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Wednesday March 4, 2009 - 11:06:21 GMT
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Forex Blog - European Market Update: Service PMI's data maintains pressure on ECB; Possible second Chinese stimulus package and FX reserve adjustment buoys stocks, oil and hits US Treasury futures

Today 06:03am EST/11:03am GMT

European Market Update: Service PMI's data maintains pressure on ECB; Possible second Chinese stimulus package and FX reserve adjustment buoys stocks, oil and hits US Treasury futures


- (IR) Irish Feb Services PMI M/M: 31.8 v 33.9 prior (record low)

- (SP) Spain Feb Services PMI: 31.7 v 31.8 prior

- (IT) Italian Feb PMI Services: 37.9 v 39.6e; lowest reading on record

- (FR) French PMI Services:40.2 v 40.1e; lowest reading on record

- (GE) German Feb PMI Services; 41.3 v 41.6e; lowest reading on record

- (EU) Feb Final PMI Services: 39.2 v 38.9e; PMI Composite: 36.2 v 36.2e; lowest readings on record

- (UK) Feb PMI Services: 43.2 v 41.9e

- (UK) Feb Official Reserves: -$6M v -$166M prior

- (GE) German VDMA January Plant and Equipment orders Y/Y: -42%

- (UK) Feb BRC Shop Price Index M/M: % v -2.0% prior; Y/Y: % v 1.1% prior

- (IR) Irish Feb Unemployment Rate: 10.4% v 9.2% prior


- Equities: Costco [COST] Reported its Q2 figures, EPS below expectations at $0.55 v $0.59e and revenues in line at R $16.84B v $16.85Be. For the quarter, SSS were down 3% on a y/y basis. Costco put its US SSS at -1% y/y and International SSS at -11% y/y (both including fuel sales). || UBS [UBSN.SZ] Peter Kurer will not stand for re-election as board's chairman; to be succeeded by Kaspar Villige || Holcim [HOLN.SZ] Reported FY08 Net CHF2.23B above the expected CHF1.93B.with revenues slight missing forecasts with CHF25.16B compared CHF25.6B expected. It would not provide any FY09 outlook and proposed a dividend in Form of Subscription Right with the ratio unchanged. It expected 2009 to be another difficult year for industries and saw a further decline in demand. it would concentrate on rigorous cost management and preserve financial stability. It would mothball two US facilities. It also note that Venezuela failed to pay $550M for the nationalized facility|| Old Mutual [OML.UK] Reported its FY08 preliminary figures. Adjusted profit came in at £999M, lower than the £1.62B reported y/y and Pretax came in at £595M, also lower than the £1.75B reported year. Old Mutual announced that it would not be paying a final dividend. For FY08, ROE stood at 9% down from 13.2% y/y, and AUM fell to £264.8B from £278.9M y/y. The CEO also noted that insurer was considering combining all long term deposits into single unit and that Old Mutual's Wealth Management JV with Ned Bank may be fully bought out by Ned Bank. (Note that OML currently holds 50% stake in the South African Bank) || USG People [USG.NV] Reported Q4 Net profit of €18M missing its €31.5M expectation. Revenues were €952M slightly below €954M consensus. It too would pay a final dividend of €0.58/shr payable in shares. Its Q4 Gross Margin came in at 25.3% versus 25.9% y/y and would not provide outlook for 2009. The negative turnover trend in January is expected to continue for the sometime as company implements further cost cutting || Old Mutual [OML.UK] Reported FY08 Adj Op Profit £999M compared to £1.62B y/y. Pretax £595M versus £1.75B y/y. it would not pay final dividend || Adidas [ADS.GE] Reported Q4 Net profit of €54M better than €44Me forecast. Revenues came in at €2.57B above forecasts of €2.48B. the company maintained its €0.50/shr dividend. The company's 4Q Gross Margin was 46.4% versus 46.6% y/y and expected this to decline in 2009. It guided group ex FX sales to decline at a low- to mid-single digit rate in 2009. its CEO commented that it saw global workforce remaining at same levels in FY09 as in FY08 and was not planning to divest brands

