Good morning,

Markets are called to open flat. This is what's happening today:

  • Cyprus government officials will seek easier bailout terms in talks with representatives of the European Union and International Monetary Fund today, before a meeting of euro-area finance officials later this week;
  • The dollar touched a one-month low against the yen as U.S. data damped speculation the Federal Reserve will rein in stimulus. Asian stocks fluctuated. Metals fell, while agricultural commodities rebounded;
  • Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said that the central bank shouldn’t pursue a 2% inflation target “at all costs” and may fail to achieve it should global conditions change;
  • Final euro-zone PMI figures will show the pace of contraction accelerated in March, according to economists;
  • Malta, Belgium, Switzerland sell bills.

Yesterday the European markets were closed though the US markets were open and traded in negative territory. The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed down slightly, while the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq lost between 0.5% and 0.9%. Still, investors said this mild sell-off wasn't necessarily representative of broader pessimism about stocks or the economy. Several traders said it didn't take much to move the needle yesterday as volumes were extremely light following the holiday weekend. All three indexes are still up between 7% and 11% for the year.

The Institute for Supply Management's monthly manufacturing index for March came in at 51.3. That was lower than estimates of 54.0 and also below its February reading.

Shares of eBay rose nearly 3% after analysts raised price targets on the online retailer. Apple dropped, continuing a slide for the once-hot stock this year. Meanwhile, shares of Blackberry jumped 5% as investors continued to bet that fortunes were turning around for the smartphone maker.

Apple's Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook apologized for the company’s iPhone warranty and repair policies in China after receiving criticism from state-run media over customer service in its second-largest market. Apple, in a change in practice, will offer full replacements of older iPhones experiencing problems, Cook said in a letter posted on the company’s Chinese website. Apple also vowed to improve training, customer service and monitoring of stores authorized to sell its products in China. The stock fell 3.1% yesterday, its biggest decline since Jan. 24.

Stock to watch: Deutsche Lufthansa (Price E15.24, Price Target E20)

Deutsche Bank Research – Profitability in Lufthansa's passenger business is currently unsatisfying, while profit contribution from the other segments is good. Lufthansa has taken care of several problems over the last quarters: among others, it closed down loss-making Lufthansa Italia and sold bmi. Now it is tackling the major challenge: improving the profitability in its major business segment, Passenger Airline. The SCORE program behind it (which is also meant to improve profits in other segments) targets an operating result of EUR2.3bn in FY15, which would be an all-time high. While we do not yet give Lufthansa the full benefit of the doubt that it can reach that target, we still see significant earnings improvement potential. Lufthansa's home market Germany remains a robust base, the competition for new slots at Lufthansa's home base Frankfurt is less intense than initially feared (i.e. fewer defensive steps necessary) and the earnings enhancement efforts are more serious than in previous years in our view. We expect significantly more details about the restructuring program to be provided over the upcoming months, which should further support confidence in Lufthansa's ability to sustainably improve earnings. Already today, Lufthansa is a strong cash generator. Based on this assessment, we rate Lufthansa a Buy.

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

Good day and happy trading!

Kristian Camenzuli