Topic: Daily Market Reviews by MAYZUS.com

MAYZUS Investment Company Ltd (formerly United World Capital Ltd) is proud to provide daily market reviews by the well-known financial expert – Mr. Arne Treholt, a former Political Secretary to the Minister of Shipping and Foreign Trade, then Deputy Minister of Law of the Sea of the Norwegian Royal Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He also held the position of Counselor for Economic Development and Social Affairs at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and was member of the Norwegian Mission to the United Nations, New York. At the moment Mr. Treholt is a Vice President and a Business Development Director of MAYZUS Investment Company Ltd.

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24 JANUARY 2013: USA INDEXES UPDATED 5-YEAR MAXIMA

DAILY MARKET REVIEWS
by Arne Treholt Vice-President of Business Development and Investments

On Wednesday, January 23, the stock market of the United States finished trading session by the moderate growth of the main indexes, S&P500 and Dow Jones appeared on fresh 5-year maxima. The positive information background on stock markets was provided by quarterly reports of representatives of hi-tech sector and favorable forecasts of a number of industrialists.

However the reporting of the Apple company which came after closing of the trading session disappointed investors. Within the additional session price of shares of Apple fell in price for 11%. Futures for the Nasdaq 100 index at the morning electronic trading are decreasing by 1,4%. Thus, the technological sector appeared under pressure today.

Asian stock indexes today "is in a fever", session began with decrease, subsequently the Chinese statistics allowed to resume purchases and helped indexes to reach profitable zone, but at a present moment sales again reign in the markets, and only Japanese Nikkei continues growth. Purchases in Japan are caused by the renewed decrease in yen, USD/JPY pair grew by 0,7% to level 89,2, after a release of data on trade balance. According to these data, in 2012 Japan recorded annual deficiency of foreign trade the second time in a row, thus the negative balance this year was maximum for all history and made 6,927 trillion yens.

Coming back to China, it should be noted that the production index PMI, from HSBC bank, increased the fifth month in a row, and according to preliminary data, it was in January at the level of 51,9, against December value 51,5. In the moment this news was apprehended by traders very positively, the Chinese continental SSE index came in plus of 2% and pulled for itself other Asian indexes, however so sharply growth was leveled.

Prices of oil between the Brent and WTI brands considerably differ. Brent raised to 112,83 dollars for barrel while the price of WTI fell almost by 1,5% and bargains at the level of 95,57. So essential distinction is caused with the advent of news about an operational malfunction on the key oil pipeline - Seaway. Through this branch oil is delivered from Cushing storage in Oklahoma to key oil processing regions on the coast of the Gulf of Mexico. Capacity is reduced from 400 thousand to 175 thousand barrels per day. Stocks are in Cushing at maximum levels, and at such technical failures they can only continue to increase. It also is at present the main factor of sales of a WTI contracts.

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25 JANUARY 2013: THE JAPANESE YEN UPDATES MINIMUM LEVELS

DAILY MARKET REVIEWS
by Arne Treholt Vice-President of Business Development and Investments

Asian stock markets again don't show uniform dynamics today, and again "independently" there is a Japanese Nikkei index with growth more than for 2%. The reason is still the same, decrease in national currency was resumed, and today USD/JPY pair already bargains around level 90,5. Statements of the deputy minister of economy of Japan, Yasutosi Nisimura, that decrease of currency isn't finished yet, and the level of 100 yens for dollar seems quite achievable, added interest to speculative sale of yen.

During the today's Asian session the British pound continued to decrease against US dollar and at the moment practically approached yesterday minimum. The British pound bargains at the level of 1,57884. Today gross domestic product of Great Britain for the 4th quarter is published: the forecast of -0,1% against 0,9% in the 3rd quarter. In case of a release of weak data, the price will continue to fall.

Thanks to signs of improvement of economic activity in the Euro zone, EUR/USD pair continued correctional movement and grew to level of 1,3393 euros against US dollar at the trading on Thursday, and positive data from a labor market of the USA only strengthened tendency of investors to risk, having added an impulse in growth of the European currency. This morning we see pair bargaining at the level of 1,3337.

Yesterday trading volumes of oil were 30% higher than the monthly average. This morning Brent bargains at level of $113,08, and WTI at $95,93. As for a technical picture, due to yesterday's growth the alignment of forces exchanged a little. Quotations on Brent rose above a key mark of $113, having updated thereby three-month maximum. In case of lack of a general negative in the market, growth continuation is expected for the purpose of achievement of level of $117 for barrel.

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28 JANUARY 2013: EURO/USD BOUNCES TO 11 MONTHS HIGH

DAILY MARKET REVIEWS
by Arne Treholt Vice-President of Business Development and Investments

EURO/USD bounced to its highest level in 11 months amidst mounting signs of recovering economic confidence in the Euro zone. Euro/USD is trading at 1.3459 after hitting 1.2480 on Friday. The Euro is also gaining ground against the Japanese Yen which continues to fall also against the USD on expectations on active monetary easing. The strength of the Euro is supported by a more positive business sentiment in Germany and by European banks actively paying back credits taken given by the European Central Bank (ECB) since 2011.

USD/Yen fell to 91,26 yen to a dollar on Friday which is the lowest level seen since June 2010. Since last November Yen has fallen 13% against the USD and a record 17% versus Euro. The Japanese Nikkei stock index reach new record levels while the South Korean Kospi is falling back mainly due to a stronger Won. Over the last days there has been growing dissatisfaction with the strong fall in the Yen both from South Korea and China and from the Russian and German central banks.

