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European Market Update: M&A flows and political concerns weigh upon GBP in session; European data mixed in session

Monday, March 01, 2010 5:53:00 AM

 European Market Update: M&A flows and political concerns weigh upon GBP in session; European data mixed in session


- (GE) Germany Jan Import Prices M/M: 1.7% v 0.7%e; Y/Y: 1.4% v 0.3%e
- (SW) Sweden Feb Swedbank PMI Survey: 61.5 v 62.0e
- (HU) Hungary Feb PMI: 55.9 v 53.8 prior
- (HU) Hungary Jan Producer Prices M/M: 0.8% v 0.1% prior; Y/Y: -0.6% v 1.3% prior
- (IR) Ireland NCB Manufacturing PMI:48.6 v 48.1 prior
- (TU) Turkey Feb Manufacturing PMI: 50.9 v 53.0 prior
- (PD) Poland Feb Manufacturing PMI: 52.4 v 51.0 prior
- (NO) Norway Feb PMI: 49.4 v 51.0e
- (FI) Finland Q4 GDP Q/Q: 0.0% v 0.2%e; Y/Y: -5.1% v -9.1% prior
- (SP) Spain Feb Manufacturing PMI: 45.8 v 45.3 prior
- (DE) Denmark Jan Retail Sales M/M: -0.9% v 0.3% prior; Y/Y: -3.2% v 0.7% prior
- (SZ) Swiss SVME Purchasing Manufacturing Index: 57.4 v 56.0e
- (SW) Sweden Q4 GDP Q/Q: -0.6% v 0.3%e; Y/Y: -1.5% v -0.1%e
- (CZ) Czech Feb Manufacturing PMI: 54.3 v 53.1 prior
- (SW) Sweden Dec Wages non-manual Y/Y: 2.9% v 2.8% prior
- (IT) Italy Feb PMI Manufacturing: 51.6 v 52.1e; first MoM decline since Aug 2009
- (FR) France Feb PMI Manufacturing: 54.9 v 54.6e
(GE) Germany Feb Final PMI Manufacturing: 57.2 v 57.1e; highest reading since Jun 2007
- (EU) Euro-Zone Feb Final PMI Manufacturing: 54.2 v 54.1e
- (SA) South Africa Feb Kagiso PMI: 60.4v 53.8e
- (NO) Norway Credit Indicator Y/Y: 4.2% v 4.0%e
- (NO) Norway Jan Retail Sales Volume M/M: -0.4% v 0.0%e; Y/Y: 0.2% v 3.1%e
- (IT) Italy Jan Unemployment Rate: 8.6% v 8.6%e
- (UK) Jan Net credit Lending: £0.5B v -£0.1Be; Net Lending: £1.5B v £0.9Be
- (UK) Jan Mortgage Approvals: 48.2K v 50.0Ke
- (UK) Jan Final M4 Money Supply M/M: 0.4% v 0.6% prior; Y/Y: 4.9% v 5.1% prior
- (UK) Feb PMI Manufacturing: 56.6 v 56.5e
- (EU) Euro-Zone Jan Unemployment Rate: 9.9% v 10.1%e
- (IT) Italy 2009 GDP: -5.0% v -4.9%e; Deficit to GDP ratio: 5.3% v 5.3%e
- (DE) Denmark Feb PMI Survey: 54.0 v 56.7 prior
- (GR) Greece Dec Retail Sales Y/Y: 2.7% v -9.2% prior
- (GE) Germany Feb CPI Baden-Wuerttemberg M/M: 0.1 v -0.6% prior; Y/Y: 0.2 v 0.8% prior

- Equities: European equity markets are adding validity to the March saying 'in like a lion.' Merger Monday has dominated equity news flows sharing attention jealously with only a major 8.8 earthquake in
Chile over the weekend. Merger flows include the macro (and largest insurance acquisition ever) Prudential [PRU.UK] $35.5B offer for AIG's [AIG] AIA Asian insurance operations. The deal is in cash and equity with the planned launch of $20B secondary offer on the LSE (largest in UK corporate history). Merck has offered $7.2B for US Millipore [MIL] in and all cash deal that would tie up two major med-tech firms. In smaller flows, Rio Tinto [RIO.UK] announced its intention to take a C$245M stake in Ivanhoe [IVN], While Tieto [TIE1V.FH] announced plans to acquire Russian based T&T. Concerns over copper supplies, following Saturday's earthquake have sent copper and copper-related names sharply higher. Firms including Antofogasta [ANTO.UK] have already spoken out, noting that operations in Northern Chile are unaffected and continue on schedule. Under the intense news flow, markets have been broadly positive, led higher by financials and basic resource names. A notable exception to this trend has been UK banks that gave up positive territory after earnings from HSBC [HSBA.UK] that presented disappointing impairment figures.

