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Forex Blog - European market Update: Confidence seems to be spreading faster than the Swine flu; FOMC and more Quantitative easing on trader's minds

Today 05:57am EST/09:57am GMT

European market Update: Confidence seems to be spreading faster than the Swine flu; FOMC and more Quantitative easing on trader's minds


- (SP) Spanish March Retail Sales Y/Y: -7.6% v -11.7%;Adj Retail Sales Y/Y: -8.2% v -9.1% prior

- (HU) Hungary March Producer Prices M/M: 0.7% v 3.2% prior, Y/Y: 9.1% v 8.4% prior

- (SW) Swedish Apr Econ Tendency Survey: 69.7 v 71.8e; Consumer Confidence: -21.0 v -14.5e

- (SW) Swedish Q1 Manufacturing Confidence: -35.0 v -36e

- (SW) Swedish March Household Lending Y/Y: 8.1% v 8.6% prior

- (IT) Italian Hourly Wages M/M: 0.1 v 0.0%e, Y/Y: 3.5% v 3.5%e

- (NO) Norway Feb Unemployment Rate: 3.1 v 3.2%e

- (EU) Euro-zone March M3 Y/Y: 5.1% v 5.7%e; 3Mth Avg: 5.6% v 5.9%e

- (EU) Apr Business Climate Indicator: -3.33 v -3.53e; Economic Confidence: 67.2 v 65.6e; Consumer Confidence: -31 v -33e; Industrial Confidence: -35 v -36e; Services Confidence: -24 v -24e

- (SZ) Swiss Apr KOF leading Indicator: -1.86 v -1.90e

- (SA) South African March CPI M/M: 1.3% v 1.2%e; Y/Y: 8.5% v 8.4%e


- In equities: European equity markets opened to the upside for the first time in the trading week. Markets responded to a slew of corporate earnings in the European pre-market and positive analyst actions regarding UK based banking names. Strong earnings out of Royal Dutch Shell (RDSA.UK), Siemens (SIE.GE) and Banco Santandar (SAN.SP) buoyed market sentiment.. Results from SAP (SAP.GE), and ArcelorMittal (MT.NV) were shaken off in early trades as the names moved into the positive arena. Results from ArcelorMittal moved the Euro based steel sector into positive territory since Monday's post market Q1 out of US Steel (X) that had added significant weight to the steel names. Gains were not lasting and market chatter of further capacity reductions and the possibility of a further rights issue sent ArcelorMittal back into negative territory. As fears of the fatality level of Swine Flu outbreaks seems to be passing, many of the names severally beaten are showing some recovery including airlines (BAY.UK) (AF.FR) while gains in the mixed pharma sector over the previous two sessions are being paired in initial trades. Overall risk appetite had increased with markets remaining broadly positive and by 5:00EST trading up between 0.50% and 1.00%. With Crude futures over $50/bbl, energy and commodity names have snapped a two-day losing streak during the European morning.

- In specific equity news: Royal Dutch Shell [RDSA.UK] Reports Q1 Net $3.49B v $2.47Be, Rev $58.22B v $53.85Be, Dividend $0.42 (+5% y/y). Stated that upstream oil and gas volumes were impacted by ongoing security challenges in Nigeria, OPEC quota restrictions and weakening industrial demand for natural gas. Refinery intake and marketing and chemicals sales volumes were impacted by the weak economic environment across all regions. Gearing 6.6% v 1.9% y/y. || Siemens [SIE.GE] Reports Q2 Net €962M v €974Me, Q2 Op profit main units €1.84B v €1.65Be; Rev €18.96B v €18.7Me, guides FY to exceed €6.6B year-ago level v €6.33Be (€8-8.5B previous guidance), Q2 Orders €20.9B (-11% q/q). Outlook: The current macroeconomic and financing environment shows no evidence of near-term improvement. ||SAP [SAP.GE] Reports Q1 Net €204M v €346Me, Rev €2.40B v €2.57Be; maintains FY09 outlook. Due to uncertainty surrounding the economic and business outlook; it will not provide specific outlook for software and software related revenues for 2009. Expects Q2 to continue as difficult period, will be difficult to compare to strong Q2 of 2008. || Banco Santander [SAN.SP] Reports Q1 Net €2.10B v €1.80Be, Net interest income €6.23B, +22% y/y, Bad loans ratio end of March 2.49% v 2.04% q/q, Core capital 7.3% v 6.1% y/y; coverage ratio 80% v 134% y/y, Op margin reached 15% to €5.4B. || ArcelorMital [MT.NV] Reports Q1 Net loss $1.1B v profit $594Me; EBITDA $900M v $1.02Be, Rev $15.1B v $17.5Be, Q1 Shipments 16.0M tons (-6% q/q). || Bayer [BAY.GE] Reports Q1 Net €425M v €507Me, EBITDA (adj) €1.7B v €1.79Be, Rev €7.90B v €8.06Be. Expects mixed outlook for FY09, reaffirms goal to bring down its net financial debt toward €10B by end of 2009. || Continental [CON.GE] Reports Q1 Net loss €267.3M v €301Me. Rev €4.3B v €4.49Be, CEO: The business environment will remain difficult in Q2 as well. So, compliance with agreed key financial figures will still pose a major challenge. || France Telecom [FTE.FR] Reports Q1 EBITDA €4.30B v €4.45Be, Rev €12.69B v €12.76Be, reaffirms FY09 organic cash flow target of €8.0B. ||

