Key european stock market indices were mixed in the week from the 23rd to the 27th of January, 2012 (Milan +2%, London +0.1%, Frankfurt +1.7%, Paris -0.1%). According to the IMF, world GDP growth in 2012 will be slower than anticipated (+3.3% vs 4% previously), and Eurozone GDP will contract by 0.5%.
The US Federal Reserve stated the intention to keep benchmark interest rates at the current low levels until 2014, and added that other stimulus measures are still on the table. In the bond market, the spread between Italian BTPs and German Bunds narrowed by approx. 100bps, after the successful outcome of Italian sovereign debt auctions (3y Ctz yield down to 3.76% from 4.85%).
Within the Auto & Parts sector (European index up 1.1% vs Stoxx 600 -0.2%), Auto OEMs and Parts producers outperformed, thanks to positive US durable goods data. Tyre stocks were weak, including Pirelli which ended the week down 1.9% at €7.08, in line with peers. According to brokers Exane, Equita and Intermonte, Pirelli will hit 2011 profitability targets notwithstanding the softness in Q4 volumes; attention now turns, according to Intermonte, to H1 2012 sales which should be sustained by the low level of summer tyre stock held by dealers.