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Hitt og þetta 28. apríl 2006

DJ EUROPEAN MORNING BRIEFING: Govt Bonds Outshine Shares

US SUMMARY: Bernanke Cheers Markets Higher

DJIA 11382.51 gain 28.02 up 0.3%
NASDAQ 2344.95 gain 11.32 up 0.5%
S&P 500 1309.72 gain 4.31 up 0.3%
Dow Future 11400.00 loss 22.00 dn 0.2%
NASDAQ Future 1720.00 loss 7.50 dn 0.4%
S&P Future 1312.50 loss 2.50 dn 0.2%
10-Yr US Treasury: 5.08% down 0.03
(Futures values as of 0450 GMT)

Stocks closed mostly higher Thursday as Wall Street brushed aside concerns about a Chinese interest rate hike to focus on comments by Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke that a pause in U.S. rate increases may be ahead. Treasurys gained on the Fed's softer tone.

STOCKS: In trading pushed and pulled by the cross currents of earnings reports, fluctuating energy prices and international events, Bernanke's comments overrode all other distractions, analysts said.

"What he's coming through very clearly and saying is we will probably pause soon but don't assume we're done because we pause. ... But I think the market is just reacting to 'Hey, hey, Ben said we might be done soon'," said Jeff Kleintop, chief investment strategist for PNC Wealth Management. "Whenever you take a little uncertainty out of the picture, well, the market is going to like that."

The gains in stocks offset early reaction to an announcement by Chinese officials that they will raise interest rates to slow a churning economy. China's rapid growth has accounted for a sizable share of worldwide demand for raw materials and other goods, and the announcement pushed down prices for oil, commodities and European stocks.

The price of oil fell 96 cents to settle at $70.97 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. That came after the Energy Department said demand for gasoline rose just 0.3 percent over the past four weeks compared with the same period in 2005. At this time last year, demand had risen 1.5 percent.

But momentum was reversed in U.S. equity markets after the start of congressional testimony by Bernanke.

While the Fed chairman told Congress that rising energy prices could jeopardize a strong economy and lead to further rate hikes, the market chose to focus on comments suggesting a temporary pause may be coming.

"At some point in the future, the committee may decide to take no action at one or more meetings in the interest of allowing more time to receive information relevant to the outlook," Bernanke said. "Of course, a decision to take no action at a particular meeting does not preclude actions at subsequent meetings," he added.

Investors will be keeping an eye on energy prices and on data including first-quarter economic growth figures to be released Friday, and reports next week on personal spending and income, and employment for signs that things remain on track, analysts said.

Shares of Microsoft Corp. posted quarterly earnings just shy of analysts expectations, and shares fell $1.41 to $25.84 in after-hours trading.

Intel Corp. gained after the company's CEO said he plans a broad restructuring. Exxon Mobil Corp. fell after posting higher first quarter profits Thursday, but fell short of analysts' expectations.

BONDS: Treasury prices led by short-dated maturities rose Thursday, after Bernanke signaled a pause in the central bank's rate-tightening cycle looms this summer.

"The bet the Fed would raise two more times is coming off," said Jim Cusser, portfolio manager at Waddell & Reed in Kansas City.

Bernanke is saying the Fed will err on the side of pausing rather than over-tighten policy, said Gerald Lucas, trading strategist at Banc of America Securities in New York.

"It's a recognition of the monetary policy actions having a lagging effect on the economy," said Lucas.

ASIAN SUMMARY: China's Monetary Tightening Hits Stocks

USD-Yen 114.26 gain 0.14 up 0.1%
AUD-USD 0.7552 loss 0.0020 dn 0.3%
Nikkei 225 16830.54 loss 284.00 dn 1.7%
Hang Seng 16529.79 loss 213.00 dn 1.3%
Taiwan Index 7151.93 gain 15.72 up 0.2%
S.Korea Kospi 1416.45 loss 36.08 dn 2.5%
JGB Yield 1.9300% down 0.0400
(All values as of 0450 GMT)
STOCKS: Asian markets were mixed or lower Friday morning, with Tokyo and Seoul both swamped by a cascade of selling as investors fretted over the implications of Beijing's first interest rate hikes since October 2004.

