** EUROPEAN EQUITIES **
Stoxx 600 -0.08%; FTSE 0.02%; DAX 0.08%; CAC -0.32%; AEX 0.24%
¦ Energy 1.15%¦ Technology 0.22%¦ ConsDisc -0.06%¦ Healthcare -0.15%¦ ConsStaples -0.16%¦ Industrial -0.25%¦ Financials -0.26%¦ Utilities -0.29%¦ Materials -0.33%¦ Telecom -0.52%
** HEADLINES **
* European equities are range bound with most of the gains coming from the energy sector on the back of strong oil prices. Healthcare is slightly under pressure after Sanofi-Aventis posted quarterly sales which were slightly below consensus.
* On a stock specific note shares of PPR are gaining sharply on report the company has hired advisors to help it sell its department stores. HMV mushroomed after reports that private equity group Pemira might be bidding for the company. Following the rejection Mittal’s bid by Arcelor, both companies are trading higher. Cable & Wireless jumped after reports that Icelandic investor Bjorgolosson is building a stake in the group. Vivendi shares lost after reporting worse than expected Q4 sales.
* Crude Oil opened strong this morning (we saw a high of $68.40 in Globex-Crude) but has since then reversed course after OPEC said it would keep pumping near capacity, easing concern shortages would develop if supplies from Nigeria & Irans were disrupted.