** US MARKET WRAP **
Dow 0,32%; Nasdaq 0,88%; S&P 0,36%; Soxx 0,54%; Russel2k 0,55%; DJAIG -1,99%; 10yr Bond 0,04%; 10yr Yield 4,58%; Crude future 60,6; Gold 555,4
¦ Technology 1,01%¦ ConsDisc 0,94%¦ Utilities 0,94%¦ Healthcare 0,77%¦ Industrials 0,61%¦ Telecom 0,54%¦ ConsStaples 0,45%¦ Financials 0,07%¦ Materials -0,86%¦ Energy -1,43%
** ASIAN MARKETS **
Nikkei 0,08%; Kospi -0,24%; HSI -0,42%; Taiwan 0,36%; China 0,15%; India -0,45%; Thailand -0,56%; Australia -0,03%
** HEADLINES **
- Oil Falls as Iran, Russia Reach Agreement, Concern Over Saudi Attack Eases
- Gold Prices Drop as Declining Energy Costs Diminish Inflation Concerns
- NYSE Set to Go Public After 213 Years as SEC Approves Archipelago Takeover
- Japan Industrial Production Rises for Sixth Month, Longest Gain Since 1997
- India Expects 8.1 Percent Growth in Year to March, Finance Minister Says
- Asian Commodity Stocks Decline, Led by BHP, Inpex on Drop in Copper, Oil
- Samsung Electronics Raises Its 2006 Sales Target to $67 Billion on Phones
- New Zealand Business Confidence Falls to 15-Year Low on Risk of Recession
** IN PLAY TODAY: US **
A big day today on the macro front with Q4 GDP, Personal Consumption and GDP Price Index being published at 14:30 CET followed by the Chicago Purchasing Managers Index, Richmond Fed, Consumer Confidence and Existing Home Sales at 16:00 CET.
ABC Consumer Confidence closes the day at 23:00 CET.
Earnings of note are from Autodesk, Williams Cos, Centerpoint Energy and King Pharmaceuticals.
** HEADLINES: EUROPE **
- European Executive, Consumer Confidence May Have Risen to a Five-Year High
- Bondholders Boycott European Debt, Demand Protection Amid Record Takeovers
- Cable & Wireless to Cut as Many as 3,000 U.K. Jobs Over Four-Five Years
- Volkswagen, Renault, European Car Shares’ Rally Draws Investor Skepticism
** IN PLAY TODAY: EUROPE **
- Earnings of note: amongst others Gas Natural, Axa, Telefonica Moviles, Gamesa (Est) , ENI, RBS, Porsche, BAT, Eiffage (after close), Erste Bank, Vinci (after close) and Iberia.
- Porsche AG said yesterday that first-half profit rose 15 percent, more than the carmaker estimated last month, as customers bought new versions of the Boxster and 911 sports cars. Net income in the six months ended Jan. 31 rose to 169.8 million euros ($201 million) from 148.3 million euros a year earlier. That was a touch higher than reported at the preliminary stage.
- Axa SA had a 5.5 percent drop in second-half profit, hurt by U.S. hurricane losses and costs related to its sale of Advest Group Inc. Net income fell to 1.9 billion euros from 2.01 billion euros a year earlier. That’s more than the 1.62 billion-euro median estimate of 10 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg. Operating income, excluding one-time items and acquisition-related costs, rose 21 percent to 1.5 billion euros.
- Telefonica Moviles SA said fourth-quarter profit rose 38 percent, bolstered by its $5.85 billion
acquisition of BellSouth Corp.’s wireless units in Latin America. Net income rose to 376.2 million euros from 273.3 million euros a year earlier. That’s less than the median estimate of 451 million euros in a Bloomberg survey of seven analysts. Sales rose 29 percent to 4.46 billion euros.
- Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc said 2005 profit rose 17 percent, lifted by corporate lending and consumer banking in the U.S. Net income rose to 5.39 billion pounds or 168.3 pence a share, from 4.62 billion pounds, or 155.9 pence, a year earlier. Profit missed the 5.45 billion-pound median estimate of 11 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg. Revenue gained 14 percent to 25.6 billion pounds. The company also said it plans to buy back as much as 1 billion pounds of shares.