Australian shares retreated Friday, with resource heavyweights BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto leading the decline after China increased interest rates. Investors worried that slower growth in China would cool demand for red-hot commodities, such as metals.

BONDS: Prices of Japanese government bonds rose on the dovish words from the Fed's Bernanke overnight. Some bargain hunters came in after three sessions of declines. Japan's government announced that unemployment remained stable at 4.1 percent in March, while the country's consumer price index rose slightly for the fifth straight month. Industrial output also rose. Combined, the data confirm the country's economy is on the mend after years of deflation and recession. Meanwhile, the Bank of Japan left policy unchanged.

METALS: Most base metals are inching up in Asia as the U.S. dollar stays weak versus most Asian majors. Bullish economic data out of Japan eased worry about the impact of China's rate increase on demand for now. Silver and gold futures were slightly higher.

OIL: Crude futures fell 36 cents to $70.61 on prospects for lower demand from China. The World Bank tentatively resolved a dispute with Chad, which had threatened to shut off an oil pipeline.

EUROPEAN OUTLOOK: Stocks Seen Lower; Govt Debt May Gain

Euro-USD 1.2530 loss 0.0005 dn 0.04%
Stlg-USD 1.8015 loss 0.0008 dn 0.04%
USD-Franc 1.2596 gain 0.0003 up 0.02%
(All values as of 0450 GMT)
European stocks are likely to open mostly lower, while prices of government debt start higher. The euro opens slightly lower but well supported.

STOCKS: Heavy losses in Asia and on the futures markets are likely to lead to early losses in the European markets and slumping commodities and oil prices may prompt more selling in those sectors.

U.K. spreadbettor CMC Markets is calling the FTSE down 5 points at 6055, the DAX down 15 at 6053 and the CAC down 13 at 5201.

Corporate highlights this session included VW's first-quarter results, amid its restructuring controversy, and Arcelor's annual meeting, which could see some fireworks from shareholders in favor of rival Mittal's takeover bid.

European shares fell on Thursday after China's interest-rate rise hurt the mining sector and as investors weighed a mixed bag of earnings and sales from leading companies including Siemens, DaimlerChrysler and GlaxoSmithKline.

BONDS: Government debt prices may get an early lift on overnight Treasury gains but investors may temper their bullishness by pondering likely euro-zone rate hikes to come.

Some analysts have even started to toy with the idea that the ECB could up the ante and deliver a half a percentage point rate hike in June. So far the ECB has delivered two 25-basis-point hikes in December and March.

"It would take an explicit statement by Trichet himself in the next few days to prepare markets and the public for a May move to make a May rate hike feasible for the ECB," Bank of America economist Holger Schmieding said in a note.

"The bigger risk to our call for a 25-basis-point hike in June is not that the ECB acts in May but that the ECB will prepare markets in May for a 50-basis-point hike in June," he said.

Friday's economic data include euro-zone money supply figures at 0800 GMT, followed by inflation and consumer confidence data at 0900 GMT. Later, the U.S. posts first-quarter gross domestic product numbers at 1230 GMT.

Euro-zone consumer prices are expected to have risen 2.3% year-on-year in April compared with 2.2% in March, according to a Dow Jones Newswires survey of economists.

European government bonds were higher late Thursday with bunds and gilts reversing early losses after Bernanke raised hopes U.S. interest rates may be near their peak, analysts said.

June bunds and gilts had chalked up fresh contract lows early in the session after reported comments by European Central Bank Governing Council member Nicholas Garganas fueled fears the ECB could next hike rates as early as May 4.

FOREX: The euro opens firmly planted above $1.2500 as the market compares hawkish ECB statements to dovish Fed comments.

Analysts say that the Bernanke comments weighed on the dollar because markets interpreted him as suggesting there could be a pause in interest rate hikes after the May FOMC meeting.

