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Hitt og þetta 14. febrúar 2006

DJ EUROPEAN MIDDAY BRIEFING FROM DOW JONES NEWSWIRES

AMERICAN MARKETS OUTLOOK: U.S. stock markets are set to open lower Monday, says Angus Campbell of Finspreads. He notes that "a sell-off in Asian stocks overnight means that U.S. stocks could start this week in the red. Investors are beginning to show a little concern about the prospect of an interest rate tightening policy by the Bank of Japan as the economy continues to recover." Finspreads is calling the Dow Jones Industrial Average to open 30 points lower at 10,880, the S&P to open down four points at 1263 and the Nasdaq 100 down five points at 1658.5.

EUROPEAN MARKETS: European stocks are a touch higher midday despite mining companies falling after a slump in metal prices. London's FTSE 100 is up 0.12% at 5770.8, recovering from an initial dip in reaction to a higher-than-expected U.K. January producer price index. Lloyds TSB is up 1.1% after a positive note from Deutsche Bank. The German DAX has edged higher, up 0.24% at 5715.42. Despite weak signals from Asian markets, "the DAX continues to be in good form," says technical analyst Marcel Mussler, who pegs the index's next target at 5760. Volkswagen is up 2.9%, still boosted by stronger-than-expected figures Friday. The French CAC is flat at 4915.40.

Bunds and gilts are weaker after the release of higher-than-expected Italian industrial output figures and U.K. producer price data. The market is also worried that new Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke will be hawkish in his Congressional testimony Wednesday. The March bund future is down 0.45 at 120.10. March gilts are down 0.35 at 113.69.

After an early dip, the dollar is rising as the market starts to price in hawkish comments from Bernanke in his first Congressional testimony. The dollar is up at Y118.15 despite current account data suggesting repatriation flows helping the yen. The euro has fallen to $1.1890 and the pound is down at $1.7390.

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TOP STORIES:

UK PPI UP ON RECORD HIGH CRUDE PRICE: Prices paid by U.K. manufacturers for raw materials surged yet again in January, as the price of crude oil rose to the highest level since records began in 1991. (Data Snap by Ilona Billington)

THYSSENKRUPP 1Q NET FALLS 23%: German industrial conglomerate ThyssenKrupp (TKA.XE) reported a 23% fall in first-quarter net profit, due mainly to weaker earnings in its stainless steel making and automotive businesses. (News Snap by Jan Hromadko)

FRENCH PM IN MOSCOW FOR IRAN CRISIS TALKS: French Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin is to arrive in Moscow Monday for talks that are expected to be dominated by the escalating international crisis over Iran's nuclear ambitions. (AP)

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INSIGHT & ANALYSIS FROM DOW JONES NEWSWIRES:

=FOREX FOCUS: Commodity currencies may well find themselves under selling pressure again, with the Canadian and New Zealand dollars probably coming off worse than their Australian counterpart. (By Nicholas Hastings)

=CHARTING EUROPE: European equity indexes are expected to rally further this week, with the FTSE 100 and DAX 30 reaching new multi-year highs, provided that equity indexes do not close below Monday's intraday lows. (By Axel Rudolph)

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STILL TO COME

COUNTRY PERIOD

ET/GMT
1200/1700 US Cleveland Fed Pres Pianalto speaks in
Cleveland
N/A GER Dec Balance of Payments
N/A UK CBI Quarterly SME Trends Survey
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OTHER NEWS:

Italian industrial output rose 1.2% on the month in December 2005, mainly due to increases in energy and investment goods production, national statistics bureau Istat said. (Data Snap by Luca di Leo)

French metals and mining company Eramet SA (13175.FR) dismissed talk of a tie-up with Arcelor (5786.FR) to prevent a takeover by Mittal Steel Co. (MT) as groundless. (By Andrea Hotter)

Credit Suisse Group (CSR) said it is taking an unexpected charge that will skim CHF421 million off its fourth-quarter net profit, to be reported Thursday. (News Snap by Katharina Bart)

The U.S. consortium that owns ProSiebenSat.1 Media AG (PSM.XE), Germany's leading commercial-television broadcaster by advertising revenue, is taking down the "For Sale" sign. (WSJ)

Swiss pharmaceutical company Roche Holding AG (RHHBY) said it has stopped recruiting patients to test its cancer drug Avastin in late-stage clinical trials, following the deaths of four patients. (News Snap by Stefanie Weitz)

Norwegian state oil company Statoil ASA (STO) said it failed to meet its total 2005 production target of 1.175 million barrels of oil equivalent a day and warned that if oil prices remain high, its 2007 output target could be threatened. (News Snap by Ian Talley)

Telekomunikacja Polska SA (TPS.WA), Poland's largest telecommunication operator, said its fourth-quarter net profit fell 2.3% as fixed-line shrinkage offset fast mobile and broadband growth. (News Snap by David McQuaid)

Adecco SA (ADO) raised its bid for Deutscher Industrie Service AG (DDE.XE) by 4.4% to EUR710 million, helping to persuade two resistant shareholders to sell their stakes in the German staffing firm and raising its holding to more than 75%. (News Snap by Goran Mijuk)

Vimpel Communications OAO (VIP), Russia's second-largest mobile phone operator, confirmed news reports that it had made an offer to buy Ukraine's Kyivstar for $5 billion in shares and assumption of $456 million in debt. (News Snap by Anna Ivanova-Galitsina)

Russian state-owned oil producer OAO Rosneft's (RNT.YY) net profit after minority interests surged to $3.70 billion in the first nine months of 2005 compared with $620 million in the same period in 2004, the company said late Friday. (By Greg Walters)