Historically speaking Yen is still relatively strong. During the early 1990’ies USD/Yen was trading at 158 and apart from a brief period in 1995 it has traded below 90 yen a dollar only since the middle of 2010. Stocks in Asia are except for South Korea still up on better US economic news on jobless rate, manufacturing, better housing and retail spending. Chinese data continue to confirm that the Chinese economy is turning around.

The British Pound (GPB) has fallen below the technical resistance level at 1,58 against the dollar trading at 1.5754. Data before the weekend showed that the UK economy shrank more severely than expected in the fourth quarter shrinking with 0,3% rising fear of a third dip recession. The market expectation was a decrease of 0,1% in the gross domestic product, GSDP. The number was particularly disappointing taken into consideration the robust 0,9% growth in the third quarter. It now seems that this strong growth was entirely down to the boost given by the London Olympics.

The short term prospect for GBP is negative.

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29 JANUARY 2013: EURO AND ASIA STEADY ON HIGHER RISK APPETITE

DAILY MARKET REVIEWS
by Arne Treholt Vice-President of Business Development and Investments

Asian shares rose on Tuesday amidst improved risk appetite and a rotation of funds from bonds and treasury bills into equities. Bargain hunters took advantage of recent selling, but generally investors were cautious ahead of new US economic data and a Federal Reserve policy decision later in the week. More solid US growth indicators as reduced numbers of job claims, better manufacturing and housing data, have fuelled speculation that FED might consider pulling back on aggressive easing stimulus.

The MSCI-index for Asia Pacific, Japan’s Nikkei and South Korean shares all posted healthy gains after falling back on Monday. Australian shares jumped 1,1% on gains in the financial sector. American and European shares hold on to earlier gains. A rise in a gauge of planned US business spending in December added to the positive market sentiment along with easing financial stress in the Euro zone. European blue chips reached a fresh 18 month peak on Monday.

The Euro/USD is helped by the increased risk appetite and stay firm at 1.3450. USD/JPY trades close to 91. The Japanese yen continue to be under pressure on monetary easing which have seen the yen depreciate 13% against USD and 17% versus Euro since mid-November. The British pound, GBP, fell on Monday to its lowest level since August at 1.5867 on comments from the incoming Bank of England Governor, Mark Carney. Carney indicated that there was still scope for monetary policy to do more in the developed world.

The prospect for a more activist British monetary policy came on the top of other negative financial and economic developments which threaten the British economy with a triple-dip recession. The UK government cost cutting measures have come under renewed criticism as the door for a possible British exit from the European Union is kept open. It is highly likely that these combined factors would mean increased downward pressure on the pound.

Oil prices continue to be strong. Brent crude reached USD 113,50 a barrel. Other commodities are rising on growth expectations. The bell water copper gained 0,2% and traded on USD 8 065 a tonne in London. Gold and silver which fell at the end of last week mostly on profit taking, are showing a firmer trend this morning. Gold trades at USD 1660 an ounce.

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30 JANUARY 2013: EURO/USD EYES 1.37 – 1.38 LEVEL

DAILY MARKET REVIEWS
by Arne Treholt Vice-President of Business Development and Investments

The Euro/USD has strengthened further trading at 1.3493 close to the critical 1.35 level eyeing 1.37 – 1.38. The US dollar has except for Japanese Yen lost ground against most currencies. USD/JPY trades steady in the range between 90,50 – 91 yen a dollar near the peak of 91.32 reached on Monday. This is the lowest level seen for yen since June 2010. Euro also gained 0,3% to 122,78 against the Yen. The prospect of a weaker yen and increased risk appetite lifted the Australian dollar and the New Zealand kiwi to a four year high against yen. GBP/USD fell back to 1.5745.

Stock markets continue to see new highs not seen for years. The Asian indexes led by the South Pacific MSCI rose to the highest levels in 18 months. A strong US housing market and stabilization inside the Euro zone boosted investor confidence and the global economic outlook. Commodity prices continue to raise with copper adding another 0,6%. Oil prices reached its highest level seen in months. Brent crude trades above USD 114 and the New York, NYMEX, is steady in the range of USD 97 – 98 a barrel.

The US Federal Reserve (FED) ends its two days meeting on Wednesday. It is expected that FED will continue with its monetary easing policies. This amidst speculation that the better prospects for US economy might soon end FED’s aggressive asset buying program. Investors will focus on the final statement and look for any clues to a change in FED’s policies. A continuation of FED’s policies will strengthen the continued rotation of funds from the bond market into shares, boost emerging markets and weaken the attractiveness of safe-haven assets.

The US stock market was very strong yesterday. Dow Jones was close to reaching the 14 000 index level. European stocks delivered better than in months as US companies continue to beat earnings forecasts. The leading on line book store, Amazon, delivered upbeat results which lifted the share 10%. Car maker, FORD, saw excellent results in the US, but sales in Europe disappointed. Most European equities rose to fresh two-years high. Together with US and Asia these increases boost stock markets as the favorite place for investments in 2013.

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31 JANUARY 2013: EURO/USD STEADY AS FED STICKS TO STIMULUS

DAILY MARKET REVIEWS
by Arne Treholt Vice-President of Business Development and Investments

The US-Federal Reserve (FED) will continue its aggressive monetary easing stance. In the minutes from yesterday’s meeting FED pledged to stick to its ambitious 6,5% unemployment and 2% inflation targets as the US Gross Domestic Product (GDP) dropped by 0,1% in fourth quarter of 2012. The negative GDP number was somewhat of a cold shower for markets which dropped substantially both in the US, Europe and this morning in Asia. Asian markets fell off a 17 months high.

