Entering text into the input field will update the search result below


May 23, 2011 8:01 AM ET
RANsquawk profile picture
RANsquawk's Blog
Please Note: Blog posts are not selected, edited or screened by Seeking Alpha editors.


·   S&P cut its outlook for Italy to "negative" from "stable" late Friday, citing a weak outlook for growth and reduced prospects for slashing its debt mountain. Italy's sovereign credit rating was affirmed at 'A+' long-term and 'A-1' short term


·   However, Fitch said there is no change seen at the moment for outlook or rating on Italy. Also, Moody's said its rating outlook on Italy is stable


·   EU's Rehn said Greek voluntary re-profiling is one option considered


·   EUR remained under pressure, whereas the USD-Index printed a 7-week high


·   RANsquawk EU Morning Briefing Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6ioEJH4QEGc


Market Re-Cap


Risk-aversion remained the main theme in the market today, and debt concerns surrounding Eurozone countries continued to weigh on the market sentiment. Markets reacted to news of S&P cutting Italy's sovereign outlook to negative, allied with political uncertainty emerging from Spanish local and regional elections where the ruling party showed a dismal performance. Worse than expected manufacturing PMI data from core Eurozone countries, such as Germany and France, further dented risk-appetite. As a consequence, EUR remained under pressure during the session, while the USD-Index printed a 7-week high, and the yield on German 10-year government bond tested the key 3% level. European equities traded in negative territory, weighed upon by oil & gas and basic materials sectors, with particular underperformance seen in the Italian FTSE MIB index following S&P action. Elsewhere, WTI and Brent crude futures traded lower on the back of strong USD-Index and general risk-aversion.


Moving forward, the economic calendar remains thin, however markets look forward to Chicago Fed National Activity Index data from the US, allied with another Fed's Outright Treasury Coupon Purchase operation in the maturity range of Aug'18-May'21, with a purchase target of USD 6-8bln.


Asian Headlines


The BOJ stuck to its downbeat economic assessment in May as production declined sharply and domestic private demand remained weak on the back of a deterioration in household and business sentiment following the March 11 disaster. However, the BOJ said the economy is expected to return to a moderate recovery track after a period of downward pressure on the economy continues “for the time being”. The central bank said it remained on alert over downside risks to the economy. (Sources)


·   China HSBC Manufacturing PMI (May) M/M 51.1 vs. Prev. 51.8 (RTRS)


US Headlines:


Top congressional Republicans said on Sunday they would be open to compromise on healthcare costs, one of the biggest stumbling blocks in a deal to get the US debt under control. (RTRS)


EU and UK Headlines:


ECB's Nowotny said the ECB will accept Greek debt as long as the programme on track. He further said that one cannot exclude possibility of a slowdown in the economy, however risks of an L-shaped or W-shaped recovery have decreased. (RTRS)


In other news, Spain’s ruling Socialists reeled from stinging loses in local elections and now face a balancing act between voter anger over sky-high unemployment and investor demands for strict austerity measures. Sunday’s elections left the Socialists out of power in most of the country’s cities and almost all the 17 autonomous regions. Pressure could now grow from inside and outside the Socialist party for PM Zapatero to call early elections, though he vowed on Sunday night to hang on to the end of his term in March next year. (RTRS)


Elsewhere, BoE’s Dale said the BoE must start to raise interest rates from record lows to tackle inflation or risk damaging the economy. Also, BoE’s Sentence said inflation in the UK could stay high for a "prolonged period". (FT - More/Sunday Times)




·   Eurozone Manufacturing PMI (May A) M/M 54.8 vs. Exp. 57.4 (Prev. 58.0), lowest since Oct

·   Eurozone Services PMI (May A) M/M 55.4 vs. Exp. 56.5 (Prev. 56.7), lowest since Dec

·   Eurozone Composite PMI (May A) M/M 55.4 vs. Exp. 57.4 (Prev. 57.8), lowest since Oct

·   German Manufacturing PMI (May A) M/M 58.2 vs. Exp. 61.0 (Prev. 62.0), lowest since Nov'10

·   German Services PMI (May A) M/M 54.9 vs. Exp. 57.0 (Prev. 56.8), lowest since Sep

·   French Manufacturing PMI (May P) M/M 55.0 vs. Exp. 57.0 (Prev. 57.5)

·   French Services PMI (May P) M/M 62.8 vs. Exp. 62.0 (Prev. 62.9) (RTRS)


·   Belgian OLO auction for EUR 0.681bln, 4.25% 28-Sep-13, bid/cover 2.84 vs. Prev. 2.33 (yield 2.447% vs. Prev. 2.637%)

