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Thursday January 24, 2008 - 11:28:29 GMT
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European Market Update: European Markets Beam Following a Rebound in the US



· *** ECONOMIC DATA ***

· SP Dec Producer Prices: M/M 0.5% v 0.3%e || Y/Y 5.9% v 5. 7%e

· IT Jan Consumer Confidence: 102.2 v 106.6e || Prior revised from 107.0 to 106.9

· SW Dec PPI: M/M 0.0% v 0.2%e || Y/Y 3.9% v 4. 1%e

· GE Jan IFO Business Climate: 103.4 v 102.3e

· GE Jan IFO Current Assessment: 107.9 v 107.4e

· GE Jan IFO Expectations: 99. 0 v 97.5e

· UK Dec BBA Loans: 42,088 || Prior revised from 44,811 to 43,944

· *** SPEAKERS/COMMENTS ***

· UK Chancellor Darling to announce concessions on proposed capital gains tax [Financial Times]

· ECB's Liebscher: 2008 GDP growth may be slightly weaker

· ECB's Liebscher: Reiterates concern over potential Euro-zone inflation surge

· ECB's Liebscher: Concerned about secondary inflation effects

· ECB's Liebscher: Expects a US recovery during the 2H of 2008

· ECB's Liebscher: Has no comment on Fed rate cuts

· GE Economic Minister: There is no doubt regarding solidity on German banking system

· GE Economic Minister: Has concerns about global financial market situation

· GE Economic Minister: Stock market losses are no cause for panic

· SP Economic Minister: There is a significant debate within ECB to lower interest rates

· *** FIXED INCOME/FX/COMMODITIES/ERRATUM ***

· In equity news overnight French Bank Societe Generale finally laid waste to recent rumors when it declared that it will seek a €5.5B capital increase. The company uncovered fraud in its market activities, which it says will cut pretax profit by €4. 9B in 2007. The company also announced that it will take a Q4 writedown of €2.05B related to “US risks”. Elsewhere in France BNP Paribas noted that it will report earnings results next week, reassuring that its accounts have nothing that merits a market warning. Over in Spain Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argenta met its FY07 net income estimates, and noted that it has not had to make any writedowns due to the global financial crisis. Despite the bad news from Societe Generale the European equity markets were beaming at the open following the rise US markets yesterday after the NY State Insurance Department announced that it continues to pursue goals of market stability and increased capital and capacity for bond insurers. S&P futures enjoyed a nice spin in positive territory overnight, but crossed back into the red zone after stronger-than-expected German sentiment data seemed to nullify an earlier comment from the Spanish economic minister Solbes who said that there is a significant debate within the ECB about whether or not to cut rates. There are a number of big earnings due out in during the US pre- market today including dow component AT&T, telecom giant Nokia, as well as Lockheed Martin, and industrial giant Ford.

· Fixed income futures opened lower in today's session on the back of a rebound in equity markets which started in the US following comments from the NY State Insurance Department yesterday, lasted throughout the Asian session, and has persisted into the European session. As market confidence seems to have been restored, at least of the mean time, we're seeing a general flattening of the German yield curve as investors pull out of the short en. The 2/10- year spread in the bunds has narrowed slightly from the 19-month highs seen yesterday. Assuming that the corrective tone persists a continued flattening of the yield curve is expected as pressure for an ECB rate cut in the near-term will begin to dissipate. In addition to this, economic data will play a key role as well. The German IFO data exceeded analysts' estimates today indicating continued strong sentiment in the growth engine in the EU. The 10-year BTP continues to outperform the 10-year bund as the spread continues to hover around its widest level since late September 2001. According to some analyst Italian government bonds will also be active in the coming days as the Government confidence vote is set to go to the senate later today. A failed vote of confidence could lead to the resignation PM Prodi, and hence a period of political uncertainty, which in theory might lead to a little flurry in the BTPs.

· In commodities front month crude is trading higher in the session ahead of today's inventory data. Oil has rebounded from it's recent downward spiral as equity markets have regained confidence, staging a rebound in the US yesterday, which lasted across Asia and into the European session. Today's inventory data comes a day late, and is expected to show a rise of 1.9M barrels in crude inventories. Spot gold is trading higher in the session as well, following higher trading during the Asian session on the back of bargain hunting and a decrease in margin-call related selling. Some analysts are also attributing the rise in gold to safe haven flows on renewed economic uncertainty ahead of the Fed's meeting next week. February Fed fund futures currently imply about a 14% probability that the Fed will cut rates by 75bps at Wednesday's meeting. Elsewhere copper is also enjoying some high time as the equities markets trade higher. Front month copper futures are trading up over 3% at the moment.

· Currency markets were rather quiet overnight. The Euro maintained a steady tone in European trading as ECB members continued to stress the importance of anchoring inflation expectations over the slowing growth prospects. The JPY and CHF are off of their Asian lows as Societe Generale's capital infusion request continues to keep the concerns over the financial sector on the front burner.

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