¬∑In equity news overnight Lennox International (LII) announced a $300M stock
buyback program (16.2% of market cap). State Street (STT) announced a $2.5
billion common stock offering (9% of market cap). Staples (SPLS) raised its
offer for Corporate Express [EXP.NA] to ‚ā¨9.15/share from ‚ā¨8.00/share overnight.
¬∑In the newspapers overnight the Wall Street Journal reported that a GM (GM)
dividend cut is not likely. The article notes that a dividend cut will probably
not be a part of the restructuring measures that GM will announce on Tuesday.
According to the Wall Street Journal Metlife (MET) plans to divest mostly all
of its 52% stake in Reinsurance Group. The Wall Street Journal reported
overnight that due to losses Lehman (LEH) will weigh raising new capital. The
article says that "the exact amount of the capital hike isn't known but
analysts and Wall Street executives said it is likely to be $3 billion to $4
billion." Adds: "The amount of money to be raised suggests Lehman's
loss could be larger than the $300 million or so that some analysts have been
expecting." Handelsblatt wrote overnight that Pirelli (PC.IT) is willing
to consider acquisitions in the truck tire industry.
¬∑In energy news overnight, according to source reports, Motiva's (325K bpd)
Port Arthur Refinery will be shut for about 1 week. The Wall Street Journal
reported overnight that Bolivia's President ordered the nationalization
of a natural-gas pipeline half-owned by Shell [RDSA.UK] Apache (APA) reported
an explosion at gas plant in Western Australia overnight. The plant supplies 30%-40% of
Australia's gas. The company said that gas supplies will be affected for a
number of days.
¬∑In the currencies the USD was stymied by speculation that Lehman Brothers may
need to raise additional capital due to trading losses. The EUR/USD was back
above the 1.56-level, with European economic data also contributing to softer
USD sentiment. The Euro was also helped out by better GDP reading for Q1, while
Euro-Zone PPI levels remained lofty at a 6.1% annual rate. The CHF was firmer
on initial unwinding of carry-related pairs following concerns over the health
of the financial market sector. Swiss CPI came in above expectations as well.
The JPY was off its best levels due to carry flows. Commodity related currency
pairs were a touch firmer. USD/CAD was trading around the 0.9980-area, while
AUD hovered around the 0.9600-area. Dealers noted some geopolitical factors and
supply concerns on physical commodities helping to firm the CAD and AUD this
¬∑On the speaker front the Finnish Finance Minister said overnight that oil
prices are expected to stay high for many years, adding that the national
government must help ECB to tackle inflation. The EU's Almuina said overnight
that he hopes that inflation does not remain high all year. Almunia added that
we have to accept external price shocks, noting that he expects G8 summit to
discuss high oil and food pricesEU President Bajuk reiterated overnight that
inflation remains a source of great concern, adding that monetary policy cannot
deal with high inflation. The Bundesbank's Zeitler said overnight that it will
take time for financial markets to return to normal adding that he sees
"light at the end of the tunnel". Riksbank's Governor said overnight
that financial stability in Sweden remains satisfactory but risks have
increased. Sveriges added that Swedish bank resilience to shocks remains good,
but contingent risks have risen. Spain's Solbes said overnight that he sees
2008 GDP growth around 2% , and inflation at 3.5% at the end of 2008 given
current oil market.
¬∑Looking ahead, the schedule is light in terms of data, with focus falling upon
the release of April factory orders at . In Fed speak the Fed's Bernanke is
scheduled to speak with the ECB's Trichet in Barcelona.
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