Italian stocks fall on budget concerns, FTSE gains


(Reuters) – Italian stocks fell more than half a percent on Tuesday, pulling European stock markets lower, as concerns about the country’s budget deficit overshadowed news of talks on a merger of Fiat-Chrysler and Renault.

The German share price index DAX graph is pictured at the stock exchange in Frankfurt, Germany, May 27, 2019. REUTERS/Staff

By 0725 GMT, the pan-region STOXX 600 was roughly flat, undoing earlier gains, while Milan’s bank-heavy FTMIB index fell 0.6%.

Sources told Reuters on Monday that the European Commission was likely to start disciplinary procedures against Italy next week for breaking European Union debt rules, pushing bond yields higher and adding to worries for banking creditors.

London’s FTSE 100, however, rose 0.3% as mining company shares gained on the back of a rise in Chinese iron ore prices.

In a light day on corporate news and absent new headlines on U.S.-China trade issues, auto stocks built on Monday’s gains on hopes of a Fiat Chrysler-Renault merger. Both car makers climbed more than 1%.

French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said France must protect its own interests and jobs in any merger between the tow companies, even though France’s stake in Renault would automatically be diluted.


Ariana Grande
Image copyrightGETTY IMAGES
Ariana Grande

Singer Ariana Grande is asking for $10m (£8.3m) in damages from Forever 21, saying the retailer “stole her name” to promote its clothing and beauty products.

She said the firm published at least 30 “unauthorised” images and videos that suggested she had endorsed the brand.

It also hired a model with an “uncanny” resemblance to Ms Grande for some of its social media posts, she said.

Her lawsuit comes after a breakdown in talks over a joint marketing campaign.

Ms Grande said the firm, which has stores in more than 50 countries around the world, approached her in 2018 about endorsement.

However, she said talks broke down because “the amounts that Forever 21 offered to pay for the right to use Ms Grande’s name and likeness were insufficient for an artist of her stature.”

“Rather than pay for that right as the law requires, defendants simply stole it,” she said in the complaint, which was filed in federal court in California.

The “misleading campaign” occurred primarily in January and February of 2019, before the release of Ms Grande’s album, ‘Thank U, Next’, according to the suit.

Forever 21 declined to comment on the specifics of the lawsuit.

“That said, while we dispute the allegations, we are huge supporters of Ariana Grande and have worked with her licensing company over the past two years,” it said. “We are hopeful that we will find a mutually agreeable resolution and can continue to work together in the future.”

Ms Grande is a Grammy Award winner and best-selling singer. She also has more than 200 million followers on Instagram and Twitter.

Billboard named her “Woman of the Year” in 2018 after she raised $29m for victims of the Manchester suicide bombing attack, the lawsuit said.

Ms Grande is one of a long line of celebrities to sue over trademarks.

For example, in July, Kim Kardashian-West won $2.7m in damages  after accusing fashion brand Missguided USA of ripping off her outfits and using her name to sell clothes.


A US teenager has won a record-breaking $3m (£2.4m) to become world champion of the computer game Fortnite.

He told the BBC he wants to save most of his prize. “All I want is a new desk and maybe a desk for my trophy,” he said.

The final game was described by the commentators as a “ridiculous victory lap” as the winner played with a smile on his face whilst beating his rivals.


The event is seen as a major moment in e-sports, which is estimated to be a billion-dollar industry in 2019.

However, its record for the biggest prize pool is already set to be broken by another event called The International, taking place in August.

The Fortnite finals saw 100 players battling on giant computer screens.

Forty million players attempted to qualify over 10 weeks of online competition.

Boy playing FortniteThere are an estimated 32.4 million gamers in the UK.

More than 30 nations were represented with 70 players coming from the US, 14 from France and 11 from the UK.

The game involves 100 players being dropped onto an island where they have to find weapons, build structures and eliminate each other until one player comes out on top.

It has 200 million registered players worldwide and is free to download, but players can spend money on in-game purchases.

Players can play alone, as part of a four-person squad or a 20-member team, either with friends or people they do not know.

Fortnite on mobile and consoleLast month its makers were quizzed by MPs on whether game developers Epic Games did enough to verify the age of players or encourage users to take breaks after long periods of gameplay.

In April, the Duke of Sussex called for Fortnite to be banned, saying the game had been “created to addict”.

The firm’s legal counsel Canon Pence told MPs that Epic Games staff had been “quite taken aback” by Prince Harry’s comment.

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May 2019