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Market Commentary

Asia

Asian markets dropped yesterday. China announced an economic growth target of 7.5% last week, the weakest since 1990, and is scheduled to release industrial output data tomorrow after reports over the weekend showed the steepest drop in exports since 2009.

Europe

European stock markets mirrored the weak trading day in Asia and dropped to their lowest level in a month as Russia and Ukraine continued their standoff over Crimea.

Deutsche Post reported positive results this morning which beat estimates as the company reported a Net Income of €2,091 Million. The company continues to experience high growth in the parcel delivery business.

Unicredit, Italy’s biggest bank posted a record fourth-quarter loss of €15 billion as it increased its provision for bad loans and the write down of goodwill from acquisitions. Provisions for doubtful loans have increased to €9.3 billion in the quarter which is more than double the figure recorded for the comparable quarter a year before. As a result, the bank is planning on reducing 8,500 jobs.

Shares in Prudential, the British multinational life insurance company rallied over 3% after the U.K. insurer raised dividends and confirmed that it extended its strategic partnership with Standard Chartered Bank. The new 15-year agreement, which covers 11 markets will see Prudential’s life insurance products being exclusively distributed through Standard Chartered branches.

US

U.S markets dropped as President Barack Obama is to meet Ukraine’s interim prime minister today.

The maker of hit mobile phone game Candy Crush Saga, King Digital Entertainment, expects to be worth up to $7.6 billion when it goes for an IPO this month. The company is looking to take advantage of the current strong demand for technology investments. The successful IPO of Twitter in November and a surge in Facebook’s share price have also fuelled speculation that a string of technology firms could come to market, including Spotify and the payments the company, Square.

EPL Oil & Gas shares opened up 30% to over $37 after the company agreed to be acquired by larger rival Energy XXI Ltd for $2.3 billion.

Oxigene Inc surged over 127% to $5.50 at the opening bell after the company announced that its experimental drug Zybrestat combined with Roche’s cancer drug Avastin significantly slowed progression of recurrent ovarian cancer better than Avastin alone in a midstage clinical trial.

The Calamatta Cuschieri Traders Blog is available daily on CC WebTrader. Other market coverage including coverage of the International Bond Markets is also available.

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