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Monday December 21, 2009 - 11:11:04 GMT
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European Market Update: Markets shifts into holiday mode

Monday, December 21, 2009 5:58:46 AM

 European Market Update: Markets shifts into holiday mode


- (TH) Thailand Nov Customs Trade Balance: $1.1B v $1.5Be
- (JP) Japan Nov Convenience Store Sales: -6.3% v -5.5% prior
- (HU) Hungarian Oct Retail Trade Y/Y: -7.5% v -6.9%e
- (SZ) Swiss Nov Money supply M3 Y/Y: 7.6% v 7.7% prior
- (DE) Danish Consumer Confidence: -3.6 v -1.5e
- (HK) Hong Kong CPI- Composite Index Y/Y: 0.5% v 0.8%e
- (IC) Icelandic Nov Wage Index M/M: 1.5% v 0.3% prior; Y/Y: 4.0% v 1.9% prior

- Equities: European equity markets entered into an abbreviated holiday week on a soft tone. Macro flows over the weekend have been mixed with
Copenhagen wrapping up with no legal accord, energy and carbon intensive industries appear to take a sigh of relief. Speculation over the final cost for new regulatory bases in European banks from various news sources has tempered excitement in the sector. The overall breadth of the UK's windfall 'banking bonus' has been cut back via UK Treasury insinuation that brokers, asset managers and insurance names will not be included. Equities have been trading higher in a new correlation with USD strength against its European peers. General equity and sector trends have been mixed. German auto names have rotated lower, with shares of VW [VOW.GE] moving lower following confirmation that the ordinaries would be removed from the DAX as of Dec 23, 2009. A ratings cut to Nokia [NOK1V.FH] by Fitch pressured the broader mobile and communications infrastructure sector. Overall winners included energy and basic resource names along with tech and some retail names. Trading volume have been mixed but biased to the light side.

-Individual stocks: : Royal Dutch Shell [RDSA.UK] Plans sale of onshore oilfields in
Nigeria worth about $5B - London Sunday Times. || HSBC [HSBA.UK] Planning a £5B IPO in Shanghai as early as March - Observer. || RBS [RBS.UK]: Expected to agree to sale of its Sempra Commodities joint venture for about £2.5B ($4B) within weeks - London Sunday Times. || Vallourec [VK.FR]: Forecasts 2009 gross op profit to be 15-20% of sales; no sign of recovery before 2011 - La Lettre. || Safran [SAF.FR]: To sign a $5B contract today to supply Commercial Aircraft Corp of China with jet engines - CEO Herteman. || Gas Natural [GAS.SP]: To sell Madrid gas assets to Morgan Stanley and Portugal's Galp for €800M. ||

- Speakers: German Fin Min commented that the German economy was likely to remain on recovery path despite easing global stimulus. The ministry also noted that its prospects were good for improving its export dynamic. It believed that the global economy was past the worst point of the economic downturn. Germany's Nov tax receipts were at €34.2B, down 6.7% y/y ***EU Commission Quarterly report noted that economy was poise to build upon momentum into 2010 but that setbacks in the region's recovery cannot be ruled out. It noted that
Greece was a source of serious concern. Financial conditions have improved considerably, but money and credit growth remain subdued. EUR currency appreciation was of serious concern for open Euro-zone economies. China should let Yuan currency appreciate. To propose new strategy on structural reforms in early 2010 *** Germany's DIHK Trade & Industry chambers forecasted Q4 GDP at 0.7. It based its forecast on domestic demand and signs that companies are building inventories to meet expected sales growth next year. The DIHK expected the 2010 German GDP growth of 2% ***China PBoC Advisor Fan commented that the USD might continue its decline in the long-term although he did expect the currency to fluctuate in the near-term. The advisor noted that the US economy was expected to remain sluggish for a long period of time *** SNB reiterates its view that it would continue to prevent excessive CHF appreciation. The central bank also noted that inflation risks remained to the downside. - Any correction in monetary policy would be premature but cautioned that low interest rates cannot be maintained forever***

- Currencies: The USD drifted into positive territory during the European morning after a quiet Asian session. Dealers noted that budget concerns would remain in focus. The Greek/German 10-year spread widened as the NY morning approached towards the 270 bps level (Widest since late Q1). Thinning liquidity conditions could provide some higher price volatility. Some option-related flows was demand for two-month downside strikes with 1.3500 knock-outs in the EUR/USD pair. The EUR/USD was little changed from its opening levels seen in
Tokyo at 1.4330 area.

