- In equities: Equity markets began an abbreviated trading session on mixed
geo-political fears following North Korean nuclear tests and SSM launch. With
the UK closed
for Spring Bank Holiday and American desks closed for the Memorial Day holiday,
thin conditions rolled over from Friday's session. Markets opened on a positive
note following the late rally in Asian equity markets but quickly surrendered
the opening ranges and by 3:15EST were printing in the red. Once negative, in
continued thin trading, markets continued to trade to the downside with the CAC
below -1% by 3:50EST and the DAX below -1.75% by the same time as markets
positioned themselves for the German May IFO business climate reading. Some
sectors that under performed broadly included automotives, Fiat [F.IT] which
had reportedly revised its bid for OPEL and Porsche [PAH3.GE] which had
reportedly been extended a â‚¬750M credit line from VW [VOW.GE] led the
automotive decline. May IFO numbers came in below expectation but higher on a m/m
basis, these mixed results translated into little equity movements as both the
CAC and DAX held their ranges at -1.4% to -1.7% on the session at 4:15EST. In
light volume, equity markets bounced off their lows and trended higher through
the bottom half of the 4:00EST hour while still remaining broadly negative. On
the back of declining volumes, equities settled into a tight range by 4:45EST
with the CAC -.9% and the DAX-1.20% that was held through 5:30EST.
- In individual equity news: Aviva [AV.UK] National Australia Bank (NAB),
Westpac, AMP and Axa Asia Pacific are first round bidders for the company's
A$1B Australian life insurance business - FT. ||Marks and Spencer [MKS.UK]
Executive Chairman Sir Stuart Rose may be quietly preparing to leave the company
early - London Times. Rose said publicly for the first time last week that he
hoped to go before his previously announced departure date. || Lloyds Banking
Group [LLOY.UK] Has accelerated its efforts to sell its stakes in more than 60 UK
companies - London Telegraph. The stakes were inherited from HBOS. || Areva
[CEI.FR] May announce divestment of its transportation and distribution units
in June -FT.Sales
would be used to raise funds for further investment projects. No price target
for unit is given. || Alstom [ALO.FR] Plans tidal power equipment sales with
Canadian partner by 2012. JV with Clean Current Power Systems. || Fiat [F.IT]
Update: Reportedly Fiat has revised offer for OPEL -Deutsche Presse-Agentur.
Comments were made by German Econ min Guttenberg. Stated that Fiat was willing
to increase its stake in OPEL's capital unit. Specific details of the offer
were not released. || Escada [ESC.GE] Update: Group still predicts a H1 net
loss, current balance sheet losses exceed 1/2 of capital stock. Reiterates FY09
sales down y/y. Guides H1 sales in lower range of target (loss at â‚¬17.8M). ||
Rhoen-Klinikum RHK.GE: Update: Reportedly seeking to raise â‚¬500M in rights
offer (approx 30% of market cap). ||
- Speakers: ECB's Weber commented that there were glimmers of hope for mild
economic recovery but caution there were risks of massive worsening German
unemployment. Downward trend in economic cycle was easing and that the ECB
would be ready to mop up extra liquidity in the market when the economy recovers.
Weber did caution that the market situation remained difficult and dangerous.
EU states must reduce deficits once economy bottoms out, stimulus programs
would have a significant impact
|||EU's Almunia: Have so far seen scarce signs of recovery in the global
economy. German government stimulus would not be enough to make up for losses
in exports ||| IFO economists commented that it expected a gradual
stabilization in economic output at current lower levels. Manufacturers were
seeing worse business situation in May in comparison to April. Retailers are
less dissatisfied with condition in May as compared to April ||| IFO's Abberger
commented that the ECB should stay neutral on interest rates for the current
time, but noted that rate cuts below 1% might be taken. Euro appreciation
levels are not the main concern for businesses, rather the lack of demand
larger concern. Full economic turnaround was not currently in sight, but a free
fall seen in late 2008 was now over and saw signs of stabilization taking root.
Retailers do not expect collapse in consumption but rising unemployment might
hurt in medium term ||| IFO's Nerb commented that the ECB has room to cut
interest rates to 0.50% ||| BoJ Shirakawa commented that he expected Japan's Q2
GDP to be better than the -15.2% registered in Q1. He noted that is was
desirable for Japanese banks to reduce stock holdings more as stock-holding
risk was higher than credit risk. The BOJ was focusing on how demand picks up,
but outlook on final domestic demand was not optimistic. The rise in long term
yield on US Treasuries reflect expectations of economic recovery || BOJ Monthly
Report noted that Japan's exports and production were beginning to level off
and that the pace of economic deterioration was likely to moderate || Japanese
Min of Finance's Sugimoto commnted that the Japanese economy remained in a
severe state and he hoped that the deterioration moderates. He noted that the
deterioration in labor markets specifically has been abrupt ||| Japanese Govt
also raised its economic assessment In May as it noted that the worsening pace
turned milder. The report raised its view on both exports and industrial output
and noted that the pace of worsening was slowing as exports and industrial
output are nearing bottom. It raised public investment assessment to steady and
also raised bankruptcy assessment. The report did cut its unemployment
assessment to "severe" from "worsening rapidly" ||| Irish
Fin Min commented that there were no further bank nationalizations in Ireland.
