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Hitt og þetta 13. febrúar 2006

EUROPEAN MORNING BRIEFING: Tech Boost To Aid Stocks

US SUMMARY: Dell, Hewlett Packard Close Earnings Season

DJIA 10919.05 gain 35.70 up 0.3%
NASDAQ 2261.88 gain 6.01 up 0.3%
S&P 500 1266.99 gain 3.21 up 0.3%
Dow Future 10911.00 loss 16.00 dn 0.2%
NASDAQ Future 1664.00 loss 2.50 dn 0.2%
S&P Future 1266.75 loss 1.50 dn 0.1%
10-Yr US Treasury: 4.58% up 0.04
(Futures values as of 0550 GMT)
With Dell and Hewlett-Packard closing out the earnings season, Wall Street's winter of uncertainty is likely to continue this week because markets are worried that the Federal Reserve will keep raising rates. Prices of Treasurys open the week under pressure.

STOCKS: Fourth-quarter corporate earnings have been overwhelmingly positive, with double-digit profit growth for the 15th straight quarter. But most companies downplayed their chances of a repeat performance, warning of all kinds of economic uncertainties.

So with far fewer earnings reports to create headlines and distract investors from these long-term issues, Wall Street will now focus on the economy, and worry whether the Federal Reserve under new Chairman Ben Bernanke will be too aggressive in fighting inflation. If the Fed raises rates too aggressively, markets worry that a recession could result.

Bernanke makes his first report on the economy to Congress on Wednesday, and his second on Thursday. Markets are likely to drift until investors can judge his level of hawkishness.

On Friday, stocks rebounded from an earlier decline to post moderate gains as investors looked past a mediocre outlook from Pfizer Inc. and a record U.S. trade deficit. The major indexes finished the week mixed.

This week, investors will look closely at the week's economic data, especially any reports on inflation. On Friday, the Labor Department will release January's producer price index, expected to rise just 0.2 percent for the month, down from a 0.9 percent increase in December that fed by rising energy costs. With food and energy prices removed, so-called "core" PPI is expected to rise 0.2 percent from a 0.1 percent increase in December. Should either number come in above expectations, stocks likely will suffer.

Also Friday, the University of Michigan releases its consumer sentiment index with a preliminary reading for February. Economists expect a reading of 92, up narrowly from 91.2 in January.

Finally, the Commerce Department will release housing construction data for January on Thursday. The number of new home construction started in January is expected to come in at 2.005 million, up slightly from 1.933 million in December.

As consumer spending slows this year, some on Wall Street are hoping that corporations, which have record cash reserves, can pick up the slack and start expanding their businesses. Two computer makers, Dell Inc. and Hewlett-Packard Co., could back up that argument if their earnings reports this week show some strength.

In corporate news, Merrill Lynch & Co. Inc. is in advanced talks to acquire a large stake in money manager BlackRock Inc. for $8 billion, people familiar with the matter told The Wall Street Journal, in a deal that would create a $1 trillion fund-management colossus and transform the nation's largest retail brokerage firm.

Hewlett-Packard plans to separate its hand-held-device business from its notebook-computer business, in one of the first moves to implement a growth strategy laid out by Chief Executive Mark Hurd in December.

BONDS: U.S. Treasury prices reversed course and settled lower Friday, as investors absorbed the quarterly debt refunding.

With the refunding complete, investors also turned their attention to a slew of data and congressional testimony from Bernanke this week.

"The legacy of the refunding and the 30-year sale won't recede completely, but the market recognizes data releases and Bernanke are coming up and it's no surprise Treasurys are giving up some of their recent gains," said Kevin Flanagan, fixed-income strategist at Morgan Stanley.

Investors still expect a rise in the Fed funds rate to 4.75% in March and possibly a further hike to 5.00% in May.

