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Tuesday April 1, 2008 - 11:15:09 GMT
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European Market Update: UBS' Sees $19B Write Down in Q1; Market Reaction... Unphased

European Market Update: UBS' Sees $19B Write Down in Q1; Market Reaction... Unphased


· GE Feb Retail Sales: M/M -1.6% v 0.5%e || Prior revised from 1.6% to 0.9% |||| Y/Y -0.3% v -0.3%e || Prior revised from 0.6% to 0.3%

· GE Deb ILO Unemployment Rate: 7.4% v 7. 5%e

· SW Mar Swedbank PMI: 54.7 v 55.1e

· SP Feb Manufacturing PMI: 46.4 v 46.7 prior

· SZ Mar SVME PMI: 55.4 v 60. 0e

· IT Mar Mar Manufacturing PMI: 49.4 v 50.2e

· FR Mar Manufacturing PMI: 51.9 v 52.0e

· GE Mar Manufacturing PMI: 55.1 v 54.9e

· EU Mar Manufacturing PMI: 52.0 v 52.0e

· UK Mar Manufacturing PMI: 51.0 v 51.3e

· GE Mar Unemployment Rate: 7.8% v 7. 9%e

· GE Mar Unemployment Change: -55K v -45Ke

· IT Hourly Wages: M/M 1.0% v 0.0% prior || Y/Y 3.1% v 2.1%e

· EU Feb Unemployment Rate: 7.1% v 7.1%


· UK According to RICS, Q1 UK construction activity fell to its lowest level since 1996; Expects activity to fall further in Q2

· UK According to Footfall, March shopping visits fell by 2.7% y/y (8th consecutive monthly decline) || The survey cites the early Easter and cold weather for the decline.

· ECB Liikanen: There is great uncertainty in markets || Higher credit costs affect growth || Main priority is to keep prices stable

· ECB Bini Smaghi: Says inflation would have been higher if ECB lowered rates || Euro-Zone is less exposed to derivatives || Inflation target remains at sub 2% level

· ECB Noyer: Anchoring inflationary expectations remains a prerequisite for rate cuts in times of heightened financial uncertainty and downside risks to growth || Short-term economic outlook in Europe much more encouraging than in the US || Even if Euro-Area economies are slowing down there is no recession on the horizon


· The European indices opened the session in negative territory, but quickly made their way into the green despite some seemingly bad news ahead of the equity open. UBS guided their first quarter net income at a loss of CHF12B. The bank said that they expect to post a $19B writedown in the first-quarter, and announced a CHF15B rights issue. In addition to this the bank's chairman announced plans to step down. While the news seemed pretty grim shares of UBS rallied at the open with market participants focusing on the rights issue rather than the writedown. Late on the CEO said that the company may spin off its workout unit, which holds the bank's illiquid real estate assets. If the news from UBS was not bad enough by itself Deutsche Bank announced that it expects to post a €2.5B writedown in the first-quarter. Deutsche Bank added that conditions have become more challenging within the past few weeks. While shares of Deutsche Bank opened lower in the session, they too made their way into positive territory very early on. Shares of Heidelberg Druckmaschinen opened much lower in the session after it reduced its 2008 outlook late yesterday.

· Fixed income futures opened lower in the session. Futures gained some upside momentum after Deutsche bank announced that it would make a writedown in the first quarter, however the rise was short-lived as stronger equities capped any gains in the fixed income markets. Futures gained some additional downside momentum after some hawkish comments from the ECB's Noyer. Noyer reiterated much of the ECB's price stability mantra. Over in the
UK gilts are also trading lower in the session following their European counterparts. In new supply Austria sold €500M in 4.35% March 2019 RAGBs with an average yield of 4.237% and a bid-to-cover of 2.7x.

· On the commodity front crud oil futures are currently on the rise after trading lower for the earlier part of the session. According to the
Weather Research Center, the 2008 hurricane season will see 11 named tropical storms, with 6 becoming hurricanes. The report adds that half of the hurricanes will become strong hurricanes and 4 named storms will make landfall in the US. Elsewhere, there were reports of a fire at a Nigerian pipeline linked to the Bonny terminal overnight, however no further details emerged. An Iraqi Oil Official said overnight that output will return to normal levels later today, adding that exports have been unaffected by the decline in output. Freedman Billings boosts 2008 average oil price forecast to $90/barrel from $80/barrel. Friedman Billings projects an average oil price of $95/barrel during the second-quarter, and maintains their second- half average price forecast of $85/barrel. Friedman remains concerned about the potential for a near-term pullback in crude oil prices; however, as long as prices remain above the Street's very conservative expectations, Friedman expects that the oil-levered stocks should benefit from positive earnings revisions and progressively higher valuations. Spot gold is currently trading lower in the session, and tested below the $900-handle for the first time in six weeks as investors liquidate positions after the announcements made by UBS and Deutsche Bank earlier on. Some analysts have forecasted overnight that liquidation in gold is likely to rise again amid a flight to quality.

· Following a Fresh wave of Q1 writedowns announced by several European banking institutions prompted some early Euro selling against the major currency pairs. The EUR/USD fell, testing the 1. 5650-handle after opening in around 1.5760 in Asian trading. Concerns about the health of the EU banking sector and its exposures helped to firm the USD and depress commodity prices. The USD managed to hold onto its gains despite a recovery in the European bourses, which expressed relief over the UBS rights offering to raise additional capital. The USD/CAD continues to consolidate below the 1.03 level where alleged USD buy stops are lurking. The JPY related crosses were off their worst levels seen on the European open as the equity bourses managed to regain some composure. The EUR/JPY is currently around 157 after testing 156.35.


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