¬∑In equity news overnight Michael Page International [MPI.UK] reported 1H net
income of ¬£58.9M, up from the ¬£41.4M a year ago. Pretax rose to ¬£84.1M from
¬£69.2M a year ago, while revenue rose to ¬£500M from ¬£398.0M. [Shares were -
0.2% in early trading]. Bradford & Bingley [BB.UK] reported the results of
its rights issue noting that 27.84% of rights issue was accepted. Underwriters
will be able to sell the remaining 597.2M shares until on August 22nd. Shares will be sold for
at least 55p/share. The company noted that there has been no material change in
the current trading and outlook of the Company since the Company released its
trading statement in respect of the first four months of 2008 on 2
June 2008. The
company also announced the appointment of Richard Pym as CEO effective
immediately. [Shares were -3.2% in early trading]. BHP Billiton [BLT.UK]
reported FY08 net income of $15.4B, just below the $15.7B consensus, and
revenue of $59. 47B, just below the $54.7B consensus. BHP expects short-term
economic growth to slow, adding that they see long-term demand for commodities
remaining strong. [Shares were +1.4% in early trading].
¬∑In the newspapers, the Times wrote that Royal Bank of Scotland [RBS.UK] may cancel the sale of its
Direct Line and Churchill insurance units. The article adds that RBS raised
about ¬£6B by selling risky loans. A related report said that RBS is in talks to
sell some of its smaller units. The Sunday Express wrote overnight that the UK
Treasury has forced British Energy [BGY.UK] back into negotiations with EDF
[EDF.FR]. The Mail on Sunday noted overnight that Persimmon [PSN.UK] may seek
to enter into a sale and leaseback agreement for its 24 regional offices. The
move could reportedly help the company raise ¬£30M.
¬∑On the energy front, citing the Iranian OPEC governor, the Wall Street Journal
wrote that OPEC could decide to roll over or cut crude oil production when the
group meets in September. The article noted that the Iranian OPEC governor
believes that the market is oversupplied by at least 1M barrels per day.
Goldman Sachs reportedly cut its US gas price estimate by 23% due to
increased production. Goldman expects that US gas futures will trade at $10.30/million
BTU during the winter.
¬∑On the economic front the Times wrote that the British Chamber of Commerce is
expected to predict a recession in the UK. The group is expected to say that the UK is nearing a technical recession over
the next 6-9 months. The BCC believes that the BOE should start cutting rates
because they believe growth is a bigger risk than inflation. The BCC believes
that the BOE will cut rates to 4.75% by the end of 2008 and that there will be
scope for an added cut in 2009. According to an article in the Telegraph the
value of residential building land in the UK fell by 20% during the first half of
2008. The article speculated that the values of residential land may fall by up
to 50% in the future.
¬∑There weren't any live speakers overnight, however, in an interview with Efe
Spanish Finance Minister Solbes said that annual inflation in Aug is expected
to slow and should end the year below 4%. Solbes added that Spain's unemployment could close 2008 above
the government's 10.4% estimate.
¬∑In currencies the USD consolidated its recent gains among the majors in a
quiet, listless session. Higher oil and gold prices helped weigh sentiment on
the USD. There were some calls that perhaps OPEC should cut back on output when
it next meets in September. Dealers noted of some light Euro Buy stops building
above the 1.4790-level, but added that resistance is seen at 1.4850-area.
Commodity related currencies were also modestly firmer. Dealer chatter centered
on the UK Home data which saw biggest annual price drop since survey began in
2002. The data prompted some economists to warn inflation could drop below 1%
due to slowing growth outlook.
¬∑*** NOTES ***
¬∑I, the guy that usually writes this, just got back from vacation and am set to
wind down my final two weeks here at TTN. After over 10 days without a chart in
sight I must applaud the Dollar. All was quiet overnight, and with no major
data scheduled in the US this morning things are likely to remain
that way for a little while. The US session will not however be void of data
as the NAHB housing market index for August is due out in the early afternoon.
Looking ahead, focus in the near-term is likely to fall upon the German ZEW
economic survey due out during tomorrow's session, as well as the Bank of
England minutes, which are due on Wednesday.
¬∑Of note overnight was the weak Bank of France business sentiment, which was
the lowest since May of 2003. Following a negative GDP reading last week the
Bank of France forecasted Q3 GDP growth of 0.1%. This of course does not come
as a surprise, but it is notable considering that, next to Germany, France is the second biggest engine in the
¬∑‚ÄúWhat a peculiar privilege has this little agitation of the brain which we
call 'thought'.‚ÄĚ - David Hume
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