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EUROPEAN MIDDAY BRIEFING : Lockdown Worries -2-

11/24/2021 | 06:01am EST

BERLIN-The head of the United Nations atomic watchdog agency left Iran late Tuesday after failing to reach a deal to allow inspectors access to a factory making equipment for Tehran's nuclear program, diplomats said Wednesday, casting a fresh shadow over international nuclear talks set for next week.

The Wall Street Journal reported last week that the factory, in Karaj, Iran, had resumed producing key parts for centrifuges, which are used to enrich uranium, without any monitoring by the International Atomic Energy Agency. The diplomats said talks between the IAEA and Iran were continuing.

Turkey's Erdogan Looks to Regional Rival for Investment Amid Currency Crisis

ANKARA, Turkey-Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is set to host on Wednesday the de facto leader of the United Arab Emirates in search of foreign investment that could help ease the country's economic crisis after the local currency extended a sharp slide.

Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed al Nahyan's visit to Ankara marks a recent thaw in ties after years of animosity between the two countries, which have competed fiercely for influence in the Middle East. It comes as Turkey seeks much-needed foreign investment and offers the oil-rich U.A.E. potential support in a broader struggle against Abu Dhabi's other main regional rival, Iran.

German Business Sentiment Declined Again in November

German business sentiment worsened again in November, as supply bottlenecks and the rise in coronavirus cases clouded the short-term outlook.

The Ifo business-climate index decreased to 96.5 points in November from 97.7 points in October, data from the Ifo Institute showed Wednesday. This is the fifth consecutive decrease of the indicator after it peaked at 101.8 in June.

Enel Sets Out Increased Midterm Investment; Brings Forward Net-Zero Commitment

Enel SpA plans to step up investment in renewable energy and infrastructure in the coming years and aims to reach carbon neutrality sooner than previously targeted.

Marking its capital markets day Wednesday, the Italian utility said it plans to increase direct investment to 170 billion euros ($191.22 billion) between now and 2030, 6% more than the previous plan. A further EUR40 billion will be invested via third parties, Enel said.

United Utilities Says 1H Pretax Profit Rose, Expects FY Revenue Increase of 2%

United Utilities Group PLC on Wednesday reported a higher pretax profit for the first half of its fiscal year as consumption recovered, and forecast that revenue will rise 2% in the whole year.

The FTSE 100 water company, which operates in northwest England, made a pretax profit of 212.7 million pounds ($284.5 million) for the six months ended Sept. 30, up from GBP201.1 million for the first half of fiscal 2021. Its net loss was GBP216.2 million, reflecting significant deferred tax charges.

BlackRock Invests in Car Makers' Charging-Network Operator Ionity

Porsche AG said Wednesday that asset manager BlackRock Inc. is investing in charging-network provider Ionity, a joint venture that includes a number of auto makers such as the Volkswagen AG sports-car brand.

Porsche said it would invest 700 million euros ($787.4 million) by 2025 together with other Ionity shareholders but didn't disclose individual shares or the size of BlackRock's stake in the network. Ionity plans to increase the number of 350kW charging points for electric vehicles in Europe to 7,000 by 2025 from the current 1,500.

Apple Sues Israeli Firm NSO Over Spyware, Claiming iPhone Hacks

Apple Inc. has sued NSO Group, an Israeli maker of surveillance software, alleging the company misused its products and services, escalating a battle over surveillance and user privacy.

The lawsuit alleges that NSO Group engaged in "concerted efforts in 2021 to target and attack Apple customers, Apple products and servers and Apple through dangerous malware and spyware," and seeks to bar NSO Group from using Apple's products.

GLOBAL NEWS

U.S. Households Likely Increased Spending in October

U.S. consumers likely boosted spending in October, helping to power the broader economic recovery as businesses step up investment and the labor market tightens.

Economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal estimated that consumer spending rose 1% in October from a month earlier and that personal incomes edged up 0.2% last month. The Commerce Department's report on October personal income and spending is scheduled to be published at 10 a.m. Eastern time on Wednesday. It includes a key reading on inflation, the personal consumption expenditures price index.

U.S. Jobless Claims Expected to Edge Down

Filings for unemployment benefits likely continued their gradual decline last week amid a hot labor market.

Economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal estimate that weekly jobless claims, a proxy for layoffs, fell to 260,000 in the week ended Nov. 20 from 268,000 the prior week. That would bring the four-week moving average for initial claims, which smooths out weekly volatility, to the lowest level since the Covid-19 crisis began last year.

RBNZ Raises Cash Rate, Forecasts Greater Monetary Tightening

WELLINGTON, New Zealand-New Zealand's central bank raised its policy interest rate for the second time in two months as it withdraws pandemic stimulus that has driven consumer price inflation to its highest point since 2010.

The Reserve Bank of New Zealand on Wednesday raised its cash rate by 25 basis points to 0.75%. Seven of eight forecasters in a Wall Street Journal survey had expected that outcome. The central bank had raised the cash rate to 0.5% from a record low 0.25% in October.

Japan Confirms It Will Tap State Oil Reserves

The Japanese government confirmed on Wednesday that it will tap its state oil reserves, following a similar announcement from President Biden overnight aimed at bringing down gasoline prices.

Japan plans to release several days' worth of oil by selling it on the market. It will then buy oil at a later date to replenish the stockpile. The government currently holds about 145 days' worth of oil.

Write to paul.larkins@dowjones.com

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This article is a text version of a Wall Street Journal newsletter published earlier today.

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

11-24-21 0601ET

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