|| France telecom [FTE.FR] Reported FY08 Net profit of €4.07B below consensus of €5.38B. Revenues were roughly in line at €53.49B versus €53.43B forecasts. It raised its dividend to €1.40 from €1.30/shr prior. The company stated it would reduce debt in 2009 to 2X EBITDA and guided FY09 CAPEX 12-13% of Revenues. The amount of the interim dividend for 2009 would be decided in accordance with first-half 2009 results || Credit Agricole [ACA.FR] Reported Q4 Net Loss €309M compared to loss €385M expected. Revenues were €4.60B above €3.84B forecast. Its Tier 1 Ratio 9.1% versus 8.5% q/q. The CEO commented that he believed the financial market crisis would last into second half of 2010 || Carillion [CLLN.UK] Reported FY08 Pretax £115.9M above estimates of £109.1M. Revenues were also better with €5.2B above the consensus view of £4.64B. Named preferred bidder in £1.6B PPP hospital development || British TV producer ITV [ITV.UK] Reported FY08 Adj Pretax £167M above £143M expected with revenues at £2.03B slightly above £2.02B forecasts. It is to pay final dividend of 67.5p/shr. It announced it would cut 600 positions (about 12% of total staff). It reported included £2.7B impairment charge on op costs and saw an additional impairment of £1.1B in FY09. It recommended suspending dividend program in 2009 || Skandinaviska Enskilda [SEBA.SW] Announces rights issue; to offer 11 A-shares for every 5 held at SEK10/shr to raise SEK15.0B || Prosieben SAT.1 [PSM.GE] Reported Q4 Net loss €170M below profit €74Me, revenues were €876.8M just below €888M estimates. It noted that its Q4 international operations weighed by economic downturn and saw a difficult environment in 2009, too early to provide guidance for the year || Property management firm Segro [SGRO.UK] Reported FY08 Pretax loss £932.2M below a gain £122M expected. Its adjusted net £123.9M slightly better than the £113.4M forecast. It announced that it would sell shares in 12-for-1 rights issue seeking to raise £500.6M || For Lloyd's [LLOY.UK], was reported in the Telegraph that the company is in disagreement with the government about the terms of the asset protection scheme (APS). This disagreement has led to the delay of a final decision the market has been expecting since last Friday regarding a £250M placement in the fund. Article notes Lloyds is strongly resisting the conversion of the government's preferred stock into common shares, a move that would push the UK's stake above 50% from 43%. The article adds that Lloyd's CEO may quit over the issue. ||Swiss Telecom reported [SCMN.SZ] its FY08 figures. FY08 net came in at CHF1.75B, this was slightly above the CHF1.73B expected. Revenues were reported at CHF12.2B, inline with the CHF12.15B expected. Additionaly, the firm guided its FY09 Rev (ex Fastnet) between CHF9.2-9.3B and expected its FY09 Fastweb rev around €1.8B (estimates for FY09 CHF12.19Be). Swiss Telecom put its FY09 CAPEX at around CHF1.35B with a FY08 Dividend of CHF18/share v CHF19/share y/y. The CEO noted that the company is well positioned to grow faster than the market in 2009 while expecting that the first half of 2009 will be weaker than that of H1 2008. || The Swiss National Bank [SNBN.SZ] reported its FY08 at a net loss CHF4.7B compared to a profit of CHF8B y/y. Additionally the SNB commented that the UBS stabilization fund had no impact on results despite having to 'revalue' nearly $996M in UBS assets. ||

