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Tuesday August 5, 2008 - 10:54:34 GMT
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Forex Blog - European Market Update: Euro-Zone Retail Sales Hit New Lifetime Low



·*** ECONOMIC DATA ***

·SP July Services PMI: 37.1 v 36.7 prior

·IT July Services PMI: 45.6 v 47. 3e

·FR July Final Services PMI: 47.5 v 47.0e

·GE July Final Services PMI: 53.1 v 53.3e

·EU July Final Services PMI: 48.3 v 48. 3e

·EU July Final Composite PMI: 47.8 v 47.8e

·UK July Services PMI: 47.4 v 46.6e

·UK June Industrial Production: M/M -0.2% v 0.1%e || Prior revised from -0.8% to -0.9% |||| Y/Y -1.6% v -1.2%e || Prior revised from -1.6% to -1.7%

·UK June Manufacturing Production: M/M -0.5% v 0.1%e || Y/Y -1.3% v -0.6%e || Prior revised from -0.8% to -0. 9%

·EU June Retail Sales: M/M -0.6% v -0.6%e || Prior revised from 1. 2% to 0.5% |||| Y/Y -3.1% v -1.3%e || Prior revised from 0.2% to -0. 1%

·*** SPEAKERS/FIXED INCOME/FX/COMMODITIES/ERRATUM ***

·In equity news overnight Societe Generale [GLE.FR] reported Q2 net income of €644M, above the €550M consensus, and net banking income of €5.58B, down from the €6.62B a year ago. Societe Generale's tier 1 capital ratio was 8. 2%, up from 8.0% in the prior quarter. During Q2 Soc Gen took a €580M write down. Soc Gen said that the market environment is likely to remain difficult, and forecasted a 2008 French banking revenue gain of 1%-2%. Swiss Re [RUKN.SZ] reported Q2 net income of CHF600M, well below the CHF775M consensus. Net premiums were CHF6.11B, below the CHF6.64B consensus, while ROE was 8.5%, down from 16.8% a year ago. Swiss Re reported a Q2 writedown of CHF1.7B on its investment portfolio. Swiss Re sees a challenging short-term outlook, but reiterated its 2008 targets. Swiss Re [RUKN.SZ] announced overnight a deal to acquire Barclay's [BARC.UK] Life Assurance Company for £753M in cash. Swiss Re will acquire approximately 760 000 life insurance and pension policies and annuity contracts, representing approximately GBP 6.8 billion in invested assets. The transaction is accretive to economic and US GAAP earnings and is expected to achieve an ROE in excess of Swiss Re's over-the-cycle target of 14%. Heidelberg Druck [HDD.GE] reported a Q1 net loss of €39M in line with the loss o €40M expected. Druck's Q1 pretax was a loss of €50M, slightly better than the loss of -€55M expected, while revenue of revenue of €657M was just above the €651M consensus. Druck's Q1 order backlog stood at €1. 15B, up from the €934M in the comparable period a year ago. Druck does not expect to match the prior year's sales and operating results for the FY 2008/09 as a whole. Air France [AF.FR] reported Q1 net income of €168M, just above the €162M consensus, operating income of €234M, in line with the €232M consensus, and revenue of €6.3B, slightly above the €6.26B consensus. Air France reaffirmed its FY08/09 outlook, including its FY09 op. income forecast of €1.0B, which is above the €900M consensus. Adidas [ADS.GE] reported Q2 net income of €116M, just above the €113M consensus, and revenue of €2.52B, which was just above the €2.49B consensus. Adidas said that their FY08 operating margin is seen approaching 10%, above the previous forecast of 9.5%, and forecasted their FY08 gross margin at over 48%, up from the previous forecast of 47.5%-48%. Furthermore Adidas guided net growth of at least 15% for FY08.

·In the newspapers, according to Corriere della Sera Luxottica Group [LUX.IT] has denied reports that CEO Andrea Guerra will be replaced FT Deutschland wrote overnight that Continental [CON.GE] may not build defense against an unsolicited takeover bid by Schaeffler Group in time. According to MF Banca Monte dei Paschi Siena [BMPS.IT] has ended its plan to sells its French and Belgian units. Les Echos reported overnight that Carre Group [CAR.FR] may be saved though a buyout by the Moonscoop TV Production Company.

·In energy news overnight an OPEC source said that OPEC is unlikely to change output quotas at the September meeting unless oil prices fall below $80/barrel. Furthermore the OPEC source said that the recent decline in oil prices was the result of a pause in Iranian tensions, and could easily be reversed.

·In new supply overnight the DMO sold £2.25B in 4.75% 2030 gilts with an average yield of 4.841%, and a bid-to-cover of 1.58x. The auction had a 14-tick price tail. In fixed income related news the Wall Street Journal noted overnight that investors are becoming concerned with bonds backed by credit-card payments. The concerns follow rising defaults on credit-card payments. The article points out that, in July, issuance of credit-card asset-backed securities fell to $4.4B from $5.26B in June (JP Morgan data). The Telegraph looked at the frozen conditions in Europe's junk bond market. The article noted that companies in the UK and Europe have failed to place a single high-yield bond since the credit crisis started a year ago. Citing Morgan Stanley, the Telegraph wrote overnight that a replay of Spain's ERM crisis in the early 1990s could wipe out the capital base of weak lenders that have exposure to the real estate market. Morgan Stanley says that the deterioration in Spain is just in the early stages and most of the pain could be suffered in 2009.

·In currencies the commodity picture helped the USD to firm during the European morning as oil elected massive sell stops orders below the $119.70-level to briefly test $118.00, while spot Gold fell below its 200-day moving average of $890.66. The catalyst for the recent commodity plunge was comments from the Australian Central Bank that it saw the scope to lower interest rates is fanning the flames of lower commodity prices. Softer European PMI and UK production data helped to cement the view that the global economy is shifting into low gear. Thus ahead of a slew of key central bank decisions this week; the technical picture appears to be slowly changing in favor of a stronger USD. In the Euro dealers have noted some bids just under the 1. 5500-level where Eastern Europeans have been prior buyers of Euros. However, dealers have cautioned of potential 'air pockets' below the 1.5490 level as interbank players build short-term Euro long positions on the prospect that 1.55 will hold this time around.

·*** NOTES ***

·Once again European data continued the high/low trend overnight with final reading on July service PMIs coming in at lifetime lows, and the y/y reading for Euro-Zone retail sales declining to an all time low as well. Oil prices were also in focus overnight as they managed to fall by $2 over the course of about a minute before bouncing back slightly from the $118 handle. Looking ahead there are a number of notables due in the US this morning including Acher Daniels Midland (ADM), Convidien (COV), D R Horton (DHI), Duke Energy (DUK), Brinker International (EAT), Hewitt Associates (HEW), Health Net (HNT), MGM Mirage (MGM), Nisource (NI), Procter & Gamble (PG), Molson Coors Brewing (TAP), and Weyerhaeuser (WY). While earning will be key in the morning, the FOMC's interest rate decision will be in focus in the afternoon. The Fed is widely expected to hold interest rates at 2. 00% this afternoon.

·“All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make the better.” - Ralph Waldo Emerson

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Thu 21 Dec
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