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European Economic and Monetary Affairs commissioner, Olli REHN, (left) with his compatriot, Jyrki Katainen, Finnish Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance, at the Ecofin meeting of EU finance ministers, Brussels, Feb 15, 2011.
Finland could face up to 6,000 job cuts following the world's biggest mobile phone device firm Nokia’s alliance with Microsoft. Nokia has a payroll of 20,000 in its home country with over 6,000 working in research and development.
Dell, the world's No 3 biggest PC brand, on Tuesday reported that its quarterly
profit nearly tripled on strong business sales and lower component costs.
Shares in the Texas company,
that has struggled in recent years, jumped 5% in after hours trading with
analysts reacting positively to advances made in the market for data centers.
The company said it expects to keep making deals in a bid to double sales from
the data-center business to $30bn.
For the quarter ended Jan. 28,
Dell's earnings rose to $927 million, or 48 cents a share, up from $334 million,
or 17 cents a share, in the same period a year earlier. The profit rise outpaced
the PC maker's revenue, which increased 5% to $15.7bn from a year earlier.
Dell said the company said it benefited from lower costs of components such as
LCD screens and memory chips and it also gained from its sales to corporate
customers, which are Dell's biggest clients.
UK Consumer Confidence: The Nationwide index of UK sentiment dipped 7
points to 47, almost erasing the 8-point gain in December, the mortgage lender
confidence in spending fell at its fastest rate on record
during January following the VAT hike to 20% and rising
spending index fell by 20 points during the month to stand
at 70, the lowest level since November 2008 when the UK was
in recession, and the sharpest drop recorded since the index
was launched in 2004.
Just over half
of people thought it was a bad time to make a major
purchase, while 22% also thought it was a bad time to buy
household goods, up from just 15% in December.
US Homebuilder confidence
index still points to a subdued recovery: Goodbody's
Robert Eason commented: "The US Housebuilder Confidence
index came in at 16 for January, representing the fourth consecutive month at
this level. While the index is off the lows (8-9) reached in Q408/Q109, the
index has been pretty much range bound ever since, with 22 being the highest
reading and 13 the lowest. As a result, we still believe that the pace of any
recovery in the housing market will be subdued and that there is a risk that
recent guidance given by companies on the housing market could prove too
optimistic. Our forecasts for CRH only factor in a 5% increase in the US housing
market in FY11."
President Obama sheds insight on his new budget plan, Egypt and more; Pt 4 of press conference:
Sanofi-aventis/Genzyme: French pharmaceutical company
Sanofi-aventis and US biotech firm Genzyme announced today that they have
entered into a definitive agreement under which Sanofi-aventis is to acquire
Genzyme for $74.00 per share in cash, or approximately $20.1bn. In
addition to the cash payment, each Genzyme shareholder will receive one
Contingent Value Right (CVR) for each share they own, entitling the holder to
receive additional cash payments if specified milestones related to Lemtrada (alemtuzumab
MS) are achieved over time or a milestone related to production volumes in 2011
for drugs Cerezyme and Fabrazyme is achieved.
Sanofi-aventis, a leading global pharmaceutical company and one
of the world's leading biotechnology companies, Genzyme dates from 1981, and now
has approximately 10,000 employees in locations spanning the globe.
There are 500 Irish workers on the
Genzyme team at a biotechnology campus in Waterford where the company
established its Irish operations in 2001. Seven key products in the Genzyme
portfolio are shipped from Waterford to patients in more than 60 countries
UK CPI inflation rises to 4%; Davy economist, Conall Mac Coille, comments
-- "Speculation that the Bank of England will be forced into raising interest
rates has intensified following the news yesterday (February 15th) that CPI
inflation in January was 4%, well above the 2% target of the Monetary Policy
Committee (MPC). The CPI inflation out-turn forced Governor Mervyn King to write
a further letter to Chancellor George Osborne explaining the strength of
Overall, there was little change in substance from previous letters with
the Governor reiterating his view that the current strength of inflation was due
to the increase in value added tax rates, energy prices and the gradual
pass-through from the low level of sterling into import prices and CPI. Indeed,
the 4% CPI inflation came as no surprise to the market and had been well flagged
in advance in recent speeches by MPC members. The key question is where CPI
inflation will be in 12 months' time.
There have been stark differences in the commentary on the Governor's
letter. Some media outlets have interpreted the letter as a signal by the bank
that rate rises are likely in the future. This seems unlikely as the Governor's
letter indicated there were strong differences in view on the MPC about the
outlook for inflation. So, given these contrasting views, it would be very
difficult for the bank to provide any clear signal to the market about the
outlook for the policy rate. Other commentators suggested that the letter
reinforced the Governor's view that the current strength of inflation was
temporary and that rate rises were not required.
