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Hitt og þetta 15. ágúst 2006

DJ EUROPEAN MIDDAY BRIEFING FROM DOW JONES NEWSWIRES

AMERICAN MARKETS OUTLOOK: U.S. stock markets are set to open higher Tuesday, in line with gains in futures trading and a continuing fall in crude oil prices, Angus Campbell at spreadbettor Finspreads said.

Inflation data will be in focus, with investors waiting for the release of July producer price data, due at 1230 GMT. The data will be scrutinized in the light of "the Federal Reserve expecting inflation to be dampened by slower growth going forward," Campbell said.

On the corporate front, Barr Pharmaceuticals' earnings will be watched closely given the company's out-of-court settlement with Shire PLC, which prevents the company from marketing a generic version of Shire's attention deficit disorder drug.

Finspreads is calling the Dow Jones Industrial Average to open up 20 points at 11,117, the S&P 500 up 1.8 points at 1270 and the Nasdaq 100 up 3 points at 1497.

EUROPEAN MARKETS: European markets are edging lower around midday, after Wall Street's rally lost steam at the end of the session on nervousness ahead of U.S. inflation reports. Volumes are light with several European markets closed for the Assumption day holiday.

The U.K.'s FTSE 100 index is down 0.4% at 5850, with commodity stocks leading the declines. BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto are down 0.9% and 1% respectively. The German DAX 30 index is down 0.2% at 5681, as Wall Street's weaker performance weighs on sentiment. Lacking any fundamental news, the DAX is waiting for key U.S. inflation data, a trader said. The French CAC 40 is down 0.1% at 5044.

Bunds and gilts have edged higher after modest early declines. Gilts were helped by U.K. CPI data for July. The September bund future is at 116.13. The September gilt future is up 0.07 at 108.56.

The dollar is flat to lower in Europe as the market waits for the U.S. inflation data and new Treasury International Capital flow numbers. At 1030 GMT, the dollar was flat at Y116.60. The euro was at $1.2720 and the pound was down at $1.8865.

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TOP STORIES:

UBS 2Q NET +47%; FULL-YEAR OUTLOOK "STRONG": Swiss bank UBS AG (UBS) said that its second-quarter net profit rose 47%, helped by a healthy result from both its private banking and investment banking operations. (By Katharina Bart)

UK JULY CPI INCREASE SLOWS TO 2.4% ON YR: U.K. headline inflation fell back slightly in July after matching a 10-year high in June, the Office of National Statistics said. (By Corey Boles)

ISRAEL BEGINS PULLOUT FROM LEBANON AS TENSE TRUCE HOLDS: Israel began slowly pulling out forces from southern Lebanon and made plans to hand over territory on the first full day of a tense cease-fire that already has been tested by skirmishes.

AKZO SEES PHARMA UNIT IPO EARLY '07, CALLS EGM: Akzo Nobel NV (AKZOY), the Dutch chemicals and pharmaceuticals company, said it plans to publicly list a minority stake in its pharmaceuticals unit early 2007. (By Arent Jan Hesselink)

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INSIGHT & ANALYSIS FROM DOW JONES NEWSWIRES:

=FOREX FOCUS: Strong U.S. inflation data later this week may well raise expectations of another Federal Reserve rate hike next month and provide further underpinning for the dollar. (By Nicholas Hastings)

=CHARTING EUROPE: Less geopolitical tension along with the failure to bypass the $655/58 area (strong horizontal level and declining trendline liking the May and July highs) are pushing gold prices lower. (By TRADING Central)

=ASSET CLASS: Did the Fed pause too soon? Or was it too late? (By Alan Mattich)

=THE SKEPTIC: Hopefully, bidders for the Thames Water utility being sold by German conglomerate RWE AG (RWE.XE) have done their homework. (By Howard Wheeldon)

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STILL TO COME

COUNTRY PERIOD

ET/GMT
0745/1145 US Aug 12 ICSC Store Sales Index
0830/1230 US July PPI
0830/1230 US July PPI, ex-food and energy
0830/1230 US Aug NY Fed Mfg Index
0855/1255 US Aug 12 Redbook Retail Sales Index
0900/1300 GER ECB Forex Reserves
0900/1300 US June Treasury Intl Capital Flows
1300/1700 US Aug NAHB Housing Index
1700/2100 US Aug 13 ABC/Washington Post Consumer
Confidence Index
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OTHER NEWS:

Swedish fashion retailer Hennes & Mauritz AB (HM-B.SK) said total sales rose 11% in July from a year earlier, while sales at stores that have been open longer than one year grew 2.0%. (By Maria Akerhielm)

U.K. house prices rose at their fastest pace in more than two years in July, with rises reported in all regions for the first time during the same period, the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors said. (By Ilona Billington)

Anglo-Swiss miner Xstrata PLC (XTA.LN) is on the verge of completing its drawn-out C$19.2 billion ($17.08 billion) acquisition of Falconbridge Ltd. (FAL) after securing 92.1% of the Canadian-based nickel and copper miner. (By Lilly Vitorovich)

Antofagasta said that AMP Capital Investors, as investment manager for, and on behalf of, AMP Life, the majority shareholder of Equatorial, intends to accept Antofagasta's offer for shares representing 57% of Equatorial's outstanding issued shares (in the absence of a higher offer).

Shire PLC (SHPGY) said that it settled its long-standing patent battle with Barr Pharmaceuticals Inc.'s (BRL) over Barr's attempt to market generic versions of Adderall XR, its best-selling hyperactivity drug. (By Karen M. Lee and Elena Berton)

AWD Holding AG (AWD.XE), one of Germany's largest financial advisers, reported an 8% drop in second-quarter net profit, as higher revenues in all markets weren't able to offset higher costs for training staff and restructuring foreign operations. (By Ulrike Dauer)

British Land Co. PLC (BLND.LN) reported a 7.1% rise in net asset value per share for the first quarter, driven by strong retail property returns and higher property valuations, but warned that the market's growth is slowing. (By Molly Dover)