·   Belgian OLO auction for EUR 0.650bln, 3.50% 28-Jun-17, bid/cover 1.72 (yield 3.753%)

·   Belgian OLO auction for EUR 1.2bln, 4.25% 28-Sep-21, bid/cover 1.67 vs. Prev. 1.54 (yield 4.202% vs. Prev. 4.357%)

·   Belgian OLO auction for EUR 0.855 bln, 4.00% 28-Mar-22, bid/cover 1.53 vs. Prev. 1.84 (yield 4.198% vs. Prev. 3.046%) (RTRS)




European equities trade in negative territory during the session as Eurozone debt and political concerns together with weaker than expected manufacturing PMI data from core Eurozone countries, like Germany and France, sagged risk-appetite. Strength in the USD-Index weighed upon commodities, which in turn led basic materials and oil & gas sectors to underperform. Particular underperformance was observed in the Italian FTSE MIB index primarily on the back of S&P lowering Italian sovereign outlook to negative late Friday. In equity specific news, Commerzbank shares came under pressure after co. said it will issue 2.44bln new shares at EUR 2.18 each, and the issue price came at a 45% discount to Friday’s closing price of EUR 3.95. Moving into the North American open, equities continue to trade lower, with oil & gas and technology as worst performing sectors.














Change (ticks)









Ongoing debt and political concerns in Eurozone states, allied with weaker than expected manufacturing PMI data from core Eurozone countries, like Germany and France, weighed upon EUR across the board, resulting in EUR/CHF to print fresh record low, whereas EUR/GBP fell to a two-month low. The USD-Index, on the other hand, rose to a 7-week high as risk-aversion gripped market sentiment, which exerted downward pressure on EUR/USD and GBP/USD.










Change (pips)







WTI and Brent crude futures traded in negative territory during the European session on the back of strength in the USD-Index, allied with debt concerns surrounding Eurozone states.


Oil & Gas News:

·   Iran has discovered a deposit of light oil offshore of an estimated in-place reserve of 756mln barrels valued at USD 13.6bln, according to reports on state TV website quoting a senior oil official.

·   Iran's constitutional watchdog deemed President Ahmadinejad's decision to take over the role of oil minister as illegal however Shargh newspaper reported Ahmadinejad will remain caretaker of the oil ministry, citing vice-president Bodaghi.

·   China reduced exports of diesel and gasoline last month to ensure domestic demand before the peak summer season, government data showed.

·   Iraq expects output from its southern oilfields to hit up to 2.5 MBPD at the end of this year despite crumbling infrastructure, according to head of South Oil Co.

·   Big hedge funds and speculators cut their bets on higher oil prices by 13% in the week through Tuesday, the CFTC said on Friday.

·   UK natural gas prices will rise from Q4 amid tightening of the global market for LNG, according to BarCap.


Geopolitical News:

·   According to EU diplomats, EU governments tightened sanctions against Syria, including President Assad on the sanctions list. EU diplomats added that EU agreed to significantly expand sanctions against Iran, adding companies to banned list.

·   Yemeni President Saleh on Sunday refused to sign a power-transition deal brokered by Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC) leaders, according to a Saleh aide. 

·   The six member GCC has decided to suspend its initiative to broker peace between political parties in Yemen, according to Bahrain’s foreign minister.

·   According to a security official, Afghanistan ‘cannot confirm’ the killing of Mullah Omar.



WTI Nymex

OTC Spot Gold




Change (USD)






Economic Releases











Chicago Fed National Activity Index M/M (Apr)






DMO Quarterly Consultation meeting with End Investors






DMO Quarterly Consultation meeting with GEMM’s








BoE’s Tucker




ECB’s Bini-Smaghi






EUR 8bln combined 12-, 21-, 27- and 49 week T-Bill Auction




Fed’s Outright Trea. Coup.  Purch. Aug’18-May’21 (USD 6-8bln)



Long Gilt June options expiry

Canadian Market Holiday



Prices taken at 1244BST

Seeking Alpha's Disclosure: Past performance is no guarantee of future results. No recommendation or advice is being given as to whether any investment is suitable for a particular investor. Any views or opinions expressed above may not reflect those of Seeking Alpha as a whole. Seeking Alpha is not a licensed securities dealer, broker or US investment adviser or investment bank. Our analysts are third party authors that include both professional investors and individual investors who may not be licensed or certified by any institute or regulatory body.

Recommended For You

To ensure this doesn’t happen in the future, please enable Javascript and cookies in your browser.
Is this happening to you frequently? Please report it on our feedback forum.
If you have an ad-blocker enabled you may be blocked from proceeding. Please disable your ad-blocker and refresh.