Swedes more insecure about jobs

Swedish households and companies remain optimistic about the future with order intake looking healthy and the construction sector on a roll. However, not everything is on the upside as unemployment continues to rise and no new jobs appear on the horizon. These are the findings of two reports released on Friday by the National Institute of Economic Research (KI) - namely, the November barometer and the household purchasing plans. Together, the reports paint a rosy picture of the economy despite some areas of concern.

Retail sales decline

The latest retail sales reports from Statistics Sweden and the Swedish Research Institute of Trade (HUI) show that retail shares declined 1.1 per cent in October in terms of fixed prices – the first time in seven years that retail sales are down on a monthly basis. In terms of fixed prices and seasonally adjusted, retail sales were up 3.5 per cent compared to October 2003, lower than the average market consensus of an increase of 4.4 per cent year-on-year.

Eastern European markets lift Scania, Volvo

Russian, Polish and Czech haulage companies are draining Western Europe of second-hand trucks in a trend driven by the stricter environment protection laws in Eastern Europe. For Volvo and Scania, this entails a steep rise in sales.

SEB to expand eastwards

SEB is eyeing expansion eastwards, with the bank now gradually setting up in the former eastern bloc states. SEB, for instance, has bought a bank in Ukraine, says SEB Chief Executive Lars Thunell in an interview with DN. Thunell also denied rumours that Citibank was out to take over SEB.

Carnegie ownership baffling market

Carnegie’s ownership image became even more muddled after Icelandic investment group Burdarás bought a major bloc of shares in the broker, making it the biggest shareholder with a stake of 13.4 per cent. Despite speculation, there is nothing to show that Burdarás had struck an alliance with rival Kaupthing, which had earlier attempted to buy itself into Carnegie.

“They have never co-operated before,” said Jonas Fridthjofsson, analyst at Islandsbanki.

Sources: Dagens Nyheter, Svenska Dagbladet, Dagens Industri


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