Â·In equity news overnight Air Liquide [AI.FR] reported 1H net income of â‚¬601M,
above the â‚¬575M consensus, and revenue of â‚¬6.37B, above the â‚¬6.3B consensus.
The company also reaffirmed its FY08 forecast for net growth at a double-digit
rate. (Shares were +1.0% in early trading). Fortis [FORB.BE] reported Q2 net
income of â‚¬830M, above the â‚¬692M consensus. Fortis' core tier 1 capital ratio
was at 7.4%, while the solvency ratio of 196.1%. Fortis noted that its capital
position is sound. (Shares were +2.0% in early trading). Delhaize Group
[DELB.BE] reported Q2 net income of â‚¬116.3M, just above the â‚¬114M consensus,
and revenue of â‚¬4.45B, just below the â‚¬4.55B consensus. Delhaize noted that Q2
SSS rose by 1.9%, while Belgian SSS rose by 0.7%. Delhaize also confirmed its
FY08 outlook. (Shares were +5.5% in early trading). Imperial Energy [IEC.UK]
confirmed overnight the receipt of another cash offer. The company said that
there is no certainty that an offer will be made. (Shares were +8.0% in early
trading). HSBC [HSBA.UK] reported 1H net income of $7. 72B, above the $7.34B
consensus, and pretax of $10.2B, below the $10.8B consensus. HSBA's 1H loan
loss reserve of $10.1B was slightly above the $9. 7B expected. HSBC said that
they will â€śrun-offâ€ť their vehicle finance business, and added that the outlook
remains challenging and highly uncertain. (Following the mid-session release
shares were +1.4%).
Â·In the newspapers the Sunday Times wrote that Royal Dutch Shell [RDSA.UK] has
held preliminary talks with Sibir Energy [SBE.UK] regarding a ÂŁ1B asset-swap
deal. Sonntag wrote overnight that UBS [UBSN.SZ] may write down as much as
CHF9B in Q3. The article also noted that UBS is reportedly mulling a break up
of its investment and wealth-management units. The Times reported overnight
that Electricite de France [EDF.FR] may face pressure from the UK government to improve its bid for
British Energy [BGY.UK]. According to the Telegraph a consortium made up of the
Blackstone Group (BX) may seek to bid for Anheuser-Busch's [INB.BE] theme park
unit. The unit is said to be worth around $3.5B. Expansion reported that
Iberdrola [IBE.SP] is seeking to block plans by ACS Actividades de Construccion
y Servicios [ACS.SP] to raise its stake in the company from around 12% to 20%.
Telecom Italia's [TIT.IT] CEO said in an interview with La Stampa that he does
not expect Telefonica [TEF.SP] to make a hostile approach for his company.
Â·In currencies the GBP was weaker in the European morning as various weekend
press article noted the fragility of the economy. The shadow MPC voted 5-4 with
the majority seeking to maintain rates. The EUR/USD held steady around the
1.5580-level. Dealers continued to watch the 1-year up-trend line at 1.5520,
which held during Friday's session. The USD/CAD continued to probe towards the
1.03-pivot point area. Dealers continued to note that USD buy stops are
building above the 1.0330-area. Crude was unable to maintain gains seen in Asia
despite the current storm brewing in the Gulf of Mexico as well as fresh rhetoric
out of Iran, which seeks to maintain its right to pursue nuclear energy.
Â·On the economic front, according to a CBI regional trends survey, orders for UK goods fell in the majority of regions
over the past three months. The survey noted that UK manufacturers are not optimistic that
orders will improve over the next quarter. In terms of the pricing component of
the survey, unit costs have risen at their fastest pace since the survey
started 10 years ago.
Â·All was quite on the speaker front overnight. The only comments came from
Spanish economic minister Solbes, who said that 2008 growth could fall below
the government's 1.8% forecast. Solbes added that inflation may have peaked in
Â·*** NOTES ***
Â·While Tuesday is scheduled to be the busiest day in terms of economic data
this week, focus is likely to rest upon Thursday's interest rate decisions from
the Bank of England and the European Central Banks. While all analysts surveyed
expect both central banks to keep their interest rates on hold this month both
interest rate decisions are highly anticipated as each of the bank's respective
positions have become rather precarious due to the stagflation-like
environment. With record high readings on inflation data, some expect that the
ECB may once again raise rates as certain members have been relatively hawkish
as of late. Others do not believe that this will happen, and fear that perhaps
the Euro-Zone is headed for a recession as recent European data has been worse
than that seen in the periled United States. Over in the UK the BOE's job has remained difficult as
inflation is off of the charts, housing is deteriorating, and the central
bank's MPC is split over whether growth or inflation is of greater importance.
Recall that the BOE held rates at the July policy-setting meeting with one
dissenter voting for a rate hike, and another dissenter voting for a rate cut.
While the chances that either central bank will take action this week are slim
to none, central bank comments, and outlooks could provide insight into what
may or may not happen before we're all wearing sparkly sunglasses with a 2 and
a 9 on opposite sides of the frames. Regarding today's data, the trend has
continued. Euro-Zone PPI rose to its highest y/y level since records began in
November of 1983. Construction PMI declined to a new record low in the UK, while the SVME PMI in Switzerland was a 3-year low. Spanish consumer
confidence also continued its decline setting a new record low two months ahead
of its fourth year anniversary. Similarly, the Euro-Zone Sentix investor
confidence was the lowest since July of 2003. That aside, today was a slow
start to another earnings filled week with focus this morning on the release of
earnings from Fannie Mae (FNM), and Humana (HUM) in the states. On the data
front June personal income and spending are due out at , along with the June PCE data.
Â·â€śAll good ideas arrive by chance.â€ť - Max Ernst
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