Asian Markets Down, View From Europe

by: Dealing Floor

From DealingFloor:

** US MARKETS ON WEDNESDAY **

Dow -1,88%; Nasdaq -1,5%; S&P -1,68%; Soxx -1,15%; Russel2k -1,58%; DJAIG -0,77%; 10yr Bond 0%; 10yr Yield 5,15%; Crude future 68,37; Gold 680,91

¦ Technology -1,05%¦ Healthcare -1,11%¦ ConsStaples -1,12%¦ ConsDisc -1,32%¦ Utilities -1,73%¦ Financials -2,01%¦ Industrials -2,02%¦ Telecom -2,33%¦ Energy -2,63%¦ Materials -2,66%

** US HEADLINES **

- U.S. Stocks Slide the Most Since January on Propsect Fed Will Raise Rates
- Canadian Stocks Drop for a Sixth Straight Day, Led by Commodities Shares
- Burger King Raises $425 Million in Public Offering of U.S. Fast-Food Chain
- Harvard’s Endowment Raises Infosys Stake to Biggest Overseas Stockholding
- Treasuries May Decline for Second Day as Traders Bet Fed Will Raise Rates

** US AFTER HOURS **

Companies reporting after hours include Intuit (NASDAQ:INTU) (unch), Gymboree (NASDAQ:GYMB) (+0.5%), BEA Systems (BEAS) (+3%) and Petsmart (NASDAQ:PETM) (unch).

** US: IN PLAY TODAY **

On the economic front initial claims will kick things off at 14:30 CET while the April Leading Indicators report is scheduled for 16:00 CET. Closing out an important week of economic data at 18:00 CET with the latest read on regional manufacturing will be The Philadelphia Fed Index.

With regard to the diminishing number of companies left on the earnings calendar, Advance Auto Parts (NYSE:AAP), Barnes & Noble (NYSE:BKS), and Sears Holdings (NASDAQ:SHLD) are scheduled to report before the bell. After the close, Dell (NASDAQ:DELL) will be the headliner followed by reports from Aeropostale (NYSE:ARO), Autodesk (NASDAQ:ADSK), Cost Plus (NASDAQ:CPWM), Nordstrom (NYSE:JWN) and Marvell Technology Group (NASDAQ:MRVL).

** ASIAN MARKETS **

Nikkei -1,28%; Kospi -2,65%; HSI -2%; Taiwan -1,16%; China -1,28%; India -4,67%; Thailand -2,26%; Australia -1,7%

** ASIAN HEADLINES **

- Asian Stocks Decline Most in a Year on U.S. Inflation; Sony, Samsung Drop
- China Ends a Yearlong Ban on IPOs, Testing World’s Best-Performing Market
- Bank of China Share Sale Brings Out the Gambler in Hong Kong Investors
- Global Copper Consumers Seek More Talks With LME on Price Rally, Trading
- Microsoft, Chunghwa Telecom to Develop Joint Telephone Operating System
- Mandelson Says European Union-Asean Trade Agreement Is Possible By 2009
- South Korea Plans to Relax Rules on Investment to Help Curb Currency Gains

** EUROPEAN MARKETS **

S&P future 0,41%; Bund future 0,15%; Crude future 68,37; €/$ 1,27535; Gold 680,91

** EUROPE: IN PLAY TODAY **

-French bank Societe Generale SA said Thursday that improving financial markets helped lift first-quarter net profit 20% from a year ago. Net profit rose to EUR1.47 billion during the period from EUR1.23 billion, while revenue increased to EUR5.78 billion from EUR4.75 billion. Both sets of figures were better than expected. Analysts polled by Dow Jones Newswires gave an average net profit forecast of EUR1.24 billion, and put revenue at EUR5.26 billion. SocGen said financial conditions were very favorable in the first-quarter, which was characterized by strong economic growth in the U.S. and a recovery in Europe.

-Belgian-Dutch financial services group Fortis NV Thursday reported a smaller-than-expected drop in first-quarter net profit amid strong results at its banking division. Fortis, based in both Brussels and Utrecht, said first-quarter net profit fell to EUR1.33 billion. That compared with EUR1.51 billion a year earlier when the figure was flattered by EUR443 million in gains. The profit for the latest quarter exceeded analysts’ forecasts of around EUR1.01 billion.

- BT Group Plc, the U.K.’s biggest phone company, said fiscal fourth-quarter profit fell 11 percent as demand for fixed-line voice services waned. Net income in the three months to March 31 fell to 391 million pounds ($737 million), or 4.6 pence a share, from 440 million pounds, or 5.1 pence, a year earlier, London-based BT said in a statement today. Sales in the quarter climbed 6.5 percent to 5.13 billion pounds from a restated year-earlier figure, helped by broadband sales and acquisitions. Analysts had expected net income of 414 million pounds on sales of 5.11 billion pounds in the quarter, according to the median estimates of six analysts surveyed by Bloomberg News.

- Zurich Financial Services AG said first-quarter profit rose, helped by a reorganization in its U.K. life business. Net income increased to $785 million, or 6.88 Swiss francs, from $779 million, or 6.19 francs, a year earlier, the Zurich-based company said in a statement. Profit surpassed the $726 million median estimate of nine analysts surveyed by Bloomberg News. Operating profit rose to $1.34 billion from $1.03 billion.

- Eni SpA said it was raided by European Union regulators in a probe into whether commercial policies at some gas companies on the continent are competitive, the Rome-based company said in a statement as markets were closing

- Air France-KLM Group said fourth-quarter profit fell 30 percent as oil costs surged. Net income fell to 7 million euros ($8.9 million) from a restated 10 million euros a year earlier, said Chief Financial Officer Philippe Calavia today. Profit lagged the median estimate of 154 million euros by seven analysts surveyed by Bloomberg. Sales rose 13 percent to 5.2 billion euros.

- Other earnings report of note today: Lanxess, Portugal Telecom and Technip.

** EUROPE: UPS & DOWNS **

+ VIVENDI (ADR: V) PRICE ESTIMATE RAISED TO EU33.5 FROM EU32.5 AT UBS
+ BRITISH LAND PRICE ESTIMATE RAISED TO 1500P FROM 1450P AT UBS
+ HSBC SHARES INCREASED TO `EQUAL WEIGHT’ AT MORGAN STANLEY
+ RBOS RAISED TO `HOLD’ FROM `SELL’ AT ABN AMRO
+ DEUTSCHE POST RAISED TO `OVERWEIGHT’ AT HSBC + SOLARWORLD RAISED TO `BUY’ FROM `HOLD’ AT CITIGROUP
+ VINCI PRICE EST. RAISED TO EU96.3 VS EU89.05 AT MORGAN STANLEY

- CREDIT AGRICOLE LOWERED TO `HOLD’ FROM `BUY’ AT DEUTSCHE BANK