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Friday February 15, 2008 - 11:49:57 GMT
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European Market Update: European Markets Turn Lower Ahead of Extended US Weekend


· FR Jan BOF Business Sentiment: 107 v 103 prior || Prior revised from 103 to 106

· FR Q4 Preliminary Non-Farm Payrolls: 0.4% v 0.3%e

· FR Q4 Preliminary Wages: 0.3% v 0. 5%e

· SP Jan CPI: M/M -0.6% v -0.6%e || Y/Y 4.3% v 4.4%e

· SP Jan Core CPI: M/M -1.0% v -0.9%e || Y/Y 3.1% v 3.3%e

· SP Jan Harmonized CPI: M/M -0.6% v -0.6%e || Y/Y 4.4% v 4.4%e

· EU Dec Trade Balance: -€4.2B v €500Me || Prior revised from €2.6B to €3. 0B

· EU Dec Trade Balance sa: -€2.1B v €2.5Be || Prior revised from €2.7B to €2.0B


· UK economic outlook: Alistair Darling could see his budget deficit more than triple to an unprecedented £150B if the economy grinds to a halt || The report said a major downturn in the coming months, with the economy shrinking by 1.0%, "could see public borrowing rise as high as £100B or even £150B per annum, blowing the fiscal framework to smithereens and perhaps even leading to some rise in the Government''s relative cost of borrowing". [Telegraph]

· Bank of France: Forecasts Q1 GDP at 0.5% (first forecast) || Jan industry output increased || New orders strengthened || Books are high and are above normal || Finished goods stocks are up slightly

· GE Finance Minister: Forecasts German GDP growth of 1.7% in 2008 || Stimulus package may lead to an ECB rate hike || Market crisis to last well into 2008 || Sees no signs fo recession in Germany

· GE Finance Minister: IKB bailout to prevent damage to financial system || €1. 0B in aid for IKB to come from earnings from dividends || Government may face an extra €200M in IKB costs || Private banks have pledged €300M to the IKB rescue


· European fixed income futures are currently trading in negative territory in the session with little economic data to provide any guidance. The lower opens comes as follow through on comments made by the ECB''s Weber and the ECB''s Trichet in the previous session, as well as a sell off in the long-end of the treasury curve in the
US. There has been a slight flattening in the 2/10-year spread in Germany overnight, however the spread remains within range of its recently made multi-month high. Heading into the extended weekend in the US bunds could gain some support due to a general lack of optimism surrounding the credit market, however it is likely that big news will be necessary for this. Over in the UK gilt futures are trading higher in the session and are outperforming their European counterparts following the Bank of England''s quarterly inflation report on Wednesday as well as the 2042 gilt auction yesterday. In new supply the Portuguese treasury has mandated Banco Espirito Santo, Barclays, BNP Paribas, Calyon, and SG CIB to managed a new benchmark 10-year OT due to be sold in the coming weeks, according to source reports. Belgium announced plans to sell a new 3-year benchmark OLO 53 overnight as well. That auction is scheduled to take place on February 25. Over in France the AFT announced that it plans to offer an between €5.0B and €5.5B in 2010, 2011, and 2013 BTANs on February 21.

· On the commodity front crude oil has been between the $95 and $96 handles for the duration of the session thus far. Oil remains elevated by renewed concern over Exxon''s row with
Venezuela, as well as general concerns about the economic outlook for the US economy. Crude is also gaining support from the smaller than expected rise in inventories posted on Wednesday. Elsewhere Gold is trading higher in the session, and has spent time on both sides of the $910-handle throughout the session. Elsewhere silver and copper futures are trading up as well as market participants seek refuge from the weakening dollar.

· The European indices are currently mixed. After spending the earlier part of the session in positive territory the indices sold off ahead of
5:00 et on seemingly little news. Some analyst have attributed the decline to a Citgroup note circulating that says that UBS could take another CHF20B in writedowns in 2008. In equity news overnight, EU25 new car registrations for January declined by 0.2% compared to January of 2007. The German Finance Minister said overnight that the IKB bailout will prevent damage to financial system, noting that €1.0B in aid for IKB will come from earnings from dividends. He added that the Government may face an extra €200M in IKB costs noting that private banks have already pledged €300M to the IKB rescue. Elsewhere, earnings from Deutsche Postbank were positively received. Deutsche Postbank reported fourth-quarter writedowns of €51M, but noted that risk provision is expected to rise in 2008. Deutsche Postbank''s CEO later commented on the market noting that subprime will speed up consolidation in the German banking sector.


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