¬∑In equity news overnight JP Morgan raised the European Telecom Sector to a
Neutral rating. Things were pretty quiet elsewhere, with the major story being Bradford and Bingley's [BB.UK] confirmation of
press speculation over the weekend. TPG will take a ¬£179M stake in the company
and will become a major strategic investor. Bradford and Bingley added that a
restructured rights issue will raise ¬£258M with shares issued at 55p/share. TPG
later noted that they do not plan to launch a full takeover offer for the
¬∑In the newspapers overnight the Financial Times wrote overnight that Toyota
(TM) is mulling cutting its US sales forecast, citing the market for
pick-up trucks other large vehicles. The Wall Street Journal reported overnight
that GM's (GM) market share could fall below 20% when the auto industry reports
sales for May. A decline in truck sales may hurt GM's market share. According
to Il Sole 24 Ore Finmeccania (FNC.IT) may sell a 60-70% stake in Ansaldo
Energia in an IPO. The Financial Times wrote overnight that prices in the solar
power industry could collapse, noting that lower prices could increase industry
consolidation and increase the adoption of solar technologies.
¬∑In energy news overnight, according to the New York Times the CFTC is expected
to announce new regulatory measures this week. Recall that last week the CFTC
announced that it would seek to increase transparency in the trading of energy
futures and expand its international crude market surveillance. Pemex announced
overnight that it has closed 2 oil export terminals in the Gulf of Mexico due to weather conditions. The terminals
were closed due to rains and winds from a tropical depression. OPEC's President
said in a press interview overnight that the weak USD, subprime crisis, and
market speculation are the causes for high oil prices. The International Air
Transportation Agency Chief said overnight that if oil averages $107/barrel in
2008, he sees industry loss of $2.3B. The IATA Chief added that if oil prices
remain at $135/barrel in 2008 the airline industry loss will be around $6.1B.
Imperial Energy [IEC.UK] announced oil find at Kiev Eganskoye field overnight.
¬∑In fixed income related news overnight the UK Observer wrote overnight that
that the BoE is expected to leave rates at 5% this week, noting that
Blanchflower is expected to vote for a rate cut. Former BOE MPC Member Willem
Buiter (1997- 2000) wrote in the Telegraph overnight that inflation
expectations are at their highest level since the Bank became operationally
independent, and this is a serious threat to its credibility. The Bank hopes
that, with the economy slowing down quite sharply, further rate increases will
not be necessary to get inflation back on target over a two-year horizon. I am
not so sure. A bank rate increase now could have an impact on inflation
expectations, precisely because it would be costly. It would push up
unemployment and weaken economic activity, but this is a price worth paying. I
would vote for a 0.25pc increase in bank rate at the next MPC meeting.
¬∑In the currencies the risk aversion theme returned to the market following
confirmation of the restructured rights offering by UK mortgage provider Bradford and Bingley.
The GBP probed below the 1.9600-handle making two-week lows, while
carry-related pairs were broadly lower. The USD/JPY tested below the
107.70-level, while the EUR/JPY was over 100 pips lower in the 163-area. The
GBP/JPY was off 250 pips at 205.60-area. The EUR/USD was in the upper portion
of its session trading range as various ECB members reiterated concerns over
the inflation outlook. The ECB meets on Thursday and dealers note that it is
likely that Trichet will raise its inflation projection while trimming its GDP
¬∑There were a series of ECB speakers in the mix overnight. The ECB's Wellink
said overnight that the strong Euro is not a problem yet but noted that it is
"approaching a limit". The ECB's Mersch said that the strength of the
Euro has shielded Europe, adding that the Euro reflects the
development of the economy. The ECB's Bini Smaghi reiterated overnight that
inflation to slow in next months. The ECB's Draghi said that the inflation
build-up is greatest global economic threat. The EU's Almunia said in an
interview with El Pais that US credit crisis will have a muted impact
on Europe. The ECB's Trichet reiterated overnight
that the ECB's mandate is clear, and that is to maintain price stability.
Trichet added that the financial market turmoil is a challenge of great
magnitude. The Irish Finance Minister said overnight that we must not must link
wages to inflation, adding that strong Euro is a problem for Irish exports. The
Spanish Finance Minister reiterated overnight that he is concerned about the
recent level of inflation. German Finance Minister reiterated overnight that
inflation remains a challenge, and remains ECB's top priority, adding that
should not react politically to oil prices. US Treasury Secretary Paulson said
overnight that he is committed to policies to ensure USD remains reserve
currency. Paulson said that the long-term health of the economy will shine
through in the forex markets. Paulson added that the US is in a rough period, noting that he
expects faster growth by the end of the year. Paulson said that oil prices are
likely to persist for some time, asserting that speculation and depreciation of
the dollar are small factors in the rise of oil prices The EU's Juncker said
overnight that high inflation is not acceptable adding that the ECB is right to
target an inflation level of 2.0%.
¬∑Looking ahead, economic data is rather light in the US today, with focus on the May ISM
manufacturing, and ISM prices paid releases due out at , along with the April construction
spending data. In central bank speak the Fed's Lockhart is due to speak on the
economy in Jacksonville at . There are no major earnings reports
expected this morning.
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