ASIAN SUMMARY: Investors Cautious In Tokyo, Stocks Drop

USD-Yen 117.92 gain 0.13 up 0.01%
AUD-USD 0.7368 loss 0.0004 dn 0.05%
Nikkei 225 15954.96 loss 302.80 dn 1.9%
Hang Seng 15300.50 loss 125.30 dn 0.8%
Taiwan Index 6562.29 loss 32.63 dn 0.5%
S.Korea Kospi 1317.45 loss 17.78 dn 1.3%
JGB Yield 1.5850% down 0.0100
(All values as of 0550 GMT)
STOCKS: Japanese stocks were sharply lower on caution ahead of October-December GDP figures due Friday and a lack of new buy signals now that earnings season is almost over. The dollar was lower against the yen.

Commodity issues were among the losers Monday on lower prices for raw materials.

Internet service company Softbank also fell 7.40% as a UBS ratings cut weighed on the issue.

BONDS: Prices of Japanese government bonds nudged higher on the stock market's tumble, but investors displayed a tepid approach to buying ahead of the government's 5-year auction on Tuesday. Demand from investors appears uncertain given the concern over a possible tightening by the Bank of Japan down the road.

Bank of Japan Governor Toshihiko Fukui said Monday that the central bank will make an appropriate decision on the end of its super-easy monetary policy that takes into account prices and the overall economy.

OIL: Crude oil prices slid 30 cents to $61.54 amid reports of lagging demand and bulging supplies, despite concerns about unrest and political tensions in major producing nations.

OTHER NEWS: China's exports rose faster than expected in January, but economists said growth should moderate because of the yuan's rise. Exports rose 28.1% from a year earlier, against forecasts of 22.1%.

EUROPEAN OUTLOOK: Stocks To Open Higher

Euro-USD 1.1895 loss 0.0002 dn 0.02%
Stlg-USD 1.7431 loss 0.0012 dn 0.07%
USD-Franc 1.3076 gain 0.0001 up 0.01%
(All values as of 0550 GMT)
European shares are set for a positive start, while prices of government bonds open slightly lower with a weak euro in tow.

STOCKS: Prices of European stocks are likely to play catchup with late U.S. gains Friday.

U.K. spreadbettor City Index is calling the London FTSE up 20 points to 5784, the Frankfurt DAX up 30 to 5731 and the Paris CAC up 20 to 4930.

"The tech stocks in particular rallied strongly (in the U.S.) and I think this is where the bulls are likely to attack today," says City Index's Tom Hougaard. "There is bound to be a fair amount of bears caught on the wrong side, which may fuel the upside as well in Europe."

European stock markets closed lower Friday but ended with modest gains for the week, with weakness in metals and oil companies outweighing positive earnings news from Volkswagen and Puma.

In other news, health officials said the H5N1 strain of deadly bird flu has been detected in a sixth wild swan in southern Italy. Slovenian authorities also reported bird flu virus in a swan.

BONDS: Investors, ever worried about the European Central Bank's rate intentions, may nudge government debt prices lower to start.

Market participants expect the ECB to raise interest rates by another 25 basis points at its March meeting. At the beginning of December, the ECB hiked rates 25 basis points, its first increase in five years.

While the ECB is confident the outlook for the euro zone remains favorable, analysts said recent data releases cast doubts over the euro-zone's economic recovery.

This week, fourth-quarter GDP figures for Germany and the euro zone are due for release.

Economists at HSBC said following statements from Germany's statistics office, "near stagnation in Q4 2005 is on the cards." For the euro zone, they expect a 0.4% rise on the quarter.

The market is also preparing for another round of supply in the euro zones which may weigh on the longer end of the curve.

Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein expects supply to total around EUR20 billion next week. Italy and France plan to sell 30-year bonds, while Germany wants to tap its 10-year January 2016 bond by EUR7 billion Feb. 15.

U.K. investors this week will look for consumer price data, Bank of England's quarterly inflation report and unemployment data.