The EURCHF capture the attention of European participants after again tested the 1.49 level in pre Asian trading. The market was attuned to any possible risk of potential currency intervention but both the SNB and BIS refused to comments on the topic.

- Fixed Income: Government bond prices are a sea of red this morning in
Europe, yields are higher and curves steeper with longer dated issues bearing the brunt of selling in what amounts to something of a reversal from Friday's bid, albeit exacerbated by exceptionally thin holiday week volumes. The 10y Note yield is up 5bps at 3.58%, the 10y Bund yield is up 2bps at 3.16%, while the 10y Gilt yield is up +1bps at 3.795%. The Greek 10yr yield spread has widened out another 12bps to test Bunds+270bps for the first time since March, after unconfirmed reports circulated in the pre market suggesting the Greek government was resigned to a downgrade at Moody's (having already been cut at S&P and Fitch in the past fortnight).

- Energy: OPEC Sec-Gen: Does not expect any surprises at Dec 22nd meeting in
Angola; oil prices at comfortable level. He noted that he was not happy with member compliance at approx 60 and did not envision the need to raise oil output in 2010. Lastly he added that there was no need for OPEC to meet again before March ***Angolan Oil Min: reiterates viw that OPEC will leave output levels unchanged at Dec 22nd meeting*** MEND disclosed on Dec 19 that it launched an attack on a pipeline in Abonemma, in what is seen as the group's first attack in more than 4 months.

- Commodities: Indian Sugar Mills Assoc (ISMA) stated that India 2009/10 sugar output below 16M tons and needed further imports of up to 2M tons. It noted that it had contracted 2.9M tons in raw sugar and 0.9M tons of white sugar in 2009/10 period. Lastly it noted that India was likely to be self-sufficient in 2010/11 India likely to produce enough sugar to be self-sufficient and meet its demand in 2010/11 as sugar cane planting are rising on high global prices*** World Steel Association stated that Nov global output was at 107.5M tons, +24.2% y/y. China Nov output at 47.3M tons, +37.4% y/y; Japan Nov output at 8.9M tons, +0.5% y/y; German Nov output at 3.5M tons, +8% y/y; US Nov output at 6M tons, +26.9% y/y

- In the papers: UK Bonus tax excludes many financial companies according to the
- Article noted that the U.K. government's 50% one-time tax on bankers bonuses will not cover stockbrokers, asset managers and insurance companies Article noted that the Revenues & Customs tax authority stated that it would modified its definition of a bank

- Federal snow day in Washington gov't is closed on Monday
- Japan exports decline at slowest pace in 14 months (aided by Asian demand)
- Iraq's Deputy Oil Minister Kareem: issue of disputed al-Fakah well with Iran was resolved diplomatically
- US Health bill passes key Senate procedural vote along part lines
- OPEC Gen Sec: No for members need to meet again before March after Dec 22nd meeting; Consensus reached to maintain output at current levels

***Looking Ahead:
- (SP) Spain Oct Trade Balance: No est v -€5.4B prior
- 8:00 (HU) Hungarian Central Bank Rate Decision: Consensus expectations is for a 50bps cut to 6.00% (current Base rate is 6.50%)
- 8:30 (US) Chicago Fed National Activity Index: No est v -1.08 prior
- 8:30 (CA) Canadian Oct Retail Sales M/M: 0.8%e v 1.0% prior, Less Autos M/M: 0.3%e v 1.1% prior
- 15:30 (MX) Mexico Oct Retail Sales: -4.0%e v -4.6% prior
- (CO) Colombia Q3 GDP Y/Y: 0.2%e v -0.5% prior



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