- Equities: Following a now familiar weekly trend, equity markets in Europe
opened to the positive side following yesterday's strong close. Opening moves
were pushed by financial names expecting further good news out of US banks [C]
and a continued up trend in steel names following further upgrades [TKA.GE]. In
another now familiar trend choppiness immediately entered the markets as
realization of below expected numbers out of French firms that reported in the
post market yesterday brought down their sectors (namely travel and hotels due
to Accor [AC.FR] and retail following Carrefour [CA.FR]). Following earnings
from Nokia yesterday, and SonyEricsson today, have seen both those firms
trading in the green despite a common belief that the overall handset market is
to contract 10% in 2009 and that both units lost market share in Q1. All three
main European bourses had moved convincingly into negative territory through
the first 45min of trade, the major bankruptcy of General Growth Properties in
the US spooking
investors in commercial REITS and property based funds, names such as Hammerson
[HMSO.UK] led the decline in this sector with additional weight coming from
analysts cuts in the sector at UBS. Overall volumes remain below their averages
with the CAC40 slightly outperforming due to volume in Carrefour and Accor
following Q1 reports. Drifting off their lows, markets again headed into
negative territory just at 5:00EST as Euro zone construction figures fell m/m
and overall trade balance continued its decline for 'all the wrong reasons.'
Markets, however, are continuing to place themselves for the widely anticipated
GE and Citigroup earnings due out at 6:30EST || Carrefour [CA.FR] reported Q1
Rev â‚¬22.7B v â‚¬23Be, Q1 SSS +1.5% ex fuel, Q1 French Rev â‚¬9.6B v â‚¬9.7Be. The
global grocer stated that trading has not improved since March and that the
firms 'Hard discount' like for like sales were -8% y/y. CEO: the environment
remains tough, generation of free cash flow remains a priority. || Accor
[AC.FR] reported Q1 Rev â‚¬1.62B v â‚¬1.79Be (-5.8% on a like for like y/y basis)
and cut its 2009/2010 renovation CAPEX to â‚¬315M. Europe's
largest hotel chain will accelerate cost savings plans and holds no illusions
that sales will improve in Q2 of 2009. The groups US based Motel 6 unit saw
sales decrease 12% y/y. || Sony Ericsson [SNE] [ERICB.SW] JV reported its Q1
Net loss â‚¬293M v profit â‚¬133M y/y. Rev â‚¬1.7B v â‚¬2.7B y/y, Q1 Gross Margins 8% v
15% q/q, v 29% y/y, Q1 Market share i6% v 8% q/q, Q1 ASP â‚¬120 v â‚¬121e and Q1
Units shipped 15.4M (-35% y/y). The handset maker plans to cut another â‚¬400M in
costs. Sony Ericsson forecasts that the global handset market for 2009 will
contract at least 10% from around 1,190M units in 2008. Note** on 04/16: NOK:
Nokia continues to expect 2009 industry mobile device volumes -10% y/y.
Continues to expect the decline to be greater in the H1 than in H2. ||
- Speakers: ECB's Trichet commented in late Asia that
Euro weakness did not reflect current conditions. The ECB must maintain
appropriate balance between immediate needs and long-term sustainability. The
central bank would fully take into account financing structure of Euro area,
with decision coming on May 7th. Ambiguity on policy would delay return to sustainable
prosperity. He did note that risks of sudden economic, financial developments
do remain || BoE's Blanchflower reiterated his view that the UK
was facing a jobs 'crisis' and that government action was needed quickly . he
saw high probability that jobless rate could rise above 3M and that the issue
of unemployment would likely be biggest issue at next election || UK Trade
Minister commented that he as not concerned over a further fall in the GBP
currency. The export competitiveness would help the UK
move out of the recession || BOJ April Regional economic Assessment lowered its
view in 7 of the 9 regions. Regional economic situation has continued to
deteriorate and production has decreased. It expected continued weakness in
business sentiments and decline in corporate profits. Industrial CAPEX levels
have continued their decline || SNB's Roth commented that Switzerland's
near term economic outlook was 'anything but bright' and noted that any
recovery would not start until 2010 and would be a slow process. He did see
some signs of stabilization at this time. He reiterated the SNB view that CHF
currency interventions would continue for as long as needed to avoid
deflationary expectations. Interventions were not aimed at any competitive
devaluation. Lastly, Roth noted that corrective measures would be needed once
the economy does recover. || BOE's Kate Barker commented that it was clear that
inflation targeting alone cannot produce a stable economy. She stated that the
fall in loan-to-value in existing home mortgages may be coming to an end,
expect home prices to rise once again || BoJ's Hayakawa noted that he was
observing signs that output could reach bottom in current quarter but added
that it was uncertain if output would rise after leveling off || Moody's placed
Ireland's AAA sovereign ratings on review for possible downgrade || Czech
Central Banker Tuma stated that there was no reason to open IMF credit line for
Czech Republic. Direction of interest rates depends on CZK and economy and
could move in either direction. || French PM Fillon stated that he was
confident that economic recovery would arrive in early 2010 as there were
increasing signs of recovery in emerging nations and US
- In Currencies: The Dealers were analyzing comments from ECB's Trichet with
their overall assessment that perhaps Trichet wants a weaker Euro. One dealer
noted that the EUR/USD was around 2% below its 200week (4 year average) and
noted that the currency could as 'hardly be viewed as "weak".
