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Tuesday April 15, 2008 - 11:11:10 GMT
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European Market Update: UK CPI & RPI Fall Shy; German ZEW Unexpectedly Declines



· *** ECONOMIC DATA ***

· FR Mar CPI: M/M 0.8% v 0.6%e || Y/Y 3.2% v 3. 0%e

· FR Mar CPI Harmonized: M/M 0.8% v 0.6%e || Y/Y 3.5% v 3. 3%e

· FR Mar CPI Ex-Tobacco Index: 117.46 v 117.3e

· IT Mar Final CPI: M/M 0.5% v 0.5%e || Y/Y 3.3% v 3.3%e

· IT Mar Final CPI Harmonized: 1.6% v 1.6%e || Y/Y 3.6% v 3.6%e

· UK Mar CPI: M/M 0.4% v 0.6%e || Y/Y 2.5% v 2.6%e || Core Y/Y 1.2% v 1.3%e

· UK Mar RPI: M/M 0.3% v 0.5%e || Y/Y 3.8% v 3.9%e || Ex-Mort. Y/Y 3.5% v 3. 6%e

· UK Mar Retail Price Index: 212.1 v 212.5e

· UK Feb DCLG UK House Prices Y/Y: 6.7% v 7.4%e

· SP Jan Current Account: -€11.9B v -€9.3B prior

· GE Apr ZEW Economic Sentiment: -40.7 v -30. 0e

· GE Apr ZEW Current Situation: 33.2 v 32.8e

· EU Apr ZEW Economic Sentiment: -44.8 v -33.0e

· *** SPEAKERS/COMMENTS ***

· ECB's Trichet: Swift implementation of G7 goals crucial || No effort being spared to tackle the crisis || Must prevent system from feeding on itself || Contagion from U.S. housing trouble has made clear how vulnerable the financial system is || We are in a period of high uncertainty where risks are hard to quantify || Shadow banking system rested on false perception of perpetually rising asset prices || Inflation is "certainly a problem" || Won't say anything new on monetary policy || Sticks to what he said at G7 about concerns about sharp currency fluctuations

· ECB's Ordonez: The ECB is always more concerned with inflation || Sees Spanish economy in a change of cycle || Sees Euro-Zone inflation approaching 2% in 2H of 2008

· ECB's Stark: Cannot be sure if current interest rate stance is appropriate || Believes that it is appropriate for the moment || Upside risks to inflation prevail || No choice to accommodate first round effects, do not pose risks to price stability || ECB will act decisively on any spillover

· SW Finance Minister Borg: Forecasts 2008 GDP growth of 2.1%, and 2009 GDP growth of 1. 8% ||Sees repo rate steady through 2009 at 4.25%

· ZEW Economist: Inflationary pressures dampened German sentiment || German GDP growth of 1. 7% is still realistic in 2008 || ECB might switch course to cut rates || 50% of respondents see 2008 ECB rate cut, down from 60% last month

· Icelandic Finance Minister Thorgeirsson: Icelandic banks' problems are more image than substance

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

· In equity news overnight, Genentech (DNA) and Biogen Idec (BIIB) announced that results from a phase II/III clinical trial of Rituxan in primary-progressive multiple sclerosis did not meet their primary endpoint. The companies will continue to analyze the study results and will submit the data for presentation at an upcoming medical meeting. Delta Airlines (DAL) and Northwest Airlines (NWA) agreed to merge in an all-stock transaction valued at $17.7B. Under the terms Northwest holders will receive 1.25 Delta shares/share, representing a 16. 8% premium based on yesterday's closing price.

· On the earnings front, Burberry (BRBY.UK) reported 2H revenues slightly ahead of expectations, and 2H same-store-sales growth of 6% y/y.
UK retailer Tesco (TSCO.UK) beat out analyst expectations for 2007 with Revenues of £47.3B, and net income of £2.12B. UK retailer Debenhams (DEB.UK) reported a y/y decline for its 1H net income, as well as a 20bps decline in gross margins, and a 0.7% decline in same-store-sales. Skyepharma (SKP.UK) reported overnight that a study in pediatric Flutiform in asthma met its primary endpoint.

