¬∑In equity news overnight Ipsen [IPN.FR] announced overnight a deal to Acquire
Tercica (TRCA) for $9.00/share in cash. The offer, which has a total value of
$663M, represents a 104% premium to yesterday's closing price. France Telecom
[FTE.FR] confirmed overnight that it is in ‚Äúfriendly talks‚ÄĚ with Teliasonera
[TLSN.SW]. The company said that it was discussing an offer of SEK56.23/share
composed of 52% cash and 48% stock for the company. The total value of the
offer is around SEK252.5B. The Chairman of Teliasonera later said over the bid
that it undervalues the company, noting that the board had unanimously rejected
the bid. Costco (COST) reported total company SSS +9.0% for the month of May,
above the 6.9% consensus forecast. Excluding gas May SSS were +5.0%.
¬∑In the newspapers overnight the Financial Times wrote that the EU Commission
has raised concerns about the restructuring package for Northern Rock [NRK.UK]
Bond Buyer reported that UBS [UBSN.SZ] may close its US muni-bond unit Globe
& Mail wrote overnight that the government of Ottawa has offered GM (GM)
financial assistance to help raise output at the automaker's Oshawa plant. Canada's Finance Minister reportedly offered GM
a portion of Canada's $250M Automotive Innovation Fund to
give the automaker the incentive to produce a 3rd car at the Oshawa plant. The Wall Street Journal wrote in
its Heard on the Street section that RBS' $23.58B rights offering is expected
to be successful. The article notes that investors have been buying RBS' stock
in the past few days.
¬∑In energy news overnight Mexico's President noted that the declining
production at Pemex is concerning. The company's production fell by 200K
barrels in the first quarter. Later the CEO of Pemex reported that the
company's exports of oil will average 1.4M-1.45M bpd in 2008. OPEC's Khelil
said overnight that OPEC has 2M-3M barrels of spare capacity. Khelil said that
oil prices are likely to stay around $120/barrel, and will not fall below
$100/barrel, adding that the IEA's 2008 world oil demand forecast is
¬∑In new supply overnight France sold ‚ā¨3. 165B in 4.00% April 2018 OATs
with an average yield of 4.95% and a bid-to- cover of 2.3x, as well as ‚ā¨1.255
in 4.00% October 2038 OATs with an average yield of 4.61% and a bid-to-cover of
2.8x. In fixed income related news the Financial Times wrote overnight that,
according to S&P, the risk of default on European buyout-related debt is
rising because this debt was underwritten with loose underwriting standards.
The Wall Street Journal commented on the Samurai bond market in a piece written
overnight noting that the Samurai issuance is hitting record levels as various types of
investors have been seeking new ways to raise capital. In Q1, 19 companies
raised about $5B from Samurais and this was a 4.5 times increase on a y/y basis. The
Financial Times reported overnight that expectations for future increases in
inflation rose in bond markets to the highest level in 11 years, pointing out
that prices for inflation linked gilts rose sharply on Wednesday.
¬∑According to reports overnight the Chinese Banking regulator told Chinese
banks to stop offering FX margin trading services to clients. Bankers later
said the action was the result of risk concerns. The USD continued to maintain
a firm tone against the majors ahead of the European Central Bank policy
decisions today. The USD was again aided by lower commodity prices. The EUR/USD
probed as low as 1.5380 in Asia
before chatter of sovereign bids took the pair back to the 1.5430-area. The
USD/JPY hit fresh 3 month highs of 106.18. GBP/USD broke below the 1.95- level
as rumor circulated that a UK clear may need to tap the central banks
for emergency lending. Key 2008 support is seen at the 1.9360 approach. The
carry-related pairs were firmer as dealers took comfort in positive tier1
comments about US brokerage firm Lehman Brothers. Comments
from bond specialist Loomis Sayles that has purchased LEH debt in last several
days are also being weighed as a positive.
¬∑On the speakers front overnight the Fed's Lockhart said that he is confident
that financial reforms will occur in the US. Lockhart did not comment on monetary
policy. Germany's IFW Kiel Institute raised its 2008 GDP
forecast from 1.9% to 2.1%, and cut its 2009 forecast to 1.0% from 1.2%. The
institute also said that they are not ruling out an ECB rate hike in 2008, as
inflation may push the ECB to raise rates.
¬∑Looking ahead, on the data front initial jobless claims and continuing claims
are due out at this morning, and will be followed by Q1 mortgage delinquencies
at . In central bank speak the Fed's Kohn is due to testify on the
banking industry at the senate committee at , while the Fed's Plosser is due to speak
about financial stability in NY. On the earnings front US notables Del Monte Foods (DEL), Dr.
Pepper Snapple Group (DPS), Jackson Hewitt Tax Service (JTX), and Smithfield
Foods (SFD) are all expected to report earnings during the US pre-market today.
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