threatening to go rogue. Surely this has got to strengthen our hand in Brexit negotiations!

Debenhams’ nightmare

Earlier on today, Debenhams announced the cancellation of its dividend, a full year loss of £500m and the closure of up to 50 of its stores, putting around 4,000 jobs at risk.

I don’t think that this is the end of the bad news as there is still a lot of work to be done at the troubled department store.

Although Mike Ashley was essentially sin-binned for implying he’d be making an offer for it recently, you would have thought that he MUST be running the slide rule over a potential takeover given he already owns a sizeable chunk of the business.

He’s clearly got his hands full at the moment with the basket case that is House of Fraser, but you would have thought there could be tremendous upside if he managed to snap up Debenhams for a song – even if it was just for the real estate portfolio.

Also in Watson’s Daily today:

  • In MACROECONOMIC AND MARKETS NEWS, Eurozone growth slows, Merkel faces problems, Italy cosies up to Russia, South Africa cuts its growth forecasts and markets give up 2018 gains
  • In AUTOMOTIVE NEWS, Ford disappoints, Tesla delights, Geely and Daimler announce a ride-sharing JV and UK car manufacturing hits new lows
  • In UK HIGH STREET NEWS, Patisserie Valerie faces more problems, GBK puts its hands up, Taco Bell returns to the UK and Debenhams faces a record annual loss
  • In OTHER NEWS, I bring you David Schwimmer’s riposte. For more details, subscribe today..

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Watson’s Daily is the new name of my daily weekday blog that used to be called Watson’s WIFI. It helps readers improve their commercial and economic awareness by bringing attention to and explaining what is important and why in the daily business news in plain English. Since it started towards the end of 2014, it has helped people around the world from all walks of life keep in touch with and better understand what is important in world stock markets.

For the price of less than a cup of coffee per month you will get access to the Daily in addition to a host of other periodic and thematic materials which will educate and provoke.

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Peter Watson

Peter Watson

Peter Watson founded Seiha Consulting, a career transition consultancy, after working in HR and four recruitment agencies. He was also a stockbroker for 13 years in London and Tokyo, advising some of the world’s biggest financial institutions on European and Japanese stock market investment. He started writing the Daily (previously known as “Watson’s WIFI”) to help candidates prepare for interviews – but soon found that many others wanted to read it as well!

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