FED’s statement and the GDP numbers had little impact on the currency markets. Euro/USD reached 1.3588 upon FED’s announcement and keeps steady at 1.3569. Yen gained some ground trading at 90,80 yen against USD. Oil prices are up. Brent crude trades at USD 115 a barrel. Gold and silver prices regained ground and reached the highs for 2013 seen last week. Swedish and Norwegian krones trade at levels not seen against the dollar since before the financial crisis in the autumn of 2008.

The cautious FED statement which pledged to continue a monthly USD 85 billion bond-buying stimulus plan to encourage employment came few hours after the news that the US economy unexpectedly contracted in the fourth quarter. The weakness was mainly due to a plunge in defence spending, suggesting that the underlying fundamentals were better than the headline figures indicated.

European data showed an improved economic sentiment for a third straight month along with news that 100 billion Euros of private funds flowed back into the Eurozone periphery late last year. These capital flows have strengthened the Euro which broke through the 1,35 technical resistance level yesterday. 1,37 – 1,38 seems a reasonable short term target for the Euro/USD. Recent capital flows shall, however, not be read as an end of the Euro crisis. Economic fundamentals are still very weak with 25% unemployment levels in the European periphery threatening the delicate social balance. It is a question for how long the strong Euro policy will continue. Major international banks see a Euro/USD at 1,25 during the second half of 2013.

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01 FEBRUARY 2013: EURO/USD HITS NEW HIGH 1,3624

DAILY MARKET REVIEWS
by Arne Treholt Vice-President of Business Development and Investments

US nonfarm payroll has the top focus on investor’s agenda when presented later today. After a strong start on the new year with global share indexes gaining 8 – 10% in January, disappointing negative growth, GDP numbers, from US in the fourth quarter of 2012 and a tepid Chinese purchasing manager’s index (PMI) for January, have cooled the dominating positive sentiments. Nervousness again rides global in markets searching for directions. The US and Chinese numbers underscore the fragility of the global recovery. These concerns do not hamper some currencies. EURO/USD has brushed through 1,36 trading at 1.3624 while USD/JPY jumped to 92,14.

Both US and the China are presenting mixed and somewhat contradictory figures. The US housing and manufacturing sector seem to spring back to life as companies generally have presented quarterly results better than expected. Along with the disappointing PMI-figures a separate private Chinese study simultaneously showed that their giant manufacturing industry hit a two-year high on strengthened domestic demand. This indicates that while the export is declining, domestic demand is picking up due to strong infrastructure spending and other investments encouraging domestic growth.

The Euro reached a 14-month high at 1.362. The strength of the common currency pushed the dollar index to a one month low of 79,107. The revival of the Euro is set to continue for some time as investors return to euro zone bond markets encouraged by the European Bank’s (ECB) assurances to take whatever measures necessary to save the Euro. Absence of economic growth in the Euro zone further means that there is no risk for inflation. The Yen to Japanese exporters delight is continuing to fall. 100 yen a dollar seems to be within realistic medium term reach. After steep falls earlier in the week, British pound GDP, has stabilized against the dollar at 1,5871.

US crude futures, NYMEX, reached USD 97, 56 a barrel while Brent rose 0,3% to SD 115.90, the highest levels seen for months. Copper prices are up. Gold and silver fell steeply yesterday, but seems to consolidate on 1660 and 31,35 levels respectively. The strong oil and commodity prices have given a boost to currencies as Australian dollar, Norwegian krones (NOK) and Canadian dollar.

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04 FEBRUARY 2013: EURO REACHES 1,37; GBP AND YEN PLUNGE

DAILY MARKET REVIEWS
by Arne Treholt Vice-President of Business Development and Investments

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJ) rose to 14 000 for the first time since October 2007 on Friday. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index also hit its highest level since December 2007. The Asian markets drew momentum from the jump in US indexes and data showing a credible recovery. The Federal Reserve’s (FED) last week resolve to continue monetary easing along with solid manufacturing data both from Europe and China, contributed to the positive market sentiment.

US payrolls statistics showed Friday an increase of 157 000 new jobs in January with numbers for November and December adjusted up. The MSCI index for Asia Pacific rose 0,6% after posting a 0,7% gain last week. Australian shares jumped 0,9% to a 21-month high. The Japanese Nikkei rose 0,5%.

There were big currency movements on Friday. Presented data showed that those euro zone factories in January had their best month in one year. This lifted the Euro to a 14-half-month peak at 1,3711. Euro/USD has corrected in early Monday trading and eased to 1.3624. The Japanese yen continues to fall. USD/JPY which traded at a peak of 92,97, has eased back to 92,72. The British pound, GBP, reached a bottom of 1.5670 towards the dollar on Friday and trades at 1.5700 in early Asian trading.

Risk appetite continues to grow. The dollar index measured against a basket of currencies fell to a for-and-a-half-month low to 78,918 on Friday while investors in January poured a record USD 77,4 billion into mutual and exchange traded funds. This is a huge increase from the previous record on USD 53.7 billion in February 2000. In the oil market Brent crude had its highest weekly gain since mid-November on tension in the Middle East and prospects for economic growth.

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05 FEBRUARY 2013: EURO PLUNGES ON SPANISH TURMOIL

DAILY MARKET REVIEWS
by Arne Treholt Vice-President of Business Development and Investments

After sniffing on 1,37 EURO/USD plunged below 1.35 yesterday and trades at present at 1.3493. The Euro has rallied against most currencies in January. At its peak Friday the EURO had since January 1st risen from 2 to 5% against all major currencies. The decline of the Euro came amidst market turmoil and volatility in the currency markets. Oil prices dropped. Brent crude fell two dollars a barrel to 115.