Since early Monday, the euro has appreciated some 1.7% against the dollar, while the greenback has fallen more than 2% versus the yen.



(MORE TO FOLLOW) Dow Jones Newswires

April 28, 2006 01:45 ET (05:45 GMT)

Copyright (c) 2006 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.


28 Apr 2006 05:45 GMT =DJ EUROPEAN MORNING BRIEFING: Govt Bonds Outshine Shares -2

CALENDAR: Friday, April 28: Bank of Japan; US Sentiment

GMT Expected Previous
0600 GER April Retail Sales +0.5%MM -1.1%MM
+0.9%YY +0.8%YY
0630 JPN BOJ Gov Fukui holds press conference
0645 FRA April Consumer confidence survey -26 -26
0645 FRA March Unemployment 9.6% 9.6%
0650 FRA March PPI +0.5%MM +0.1%MM
+3.3%YY +3.5%YY
0800 ITA March PPI +0.5%MM +0.4%MM
+4.5%YY +4.9%YY
0800 EU March Euro Zone M3 Money Supply +7.9%YY +8.0%YY
+7.83% +7.6%
0900 EU April Euro Zone Indus Confidence -1 -1
0900 EU April Euro Zone Consumer Confidence -11 -11
0900 ITA April CPI, prelim +0.3%MM +0.2%MM
+2.2%YY +2.1%YY
0900 ITA April Cities CPI
0900 EU 4Q Euro Zone Balance of Payments
0900 EU April Euro Zone CPI, prelim +2.3%YY +2.2%YY
0900 EU Euro Zone Business Climate 103.3 103.5
0930 UK UK Monthly Consumer Confidence Survey -5 -4
1100 GER Econ Min Glos presents new growth
forecasts, Berlin
1130 US Fed Gov Bies speaks on risk management
in banking and fin services in Raleigh, N.C.
1200 EU ECB Member Gonzalez-Paramo speaks at
conference in Malaga, Spain
1230 US 1Q Advance GDP +5% +1.7%
1230 US 1Q Employment Cost Index +0.9% +0.8%
1345 US April University Of Michigan Consumer 89.0 88.9
Sentiment Index, final (mid-April 89.2)
1400 US April Chicago PMI 58.5 60.4
1530 US Tsy Secy Snow speaks at Cincinnati
State College
1800 US Tsy Secy Snow speaks in Florence, Kentucky

-By Dennis Baker; Dow Jones Newswires; dennis.baker@dowjones.com

(MORE TO FOLLOW) Dow Jones Newswires

April 28, 2006 01:45 ET (05:45 GMT)

Copyright (c) 2006 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.


28 Apr 2006 05:45 GMT =DJ EUROPEAN MORNING BRIEFING: Corporate Events

Arcelor (5786.FR): AGM
Note: Steel giant faces a revolt at its annual general meeting as institutional shareholders on both sides of the Atlantic ready their arguments opposing Arcelor's defenses against the hostile bid by Mittal Steel Co. (MT). Mittal's bid for Arcelor, worth EUR20.3B at Wednesday's close, won't be up for a vote at the meeting. But institutional shareholders are prepared to vote against the re-election of Arcelor's chairman, vice-chairman and other board members to voice their protest.

"These board members are not acting as stewards of the shareholders. These are not good people," said a manager at a New York City hedge fund who requested anonymity, but said his fund holds "a fair chunk" of Arcelor. "We will make a point of that through our vote."


Atos Origin (5173.FR): 1Q Revenues
Average revenues (DJN, 5 analysts): EUR1.37B (EUR1.36B)
Note: Relatively slow growth may have been affected by contractual price decrease on several large deals, a Goldman Sachs preview note says. All eyes on whether the company will announce a large acquisition possibly in the UK or Germany, guidance for 2H of '06, and organic growth.


DSM (00981.AE): 1Q Earnings
Average net profit (DJN, 3 analysts): EUR135M (EUR127M)
Note: Operating profit seen 11% higher at EUR209M from EUR188M in the same period a year earlier. Profit rise mainly due to better market circumstances and cost savings. Analysts are on the lookout for underlying developments and the outlook for the second-quarter of 2006. Data due Friday at 0615 GMT.


