*

Hitt og þetta 7. júlí 2006

DJ EUROPEAN MIDDAY BRIEFING FROM DOW JONES NEWSWIRES

AMERICAN MARKETS OUTLOOK: U.S. stock markets are set to open lower Friday as investors remain cautious ahead of the release of U.S. non-farm payrolls data, due at 1230 GMT, said Angus Campbell at Finspreads spreadbettors.

Campbell said the data have "the ability to really kick the (earnings) season off to a flying start. A figure in-line or lower than market expectations could see equities in favor with investors, as it would suggest good growth prospects, yet calm any nerves about future interest rate hikes."

Finspreads is calling the Dow Jones Industrial Average to open 10 points lower at 11,215, the S&P 500 to open down 2 points at 1272, and the Nasdaq 100 to open 3 lower at 1548.

EUROPEAN MARKETS: European markets are lower midday, with technology shares under pressure after U.S. chipmaker Advanced Micro Devices cut its second-quarter revenue forecasts. Adding to the technology sector's woes was French software-maker Business Objects, which cut its earnings and revenue forecasts.

In London the FTSE 100 is down 0.02% at 5888.90 as weaker banking and insurance stocks weighed on the index. Insurance-sector declines were led by Aviva, which fell 2.9% after saying it was considering buying U.S.-based AmerUS Group. Low-cost airline easyJet boosted the FTSE 250 index, rising 7.3% after it released upbeat revenue guidance and higher passenger numbers.

Frankfurt's DAX is down 0.55% at 5664.04, amid thin trading volumes, say traders. Investors remain cautious ahead of U.S. payrolls data, as it could offer insight into the Fed's stance on interest rates, says one trader. Traders expect the market to continuing moving sideways between the 5608 to 5729 trading range.

France's CAC 40 is down 0.3% at 4951.31.

Bunds and gilts are up, with market participants awaiting U.S. non-farm payrolls. The consensus of economists polled by Dow Jones looks for upwards of 200,000 new jobs added in June, after May's 75,000. The tone in Treasurys is likely to determine the further direction in European government bonds ahead of the weekend, analysts say. September bunds are up 0.15 at 115.06, September gilts are up 0.05 at 109.10.

The dollar is being pushed a little lower in places in Europe Friday on concerns U.S. non-farm payroll numbers will disappoint. The yen is under pressure from continued fears of more North Korean missile tests while the euro is finding limited support from the European Central Bank's hint of an Aug. 3 rate hike. The dollar has fallen to Y114.70 from Y115.16 late Thursday in New York, the euro is flat at $1.2775 and the pound has ticked up to $1.8411 from $1.8377.

===========================

TOP STORIES:

OECD INDICATOR HINTS AT US, CANADA SLOWDOWN: The economic outlook for most of the world's leading economies continued to be positive in May, with the significant exceptions of the U.S. and Canada, both of which fell for the second-straight month, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development's leading indicator. (Data Snap by Ilona Billington)

GERMAN INDUSTRIAL OUTPUT ACCELERATES IN MAY: German industrial output accelerated to more than double the forecast rate in May, heading for a successful second quarter. (By Emily Barrett)

GAZPROM 05 NET PFT UP 49% ON GAS PRICES, SIBNEFT: Russian gas monopoly OAO Gazprom (GSPBEX.RS) said its net profit under International Financial Reporting Standards rose 49% last year to 311.1 billion rubles ($1=RUB26.91), as high gas prices and the acquisition of oil company Sibneft boosted its bottom line. (By Geoffrey T. Smith)

WORLD STEPS UP PRESSURE ON NORTH KOREA OVER MISSILE TESTS: Japan and Australia Friday became the first countries to take firm steps to punish North Korea for its missile tests this week, while Russian leader Vladimir Putin and Taiwan added their voices to the chorus of condemnation worldwide.(AP)

============================

INSIGHT & ANALYSIS FROM DOW JONES NEWSWIRES:

=FOREX FOCUS: The U.S. non-farm payrolls later Friday probably pose more of a downside risk to the dollar than anything else. (By Nicholas Hastings)

=CHARTING EUROPE: The trend of European equity indexes will probably be determined by U.S non-farm payroll data Friday afternoon. (By Axel Rudolph)

=ASSET CLASS: If, as economists think, it takes 12 to 18 months for interest rates to feed through to the real economy, it can't be a good sign that the U.S. housing market had already started to roll over in the last quarter of 2005. (By Alan Mattich)

===========================

STILL TO COME

COUNTRY PERIOD

ET/GMT
0830/1230 US June Non-farm Payrolls.
8030/1230 US June Unemployment Rate.
0940/1340 US June ECRI Inflation Gauge.
1030/1430 US Jun 30 US Energy Dept Natural Gas Stocks (in
billion cubic feet).
1050/1450 US President Bush hold press conference in
Chicago.
1335/1735 US President Bush speaks on American
competitiveness in Chicago.
1500/1900 US June Treasury STRIPS.
N/A JPN Afghanistan President Karzai visits Japan.
===========================

OTHER NEWS:

Aviva PLC (AV.LN) said it was in talks to buy U.S. insurer AmerUs Group Co. (AMH) and said that if the deal goes ahead it'll likely have to issue extra shares. (By Gren Manuel)

Housebuilder Redrow PLC (RDW.LN) said it expects to see continued growth in the level of legal completions, in line with expectations amid an improved sales market. (By Anita Likus)

U.K. budget airline easyJet PLC (EZJ.LN) sharply upgraded its full-year profit guidance after seeing a strong performance across its expanding network in recent months. (By Rod Stone)

Ems-Chemie Holding AG (EMSN.VX), the Swiss maker of fine chemicals and plastics for the automotive sector, said sales in the first half rose 12% and said it plans to pay an additional, extraordinary dividend in 2006 of CHF1.50 a share. (By Stefanie Weitz)

Norwegian manufacturing production levels saw a jump in May, according to data released by Statistics Norway Friday. (Data Snap by Carlo Piovano)