Political turmoil and renewed fear on the sovereign debt crisis in the euro zone hit global equity markets strongly. After weeks of impressing gains shares fell steeply in Europe, United States and Asia. The Standard & Poor 500 Index faced its worst fall since November, the technology index, Nasdaq, dropped 1,5% and the MSCI index for Asia Pacific fell 0,8% after reaching a 18-month high at the beginning of the week.

A grooming corruption scandal in Spain and the possibility for a return to power of Silvio Berlusconi in Italy had global markets to shiver. Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy and his party have rejected the corruption allegations, but the accusations come amidst harsh austerities and 25% unemployment furthering political instability. Spanish and Italian 10-year government bond yield rose to the highest levels in weeks and raised questions whether Spain and Italy would be able to fix their fiscal problems.

Markets have over the past few months been increasingly comfortable with European risks. Political turmoil has not been taken into consideration. The outcomes in Spain and Italy are far from certain and may pose a stumbling block for further risk appetite which. This might seriously hit the Euro which also would be in for profit taking. In the short term perspective the Euro might fall back to 1.32 – 1.33. USD/JPY has taken a short pause at 92,30, but seems set for 95 during the next coming weeks. The Australian central bank kept the interest rate at 3%. This has strengthened the Australian dollar. USD/GBP is stabile trading at 1,5751.

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06 FEBRUARY 2013: ASIA RECOVERS ON EURO ZONE DATA

DAILY MARKET REVIEWS
by Arne Treholt Vice-President of Business Development and Investments

Asian shares recovered on Wednesday as solid euro zone data calmed nerves stirred by potential political turmoil in Spain and Italy. Strong balance sheet numbers from the European Central Bank (ECB) and new signs of recovering inside the euro zone gave the Euro a new boost. The single currency rebounded strongly. EURO/USD trades at 1.3579. Stock markets in Europe and US also rebounded after dropping steeply on Monday. The Japanese Yen continues to be under pressure. USD/JPY touched 93,91, the highest seen since May 2010.

Investors’ optimism returned when the vast US services sector extended a three year expansion in January. Business activities in the euro zone, simultaneously, showed signs of recovery. US and European stocks rallied and recouped most of their losses after a sharp sell-off and profit taking the previous session sparked by renewed worries on the euro zone debt crisis. Oil- and commodity prices rebounded. Brent crude is trading close to USD 117 a barrel. Also copper prices are up.

The Japanese yen was further weakened by the prospect of a new appointment of Governor of Bank of Japan. The actual candidate is said be “dovish” and in favor of further active monetary easing steps. The present Governor would leave his post in mid-March. These news had Japan’s benchmark Nikkei index to soar 1,3% to a 33-month high. The Australian stock markets are also up accompanied by a strong Australian dollar. British Pound (GDP) is back on lowest levels seen against USD this year at 1.5661.

In the US president Barack Obama urged Congress to pass a small package of spending cuts and tax reforms to delay larger, automatic cuts from going into effect and damaging the economy on March 1. The proposal was quickly rebuffed from Republicans who saw it as a bid for new tax increases. The US Justice Department yesterday initiated legal proceedings against the rating agency, Standard and Poor, which it accuses for manipulating markets and actively contributing to the financial crisis in 2008.

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08 FEBRUARY 2013: DRAGHI TALKS DOWN THE EURO

DAILY MARKET REVIEWS
by Arne Treholt Vice-President of Business Development and Investments


The Euro dropped to its lowest level in two weeks on Friday. The fall back came after the President of ECB (the European Central Bank), Mario Draghi, at a press conference yesterday warned against a strong Euro’s negative impact on the European economy. The French President had issued a similar warning prior to the ECB meeting, underlying the risk for a currency war spurred by monetary easing in US and Japan. Currency policies will be on the top of the agenda when the G-20 meets later in the month.

Draghi stressed that the exchange rate is important for growth and price stability. Draghi expected that economic activity in the euro area would gradually recover in 2013, but there are more negative than positive risks. Euro/USD traded at 1.3410 after falling close to one percent on Thursday. The Euro slipped to a two week low against the British pound which broadly strengthened on comments from the incoming Bank of England director, Mark Carney. Carney gave no hints that he favored immediate British monetary easing.

Despite the decline the Euro seems relatively strong. The common currency might be supported by the perception that ECB’s monetary easing is much weaker than US Federal Reserve and Bank of Japan. While the ECB is shrinking its balance sheet, FED and BOJ are expanding theirs. The Euro is probably going to stabilize in 1.33 – 1.35 area unless there is a major upset in the forthcoming Italian elections.

Shares were weaker yesterday prompted by Draghi’s comments on the Euro and Europe’s outlook. Wall Street fall and Growth sectors were especially hard hit. Asian shares, however, rose on solid Chinese trading data. China said that exports grew 25 % compared with January 2012. This confirms a solid recovery trend. Oil prices continue to rise. Brent crude is trading close to USD 118 a barrel. Copper prices are up 0,5%.

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11 FEBRUARY 2013: BRENT CRUDE JUMPS TO 119

DAILY MARKET REVIEWS
by Arne Treholt Vice-President of Business Development and Investments

Most Asian markets were closed with the Lunar New holiday shutting financial centers in China, Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore and South Korea. Trading was light and volatile. Australian shares were flat after closing on 34-month high on Friday following positive export figures from China. Brent crude oil which touched its highest in nine months on Friday, remained unchanged just below USD 119 a barrel.

