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From DealingFloor:

** EUROPE: HEADLINES **

- EU Finance Chiefs Say Economy Can Withstand Rising Rates, Record Oil Price
- Euro Heads for Fourth Week of Gains as ECB Likely to Raise Interest Rates
- SNS Reaal Plans to Raise as Much as $1.65 Billion, Challenge ING, Aegon
- Crude Oil May Fall as U.S. Refiners Bolster Gasoline Output, Survey Shows
- Gold Futures Exceed $680 an Ounce on Inflation Hedge, Iran Nuclear Dispute
- EU Must Consider Windfall Tax on Oil Companies, Luxembourg’s Juncker Says
- PPR’s Redcats Mail-Order Unit to Buy Sportsman’s Guide for $265 Million

** EUROPE: IN PLAY TODAY **

- Sanofi-Aventis posted a 54% rise in 1Q net income to E2.17bln (E1.94bln expected). The group reaffirmed its FY EPS growth around 10%. Plavix 1Q sales rose 21% to E580m, Ambien 1Q sales rose 12% to E441m and Lovenox 1Q sales 16% to E624m YoY. The drugmaker will start selling its Plavix drug in Japan by the end of the month.

- Michelin’s BBB+ long-term credit rating may be cut by S&P’s due to the weakness of some markets and rising raw-material and energy costs.

- Volkswagen wants to restructure its German plants in bid to lower costs and has already begun negotiations with worker representatives (NASDAQ:FTD).

- Hypo Real Estate 1Q net income rose 24.7% to E86m (E97m expected). The company reaffirmed its FY forecast, with FY pretax profit rising by as much as 20% to reach at least E530m.

- Continental could exit the US market if profitability failed to increase in the region (Die Welt citing the group’s CFO).

- Royal Dutch Shell announced that output at its Mars platform in the Gulf of Mexico, which closed down in the wake of Katrina, may exceed pre-hurricane production levels as a result of the improvements made while it was closed.

- VNU announced that a buyout group led by Blackstone Group and Kohlberg Kravis & Co raised its offer by E0.75 to E29.50 a share.

- Solvay won a 5-year contract from the US Department of Health & Human Services to develop influenza vaccines.

** EUROPE: UPS & DOWNS **

+ DEUTSCHE BANK PRICE EST. RAISED TO EU115 AT MORGAN STANLEY
+ MAN AG PRICE EST. RAISED TO EU68 FROM EU55 AT JPMORGAN
+ UBS PRICE ESTIMATE RAISED TO SF165 FROM SF157 AT CITIGROUP
+ MAN AG PRICE EST. RAISED TO EU73 FROM EU60 AT CITIGROUP
+ TELENOR PRICE ESTIMATE RAISED TO NK100 FROM NK76 AT LEHMAN
+ MAN AG PRICE EST. RAISED TO EU72 FROM EU65 AT CREDIT SUISSE
+ GLAXOSMITHKLINE PRICE EST. RAISED TO 1699P VS 1480P AT HSBC
+ BASF PRICE ESTIMATE RAISED TO EU77 FROM EU70 AT DEUTSCHE
+ BARCLAYS PRICE ESTIMATE RAISED TO 850P AT MERRILL LYNCH

- CONTINENTAL CUT TO `NEUTRAL’ VS `OUTPERFORM’ AT CREDIT SUISSE
- VEDIOR CUT TO `NEUTRAL’ VS `OUTPERFORM’ AT CREDIT SUISSE
- NORSK HYDRO CUT TO `SELL’ FROM `HOLD’ AT CITIGROUP

** US MARKETS **

Dow 0.34%; Nasdaq 0.87%; S&P 0.34%; Soxx 1.3%; Russel2k 0.91%; DJAIG 0.35%; 10yr Bond -0.01%; 10yr Yield 5.15%; Crude future 70.29; Gold 678.75

¦ Industrials 1.04%¦ Materials 0.99%¦ Technology 0.6%¦ ConsDisc 0.57%¦ Utilities 0.25%¦ Healthcare 0.25%¦ Financials 0.22%¦ Telecom 0.09%¦ ConsStaples 0.08%¦ Energy -0.64%

** US: HEADLINES **
- Crude Oil May Fall as U.S. Refiners Bolster Gasoline Output, Survey Shows
- U.S. to Scale Back China Export Controls Proposal After Industry Outcry
- Gold Futures Exceed $680 an Ounce on Inflation Hedge, Iran Nuclear Dispute
- Euro Heads for Fourth Week of Gains as ECB Likely to Raise Interest Rates
- Yuan May Rise Above Eight Against Dollar Next Week, Currency Forwards Show

** US: IN PLAY TODAY **

The April employment report will be the main focal point for investors, especially since the data now carry more negative implications than positive for the equity market given the Fed’s increased policy guidance from the economic indicators. In fact, a rise in the unemployment rate after drop in March to a post-recession low of 4.65% and a payrolls figure below the 170K level could actually be bullish for stocks.

Per usual for a Friday, the list of companies scheduled to report earnings is limited to only a few that could have implications on specific industries. With pharmacy benefits providers under the microscope following the damage that the recent TEVA/Ranbaxy ruling on generic Zocor did to competitor Express Scripts (NASDAQ:ESRX), Medco Health Solutions (NYSE:MHS) may garner some extra attention. Other notable names posting quarterly results tomorrow before the bell include El Paso (EP), EOG Resources (NYSE:EOG), Terex (NYSE:TEX), Toll Brothers (TOLL) and Warner Music Group (NYSE:WMG).

** ASIAN MARKETS **

Nikkei closed; Kospi 0.41%; HSI -0.08%; Taiwan 0.35%; China 1.66%; India 0.36%; Thailand -1.04%; Australia 1.12%

** ASIAN HEADLINES **

- Telecom New Zealand to Keep Unprofitable AAPT as Earnings Fall 19 Percent
- Australian Central Bank Indicates It Won’t Raise Rates From 5-Year High
- Asian Stocks Gain, Led by BHP and Rio as Copper Climbs; Philippines Surges
- U.S. to Scale Back China Export Controls Proposal After Industry Outcry
- Thai Beverage to Sell $1.1 Billion of Shares in Singapore Initial Offering
- Philippine Stocks Post Biggest Jump in Three Years After Inflation Slows
- Asian Development Bank to Raise $3 Billion, Increase Local-Currency Sales

Source: Friday Morning View From Europe