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Wednesday February 6, 2008 - 12:26:28 GMT
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European Market Update: Markets Quiet Ahead of Tomorrow's Rate Decisions

European Market Update: Markets Quiet Ahead of Tomorrow's Rate Decisions

· *** ECONOMIC DATA ***

· UK Jan Nationwide Consumer Confidence: 81 v 83e

· UK Jan Permanent Placements 51.4 v 50.7 in Dec; Jan permanent salaries 57.1 v 58.2 in Dec [NTC/REC]

· *** SPEAKERS/COMMENTS ***

· According to Vocalink, UK take- home pay in Jan rose by 2.8% v 3.4% in Dec.

· EU's Juncker says that Europe is to bring up FX at G7, says EUR can't bear imbalances by itself

· UK Former BOE Official Nickell: Sees 25bps rate cut at Thursday MPC meeting as likely || Does not see any chance of a 50bp cut by the BOE this week || The UK housing slump will not be that big

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

· While the Chinese markets were closed as fireworks littered the horizon during the New Year celebrations, the European markets echoed the holiday sentiment, as there were no major economic releases, nor were there any speakers. Trading was volatile, with the European indices spending time in both the red, and the green. Amongst those reporting positive results in Europe overnight were BskyB, and France Telecom, while Volvo and Moet Hennessy reported less favorable results. Amongst the bid names due out during the US pre-market today are Time Warner, Cigna, Sara Lee, and Devon Energy.

· European fixed income futures were also volatile overnight. Yield curves continue to flatten ahead of tomorrow's interest rate decisions. While most believe that the ECB will continue to live by its price-stability-mantra (ie. hold rates), many believe that the BOE will cut rates tomorrow. Former BOE MPC member Nickell commented in an interview overnight noting that he expects that the BOE will cut rates by 25bps tomorrow, and added that there is no real chance of a 50bps rate cut. Recall that the Times' shadow MPC had a split vote this weekend. Perhaps tomorrow's rate decisions will make up for the lack of excitement in today's session. Trading is likely to remain technical for the remainder of the session as there are no major economic releases scheduled in the US today, however there are a few Fed speakers peppered in here and there during the afternoon.

· On the commodity front crude oil futures remain below the $90-handle ahead of today's inventory data. Elsewhere spot gold is trading higher in the session but remains below the $900-level.

· The USD remains mixed among the major pairs in choppy trading on Wednesday. Risk aversion continues to provide some firm footing for JPY and CHF as global equity markets linger on the soft side. European bourses followed the Asian shares into negative territory on the open sending USD/JPY towards the 106-level and EUR/JPY near the 155-level before consolidating. The EUR/USD holding above the 1. 4600-level with dealers noting that Euro sell stops are building below the 1.4590-level. Selling of Euros led by Eastern European names through the session. The GBP softer across the board ahead of the BOE rate decision on Thursday. Growing expectation of a 25bps cut among dealing desks. The CAD probing towards its 1.0110 Jan pivot point. CAD off its worst level as oil and gold rebounded from their perspective session lows.

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