· In the newspapers, the WSJ's Heard on the Street is Cautious on shares of Nintendo (NTDOY) noting that some analysts believe that Nintendo's best years of growth have passed, adding that results may also be impacted by the
US economic slowdown. The FT followed up on the previously reported plan by Citigroup (C) to sell $12B in leveraged loans noting that the bank is allowing private equity groups bidding for the assets to cherry pick from a wide range of assets with different prices and credit ratings. According to the Telegraph, a Chinese sovereign wealth fund has built up a stake of about £1B in British Petroleum (BP). The stake represents less than 1% of shares outstanding According to the WSJ, the Government of Singapore Investment Corp is "very seriously considering" participating in UBS's (UBS) $15B rights offering. The sovereign wealth fund bought a 9% stake in UBS in December. In an article that cites the company's Chief Medical Office, the Seattle Post Intelligence reported that: Dendreon (DNDN) will progress with Neuvenge in breast cancer therapy later in 2008. The article also notes that that the company expects to release positive data about its lead prostate cancer treatment, Provenge, later in 2008. According to the FT, Deutsche Bank (DB) has sped up the sale of €36B worth of leveraged debt. The FT noted that Deutsche Bank has been steadily selling some of its leveraged loans since August, and that the sale process was accelerated last month as the price of many of the loans increased following the bailout of Bear Stearns. [Remember that on 4/13 the WSJ said that DB is looking to sell as much as $20B of LBO related debt to a group of investors] According to the Telegraph, one of Barclay's (BCS) SIVs fell into receivership after the value of its assets declined. Accounting firm Deloitte & Touche was hired as a receiver for the fund.

· In fixed income
Italy sold €1.95B in 4.25% August 2013 bonds with an average yield of 3.99% and a bid-to-cover of 1.5x, as well as €2.0B in 4. 25% August 2014 bonds with an average yield of 4.05%, and a bid-to-cover of 1.64x. The WSJ is running an article about the performance of government- sponsored enterprises [Fannie Mae (FNM) and Freddie Mac (FRE)] could have a direct impact on the US economy and the US' credit standing. The article notes that, according to an S&P report, government-sponsored enterprises enjoy implicit government guarantees and could cause the US to lose its sterling triple-A rating if the government were forced to come to their rescue. The WSJ is also running an interesting article by Harvard professor Martin Feldstein about the recent Fed interest rate cuts. Feldstein ultimately argues that the benefits of recent rate cuts are likely to be small when compared to the potential damage. Japanese insurer Nippon Life Insurance announced overnight that, in an attempt to boost returns, it plans to buy ¥400B corporate debt, asset backed securities, and government bonds. JP Morgan asset's Donohue said overnight that he sees an ECB rate cut this year. Donohue added that JP Morgan Assets may sell treasuries and buy European debt.

· In currencies overnight, the GBP was under pressure throughout the European session after the release of RICS House Prices during Asian hours. The -78.5 reading for March was the lowest ever for this data series in its 30 year history. Additional downside momentum for GBP was enacted after the March CPI and RPI data , which came in below consensus. The EUR/GBP proceeded to hit all-time highs of 0.8065 before retracing 15 pips. The EUR/USD continued to hover near its all-tie highs against the USD as continued hawkish ECB overshadowed the economic releases. Aside from the GBP, the USD maintaining a soft tone as new highs in crude futures continue to be made and firmer metal prices. The JPY is mixed ahead of the dealer note that the S&P equity index is moving into that part of the quarter where bank earnings are announced. Thus concerns over the health of the financial sector will influence the risk aversion currency plays.

· As we stand now the European indices are currently mixed, with the FTSE 100 outperforming. The slightly weaker than expected reading on CPI data in the UK added some upside momentum to long- gilt and short-sterling futures which are outperforming their European counterparts. The weaker than expected German Zew expectations hit the European indices and the S&P futures (SPY) pretty hard, initially pushing both the Dax and the Euro-Stoxx 50 into negative territory. The data took European fixed income futures off of session lows, but was not enough to push them into positive territory.

· Looking ahead, early focus will fall upon earnings results from
Johnson & Johnson (JNJ), Forest Laboratories (FRX), Regions Financial (RF), State Street (STT), and US Bankcorp (USB)¸ all of which are expected to report in the pre-market. On the data front March PPI data is due in the US at 8:30 ET along with April empire manufacturing, and will be followed by February net TIC flows data at 9:00 ET. The NAHB housing market index for April is due out at 13:00 ET today. In central bank speak the ECB's Trichet and Weber are scheduled to speak in Frankfurt at 11:00 ET. After the close earnings reports are expected from Washington Mutual (WM), CSX Corp. (CSX), and Intel (INTC).

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