European cash equity markets are mostly lower ahead of the midway stage (FTSE 0.0%, DAX -0.4%, CAC -0.4%). Technology and telecom stocks are leading declines while outperformance has been seen in mining and travel shares. Wall Street also looks set for a lower open with US equity futures also in the red. UK inflation data was the main focus for investors this morning and slightly stronger-than-expected reading for headline and core CPI sent Sterling higher in currency space. However the UK currency is not at the top of the G10 pile, which is currently occupied by the Swiss Franc and Japanese Yen as investors shifted back to safe-haven assets. Core EU bonds did open higher although Gilts have pared back to flat after the aforementioned CPI print; Treasuries are in the green. Elsewhere, oil prices are little changed for the day as the IEA warned that global oil production may overtake demand this year. Gold prices are up 0.5%. Looking ahead, another quiet afternoon for US macro releases although comments from Cleveland Fed Governor Mester will be closely watched.


Key Headlines/Data:

*  European Corporate News:

  • Kering (-1.5%): Net profit €1.79 Bln, up from €0.814 Bln a year ago  |  Q4 sales up 21% to €4.26 Bln
  • Ubisoft (+2.6%): Q4 revenue €725 Mln, up from €530 Mln a year ago  |  Reiterated FY targets
  • Randstad (+1.1%): Q4 profit €197.9 Mln, up from €152.6 Mln a year ago  |  Declared special dividend
  • TUI (+3.6%): Q4 net loss €99.6 Mln, versus a loss of €117.5 Mln a year ago  |  Q4 revenue €3.55 Bln, up from €3.29 Bln a year ago
  • Michelin (-0.4%): FY net profit €1.69 Bln, up from €1.67 Bln a year ago and versus €1.67 Bln expected

*  French Wages Q/Q (Q4 P) +0.1% versus +0.2% expected, previous +0.3%

  • Private Sector Payrolls Q/Q +0.3% versus +0.3% expected, previous +0.3%

*  Swiss Producer & Import Price Data (Jan):

  • Producer & Import Price Index M/M +0.3%, previous +0.2%
  • Producer & Import Price Index Y/Y +1.8%, previous +1.8%

*  IEA Monthly Oil Market Report:

  • Global oil supply in January edged lower to 97.7 mb/d but was 1.5 mb/d above last year as rebounding US production underpinned non-OPEC output growth.
  • OPEC crude oil production in January was steady month-on-month (m-o-m) at 32.16 mb/d. Higher Nigerian output offset losses elsewhere. Compliance with supply cuts reached a new high of 137%.
  • Non-OPEC output dropped by 175 kb/d in January, to 58.6 mb/d, but was 1.3 mb/d higher than a year ago
  • Global oil demand growth for 2018 has been increased slightly to 1.4 mb/d, partly due to an optimistic GDP forecast from the IMF.
  • OECD commercial stocks fell in December by 55.6 mb, the steepest drop since February 2011, to reach 2 851

*  UK Inflation Data – CPI, RPI & PPI (Jan):

  • CPI M/M -0.5% versus -0.6% expected, previous +0.4%
  • CPI Y/Y +3.0% versus +2.9% expected, previous +3.0%
  • Core CPI Y/Y +2.7% versus +2.6% expected, previous +2.5%
  • RPI M/M -0.8% versus -0.7% expected, previous +0.8%
  • RPI Y/Y +4.0% versus +4.0% expected, previous +4.1%
  • PPI M/M +0.1% versus +0.2% expected, previous +0.4%
  • PPI Y/Y +2.8% versus +3.0% expected, previous +3.3%

*  UK House Price Index Y/Y (Dec) 5.2% versus 4.9% expected, previous 5.1% revised to 5.0%

*  Japanese currency chief and Vice Finance Minister Asakawa said they are watching for speculative movements in the Yen.

*  Spokesman for the Russian Kremlin said they remain committed to the OPEC output agreement.

*  Italian Tesoro sold €6.68 Bln of 2020, 2024 & 2048 BTP’s versus €6.25-7.75 Bln expected:

  • Sells €2.50 Bln of a 2020 BTP: Bid to Cover 1.65  |  Yield 0.05%
  • Sells €2.93 Bln of a 2024 BTP: Bid to Cover 1.37  |  Yield 1.43%
  • Sells €2.25 Bln of a 2048 BTP: Bid to Cover 1.33  |  Yield 3.16%

*  Iraqi Oil Minister said there have been no discussions about ending the output deal. He added that discussions on the agreement should wait until December.

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