European government bond and gilt prices rose Friday in a technically driven market.

FOREX: The euro is in danger of falling under $1.1900 as the currency loses technical backing.

Peter Frank, currency strategist at ABN Amro in Chicago, said the euro's failure to lift decisively through $1.2025 on Friday encouraged buyers of the U.S. currency to re-enter the market. Once the dollar started to rally, investors who had built euro exposure after the trade numbers rushed to exit those positions.

In addition, Daragh Maher, currency strategist at Calyon in London, said "you get the sense that nobody wants to be too short dollars" going into this week, when fed Chairman Bernanke will make his first testimony to Congress on monetary policy.

The dollar climbed versus the euro but was lower against the yen Friday, after the U.S. currency staged a rally during New York trading despite worse-than-expected U.S. trade data.



(MORE TO FOLLOW) Dow Jones Newswires

February 13, 2006 01:45 ET (06:45 GMT)

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


13 Feb 2006 06:45 GMT =DJ EUROPEAN MORNING BRIEFING: Tech Boost To Aid Stocks -2-

CALENDAR: Monday, Feb 13: UK Prices; Fed's Pianalto

GMT Expected Previous
0900 ITA Dec Indus Production +0.5%MM +0.1%MM
+0.8%YY +0.4%YY
0930 UK Dec OPDM House Price Index
0930 UK Jan PPI Input +1.3%MM +0.9%MM
+13.8%YY +17.2%YY
0930 UK Jan PPI Output +0.3%MM -0.2%MM
+2.8%YY +2.4%YY
0930 UK Jan Core Output Prices +0.2%MM +0.1%MM
+1.5%YY +1.6%YY
1700 US Cleveland Fed Pres Pianalto speaks in
Cleveland
N/A GER Dec Balance of Payments
N/A UK CBI Quarterly SME Trends Survey

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

(MORE TO FOLLOW) Dow Jones Newswires

February 13, 2006 01:45 ET (06:45 GMT)

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


13 Feb 2006 06:45 GMT =DJ EUROPEAN MORNING BRIEFING: Corporate Events

Anglo Platinum (AMS.JO): FY Earnings Per Share
Average E.P.S. (DJ, 5 analysts): ZAR18.15 (ZAR11.21)
Forecast range: ZAR17.93 - ZAR18.49
Note: Earnings bolstered by a higher average price for a basket of platinum group metals.


Harmony Gold (HMY): 2Q Earnings
Average pre-items EPS (DJ, 5 analysts): ZAR0.10 (ZAR0.88 loss)
Forecast range: ZAR0.04 loss - ZAR0.50 profit
Note: First quarter pre-items loss was ZAR0.86. Harmony has not recorded pre-items profit for nine consecutive quarters. Basic EPS is still seen in the red with the loss narrowing sharply on year and on quarter due to the completion of its restructuring.


Magyar Telekom (MTA): 4Q Earnings
Average net profit (DJ, 7 analysts): HUF17.49B (HUF6.45B loss)
Average revenues: HUF158.61B (HUF151.71B)
Average operating profit: HUF32.45B (HUF3.06B)
Average EBITDA: HUF59.81B (HUF40.05B)
Note: Figures are not comparable; 4Q 04 was hit by a HUF16.7B restructuring charge and Telekom Montenegro has only been consolidated since 2Q 05.But underlying trends remain the same: revenue erosion in fixed-line, despite strong ADSL growth, and slow growth in mobile.


Statoil (STO): 4Q Earnings
Average net profit (DEJ, 5 analysts): NOK8.86B (NOK10.04B)
Note: A higher tax rate and lower currency gains seen eroding record high operating profits on high oil prices and stronger output. Analysts expect 4Q 05 output at 1.23M BOE/D, meaning it may fall short of its 05 output target. Seeking guidance on 06 output. Shares close +0.3% at NOK175.50. Earnings out 0730.