Foreign exchange trading was choppy with thin volumes. Traders interpreted this as a result of last week’s slightly dovish comments from the European Central Bank (ECB). The President of ECB, Mario Draghi, indirectly warning against that the raising strength of Euro may hurt economic development inside the euro zone. Euro/USD fell briefly to 1.3325 Monday morning and is now trading at 1.3375. The Japanese yen is also strengthened both against Euro and USD. USD/JPY trades at 92,25.

The Euro has also weakened on the cash payment scandal in Spain which engulfs the Prime Minister. Confidence in Italy is also shaken prior to the February 24-25 elections. The worries on the euro zone debt crisis and uncertainties in the southern periphery of Europe is back on the agenda. This probably means that the upside of the Euro is likely to be short-lived and limited.

European Economic and Monetary Affairs Commissioner Olli Rehn said in an interview during the weekend that EU wants closer coordination on currencies to avoid potential damaging disruptions to world trade. The remarks came amid a standoff between France and Germany over whether a strengthened Euro needs an official EU- response or should be left to the currency markets.

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13 FEBRUARY 2013: YEN TURBULENCE PRIOR TO G-20

DAILY MARKET REVIEWS
by Arne Treholt Vice-President of Business Development and Investments

There is big nervousness in the currency markets prior to the G-20 meeting in Moscow Thursday and Friday. Yesterday the Japanese Yen was in focus. Since December the Yen has fallen 13% against the USD and lost even more ground to the Euro. After two decades of stagnation there is, however, an understanding among the world’s 20 biggest developed and developing states that Japan ought to take firm steps to better its economy and secure economic growth.

The Yen swung dramatically on Wednesday. A statement from the G-7 (the group of the leading 7 industrialized nations) on Japan was differently interpreted. The Japanese Minister of Finance said that the statement recognizes that Japan’s monetary easing measures were not aimed at influencing and distort foreign exchange markets. Then a G-7 official stated the exact opposite. The statement was indeed meant to express such concerns. The yen thereafter fluctuated wildly. USD/JPY was jumping up and down between 92 and 94 yen to a dollar after falling 13% since December.

The incident illustrates the fear for a currency war looming in the background prior to the G-20 meeting. An effort to soothe market and avoid excessive moves in Yen had exactly the opposite effect. Other currency pairs were also affected. Euro/USD was fluctuating between 1.3325 and 1.3450. Oil prices rebounded after falling in the first part of Wednesday. New York Crude, NYMEX, is at 97 and Brent crude trades at USD 118,40 a barrel.

Stocks on Wall Street closed modestly higher on Tuesday. Dow Jones was within striking distance of an all-time high as investors looked ahead to President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address. Obama challenged a divided Congress to back his proposals to create middle-class jobs and overhaul gun and immigration laws.

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14 FEBRUARY 2013: ASIAN SHARES RISE ON RISK SENTIMENT

DAILY MARKET REVIEWS
by Arne Treholt Vice-President of Business Development and Investments

Asian shares rose on improving risk sentiment while Wall Street took a breather ahead of the G-20 meeting which starts in Moscow today. The Asia-Pacific MSCI-index and Australian shares were both up 0,6%. Dow Jones Industrial fell 0,26%. Investors remained cautious after the S&P index briefly hit its highest intraday level since November 2007. S&P is up 6,6% so far this year.

The Japanese Yen continues to be in focus prior to the G-20 meeting with finance and central bank officials from the 20 biggest and most influential countries in the world. Since November Yen has lost or depreciated 20% against the USD. The fall against the Euro is even higher. The leading Western powers are all using the printing press as their major tool to stimulate economic growth and obtain trading advantages. The steep fall of the yen illustrates the depth of the non-declared currency war.

At its press conference after the meeting of Bank of England (BOE) yesterday, BOE as well kept the door open for monetary easing indirectly meaning considering active use of the printing press. Taken into account that China for 10 – 15 years were under continued US pressure to appreciate their currency, power talks. An ugly currency war, might easily develop into a trading war with outright military confrontations looming in the background.

The British Pound (GDP) lost more than 100 points against the Euro and USD after the BOE meeting. USD/JPY which was down in the first part of yesterday, continues to lose ground. This morning USD/JPY is trading towards 94,65 seen on Monday. This is the lowest since 2010. Euro/USD trades at 1.3450 after factory statistics yesterday demonstrated that the euro zone might have reached bottom. Copper is up while oil prices have lost ground. Brent crude trades at USD 117, 98; down one dollar a barrel since Wednesday.

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15 FEBRUARY 2013: YEN FIRM WAITING G-20 SIGNALS

DAILY MARKET REVIEWS
by Arne Treholt Vice-President of Business Development and Investments

The Japanese Nikkei fell 1,5% as the Yen firmed against the USD and Euro prior to a crucial G-20 meeting today. The strong appreciation of Yen since last December has caught worldwide attention as government and bank officials from the 20 most influential countries meet in Moscow. USD/JPY dropped from its peak level of 94,65 on Monday and trades at 92,25. JPY has also gained ground against the Euro. Data published yesterday, show that the Euro zone at the end of 2012 was slipping ever deeper into recession.

The looming currency war and recessionary pressure seen most clearly in Western Europe, have focused investor’s attention back on concerns about Europe’s fundamentals. The optimism which created a strong stock market rally at the end of and the beginning of this year, seems most likely to fade away as attention turns back to the weak economic growth especially in the Euro zone. Nothing much is expected to come out of the G-20 meeting. The most likely result is that the leading powers agree to disagree on where to go from here.

