Good morning,

Markets are called to open higher this morning. This is what's happening today:

  • Fitch joined Moody’s in downgrading the UK to AA+ “to reflect a weaker economic and fiscal outlook” that has caused both the budget deficit and national debt to soar above earlier forecasts;
  • International Monetary Fund Chief Economist Olivier Blanchard said today that there was a need for a “dramatic change” in Japan’s monetary policy to generate positive inflation and that the monetary policy followed by the Bank of Japan is “appropriate.”;
  • Deutsche Lufthansa canceled 99% of its European service because of a planned day-long strike by a union representing ground workers and cabin crew
  • EU efforts to create a hard-to-escape financial transaction tax are coming under fire from within the bloc for overstepping the plan’s 11-nation scope
  • Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne intends to unveil the second phase of a plan to increase loans for small cos. and consumers because the U.K. economy remains weak, said a person with knowledge of the plan
  • Giorgio Napolitano, re-elected to a second term as Italian president, will take the lead in trying to end the political gridlock that’s left the country without a new government eight weeks after elections
  • RBS to seek approval for billions of pounds in new capital;

Companies in Europe reporting results today:

  • Philips (PHIA NA) 7am, 1Q adj. Ebita EU444m
  • Reckitt Benckiser (RB/ LN) 8am, 1Q sales GBP2.46b
  • Yara (YAR NO) 8am, 1Q GAAP EPS NK8.99
  • STMicro (STM IM) after-mkt, 1Q adj. loss-shr EU0.076
  • Hermes (RMS FP) 7:30am, 1Q sales EU854m
  • Suez Environnement (GSZ FP) 7:30am, 1Q sales EU25.9b
  • Mobistar (MOBB BB) 7am, 1Q adj. net EU30.4m
  • Informa (INF LN) 8am, 1Q sales, IMS
  • Michelin (ML FP) after-mkt, 1Q sales EU4.98b
  • Ingenico (ING FP) after-mkt, 1Q sales EU262m

Companies in the US reporting results today:

  • Halliburton
  • Caterpillar
  • Netflix
  • Swift Transportation
  • Texas Instruments

Fitch joined Moody’s in downgrading the UK to AA+ “to reflect a weaker economic and fiscal outlook” that has caused both the budget deficit and national debt to soar above earlier forecasts. It means that only Standard & Poor’s has the UK on the top rating, albeit on “negative outlook”. The downgrade was blamed on “the weak growth performance of the UK economy in recent years, partly due to private and public sector deleveraging and the eurozone crisis”. It will come as another damaging blow to the Chancellor, who has already been under pressure from the International Monetary Fund this week to kick start growth by easing up on austerity. However, Fitch said its decision to place the UK on a “stable” outlook “assumes a continued policy commitment to reducing the underlying budget deficit”.

Group of 20 finance chiefs pledged to stay alert to any fallout from easy monetary policies even as they backed the Bank of Japan’s plan to buy more than 7 trillion yen ($70 billion) a month of bonds. In a nod to concerns that stimulus in one economy often creates challenges elsewhere and could fuel asset bubbles, the G-20 officials meeting in Washington heightened their commitment to being “mindful of unintended negative side effects stemming from extended periods of monetary easing.”

While a sliding yen drew fresh complaints from South Korea, its 20 percent decline against the dollar in the past six months wasn’t enough to stop G-20 officials from backing new BOJ measures aimed at delivering 2 percent inflation in two years. Bank of Japan Governor Haruhiko Kuroda emerged from the talks saying he was emboldened to press ahead with his campaign to defeat 15 years of deflation.

Stock to watch: Halliburton Price $37.21 – Price Target $54

Deutsche Bank Research – We maintain a Buy rating as HAL is among the best positioned to take advantage of rising capital intensity from the NOCs and IOCs as profitability improvement internationally, particularly in "emerging service" markets like the Middle East takes place. Meanwhile, HAL enjoys a market-leading position in high-end US plays, increasing complexity and growing exposure to high-margin deepwater/international plays and we believe the company is well positioned to benefit from a recovery.

For further information on Halliburton or other stocks and bonds we follow, contact our offices on 25688688.

Good day and happy trading!

Kristian Camenzuli