Greater clarity will hopefully be provided by today's Inflation Report
press conference, where Mervyn King will explain the bank's latest projection
for CPI inflation over the next three years. In addition, labour market data for
the UK released this morning should show that inflationary pressures emanating
from the labour market remain weak."
The unemployment rate is expected to remain at its current high rate of 7.9%
and average earnings growth to fall back slightly to 2.0%, well below
pre-recession rates of around 5%. Furthermore, the Nationwide measure of
consumer confidence released early today fell sharply to a reading of 47, a
similar level to those during the worst of the financial crisis. So today's data
releases will underline the fragile recovery in the UK against the backdrop of
high CPI inflation rates, which together provide a challenging environment for
the MPC to formulate monetary policy."
Randall Stephenson, chairman & ceo of AT&T joined CNBC at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona and said mobile broadband and cloud computing were presenting huge business opportunities for the industry. He called for more interoperability among network providers:
Economic View 1: EU not prepared to move on senior debt;
Goodbody economist, Juliet Tennent, comments -- "The European Union appears to be standing firm in relation to its stance on
senior bondholders. At the time of the IMF/EU bailout negotiations, Europe is
widely believed to have refused to entertain the notion of restructuring the
senior debt of the Irish Banks and comments from Minister Lenihan that there is
'shock' among EU finance ministers at the possibility of any restructuring of
Irish bank debt suggests that that opinions have not softened in this regard.
fact, the Europeans see the whole debate as damaging to confidence. Instead,
talks now seem to be focusing on downsizing the Irish banking system by selling
some €100bn of assets. This, it is hoped, would reduce the Irish banks
dependence on funding from the ECB and Irish Central Bank. It would also have a
considerable effect on the size of the Irish banks, both in terms of assets and
employment. It also raises the possibility of further capital requirements as
investors are likely to buy loans at a discount and/or be compensated for later
Economic View 2: Soaring inflation puts pressure on the Bank of England;
Juliet Tennent also said - - "The Governor of the Bank of England, Mervyn King, was forced to write to the
Chancellor George Osborne again this month when data showed that January CPI
soared to 4% yoy, well above the 2% target rate.
Inflation has proved to be very
sticky in the UK and January is the fourteenth month in a row that it exceeded
the 2% target. Past weakness in Sterling, the VAT hike and rising commodity
prices were all contributory factors. While the number was in line with
expectations, the hawkish tone of the resulting letter, which suggested that
inflation could rise to 5% in the next few months, has increased speculation
that the UK is in line for a rate hike sooner rather than later.
King seemed to endorse market expectations of a May/June rate hike by stating in
his letter that if rates rise as the market expects then inflation is as likely
to be above target as below in the next two to three years. Governor King also
referred to the fact that there is significant differences amongst the views of
the Monetary Policy Committee about the risks to the outlook (there has been a 3
way split in the committee since last October) and warned that when the balance
of risks require it the Committee will act accordingly.
The minutes of last
week’s meeting (released 23rd Feb) will make for interesting reading. The
hawkish tone is also expected to be reflected in this morning’s Inflation Report
where inflation expectations are set to be revised upwards in line with those
outlined in yesterday’s letter."
In New York Tuesday, the Dow
fell 42 points or 0.34% to 12,226.
The S&P 500 slid 0.32% and
the Nasdaq slipped 0.46%.
MSCI Asia Pacific rose 0.2% Wednesday.
Nikkei 225 climbed 0.57%; China's Shanghai Composite rose 0.85%; Australia's S&P/ASX
200 Index dipped 0.02% and India's Sensex gained 0.12%.
closed at 3,005 on Thursday, Dec 31st - - a rise of 289% in 2009. The index
averaged 59% lower in 2009 than a year earlier.
Thursday, July 15, 2010, the index fell for the 35th straight session, by 9
points, or 0.537%, to 1,700 points,
On Friday July16th, the BDI rose 20
points or 1.12% to 1,700 to break the 35-session losing streak.
Tuesday this week, the BDI rose 30 points or 2.49% to 1,236.
The Financial Times reported
earlier in January, that Australia’s flooding and fears of ship oversupply has
pushed down a gauge of the cost of hiring ships to carry coal, iron ore and
other dry bulk by nearly half since October to the lowest level since the
aftermath of the financial crisis. The Baltic Dry index, the widely watched
measure of dry bulk charter rates, fell to 1,453, nearly half the 2,784 peak
reached on October 27, 2010.
margin between the US benchmark WTI (West Texas Intermediate) used on the New
York Mercantile Exchange and Brent is over $17 a barrel.
said last Friday that a surge in oil inventories in Cushing, Oklahoma, where
WTI is delivered into America’s pipeline system, has depressed the value of the
benchmark against other yardsticks. The International Energy Agency said on
Thursday that with “few relief valves” to cut the stock overhang in Cushing, the
price dislocation “may persist for months [or years] to come”.