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EUROPEAN EQUITY OPENING HEADLINES INCLUDING: S&P revised Telefonica’s outlook to negative however affirmed their BBB+ ratings

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ASIA

Nikkei (-0.77%) snapped two days of gains on Thursday and met steep resistance near its 25-day moving average after the European Central Bank's loans to banks failed to ease concerns about the region's debt crisis. (RTRS)

Top performing sectors in Nikkei 225: Utilities (+0.72%), Telecommunications (+0.38%), Health Care (+0.09%)

Worst performing sectors in Nikkei 225: Industrials (-1.80%), Technology (-1.13%), Consumer Services (-0.66%) 

China’s big four state banks extended about CNY 75bln in new loans in the first 15 days of this month according to a report. (China Securities Journal)

US

US equities rebounded off their worst levels in the second half of the session to finished flat yesterday with weakness in US equity markets emanating in Europe in early trade after European banks borrowed EUR 489bln vs. Exp. EUR 310bln from the ECB, highlighting the concerns in the banking sector in the region. YHOO (+5.8%) shares saw a sharp 4% move higher earlier in the session after reports in the NY Times suggesting the board will consider a deal to sell its holdings in Alibaba for a deal valued USD 17bln. Finally DJIA finished +0.03% at 12107.52, S&P 500 finished +0.19% at 1243.69 and Nasdaq 100 finished -1.44% at 2249.03.

Top performing sectors in S&P 500: Utilities (1.49%), Consumer Goods (+1.30%), Oil & Gas (+1.15%)

Worst performing sectors in S&P 500: Technology (-2.06%), Industrials (+0.04%), Consumer Services (+0.12%)

Bed Bath & Beyond – Co. reported Q3 EPS of USD 0.95 vs. Exp. USD 0.88, co. boosts forecast,  Q3 Revenue was USD 2.34bln vs. Exp. USD 2.35bln, co. same store sales were up about 4.1% and the co. sees their year EPS up 26%-28%, saw 22%-25%. (RTRS/Sources)         

Yahoo – Co. is considering a complex plan to shed a large part of its Asian investments which could be valued at USD 17bln.  The proposal will reportedly be discussed at a board meeting today but any agreement will take three to four weeks. (FT-More)

Microsoft – Fitch affirmed co.’s IDR at ‘AA+’ on the basis of anticipated modest revenue growth in FY 2012, however Fitch also expects declines in PC unit volume next year. (RTRS)

Chevron – Brazil’s Federal Police are asking a federal prosecutor to indict co.’s employees for their roles in an oil spill last month, according to the co. Co. and Transocean both confirmed police recommending workers indictment. (Sources)

Micron Technology - Q1 loss per share USD 0.19 vs. Exp. loss per share USD 0.08, Q1 revenue USD 2.09bln vs. Exp. USD 2.12bln. (RTRS)

UK 

IAG/Lufthansa – Companies signed a pact for the sale of British Midland, adding that BMI gross buy price is GBP 172.5mln. (Sources)

FRANCE 

French new car sales declined by almost 60% from December 1st to December 21st versus the year earlier period, according to sources. (La Tribune)

SocGen – Co. said the former Credit Agricole CFO will become the new SocGen CFO replacing Valet. The co. said the outgoing CFO Valet will be named CEO of corporate and investment bank. (Sources)

EADS – Airbus has 1,529 firm orders so far in 2011 compared to Boeing’s 894. (RTRS)

Lafarge – Co. is looking to sell its South African cement operations for up to USD 800mln with the Aditya Birla Group among potential bidders. (Business Day)

Total – Co. has signed an agreement on pay with unions which will raise salaries for 17,000 workers in refining, exploration and production by 3.4% next year, according to union leaders. (Les Echos)

Bouygues – KPN will sell its mobile unit to co. for an undisclosed sum. (RTRS)

Companies paying dividend: Total (EUR 0.5700), Safran (EUR 0.2500)

GERMANY

Lufthansa – Co. CEO Franz plans to strengthen control over the carrier’s subsidiaries, review internal structures and procedures and check possible IT cooperation as part of a EUR 1.5bln cost-saving program. Co. has also signed a pact for the sale of British Midland with IAG with the gross buy price being GBP 172.5mln (FT Deutschland/Sources)

Deutsche Boerse/NYSE Euronext – The Dutch government may veto the sale of the Amsterdam derivatives exchange which is part of the co.’s divestment pans in order to placate European Commission merger concerns. (Het Financieele Dagblad)

Deutsche Post – Co.’s rivals demanded that Germany introduce stricter regulation in the postal industry to increase competition, according to the BBD postal association. (FT Deutschland)

PAN-EUROPEAN

Fitch said Italian medium-sized regional banks face structural challenges and Italian regional banks need a higher degree of liquid assets and higher capital levels. (RTRS) 

Unicredit – Co. MD said it is important to restore liquidity conditions for productive sectors, and support for companies and families according to a paper. (RTRS)

Edison – Co. is to call a new board meeting on December 29th to decide on the action plan for financing of company in 2012. (RTRS) 

Repsol – Co.’s shareholder Pemex is in negotiations which could see it cut its stake in co. to 6.5% or increase it to 12.5%. (El Economista) 

Telefonica – S&P revised the co.’s outlook to negative however affirmed their BBB+ ratings. (RTRS) 

Intesa Sanpaolo – Co. executive says ECB’s 3-yr loans can ease but not resolve finance cost tensions according to a report. The co. executive also said only lasting narrowing of spread can bring structural cut in credit cost. (RTRS)

SMI

Roche – Co.’s CEO said the co. is open to a USD 3bln deal and is looking to introduce three new products next year.  The co. is also on track to meet its restructuring plan targets. (Sources)

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