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Friday August 22, 2008 - 14:32:10 GMT
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Forex Blog - European Market Update: UK Posts Flat Q/Q Preliminary GDP for Q2

·*** DATA ***

·EU June Current Account: -€8.2B v -€5.5B prior || Prior revised from -€7.3B to -€5. 5B

·EU June Current Account nsa: -€1.0B v -€19.6B prior || Prior revised form -€21.4B to -€19.6B

·UK Q2 Preliminary GDP: Q/Q 0.0% v 0. 1%e || Y/Y 1.4% v 1.5%e

·UK Q2 Preliminary Private Consumption: 0.0% v 0.1%e

·UK Q2 Preliminary Government Spending: 0.4% v 0. 5%e

·UK Q2 Preliminary Gross Fixed Capital Formation: -5.3% v -1. 2%e

·UK Q2 Preliminary Exports: -0.5% v 0.4%e

·UK Q2 Preliminary Imports: -1.4% v -0.3%e

·UK June Index of Services: 0.2% v 0.4%e

·EU June Industrial New Orders: M/M -0.3% v -1.1%e || Prior revised from -3.5% to -5.4% |||| Y/Y -7.4% v -6.3%e


·WPP Group [WPP.UK] reported 1H net income of £208.2M, up from £181.9M a year ago. EBIT came in at £398.5M, above the £366.8M consensus, while revenue of £3.34B was roughly in line with the £3.3B consensus estimate. The company noted that 2009 prospects are less certain as the result of the financial crisis. The company also maintained its long-term operating margin target of 19%. Arriva [ARI.UK] reported 1H net income of £47.3M, up from £35.9M a year ago. Operating profit came in at £76.3M, just below the £78.8M consensus, while revenue of £1.44B was up from £909.2M a year ago. Arriva reaffirmed its FY08 targets, and noted that they are confident of considerable sales and profit growth. Rentokil Initial [RTO.UK] reported 1H net income of £11.9M, down from £65.5M a year ago. Pretax came in at £18.3M, below the £23.1M consensus, while revenue of £1.18B was in line with estimates. Rentokil reiterated its FY08 guidance as well. Bradford & Bingley [BB.UK] reported overnight that underwriters subscribed to 72% of the company's rights offering at 55p/share. Aon Corp (AOC) announced a deal to acquire Benefield Group [BFD.UK] for 350p/shre in cash representing a total value of £738M. The offer representes a 29.2% premium over yesterday's close. Aon expects the deal to be accretive to earnings one year after closing. Metso [MEO1V. FH] upgraded its financial targets overnight. Guiding its outlook for 2009- 2012 Metoso forecasted average annual revenue growth of 10%. The company also set an EBITDA margin target of “over 12%,” and an ROCE target of “over 25%”. Metso also noted that it targets distributing at least 50% of annual earnings per share as a dividend of in the other forms of repatriation of capital.

·In the newspapers the Wall Street Journal reported overnight that Boeing (BA) is mulling pulling out of the bidding for a $40B Air Force tanker contract. The article notes that Boeing may seek to pull out of the bidding unless the Pentagon agrees to give it six months to submit a new bid. The Wall Street Journal looked at Lehman's (LEH) options for its investment management unit in the Heard on the Street column. The article notes that doubts about Lehman have deepened in recent days. The WSJ says that some of the concerns about Lehman are related to the firm's plan to sell a stake in its asset-management unit because it sounds like a last-ditch move. If Lehman sells a stake in its asset-management unit, it might not raise enough cash and it might lower the valuation on the sale because the buyer would not be getting control. If Lehman seeks to sell its entire asset-management unit it could lose a stable earnings source and this could hurt its credit rating. If Lehman received $8B for its asset- management unit it could effectively plug a hole left by taking losses from selling mortgage assets at a discount. If Lehman were able to sell $50B of assets and took $8B of losses on the deal, it would amount to a 16% markdown. According to the Irish Independent KKR has pulled out of bidding for Elan's (ELN) drug delivery unit. The Times speculated overnight that UPS (UPS) could make a possible bid for TNT [TNT.NA] this weekend. The article noted a possible deal value of €34 to €38/share.

·*** NOTES ***

·All was relatively quiet overnight with most of the focus surrounding second quarter GDP in the
UK. The Q/Q reading declined to its lowest level since Q2 of 1992, while the Y/Y reading was the lowest since Q1 of 1993. The data weighed on the GBP, pushing the GBP/USD to test the 1. 86-handle aided by a bout of USD strength in quiet trading. The weak GDP readings also provided some support to the fixed income futures helping to stem any further decline and push prices back towards the unchanged level for the session. Following the GDP readings the initial chatter, understandably, is that the softer readings will put further pressure on the Bank of England to cut interest rates. Looking ahead focus will rest upon a speech by the Fed's Bernanke due to speak on financial stability at Jackson Hole, Wyoming.

·“You exist only in what you do.” - Federico Fellini


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