He also noted that leaving Euro-zone would be 'absurd' ||| Russian President
Medvedev commented that its 2009 GDP contraction would be deeper than forecast;
Budget deficit "optimistically" at least 7% of GDP |||
- In Currencies: Market participants taking note of UK
press report on China.
FT article noted that the Chinese are caught in a "dollar trap" and
are still buying record levels of U.S. Treasuries. The report cites unnamed
Chinese and western officials in Beijing saying that China was caught in a
"dollar trap" and has little choice but to keep pouring the bulk of
its growing reserves into the U.S. Treasury, which remains the only market big
enough and liquid enough to support its huge purchases. This is despite
verbalized concerns about the impact that U.S.
policies may have on the USD.
- The Euro price action was a key discussion among dealing deals on this
lightened holiday session. Dealers noted numerous reasons for a stronger Euro
in the coming period. First being cross-related action. Discussion on steps China
could take as press articles note their USD dilemma holdings. Currency dealers
taking notice of recent price movement in EUR/USD pair and the Russian Central
bank action. Dealers note that the Russian Central Bank (CBR) has been trying
to prevent the RUB from strengthening. Thus CBR doing everything to slow or
prevent RUB from strengthening implies lots of Euros to be bought. As we head
into the summer period, the volatility in currencies might return with a
- The EUR/USD approaching the NY morning at 1.3980 level. EUR/GBP hugging the
0.8800 area throughout the morning.
- The JPY was weaker among its major pairs due to political risk following the
North Korean nuclear test and missile launches. USD/JPY was at 95.05, EUR/JPY
at 132.80 and GBP/JPY at 150.90. The JPY did not respond to the BOJ and
Government reports that raised their overall economic assessment for Japan
for the first time since early 2006.
- the CHF was mildly firmer on safe-haven flows resulting from the North Korean
test and spot gold was steady at $954.30/oz.
-In Fixed Income: Telegraph's Ambrose Evans-Pritchard noted that there is
growing skepticism in the markets that the Treasury's sale of $100B of bonds
would successfully find buyers. At the upcoming US
debt auctions some traders will be focusing on how much of the auctions are
taken up by the US
government. The article adds that China
has warned a top member of the Fed that it is increasingly disturbed by the
Fed's direct purchase of Treasury bonds. The Dallas Fed's Fisher said
"senior officials of the Chinese government grilled me about whether or
not we are going to monetize the actions of our legislature"
- I n Energy: Saudi Oil Min Naimi commented that a price spike similar or worse
than 2008 could occur within three years without fresh investments.- Keeping
investment focus on long-term rather than being swayed by short term
volatility. Current market conditions largely reflected economic downturn and
is not an indicator of thing to come
|||IMF's Lipsky commented that there was relative stability in oil market in
near term as capacity and inventories are at comfortable levels. The Near term
rebound in oil demand likely to be modest. Supply constraints could reemerge
and drive prices higher in medium term || Iranian oil official: Reiterates view
that high oil stocks suggest oversupply; Output cut is a clear solution ||
Nigerian MEND militant claim to have attacked pipeline and flow stations owned
by Chevron || Iran and Pakistan are reported to sign a formal accord on gas in
two weeks in which Iran would export 750M c/f pd for 25-yr period ||
*** NOTES ***
- Thin trading conditions as both UK and US equity and fixed-income markets are
closed for holidays.
- German IFO rises but does not beat consensus estimates. IFO members note that
lack of demand larger concern then Euro currency levels
- North Korea
conducts an underground nuclear test and several short-term missile tests. UN
Security Council calls emergency meeting scheduled for ()
- China warns
US Federal reserve that they are increasingly disturbed by Feds printing money.
- FT: Chinese are caught in a "dollar trap" and are still buying
record levels of U.S. Treasuries
- Saudi Oil Min Naimi commented that a price spike similar or worse than 2008
could occur within three years without fresh investments
- Looking Ahead:
- 7:00 (BR) Brazil May FGV Consumer Confidence: No estimate versus 97.6 prior
- 8:00 (HU) Hungarian Interest rate Announcement: Expected to leave Base rate
steady at 9.50%
- 10::00 (BR) Brazil Q1 Current Account Balance: -$2.32B expected versus
- 10:30 (IS) Israeli Interest Rate Announcement: Expected to leave its Base
rate steady at 0.50%
- 15:30 (MX) Mexico Q1 GDP (Constant USD) Y/Y: -2.7% expected versus +2.8%
- 16:00 - UN: Security council to meet to discuss N Korean actions
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