Erste Bank (EBS.VI): 1Q Earnings
Average net profit (DJN, 10 analysts): EUR206.9M (EUR160.3M)
Note: Net interest income is seen +10% at EUR739M from EUR672.7M, while net commission income is expected to come in at EUR344.3M, +11% from EUR311.1M. Earnings should continue to be driven by strong performance in Eastern and Central Europe, analysts say.


Friends Provident (FP.LN): 1Q New Business
Average new business (Co, 14 analysts): GBP1.22B (GBP1.06B)
Note: Greig Paterson of Keefe, Bruyette & Woods says the positive impact of A-day on single-premium pension transfer business is a driver of growth. An increase in unit-linked bonds will also help, but both lines are lower margin and the shift in business mix may reduce margins for 1H '06.


Komercni Banka (BAAKOMB.PR): 1Q Earnings
Average net profit (DJN, 6 analysts): CZK2.25B (CZK1.9B)
Note: Analysts say the net result will be up on last year, largely due to the bank's net interest income, fueled by booming mortgage and consumer credit lending. Analysts will also look for details on the bank's lending growth and its provisions, reflecting the expansion of its lending volumes.


M-real (MRLBV.HE): 1Q Earnings
Average pretax profit (SME, 16 analysts): EUR4.2M (EUR76M)
Average sales: EUR1.37B (EUR1.34B)
Note: M-real has been hit by low profitability due to pressured fine paper market. Handelsbanken now expects M-real's EBIT margin to be back in the black despite office papers and commercial printing still hovering around break-even.


Novo Nordisk (NVO): 1Q Earnings
Average net profit (DJN, 5 analysts): DKK1.4B (DKK1.23B)
Average sales: DKK8.84B (DKK7.25B)
Average EBIT: DKK2.04B (DKK1.51B)
Note: Credit Suisse says it'll be on the lookout for a fine-tuning of 2006's guidance and some indication of how the US launch of long-acting insulin analog Levemir is going.


Puma (PUM.XE): 1Q Earnings
Average net profit (DJN, 7 analysts): EUR84M (EUR91M)
Average sales: EUR626M (EUR497M)
Note: Analysts see the fall in net profit because of extensive marketing for the African Cup of Nations and World Cup. The company's new strategic focus, called Phase IV, also cost the company more in marketing. Analysts are also keen to see how the Phase IV program's spending for Puma's own retail stores will affect the bottom line.


Santander Central Hispano SA (STD): 1Q Earnings
Average pretax profit (DJN, 7 analysts): EUR1.45B (EUR1.19B)
Note: Net interest income is seen +22% to EUR2.88B from EUR2.36B. Analysts say Latin American division could surprise on the upside, while at UK unit Abbey, higher volumes, stable margins and continuing cost reductions are seen maintaining positive trend of recent quarters.


Schneider (12197.FR): 1Q Revenue
Average revenue (DJN, 4 analysts): EUR3.06B (EUR2.53B)
Forecast range: EUR2.99B - EUR3.09B
Note: Organic growth seen ranging from 7% to 12% mainly fueled by Asian demand. Europe' sales seen to grow around 5%, Wargny analyst Jean-Michel Salvador says. Acquisitions expected to generate around 7% to 8% sales growth and currency effect to have a positive impact of around 3%.


Swedbank (FSPA-A.SK): 1Q Earnings
Average operating profit (SNE, 18 analysts): SEK3.156B (SEK2.842B)
Note: Swedbank's Hansabank and First Securities units are also expected to contribute, but net interest income is seen falling back to SEK3.865B versus SEK3.939B due to continued margin pressure. Report due around 1000 GMT.


