Wednesday, April 18, 2012

European market focus 10-year Spanish bond auction april 19 2012

European market focus 10-year Spanish bond auction april 19 2012 : European shares were set for a mixed open on Thursday after losses in the previous session, with investors seen avoiding strong bets ahead of an important Spanish bond auction that has the potential to set the stock market's near term direction.

The country faces an auction of two- and 10-year bonds later in the session, after witnessing its 10-year government bond yield jumping above 6 percent earlier this week. There are concerns the heavily-indebted country is struggling to manage its finances and could seek an international bailout.

Spain relaxed its deficit targets earlier this month, while data showed on Wednesday that banks' bad loans surged to their highest since October 1994 in February, with sliding house prices and a looming recession hurting the sector.

Financial spreadbetters expected Britain's FTSE 100 to open 11 to 12 points higher, or as much as 0.2 percent, Germany's DAX to fall 2 to 4 points, or as much as 0.1 percent, and France's CAC-40 drop 6 to 8 points, or as much as 0.3 percent.

European shares fell 0.7 percent in the previous session, while Spanish stocks slipped 4 percent on nervousness ahead of the bond auction and as Spanish and Italian bond yields unwound some of their early falls.

Spain will sell up to 2.5 billion euros of 2014 and 2022 bonds. Yields on its debt have fallen in the secondary market in the previous two sessions as dealers covered short positions ahead of the auction after a decent T-bill sale on Tuesday.

Concerns over Spain revolve around whether the country can carry out further austerity without choking the economy and the extent to which leveraged domestic banks have become vulnerable to another blow-out in peripheral debt markets.

With markets positioned for a decent outcome, any disappointment could see Spanish 10-year yields head back towards 6 percent and Bunds test their recent highs. Italian bonds would also be likely to come under pressure ahead of auctions next week.

With the relatively small target size, traders have speculated that Spain may sell more debt than indicated and Commerzbank strategists added that anything below 2.5 billion euros would be seen as a disappointment.

They also said the split between the 2-year bond, which can be supported by funds from the European Central Bank's three-year funding operation, and the 10-year bond would be important.

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