- Speakers: Australian PM Rudd commented that its country was 'not immune' to worldwide economic slowdown but added that the Australian economy was among the top global performers and that the stimulus program curbed economic slowdown ||Australian Fin Min: Expects must of stimulus impact to occur in Q1. He noted that Run down in inventory levels cannot continue and that consumer demand was holding up relatively well || BoJ's Suda commented that the central bank did not rule out any policy options but quantitative easing was not needed at this time. The- Zero interest rate policy was also not necessary for now. The BOJ must be aware and must examine side-effects of additional steps. the BoJ's intervention in stock market could negatively affect market function || German Steel Federation reiterated that 2009 would be a 'difficult' year for steel but saw a moderate chance for recovery starting in H2. it expected German crude steel output to fall under 40M tons this year for first time since 1993 || China PBOC Official commented that its currency (Yuan) should trend higher in the long-term and that low interest rates are needed to fight deflation, but zero interest rates was a last resort || Swedish Debt Office guided the projected budget deficit for 2009-2010 of SEK135B and SEK65B respectively with its 2009 bond funding at SEK106B, approx SEK32B over original target. It expected to see considerably lower tax revenues. Interestingly, it commented about the SEK and the Baltic region. It noted that the SEK currency was a an unrealistic level due to perceptions regarding crisis in Baltics. Fears over markets in the Baltic are exaggerated and added that the Poland was not in crisis and that the fundamentals of Poland remain strong. The Zloty currency 9PLN) should strengthen n the medium term || Ireland PM commented that its Feb unemployment was seen at 10.4% compared 9.2% prior month

- In Currencies: The EUR/USD tested below the 1.25 level in late Asia for fresh 3-month lows but the pair was off its worst level a dealers covered euro short positioning ahead of the ECB policy meeting later this week. The break below 1.2500 overnight has potential downside momentum to test the 1.2330 Oct 2008 lows. || USD/JPY hit fresh 4-month highs above the 99 level. Dealers noting that the 100.00 area is where exporter offers and option congestion are slated to provide some initial resistance. The 200-day moving average at currently pegged around the 100.20 level. GBP/JPY was back testing its 100-day mvg avg at 139.79 and made a brief surge over 140.

- Fixed income: US Treasuries future prices fell, extending the worst losses in five years, on speculation the U.S. will announce plans tomorrow to sell $60 billion of debt next week as it borrows record amounts to spur the economy. Hampering the sentiment was an earlier Far east press report that China might use its reserves to buy oil in order to diversify away from treasuries

- In Energy: Strength in NYMEX Crude futures overnight attributed to possible China stimulus package and reserve diversify. Earlier in Asia, the Japanese press reported that China might use its reserves to buy oil in order to diversify away from treasuries || PetroChina [PTR] Company official commented that it cut its2009 production targets by 10-20% at several fields but did not include Daqing or Changqing ||WSJ reporte that Venezuela planed to renegotiate contracts with oil-service companies. According to the country's Oil Minister and President of PDVSA, the company planned to cut its spending on oil-service contracts by 40%.

- Credit Crisis: Chinese Premier Wen may announce new stimulus measures tomorrow, adding to a CNY 4T spending plan as the government tries to revive growth in the world's third-biggest economy || Lloyds [ LLOY.UK] Reaffirmed that conversations regarding the APS with the UK government are proceeding

*** NOTES ***

- Dealers noting that a “Leadership crisis” seems to be brewing all around the globe and this had hampered confidence and translated into lower equity prices…but Chinese PM .Wen's pending speech to the legislative keeping hope alive. Also China PMI manufacturing surprises and moves near the magic 50 level (suggesting growth)

- Australian GDP registered its first contraction since late 2000 and the outlook suggests some more short term weakness.

- China's sovereign wealth fund investment chances in energy and commodities and possible at the expense of US Treasuries.

- BoJ Suda talks down Japan economic future, but puts positive outlook on China.

- Looking Ahead:

- 7:00 (US) MBA Mortgage Applications w/e Feb 27th: No expectations v -15.1 % prior

- 7:30 (US) Feb Challenger Job Cuts Y/Y: No expectations v 222.4%

- 8:15 (US) ADP Employment Change: -630k expected v -522k prior

- 9:00 (US) Dec PRX Composite 28dy Index: No expectations v 199.39 prior; Y/Y: No expectations v -21.59% prior

- 9:00 (US) Fed's Fisher speaks in Texas

- 10:00 (US) ISM Non-Manuf. Composite: 41.0 expected v 42.9 prior

- (UK) Feb HBOS House Prices M/M: -2.0% expected v 1.9% prior; 3M/Y: -17.8% expected v -17.2% prior

- 10:00 (US) Treasury Sec Geithner testifies before



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