Swedish Match (SWMA.SK): 1Q Earnings
Average pretax profit (SME, 11 analysts): SEK628M (SEK507M)
Note: The tobacco company's closely watched snuff business margin is seen at 46.9%, up from 46% in the first quarter 2005. The operating margin on cigars is seen at 21.3%, up from 18.6%. Focus will be on market shares for snuff in Sweden and the US, and any comments on share buybacks or acquisition plans.


Volkswagen (VOW.XE): 1Q Earnings
Average net profit (DJN, 9 analysts): EUR439M (EUR70M)
Average operating profit: EUR945M (EUR464M)
Average sales: EUR23.7B (EUR21.1B)
Note: EPS seen at EUR1.14 vs EUR0.15. Revenues seen up 12% at EUR23.7B after EUR21.1B. News on ongoing restructuring especially at the core VW brand are expected to be in limelight Friday.



(MORE TO FOLLOW) Dow Jones Newswires

April 28, 2006 01:45 ET (05:45 GMT)

Copyright (c) 2006 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.


28 Apr 2006 05:45 GMT =DJ EUROPEAN MORNING BRIEFING: Corporate Events -2-

OTHER SCHEDULED EVENTS:

Acotel Group (ACO.MI): AGM

Acquedotto Nicolay (ANG.MI): AGM

AEM (AET.MI): AGM

Aeroporto di Firenze (AFI.MI): AGM

AISoftware (AISW.MI): AGM

Aker Seafoods (AKS.OS): 1Q Presentation

Aktiv Kapital (AIK.OS): 1Q Earnings

Alfa Laval (ALFA.SK): 1Q Earnings

Alma Media Corportation (ALN1V.HE): 1Q Earnings

Art'e (ART.MI): AGM

Assicurazioni Generali (G.MI): EGM

Astaldi (AST.MI): AGM

Baloise (BALN.VX): AGM

Banca Finnat Euramerica (BFE.MI): AGM

Banca IFIS (IF.MI): AGM

Banca Lombarda (BL.MI): AGM

Banca Popolare di Milano (PMI.MI): AGM

Banco di Desio e della Brianza (BDB.MI): AGM

Banco di Sardegna (BSRP.MI): AGM

Bayer (BAY): AGM

Ben Bailey (BBC.LN): AGM

BG Group (BRG): AGM

Biesse (BSS.MI): AGM

Bipielle Investiment (BPL.MI): AGM

Boero Bartolomeo (BOE.MI): AGM

Bonifiche Ferraresi (BF.MI): AGM

Buongiorno Vitaminic (BVIT.MI): AGM/EGM

Bure Equity (BURE.SK): 1Q Earnings

CAD IT (CAD.MI): AGM

Carter & Carter (CART.LN): 1H Earnings

CDC (CDC.MI): AGM

Cembre (CMB.MI): AGM

Couach (7576.FR): AGM/EGM

Credit Suisse Group (CSR): AGM

CSP International Industria Calze (CSP.MI): AGM

Cybercom Group Europe (CYBE.SK): AGM

De Longhi (DLG.MI): AGM

Delta (DLTA.LN): AGM

DEPFA Bank (DEP.XE): 1Q Earnings

DiaGenic (DIAG.OS): Investor Presentation

Dmail (DMA.MI): AGM

DSV (DSV.KO): AGM

El.En Group (ELN.MI): AGM

Ercros (ECR.MC): AGM

Erg (ERG.MI): AGM

Ergo Previdenza (EGP.MI): AGM

Eutelsat Communications (1022123.FR) 3Q Revenue

Fastweb (FWB.MI): AGM

Filatura di Pollone (FDP.MI): AGM

Fondiaria-SAI (FSA.MI): AGM

Forbo (FORN.EB): AGM

Foreign & Colonial Investment Trust (FRCL.LN): 1Q New Business

ForeningsSparbanken (FSPA-A.SK): 1Q Analyst/Press Presentation

Fred Olsen Energy (FOE.OS): 1Q Earnings

Gabetti Holding (GAB.MI): AGM

Gemina (GEM.MI): AGM/EGM


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April 28, 2006 01:45 ET (05:45 GMT)

Copyright (c) 2006 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.