Overall dealers continued to view the outlook for the euro as negative
(highlighted by Fed's Fisher comment in Asia that
Eurozone challenges exceeded those in US). Moody's placing of Ireland's
AAA sovereign ratings on review for possible downgrade also weighed on Euro
sentiment. Dealer suggesting that selling of Euro currency was likely to
continue on any rallies. Te EUR/USD did mange to break below the 1.3070 level,
lowest since Mar 18th (Pre-FED quantitative easing level). The EUR/JPY pair
retested below the 130 level dealer chatter again circulated â‚¬45B in Euro bond
- The GBP was softer following the comments from the UK
trade minister in which he was not concerned over a further fall in the GBP
currency adding that its export competitiveness would help the UK
move out of the recession. GBP/USD tested below the 1.48 level on the back of
those comments in pre-European trading.
- The CHF was softer after SNB's Roth 's reiterated the view that
"currency intervention had become necessary as the rise in the CHF
threatened to offset rate cutsâ€ť and will continue to intervene to offset
deflationary risks. EUR/CHF nearing the 1.52 level and USD/CHF above the 1.16
- Commodities: China
Antaike Assoc Pres commented on the alleged China
reserve building plans . They believe that China seeks to purchases 1M tons of
aluminum and 400K tons of copper over three years and also target 400K tons of
lead and zinc during the same time frame.
- Fixed income: European domestic agenda was sparse this Friday. But dealers
noting that next week's will be quite active with notable events and data
releases, including the U.K. budget, BoE minutes, UK CPI and UK GDP to name a
few. Dealers have also noted â‚¬18B in German redemptions are due today, and over
â‚¬50B due next week which combined with a relative dearth of supply should lead
to a good week for EGB's next week. Irish 10y Debt actually firmed up against
the Bund this morning despite the potential for downgrade at Moody's , with the
yield spread down 8bps at 210bps, and well off the 274bps printed earlier this
- In Energy: Venezuela Oil Min Ramirez noted that oil prices have stabilized
with a floor of $45/bbl. OPEC must continue monitoring oil prices as they
fluctuate and that oil inventories remain overstocked. ||WSJ reported that the
Obama administration was strongly urging UN Security Council to issue a formal
censure of Iran
and Syria for
arms-smuggling to militant groups in Lebanon
- Credit Crisis: Moody's places Ireland's
AAA sovereign ratings on review for possible downgrade. Action reflects the
severe economic adjustment taking place in Ireland,
which threatens to undermine the country's low tax, financial services-driven
economic model. The govt's debt affordability metrics will probably be lastingly
*** NOTES ***
- Active currency session on the official front. Comments from ECB's Trichet in
late Asia and SNB's Roth helped to provide some USD
strength (see currency section for details).
- Risk Aversion theme tried creeping back into view ahead of Citigroup
earning's release. Aversion also fueled by Moody's comment on Ireland.
The agency placed Ireland's
AAA sovereign ratings on review for possible downgrade (S&P did cut it back
on Mar 30th)
- Some of the early traders chatter about the earnings season. Overall
assessment is that a lot of the â€śunfamiliarâ€ť household names forecasting bigger
losses to come.
- BOJ's Shirakawa reiterated that Japan
economy was worsening sharply. Japan Government concurred this view.
- Fisher in Beijing: Eurozone
challenges exceed those in US. Understands China's
concerns. Fisher downplayed risk of USD depreciation.
- Yellen noted that a severe economic downside risks persists and the
recession's end remains unclear
- Blanchflower: UK
is in jobs crisis and biggest issue at its next election (Which must be held
before Jun 3rd 2010).
- Looking Ahead: Citigroup, GE report earnings before the NYSE opening bell
(6:30am ET likely)
- 7:00 (CA) Canadian March CPI M/M: 0.3% expected v 0.7% prior; Y/Y: 1.4% expected
v 1.4% prior; CPI Core M/M: 0.2% expected v 0.5% prior, Y/Y: 1.9% expected v
- 8:00 (PD) Polish March Employment M/M: No
expectations v -0.4% prior; Y/Y: -0.8% expected v -0.2% prior
- 8:30 (US) Fed's Hoeing speaks in Washington
- 10:00 (MX) Mexican Overnight Rate: 50bps cut to 6.25% expected; current
overnight rate is 6.75%
- 10:00 (US) Apr Prelim U of Michigan Confidence: 58.5 expected v 57.3 prior
- 12:30 (US Fed's Bernanke speaks in Washington
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