Thales (12132.FR): FY Revenue
Average revenue (Thomson Financial, 11 analysts): EUR10.42B (EUR10.27B)
Note: Full year '05 sales will reflect a winding-down of Sawari II frigate contract. Order intake in full year '05 seen over EUR12B.


TPSA (TPS.WA): 4Q Earnings
Average net profit (DJ, 5 analysts): PLN452M (PLN510M)
Average total revenues: PLN4.65B (PLN4.68B)
Average EBITDA: PLN1.94B (PLN1.85B)
Note: Analysts say fall in net profit shouldn't be a worry, given the high marketing costs during the period. Also revenues will be above guidance, according to these estimates. Results are due Monday, along with strategy announcement, which will be closely eyed for dividend policy and update on TPSA's readiness to face increasing competition in all segments.


ThyssenKrupp (TKA.XE): 1Q Earnings
Average net profit under IFRS (DJ, 6 analysts): EUR244M (EUR275M)
Pretax profit: EUR423M (EUR473M)
Note: Net profit seen down on higher raw material prices and a lower contribution from its steel unit, which had an extremely strong comparable period last year. The company already said pretax profit would be above EUR400M when it released key 1Q figures January 27, thus beating analyst forecasts.


OTHER SCHEDULED EVENTS:

ABC Arbitrage (404060.FR): FY Revenue

Adresseavisen (AAV.OS): 4Q Earnings

Aedes (AE.MI): 4Q Earnings

AF Gruppen (AFG.OS): 4Q Earnings

Aker Kvaerner (AKVER.OS): FY Earnings

Ballingslov International (BALL.SK): FY Earnings

Banca Finnat Euramerica (BFE.MI): 4Q Earnings

Bong Ljungdahl (BONG.SK): FY Earnings

British Energy (BGY.LN): 3Q Earnings

Coloplast (COLO-B.KO): 1Q Earnings

Comstar United Telesystems (CMST.LN): Shares Debut on London Stocvk Exchange

Data Service (DAS.MI): 4Q Earnings

Dmail (DMA.MI): 4Q Earnings

Eastern Drilling (EDRILL.OS): 4Q Earnings

Erg (ERG.MI): 4Q Earnings

FHB (FHB.BU): 4Q Earnings

Fraport (FRA.XE): January Traffic Data

Groupe Steria (7291.FR): 4Q Revenue

Hargreaves Services (HSP.LN): 1H Earnings

Ignis (IGNIS.OS): 4Q Earnings

Juventus (JUVE.MI): 2Q Earnings

La Doria (LD.MI): 4Q Earnings

Leo Longlife (LEOAS.HE): FY Earnings

Murray Income Trust (MUT.LN); 1H Earnings

Negri Bossi (NGB.MI): 4Q Earnings

P&O (PO.LN): EGM

Qiagen (QGEN): FY Earnings

ReadSoft (RSOF-B.SK): FY Earnings

Red Electrica de Espana (REE.MC): FY Earnings

Reply (REY.MI): 4Q Earnings

RoyalBlue Group (RYB.LN): FY Earnings

SakI (SAEK.SK): FY Earnings

St Mowden Properties (SMP.LN): FY Earnings

Tiscali (TIS.MI): 4Q Earnings

Touax (3300.FR): 4Q Revenue

Tristel (TSTL.LN): 1H Earnings

TV4 (TV4-A.SK): FY Earnings

Unilog (3466.FR): 4Q Revenue

Workspace Group (WKP.LN): 3Q Earnings


(MORE TO FOLLOW) Dow Jones Newswires

February 13, 2006 01:45 ET (06:45 GMT)

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


13 Feb 2006 06:45 GMT =DJ EUROPEAN MORNING BRIEFING: Div Payment & Ex-Div Dates

Cairo Communication (CAI.MI): FY 2005 Ex-Dividend Date


(END) Dow Jones Newswires

February 13, 2006 01:45 ET (06:45 GMT)

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