Â· In equity news overnight, Costco (COST) announced overnight a 10.3% increase
to its quarterly dividend, bringing the dividend up to $0.16. The dividend is
payable May 30, 2008, to shareholders of record at the close of business on May
Siemans (SI) reported a first-quarter net of â‚¬384M overnight, and revenues of
â‚¬18. 1B, while software company SAP (SAP) reported a first-quarter net of â‚¬242M
and revenue of â‚¬2.46B. Siemans shares were higher at the open, while SAP shares
were sharply lower. Elsewhere, Sanofi-Aventis (SNY) reported a second-quarter
net of â‚¬1.86B, and revenue of â‚¬6.9B. Sanofi shares were slightly lower at the
open. Eon [EOA.GE] announced that it will boost its dividend by 22% to â‚¬4.10.
Â· In the newspapers overnight, the Financial Times wrote overnight that
AstraZeneca (AZN) said that it is in talks with the UK government regarding the taxation of
foreign profits. An AstraZeneca spokesman said that the company is in "constructive
dialogue" with the government to ensure that business issues are fully
discussed and understood. According to the Times Unilever (UL) will transfer 14
of its European food brands into a separate company. The brands are
specifically from the UK, France and Germany. The Wall Street Journal wrote overnight
that the Rockefeller Family wants Exxon (XOM) to change its corporate
governance. The family, which is an influential shareholder of Exxon, said that
it plans to support proposals which urge Exxon to create an independent
chairman position and examine if it (Exxon) should take a more active role in
developing sustainable energy technologies. The Times wrote overnight that Time
Warner's (TWX) CEO is expected to announce Wednesday plans to spin-off the
company's cable tv unit. Sweden's Dagens Industri reported that the
country's industrial minister prevented Vattenfall [VATT. SW] from making a bid
for British Energy [BGY.UK].
Â· All was quiet on the energy front overnight. Following a blackout overnight, Venezuela's state oil company said that its main
oil refineries were not harmed by the blackout. The Kuwaiti Oil Minister said
overnight that oil prices soar due to speculation and refinery bottlenecks
adding that oil prices are not driven by supply and demand. As expected, Exxon
(XOM) workers in Nigeria began returning to work as
union/management talks re-commenced.
Â· In currencies a slew of Euro-Zone data provided fresh evidence that EU is
encountering some headwinds on the growth front, as well as a pause in its
inflationary hump. Dealers noted that they encountered some good USD buying
from various types of market players in the session. The USD was firm, but was
still unable to break some key technical levels to achieve additional upside
momentum. The EUR/USD was trading at the lower end of its 1.5510 to 1.5630
trading range. The USD/CHF continued to probe its channel resistance line at
the 1.0430 approach. The JPY maintained a softer tone following the BOJ rate
announcement and the BOJ's lower of its 2008 GDP estimate of 1.5%.
Â· In central bank speak, the ECB's Trichet said in a newspaper interview
overnight that the ECB is concerned that sharp FX moves could hit financial and
economic stability. Trichet added that markets are certainly listening to the
ECB's message on FX. When asked whether or not the ECB will follow the Fed
Trichet reiterated that the US and European economies are different.
Â· On the data front overnight the German ILO unemployment rate declined to its
lowest level on record in March at 7.3%. The German Labor Ministry also
released its jobless figures overnight, which showed a jobless change of -7K,
above the -30K expected; the unemployment rate unexpectedly rose to 7.9%. In
the Euro-Zone, the Apr CPI estimate came in at 3.3%, just below the 3.4%
estimate. Despite remaining above the key 3.0% mark, the data seemed to chop
away at the foundations of the ECB's hawkish stance as it was accompanied by
weaker than expected preliminary CPI data in Italy.
Â· Looking ahead, the economic scheduled in the US is packed this morning, making up for
the data void experienced over the past couple of days. Data will begin with
the volatile ADP employment change for April, which is expected to yield
results of -60K, and is due at . At advanced Q1 GDP annualized q/q, GDP price
index, personal consumption, and core PCE are due, and are expected to come in
at 0.5%, 3.0%, 0.7%, and 2.2% respectively. Shortly thereafter, at , the Chicago PMI for April will be
released, and is expected at 47.5. The most anticipated release today, the FOMC
rate decision, is due at . The overwhelming consensus is for a
25bps cut today, however there are a few analysts forecasting a 50bps cut, and
other forecasting that the FOMC will leave rates unchanged. Earnings will also
be heavy today. In the pre-market earnings results are expected from Colgate
Palmolive (CL), First Solar (FSLR), General Motors (GM), Hess Corp. (HES),
International Paper (IP), Kellogg (K), Kraft Food (KFT), Procter & Gamble
(PG), Reynolds American (RAI), and Time Warner (TWX). In addition to the above,
the Fed is scheduled to make its TSLF announcement at this afternoon.
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