- Speakers: ECB's Trichet reiterated the central bank's view on inflation. He saw short term levels of very low inflation. However, Trichet stressed that inflation would rise again toward the end of the year. The financial crisis was a continuing problem and urged constant vigilance || ECB's Mersch stated that Risks to financial markets have intensified and must ensure stimulus measures are effective. He commented that short term solutions are incompatible with financial stability. Mersch stated that he believed that there was some margin left to lower interest rates || ECB's Wellink comented that forcing banks to only lend domestically was bad. He reiterated the view that restoring confidence to both economy and financial system remained crucial|| German Fin Min official: Credit conditions are less tight in Germany compared to other EU members. He commented that a German GDP contraction of 6% was not unrealistic. || BOE's Barker commented that banks were right to be careful about their lending as they need to consider rising unemployment and repossessions || BOE designate Miles noted that it is sensible for banks to hold more capital now than they have done in the past. ||

- In Currencies: The USD and JPY currencies were reflecting the rising risk appetite in the session. Dealers also noting that today's FOMC meeting, which could include more quantitative easing steps. EUR/USD was firmly above the 1.32 handle and some chatter circulating of some 1.3300 option barrier resistance making the rounds. USD/JPY testing the 97.00 figure after probing 95.60 yesterday. European pairs are broadly firmer against the JPY with GBP/JPY up 200 pips at 143.20 area and EUR/JPY at 128.35, some 400 pips off Tuesday's intraday lows. Higher energy and metal prices helping the AUD, CAD and NZD. Gold should continue to experience tentative demand on dips with the $860/oz level in the cash market deemed as the key pivotal point.

- In Fixed Income: In fixed income : supply remains in focus with the Italian Central Bank selling €9B in 3 and 10y conventional BTP's and over €3B in floating rate notes. The new benchmark 10y BTP drew a bid-to cover of 1.4, below the 1.6 at the preceding 10y auction. The Czech Republic also priced its €1.5B 4.5% 2014 Bond at 190bps/swaps In the UK, the DMO successfully sold the residual £187M in 2049 Gilts left over from the failed auction in March, with a strong cover of almost 5. Renewed risk appetite has kept the yield on the UST 10y Note above the all important 3.00% level in Asian and European Hours, ahead of the FOMC meeting and the Treasury's $36B 7y note action. The long bond is pretty much unchanged at 3.955% || Dealers noting the Jun Bund contract continues to consolidate in its April price range of 121.60 to 123.40 || US Treasurys consolidated as well from losses it encountered during Tuesday's session. Jun T-Bond futures were lower by 0.2% at 123-20, roughly in the middle of its electronic session range. British gilt futures also fell in trade on Wednesday, tracking Bunds lower as equities unwound some of the previous day's losses

- In Energy: Chinese Gov't stated that Q1 energy consumption per GDP unit fell 2.89% y/y. The Q1, China's energy consumption rose by 3.04%. || Jun NYMEX crude futures at session highs ahead of the NY morning as it approaches the $51 area in its electronic session.

- Swine Flu: World Health Organization (WHO) provided update on Swine Flu outbreak. Confirmed cases total 112 worldwide. Says 3 cases in New Zealand; 2 in Israel; 2 in Spain and 2 in UK. The US has 64 cases; Mexico has 26 and 13 in Canada.

- Credit Crisis: EU States agreed to raise capital minimums for banks. The 27 EU members backed an increase of capital requirement for banks in which banks must retain 5% of assets-backed deals. The rules need EU Parliamentary approval (vote scheduled for early May). The overhaul is set to take force in 2011 (to avoid crimping lending during the recession) || ECB released its April lending survey. It saw signs of possible stabilization of current credit conditions. The survey showed that 43% of banks tightened business credit in Q1 compared to 64% prior quarter. The survey expected the number to decline to 28% for Q2. Banks indicated that government loan guarantees were already having positive impact on lending

*** NOTES ***

- Risk appetite increasing in the session with sentiment aided by recent US/European data. Thus markets getting all giddy as the rate of recent economic deterioration seemed to shown improvement. Since US Consumer Conference came out yesterday above expectations, the risk aversion initially set off by renewed banking-sector concerns and swine flu fears have taken a back seat. Thus the price action providing a softer USD, JPY currencies, firmer equities in both Europe and US complemented by higher commodity prices.

- The focus will be seeing if the Q1 advance US GDP would continue the trend of 'stabilization'.

- FOMC decision today…more quantitative easing???

- Looking Ahead

- 7:00 (US) MBA Mortgage Applications w/e Apr 24th: 5.3% prior

- 8:30 (US) Q1 Advanced GDP Q/Q: -4.7% expected v -6.3% prior,

- 8:30 (US) Advance Q1 Annualized GDP q/q (last -6.3%), Q1 GDP Price Index (last 0.5%), Q1 Personal Consumption (last -4.3%), Q1 Core PCE q/q (last 0.9%)

- 10:30 (US) DoE Crude Oil/Gasoline/Distillate Inventories

- 10:00 (UK) BoE to purchase £3B 2014 - 2018 Gilts in reverse auction

- 1:00 (US) Treasury's $26B 7-yr note auction

- 2:00 (US) FOMC rate decision


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