The Euro fell to a two weeks low against the dollar trading at 1.3350. Economic output in the 17-country euro zone fell 0,6% in the last quarter of 2012, the steepest decline since 2009 and far higher than the forecast. These results would most likely trigger a new discussion on austerity. The possibility of negative deposit rates in the euro zone also weighed in on the Euro. The pullback in the Euro lifted the dollar index, DXY, to a one month high at 80,621.

Merger activity helped the Wall Street indexes higher yesterday. Heinz shares jumped 20 % when Warren Buffet’s Berkshire Hathaway declared its intention to buy the food company. A small fall in the number of Americans filing claims for unemployment benefits, also supported the market which has hovered at the same levels for the last two weeks. There is no clear upside trigger. The British pound is still struggling and trades close to 11,55 against the USD. Precious metals are falling. Oil prices are still high, but have lost ground over the last trading hours.

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18 FEBRUARY 2013: YEN PLUNGES WITH GBP UNDER PRESSURE

DAILY MARKET REVIEWS
by Arne Treholt Vice-President of Business Development and Investments

The yen continues to plunge after the G-20 meeting avoided direct criticism of Japan’s aggressive reflation plan which has seen a 20% depreciation in the relation between USD and JPY over the last couple of months. The G-20 opted not to single Tokyo out, but committed its members to refrain from competitive devaluations. Monetary policies should only be directed at price stability and growth. Japan saw the decision as a green light to pursue its expansionary policies.

The dollar soared 0,7 percent to 94,17 inching closer to 94,465 reached last Monday. This is the highest level seen on Yen since May 2010. Euro/JPY traded at 125,51 close to the peak on 127,71 touched on February 6. EURO/USD is at 1.3334, stabilizing on the same level before the end of last week. The British Pound (GBP) trades at 1,5489 against the dollar close to the bottom level from last week.

The weak yen had a positive influence on Japanese stocks. The Nikkei average 225 jumped 2,3% with exporters and banks being the big winners. Japan is waiting the appointment of a new Governor of Bank of Japan (BOJ). Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s candidate, Toshiro Muto, is expected to intensify stimulus to energize the economy. The Asia Pacific, MSCI-index eased back 0,2% after reaching a 18-1/2-month high on Friday. Australian shares AXJO rose 0,5%. Markets in China and Taiwan have opened again after one week holiday.

Demand for commodities are expected to be in focus as China returns to market. Policymakers in Washington are discussing a package of budget cuts to kick in on March 1st. Such austerity measures will probably have a negative impact on US growth. Crude prices are marginally down. Brent trades at USD 117,82 a barrel. Gold has rebounded from a six month low and trades at 1612 on bargain hunting and Chinese buying of physical gold after the Lunar New Year.

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19 FEBRUARY 2013: NO CURRENCY WAR, DRAGHI CLAIMS

DAILY MARKET REVIEWS
by Arne Treholt Vice-President of Business Development and Investments

In the aftermath of the G-20 meeting in Moscow leading central bankers along with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), have strongly dismissed that there is a currency war. European Central Bank President Mario Draghi tried his best to take the heat of the debate, talking to European lawmakers in Brussels yesterday; ECB is closely following the strength of the Euro, but here is no currency war, Draghi claimed.

He admitted, however, that Euro’s exchange rate is important for growth and inflation in the euro zone. He feared that inflation may be pulled down, too, far. The exchange rate’s impact on inflation is closely watched. In its statement Saturday G-20 stated that there are none competitive devaluations between leading economic powers. Japan escaped open criticism for its expansive policies. Along with the US Japan has been under fire for conducting loose monetary policies.

Draghi stressed that the exchange rate movements were not explicitly targeted against competitors. They are mainly results of macroeconomic policies to boost domestic economies. Japan is trying to create growth and turn decade’s stagnation around. Draghi demonstrated understanding for such moves, but urged on the other hand world partners to exercise a very, very strong verbal discipline.

Whether such verbal constraint would work is early to say. But over the last 24 hours at least currency fluctuations have been minimal. Euro/USD is trading at 1.3354. USD/JPY is hovering below 94 and USD/GDP, another big loser over the last days, stays flat at 1.5475. There are small changes in oil and commodity prices. Stock markets in US was closed yesterday due to George Washington ’s Birthday. Asian shares barely moved. The Japanese Nikkei fell 0,5% eyeing appointment of a new BOJ director and risks in the euro zone.

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20 FEBRUARY 2013: MERGERS KEEP US-STOCKS HIGH

DAILY MARKET REVIEWS
by Arne Treholt Vice-President of Business Development and Investments

Both Dow Industrial and the Standard & Poor’s 500 index gained during yesterday’s session, and closed near all-time highs. Dow tipped over the 14 000 mark and ended at 14 035. The technology index, Nasdaq, was up 0,68%. A surge in mergers have stimulated market activity. There have lately been several acquisitions in a capital strong market. Fourth quarter earnings for S&P rose 5,6%. Tuesday it was rumored that the second biggest office retailer, Office Depot, was in merger talks with a smaller rival.

Asian stocks rose to its highest level since August 2011 on improved global economic outlook and increased risk appetite. The South East Asian MSCI-index added 0,7% and rose for a third day in row spurred by a strong technology sector. Corporate earnings have been generally positive. A shift from defensive to cyclical stocks have also helped stock markets. Australian stocks continue to rise on better commodity perspectives.

The Japanese yen regained some ground, but remained jittery. USD/JPY was swinging in a narrow range between 93,50 and 94 on concerns whether Japan may be able to pursue its strong advocated reflationary policies. The one week delay in the appointment of a new Governor for Bank of Japan, has also raised concerns. The Euro has gained ground both against yen and USD. Euro/USD trades again above 1.34.