- British American Tobacco Plc said 2005 profit dropped 37 percent because a gain from merging its U.S. businesses into Reynolds American Inc. didn’t recur. Net income fell to 1.77 billion pounds, or
83.85 pence a share, from 2.83 billion pounds, or 131.12 pence, a year earlier. Analysts had expected
earnings of 1.63 billion pounds,
- Iberia Lineas Aereas de Espana SA posted a fourth-quarter loss as fuel costs rose. The carrier had a loss of 6.1 million euros compared with net income of 49.9 million euros a year earlier. Sales increased 4.5 percent to 1.22 billion euros. Expansion by discount competitors such as Ryanair Holdings
Plc and EasyJet Plc and higher fuel costs are prompting conventional carriers including Iberia to cut costs. Iberia in October said it aims to reduce the workforce by 9 percent in the next three years as part of a plan to generate savings and revenue of about 600 million euros. These results fell shy off analyst forecasts.
- Erste Bank AG, Austria’s second-biggest bank, said higher lending in eastern Europe helped propel profit to a record in the fourth quarter as more people in former communist countries took out home and auto loans. Net income increased to 202.9 million euros from 157.2 million euros a year earlier. Profit beat the 177 million-euro median estimate of eight analysts surveyed by Bloomberg News. Erste said it plans to raise its dividend by 10 percent to 55 cents a share.
- Gas Natural is due to hold a board meeting to discuss 2005 results and the impact
of government regulations passed last week to curb wholesale prices and hamper a bid by E.ON AG for Spanish power company Endesa SA. Gas Natural SDG SA will consider raising its 23.5 billion-euro ($27.9 billion) hostile offer for Endesa SA, Spain’s largest power company, to compete with a bid from E.ON AG, people familiar with the situation said.
** UPS & DOWNS **
+ SAAB PRICE ESTIMATE RAISED TO SK200 VS SK185 AT CREDIT SUISSE
+ ABN AMRO PRICE ESTIMATE RAISED TO EU27.36 FROM EU24 AT HSBC
+ LOGICACMG PRICE EST. RAISED TO 235P FROM 228P AT CREDIT SUISS
+ ARCELOR PRICE FORECAST RAISED TO EU36 FROM EU33.80 AT ING
+ LVMH RAISED TO `OVERWEIGHT’ FROM `EQUALWEIGHT’ AT LEHMAN
+ EUROPEAN BANKS RAISED TO `NEUTRAL’ FROM `UNDERWEIGHT’ AT ABN
+ WPP PRICE ESTIMATE RAISED TO 771P FROM 738P AT JPMORGAN
- ALLIANCE & LEICESTER PRICE ESTIMATE CUT TO 814P AT LEHMAN
- AIR LIQUIDE PRICE ESTIMATE CUT TO EU175 FROM EU178 AT LEHMAN
- SUEZ DOWNGRADED TO NEUTRAL FROM BUY AT UBS
- VODAFONE PRICE ESTIMATE CUT 12% TO 145P AT ABN AMRO
- VODAFONE SHARE-PRICE ESTIMATE CUT TO 130P FROM 140P AT LEHMAN
- VODAFONE PRICE ESTIMATE CUT TO 108P FROM 113P AT JPMORGAN
- SUEZ CUT TO `HOLD’ FROM `BUY’ AT CITIGROUP
- REUTERS PRICE ESTIMATE CUT TO 380P FROM 620P AT CREDIT SUISSE
- REUTERS CUT TO `NEUTRAL’ FROM `OUTPERFORM’ AT CREDIT SUISSE
- VODAFONE PRICE ESTIMATE CUT TO 120P FROM 130P AT CREDIT SUISSE
- BELGACOM PRICE EST. CUT TO EU27.5 FROM EU30 AT MORGAN STANLEY
- VODAFONE SHARE-PRICE ESTIMATE CUT TO 145P FROM 150P AT UBS