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Tuesday March 25, 2008 - 11:35:43 GMT
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European Market Update: Equities Come Back Strong After Holiday Rest

European Market Update: Equities Come Back Strong After Holiday Rest

· *** ECONOMIC DATA ***

· SP Feb Producer Prices: M/M 0.5% v 1.3% prior || Y/Y 6.6% v 6.6% prior

· SZ Feb UBS Consumption Indicator: 2.321 v 2.191 prior || Prior revised from 2. 191 to 2.154

· *** SPEAKERS/COMMENTS ***

· ECB Papademos: Recent forex movements have been excessive || Hard to gauge market turmoil impact on European Banks || Estimated losses of Euro-Zone Banks manageable.

· UK According to CBI, the economic slowdown is set to be more prolonged than anticipated and will prompt recession-like conditions || CBI's McCafferty said that continued tightening of credit will put the brakes on the economy well into 2009 [Times]

· CBI cut its 2008 UK growth forecast to 1.8% from 2.0% || Sees UK inflation peaking at 3.2% in Q3 of 2008 || Sees credit crunch prolonging growth slowdown into 2009.

· IFO's Sinn: Too soon for the ECB to lower interest rates || The market crisis is not hitting the real EMU economy yet || Market crisis will eventually impact the EMU

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

· European fixed income futures gapped down at the open and continued to decline from there following rotation out of fixed income and into equity in the US on Monday, which resulted in a 1.5% gain in the Dow following JP Morgan's increased bid for Bear Stearns while Europe was closed for Easter. Fixed income futures gained additional downside momentum early on after the Icelandic Central Bank raised interest rates by 125bps to 15.00% in an inter-meeting policy move. The Sedlabanki said that it made the move in an attempt to head off the risk of persistent inflation. European yield curves have been flattening overnight, while swap spreads have been narrowing from recent. Supply will be in focus this week with issuance from
Germany, Italy, and Spain totaling at around €19.5B, however supply will be offset by €15.3B in redemptions, and €4.7B in coupon payments collectively in Belgium and Greece.

· Front month crude oil futures continue to decline on speculation that a slowing
US economy will curb demand. Crude prices have decline by around 01% after reaching an all time high of $111.80/barrel last week. In energy-related news overnight Nigeria boosted its April selling price for all of its April crude exports by $0.45 to a premium of $3.55 over Dated Brent. According to an article in La Tribune French gas tariffs may rise by 5.6% on July 1. The WSJ commented on Saudi Arabia's gas reserves overnight discussing the various exploration setbacks that international oil companies have faced in seeking to explore for natural gas in Saudi Arabia's southern desert region. According to the WSJ, Saudi Arabia runs the risk of a gas-supply crunch within the next decade at today's rate of demand and this could lead to the country diverting more of the oil it produces for its own use. Australia's second largest refiner, Woodside Petroleum, said overnight that a delay in the start up of the Neptune oil and gas project with BHP Billiton will reduce its 2008 crude output by around 150: barrels per month beginning on April 1 until the issue is resolved. Elsewhere Pemex has closed its 55k bpd Dos Bocas gasoline-producing refinery in Mexico due to weather conditions. Taking a look at the metals spot gold is trading higher on the back of a weaker dollar, however many analysts have noted that the outlook for precious metals is poor at the moment as a sense of confidence seems to be returning to the market. An analyst at Goldman Sachs commented in a piece overnight noting that Goldman believes that the commodity markets, including base metals markets, remain vulnerable to speculative liquidation of long positions.

· The European equities are trading much higher after their holiday break, following movement in seen in the US yesterday on word of JP Morgan's revised Bear Stearns bid of $10/share. The insurance sector is currently leading the way in
Europe. Shares of Spain's Union Fenosa and Iberdrola are trading higher after the Spain's Inmobiliaria Colonial is trading higher after the Expansion newspaper said that bankers confirmed their confidence in the company despite the Investment Corp. of Dubai's rejected bid. WSJ speculated that the companies may be takeover targets. Addis is trading higher after the company boosted revenue guidance for its Reebok segment, and reiterated all other guidance. Shares of HBOS are trading significantly higher on word that HBOS executives bought 1.4M shares in the bank on March 20.

· The USD consolidated losses that occurred during the Asian session. There was dealer chatter circulating that strong Euro demand from
Far East sovereign wealth funds helped to push the EUR/USD towards the 1.56-level. The USD was also wobbled by concerns over the forthcoming consumer confidence data scheduled for release later today. Dealers noted that US consumer confidence is likely to have fallen as both jobs and home prices have continued to decline. The ISK initially strengthened after the surprise 125bp rate hike by the Icelandic Central Bank.

 

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