British Sterling (GBP) is under continuous pressure. GBP lunged to a seven-month low at 1.5414 yesterday. USD/GDP trades at 1.5444. The records from the last meeting in Bank of England (BOE) are expected to be released later in the week. It is said that the records contain willingness to higher inflation and monetary easing. This comes among speculation that United Kingdom soon could lose its triple A-rating.

The trend in the commodity markets is positive. Copper is up. US crude steadied at USD 96,70 a barrel. Brent eased 0,2% to 117,34. Precious metals are under strong downward pressure after one of the leading market makers, George Soros, last week sold substantial qualities of gold.

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21 FEBRUARY 2013: FED MINUTES SCARE MARKETS

DAILY MARKET REVIEWS
by Arne Treholt Vice-President of Business Development and Investments

Global markets turned upside down and brought the dollar back in the driver’s seat as a number of US Federal Reserve (FED) officials urged to slow down or stop buying of bonds (Q4). The minutes from last month’s meeting reveal that FED-members want to stop the buy bonding before the program’s effectiveness has been fully tested.

The prospect of a halt in bond buying sent stocks sharply lower. The S&P 500 index suffered its steepest decline since November. Investors were split and bewildered whether FED doves, eager to spur growth; or more cautious colleagues were in command. The ambitious 6,5% unemployment target originally set by FED seems at risk. The new development has turned markets extremely nervous and volatile. What Wall Street wants is an absolute sign that FED will continue with bond buying for the indefinite future.

The dollar skyrocketed after the minutes were published and gold and silver prices fell to its lowest level since July. Simultaneously it was rumored that a major hedge fund has liquidated large commodity positions. London copper fell to its lowest level in two months. Asian stock markets also tumbled as oil prices fell. Brent crude is down USD 2 a barrel. The MSCI index of Asia-Pacific stocks fell 1,3% after weeks shining.

One of the hardest hit currencies were once again Sterling Pound (GBP) which continues to slide. During the week USD/GBP is down from 1.5475 to close to 1.52. Euro/USD has dropped to 1.3250. USD/JPY, both currencies regarded as “safe havens” when markets are volatile, traded marginally higher at 93.55.

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22 FEBRUARY 2013: WEAK DATA SUPPORT CONTINUED EASING

DAILY MARKET REVIEWS
by Arne Treholt Vice-President of Business Development and Investments

Global markets are still bewildered and confused as to further direction after the steep plunge Wednesday. Asia is marginally up in morning trade. Yesterday’s increase in jobless claims, weak factory activity and consumer data were a stark reminder on the real health of the US economy. It seems, however, overly optimistic to give up bond buying and monetary easing. Federal Reserve’s (FED) published January meeting records, turned markets upside down and raised questions whether these policies will be terminated earlier than planned.

The new data presented convincing arguments in favor of continued monetary easing. FED is currently buying USD 85 billion in bonds monthly. It has earlier stated that these purchases are going to continue until the labor market improves substantially. 6,5% unemployment has been set as a target. FED records demonstrates that its members are increasingly divided over the wisdom of these policies. The “Doves” want to go on with monetary easing. The traditionalist don’t. This division rattles global markets.

Jobless claims increased last week with 20 000 as consumer prices rose 1,6% and business activity index plunged. These numbers make it necessary for FED to think twice before giving up on the growth stimulus policies. Commodities and precious metals which along with stocks were big losers on Wednesday, have recovered as a result of technical corrections after the steep fall earlier in the week. Gold was especially strong hit and lost its shine as safe haven. Gold is trading 0,5% up at 1582. Oil prices have stabilized with technical graphs still pointing down.

USD continues to gain ground, but slower than yesterday. Euro/USD trades at 1.3216. USD/JPY is flat on 93,3075. The Scandinavian krones have lost substantially against the USD during the week. USD/NOK trades at 5,66 compared with a low on 5,43 earlier in February. The Danish krone (DK) is for the first time in weeks trading higher than the Norwegian krone (NOK).

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25 FEBRUARY 2013: MOODY’S REDUCED A RATING OF GREAT BRITAIN WITH AAA TO AA1

DAILY MARKET REVIEWS
by Arne Treholt Vice-President of Business Development and Investments

The trading session on Friday has passed more positively at the stock exchanges of the USA and Europe comparing to the days before. Investors returned to purchases, without having paid attention to statements of European Commission which reduced the forecast on growth of world gross domestic product in 2013 from 3,3% to 3,2%. Thus figures across Spain (-1,4% at a budget deficit on 6,7% from GDP), Italy (-1% at 2,1%), Portugal (-1.9% at 4,9%) really depress. However, this news didn't confuse investors, and the European indexes FTSE (+0,7%), DAX (+1,03%), CAC (+2,25%), MIB (+1,4%) carried out all day in "a green zone" and finished the session of a steady growth.

The American indicators: Dow Jones +0,86%, S&P +0,88% and NASDAQ +0,97% also finished week with a rebound, without looking neither at inconsistent information from Europe, nor on rising to the USA "the fiscal cliff" to which there is only a week.

Statistics from China added a negative sentiment in the markets this morning, where the PMI index from HSBC, in February sharply decreased from the maximum reached in last month for 2 years, but remained above important level of 50 points. Thus Asian indexes began new week in "a green zone", and NIKKEI arranged the next rally for 2% on news about planned appointment to the post of the head of Bank of Japan H. Kuroda, the known supporter of active stimulation of economy.

The situation in world economy still does not show a lot of optimism. The news coming from Moody's published in the night from Friday to Saturday became a clear proof of it. The agency reduced a rating of Great Britain with AAA to AA1. The reason of this decision of Moody's called weakness of the British economy which, according to agency, will keep sluggish growth rates at least till 2016.