In individual equities:
AIG [AIG]: Prudential (UK) to acquire AIA for $35.5B in cash and equity (confirms speculation, pricing as expected); pre-releases FY09 figures. || Vivendi [VIV.FR]: Reports FY09 Net €2.59B v €2.5Be, EBITDA €5.39B v €7.5Be, Rev €27.13B v €26.9Be. || Merck/Millipor [MRK.GE MIL]: To be acquired by Germany's Merck KGaA for $107/share in cash (approximately 13% premium to closing price); The total deal is worth $7.2B including net debt. || Actellion [ATLN.SZ]: Build-3 study has failed to meet primary enpoint (update). || Keuhn & Nagel [KNIN.SZ]: Reports FY09 Net CHF467M v CHF514Me, Rev CHF17.4B v CHF15.9Be. ||

- Speakers: Greece PM Papandreou commented that the country's fiscal crisis was only the 'tip of the iceberg"; Situation not restricted to fiscal matters ***EU's Rehn commented that risks to Greece program were materializing and urged country to announce more measures in the coming days. The EU stated that one must respect the Maastrict deficit targets and viewed tham as "indispensable". The EU would support Greek authorities***
France's Lagarde stated that the EU was studying various options to aid Greece. She noted that options to include both public and private help ***German's government official reiterate that Greece needed to consolidate its budget ***Spain PM Zapatero stated in a press interview that Spain was very solvent and would reduce its deficit over the next three years. He added that the Euro currency would retain its strength and vitality. He expected Spain to return to growth by the Q4 at the very latest *** Poland Central Banker Rzonca commented that Feb Inflation data was important for the central bank's policy outlook. Rzonca expected inflation to slow in February and to move below 2% in H2 of 2010. The member also forecasted that 2010 GDP growth would exceed 3.1% with growth seen accelerating in 2011/12 period. The member also noted that 2011/12 inflation would be above the central bank view ***China State Administration of Foreign Exchange (SAFE) commented that the 2010 net capital inflow pressure might increase and Yuan currency appreciation expectation might rise on high interest rates. The currency regulator reiterated to monitor cross-border capital flows and to enhance the currency reserve management in 2010 ***

- Currencies: M&A flows weighed upon the
GBP throughout the session and cumulated with Prudential (UK) to acquire AIA from AIG for $35.5B in cash and equity (as speculated in the press expected). GBP/USD hit fresh 9-month lows below 1.5000 level and EUR/GBP regained a foothold above the 0.9050 level. The GBP entered the session on a weakened political tone with recent UK polls suggesting that Tory party lead over Labour party had narrowed to just two percentage points raising concerns of a possible hung parliament outcome in the upcoming general election. The EUR/USD held a relatively tight range as a plethora of European PMI manufacturing data was mildly constructive. EU unemployment data beat expectations and seemed to be holding up better than expected with the 9.9% reading in Jan.

- Fixed Income: Hopes of a EU bailout package for Greece has provided some relief in the European peripherals.

- Geopolitical:
Chile was struck by an 8.8 magnitude earthquake on Sat Feb 27, 2010 at 03.34UTC. The quake lasted approx 3 min and triggered tsunami warnings in 53 countries around the Pacific basin. The quake has been linked to approx 700 deaths with many more still missing. Chile is seen as having better building standards and emergency response plans for such events than those seen in Haiti (which experienced a lower magnitude earthquake to a much more devastating effect). Immediate market reactions to the event have been buying in copper with Chinese markets opening limit up before coming off their best levels. Numerous miners with exposure to Chile have released commentary assuring production levels. ***As newly elected Ukrainian Pres Viktor Yanukovych holds his first foreign trip to Brussels (not Moscow), current PM Tymoshenko in a continued bid to challenge election results has called for a no-confidence vote. Yanukovych's trip will meet with EU officials and is expected to downplay former expectations that he may be Moscow man. Yanukovych will notably not meet or speak at NATO's headquarters, also located in Brussels. He has mentioned plans to 'maintain' current NATO partnership operations.

- EU, ECB and IMF in
Greece this week to provide technical assistance on the country's budget.
- Copper surges higher following the massive 8.8 earth quake in
Chile over the weekend.
- Fannie Mae: stated that it might need another $15.3B
- AIG to sell AIA unit foir $35B in cash and stock to
UK's Prudential
- Risk appetite firmer over speculation that
France and Germany will soon announce a €30B bailout plan for Greece.
- Several key central bank meetings this week with RBA, BoC, BoE, and ECB

***Looking Ahead:
- 6:15 EU's Van Rompuy
- 8:00 (BR) Brazil Feb PMI Manufacturing: No est v 57.8 prior
- 8:15 (BE) Belgium Jan Unemployment Rate: No est v 8.2% prior
- 8:30 (CA) Canada Jan Industrial ProductPrice M/M: 0.5%e v -0.1% prior; Raw Material Price Index M/M: 0.4%e v 0.2% prior
- 8:30 (CA) Canada Dec Gross Domestic Product M/M: 0.4%e v 0.4% prior; Q4 GDP Annualized: 4.0%e v 0.4% prior
- 8:30 (US) Jan Personal Income: 0.4%e v 0.4% prior; Personal Spending: 0.4%e v 0.2% prior
- 8:30 (US) Jan PCE Core M/M: 0.0%e v 0.1% prior; Y/Y: 1.4%e v 1.5% prior
- 8:45 Fed's Lacker
- 9:00 (BR) Brazil Jan Trade Balance: no est v -$166M prior
- 10:00 (US) Feb ISM Manufacturing: 57.8e v 58.4 prior; Price Paid: 68.1e v 70.0 prior
- 10:00 (US) Jan Construction Spending M/M: -0.5%e v -1.2% prior
- 11:00 (IC) Iceland Q4 Current Account (ISK): No est v -36B prior
- 11:00 Germany's Merkel and Spain PM Zapatero press conference
- 12:00 (IT) Italy Feb New Car Registration Y/Y: No est v 30.2% prior
- 14:00 (IT) Italy Feb Budget Balance: No est v 4.2B prior; YTD: No est v 4.2B prior



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