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Hitt og þetta 18. september 2006

DJ EUROPEAN MIDDAY BRIEFING FROM DOW JONES NEWSWIRES

AMERICAN MARKETS OUTLOOK: U.S. stock markets are expected to open higher Monday, ahead of second-quarter current account data and housing index figures due later in the day.

"Economic indicators will determine whether the Dow Jones Index will hit new highs, as positive inflation data has shown the economy to be resilient to high oil prices," says Matthew Bristow, head of trading at Pacific Continental Securities.

However, the market will mainly be guided this week by Wednesday's Federal Reserve interest rate decision, adds Bristow.

"(It) is largely expected to be another rate hold as there are already concerns that the Fed has slowed the economy too fast," he says.

Pacific Continental Securities is calling the Dow Jones Industrial Average to open up five points at 11565.8 and the Nasdaq up three points at 2238.6.

EUROPEAN MARKETS: European stock markets are higher midday, as commodity stocks and a slightly stronger end to Wall Street trading last week offer support to indexes.

In London, the FTSE 100 is up 0.5% at 5905.7, amid speculation that Royal Dutch Shell will take over gas company BG, an analyst says.

However, a person familiar with Shell's view on BG says Shell is unlikely to make a bid for the company as the shares are "too pricey."

Technology company CRS has shown the biggest fall as shares lost more than a quarter of their value after the company cut its revenue guidance for the third quarter.

In Frankfurt, the DAX is a touch higher, up 0.13 at 5935.8. A trader says dealing is quiet ahead of the Fed meeting.

In Paris, the CAC 40 is up 0.3% at 5158.27.

Bunds and gilts are sharply lower as interest rate sentiment sours on weak Treasurys, a dealer says. He adds that a pick-up in U.K. inflation expectations has also had a negative effect. However, bunds did get a brief lift from weaker-than-expected euro-zone industrial production, which fell 0.4% in July. The December bund future is down 0.50 at 117.0, while the December gilt is down 0.46 at 109.23.

The dollar is up a little against most other currencies, but particularly against the yen, ahead of the release of the July Treasury International Capital flows report at 1300 GMT. At 1025 GMT, the dollar was up at Y118.2, the euro was flat at $1.2656 and the pound had fallen to $1.8750.

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TOP STORIES:

SCANIA BOARD UNANIMOUSLY REJECTS MAN TAKEOVER OFFER: Scania AB foiled MAN AG's bid to become the largest truck-maker in Europe by rejecting its EUR9.6 billion cash-and-share takeover bid. (By Maria Akerhielm)

EURO-ZONE JULY INDUSTRIAL OUTPUT FALLS UNEXPECTEDLY: Industrial production in the euro zone fell unexpectedly in July, led by a sharp drop in French output and a mild decline in Italian production. (Data Snap by Nina Koeppen)

SWEDISH CENTER-RIGHT OUSTS SOCIAL DEMOCRATIC GOVT: Sweden's outgoing Prime Minister Goran Persson will hand in his resignation Monday after losing parliamentary elections to a center-right opposition alliance that pledged to streamline Sweden's famed welfare state (AP)

ANNAN URGES MORE UN ATTENTION ON DARFUR: U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan urged the United Nations' top rights watchdog to focus its attention on Sudan's war-ravaged region of Darfur, saying it deserved the same diligence that has been given to crises in the Middle East. (AP)

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INSIGHT & ANALYSIS FROM DOW JONES NEWSWIRES:

=FOREX FOCUS: The euro's upside progress against the dollar has been painfully slow in the past three months, despite supportively hawkish commentary from European Central Bank members and reduced U.S. interest rate expectations. (By Gary Stride)

=FOCUS: By appointing corporate lawyer Guido Rossi, a "crisis manager" who has defused some of Italy's worst corporate scandals, as Telecom Italia SpA's new chairman, the company's board has picked the right man to reassure markets, investors said Sunday. (By Giada Zampano and Sabrina Cohen)

=ASSET CLASS: After spiking higher late in the spring, market volatility has dropped right off again. (By Alan Mattich) Asset Class is available exclusively on Dow Jones Market Beat.

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STILL TO COME

COUNTRY PERIOD

ET/GMT
0830/1230 US 2Q Current Account
0900/1300 US July Treasury International Capital
Flows
1100/1500 EU European Central Bank Member
Tumpel-Gugerell speaks at
Swedbank economic outlook
seminar in Stockholm
1300/1700 US Sept National Association of House
Builders Housing Index 32
N/A US President Bush attends meetings in
New York ahead of United Nations
General Assembly
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OTHER NEWS:

Swedish telecommunication equipment maker Telefon AB LM Ericsson said that music, television and mobile office services will drive its new multimedia unit's sales. (By Johan Carlstrom)

CSR PLC, the specialist chip designer, said its fourth-quarter revenue would be 5% lower than previously forecast, on a decline in demand and changes in Bluetooth headset spending, sending the company's share price down more than 20%. (By Daniel Thomas)

Fund manager Henderson will announce this week an agreed GBP800 million takeover of John Laing PLC (LNGO.LN), the U.K.'s market leader in infrastructure projects, reports the Financial Times.

U.K. department store chain Debenhams PLC reported a 6.6% year-on-year rise in sales ahead of the upcoming key Christmas trading period, and it said full-year profit is in line with expectations. (By Anita Likus)

OAO Polyus Gold unveiled a new 10-year strategy aimed at turning the Russian miner into one of the world's largest gold producers. (By Andrew Langley and Greg Walters)

Feeling the heat from larger rivals, French independent oil company Etablissements Maurel et Prom SA Chairman Jean-Francois Henin says he's mulling a major asset disposal, possibly worth half of its market value, in a move to fend off unsolicited bids and demonstrate Maurel's real value. (By Anne-Sylvaine Chassany)

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