Oil, however, moderately becomes cheaper today under pressure of a negative. Brent drifts next to a level 114.24, adding 0.12% and WTI is stable on 93.209. EUR/USD pair is traded on a 1.3216 this morning.

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26 FEBRUARY 2013: ITALIAN ELECTIONS BECAME A REASON FOR CORRECTION IN THE MARKETS

DAILY MARKET REVIEWS
by Arne Treholt Vice-President of Business Development and Investments

Yesterday the world markets showed different dynamics. So, the European indexes finished Monday’s trading session moving upwards. Meanwhile, the American indexes began week with essential decrease. As a result of sales the Dow Jones and S&P 500 indexes could not keep the key levels - 14000 and 1500 points accordingly. Following the results of Monday the Dow Jones index lost 1,55%, the S&P 500 index lost 1,83%.

Markets were correcting due to the news coming from Italy. It became known that following the results of processing about 90% of bulletins two parties received identical result. The victory was won by Pierre Bersani's left-centrist coalition and Silvio Berlusconi's right-centrist coalition. Let's remind that Bersani already declared commitment to the economic reforms which are carried out by the old government led by Mario Monty. Berlusconi's victory is extremely undesirable for the Eurozone.

One of the most expected events for today is speech which will be given by the head of FRS B. Bernanke to bank committee. The head of FRS in his speech, most likely, will give an assessment to carried-out stimulating programs of FRS, namely repayment of assets as after announcement of protocols from the last meeting of FRS fears about early turning of programs increased.

USD/JPY pair yesterday has been decreasing from a level of 94.7 to a level 91, losing 4%, but at the current time is back to a level of 92.2. Most likely such movement was caused by strong weakening of euro and, respectively, a capital overflow in traditionally protective currencies - dollar and yen. EUR/USD is traded on a level 1.3062.

On Monday we have seen rather volatile session in the oil market where the positive news on oil import coming from China (+7% in January), have boosted price back to $115.8, but at closing price went again back and this morning Brent is losing 0.63% and traded on a level of $113.719.

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27 FEBRUARY 2013: BERLUSCONI “DERAILED” WORLD STOCK MARKETS

DAILY MARKET REVIEWS
by Arne Treholt Vice-President of Business Development and Investments

Yesterday we again could not see a uniform dynamics on the world stock markets. The European indexes fell off on news on outcome of the Italian elections, having lost on the average 2,5%. At the same time the American indexes could show ascending dynamics, having added about 0,7%.

There were a few reasons for activity of buyers in the American market. First, speech of the head of the Federal Reserve System (FRS) Ben Bernanke. The banker sounded the position concerning influence of a new round of the program of quantitative easing (QE3) on economy of the USA. Bernanke focused attention of investors on advantages of QE3, among which economic recovery against control of inflation at the level of 2%. According to the head of FRS, benefit from soft monetary policy outweigh the related risks so turning of stimulating measures is not necessary at the current stage.

Besides that, another source of a positive was data coming from the market of real estate of the USA. So, sales of new houses in the country unexpectedly grew by 15,6% in annual expression. Let's note that last year became the most successful in the housing market in the USA after 2009. In 2012 growth of sales of new buildings became maximum since 1983, having made 19,9%. It is necessary to note, that we can expect that real estate market will continue to develop this year as well, but definitely much slower.

Meanwhile, in Europe the main subject for discussion there are parliamentary elections in Italy. They caused a lot of noise and confusions in the financial markets. Profitability of the Italian bonds in the secondary market flew up to 4,8% that became a maximum level since the beginning of December, 2012. Besides, political risks in Italy led to euro exchange rate falling to a minimum level since the beginning of year. This morning, we can see EUR/USD pair traded on a level of 1.3076.

Risks of strengthening of debt crisis dragged off down world prices for oil. Brent is bargaining on a level 112.66$ and WTI on 92.78$ per barrel.

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28 FEBRUARY 2013: BERNANKE AND DATA LIFT WALL STREET

DAILY MARKET REVIEWS
by Arne Treholt Vice-President of Business Development and Investments

Stocks rose on Wednesday with major indexes posting their best daily gains since early January, as Federal Reserve Chairman, Ben Bernanke, gave robust support for continued stimulus policy and data pointed to modest economic improvement. In his second day before a Congressional committee, Bernanke defended FED’s buying of bonds to keep interest rates low to boost growth. Bernanke’s comments helped market rebound from its worst decline since November. Dow Jones Industrial closed at a level not seen since 2007.

A relatively smooth auction of Italian government bonds further helped temper concerns about the country’s political deadlock. The Euro held its ground against both dollar and Japanese yen on Thursday. The common currency edged up 0,1% to USD 1.3147 after steep losses following the Italian elections. The Euro hit an eight-week low on 1.3018 on Tuesday. Solid sales of Italian government bonds yesterday helped soothe the jitters that the political deadlock could destabilize Europe’s second biggest sovereign debt market.

Strong US business spending data also boosted investors’ sentiment easing worries about looming US fiscal spending cuts and prompting the yen to resume its decent after a brief spell of sharp gains earlier in the week. In Washington positions between President Barack Obama and congressional leaders over the budget crisis hardened yesterday as last ditch talks to prevent harsh automatic spending cuts beginning March 1st, failed to make substantial progress.

British sterling (GBP) is still weak trading at 1.5169 against the dollar. The Australian dollar is stronger and oil has regained some ground. Brent crude is trading above USD 112 a barrel. Also gold is somewhat stronger trading close to the critical USD 1600 level an ounce.

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