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Here are today’s top stories for Europe.

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There’s something about Norway’s sovereign wealth fund that fascinates investors. It’s the world’s largest, clocking in at $900 billion. It’s also influential and judiciously managed. We got a look today at its 2016 performance: The fund gained 6.9 percent, or $53 billion, thanks in part to the year-end Trump rally. It also plunged deeper into emerging and frontier markets, bringing the number of countries it has invested in to 77. — Andy Reinhardt

Rotterdam is the biggest port in Europe, and global trade accounts for 130,000 local jobs. Yet this North Sea gateway to the world is also the birthplace of an anti-globalization, anti-immigrant and anti-Islam movement that is on course to place first in Dutch elections on March 15. Workers are worried about their jobs in a world of rapid technological change.

He lobbied for “Leave” while profiting from Europe. That contradiction doesn’t bother John Elliott, the owner and founder of a small British maker of water coolers and dehumidifiers. Four-fifths of his sales are in the EU, and he knows they could be subject to tariffs after Brexit, but he supported the referendum on principle. You can read his story and those of three other British businesses in our continuing series, “On Brexit’s Front Lines.”

Brexit’s impact on banks won’t be limited to London. Indeed, two-thirds of the 2.2 million people employed in the U.K.’s finance industry work outside the U.K. banking hub, in cities from Edinburgh to Birmingham and Manchester. The industry’s reach could put Prime Minister Theresa May under pressure to defend finance in the upcoming Brexit talks.


Court probes into French presidential candidates have skewed their standings, in perhaps unexpected ways. François Fillon, the one-time champion of the establishment, has been set back after prosecutors looked into claims he paid his wife a salary for no work. But a separate probe into allegations that populist firebrand Marine Le Pen misused EU campaign funds doesn’t appear to have eroded her support.

The Italians mastered coffee way before Starbucks, says Howard Schultz, the founder and CEO of the coffee purveyor. Now, for the first time in its history, Starbucks will open an outlet in the country that birthed espresso and inspired Schultz to found the chain in Seattle. The Milan venue won’t be a routine shop, but one of the retailer’s new high-end Roastery outlets that serves coffee, food, and alcohol.

Put the blimp out of your mind. Toyota and Royal Dutch Shell have ambitious plans for hydrogen fuel cell cars. But they face a marketing problem, because many people associate the gas with nuclear weapons or exploding zeppelins.

The Hindenburg disaster at Lakehurst, New Jersey in 1937. 

Photographer: Sam Shere/Getty Images
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