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LIVE MARKETS-Why sporting goods investors should care about tariffs

* European shares turn positive, up 0.1%

* Infineon slumps 9% to Sept 2016 lows after Cypress deal

* Kier drops 39% after profit warning

* Chipmakers down 2-3%

* Oil & gas stocks slide

June 3 - Welcome to the home for real-time coverage of European equity markets brought to

you by Reuters stocks reporters and anchored today by Thyagaraju Adinarayan. Reach him on

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Markets are giving higher chances to the U.S. slapping tariffs on the final $300 billion of

Chinese imports and if that's indeed going to be the case, investors in sporting

goods stocks will likely be affected.

The U.S. is by far the biggest sporting goods market (35% of global sales in 2018) and China

is still the second biggest source of supplies (25% of global supplies), Societe Generale says.

That being said, how are the sector's main players positioned? Here's a summary of what

analysts at the French investment bank say:

1. Adidas: "We believe Adidas is better positioned to absorb the shock of


tariff hikes due to: i) its lower sales exposure to the US market, which accounts for c.20% of

group sales vs the sector at c.35%; ii) its lower exposure to Chinese suppliers, which account

for c.21% of the group’s supplies vs the sector at c.25%; and iii) its higher exposure to China,

which generates c.20% of group sales vs the sector at c.13%."

2. Puma: "We view Puma's ability to absorb the shock of tariff hikes as slightly


than the sector... but below Adidas due to: i) its slightly higher sales exposure to the US

market (vs Adidas), which accounts for c.23% of group sales but which is still below the sector

at c.35%; ii) its higher exposure to Chinese suppliers, which account for c.24% of the group’s

supplies, but slightly lower than the sector at c.25%; and iii) its lower exposure to China of

c.13%, in line with the sector at c.13%, limiting the potential to develop local-for-local


3. Nike: "We think that US peers, including Nike, would be in a much tougher

position with

their significantly higher exposure to the US market (>35%)."

In this chart you can see how Adidas and Puma have both outperformed Nike over the last

three months with the gap widening further after Trump surprised markets last month by saying

Washington would raise tariffs on $200 bln worth of Chinese imports.

(Danilo Masoni)



Sluggish economic growth, trade tensions ratcheting up, Italian budget worries, investors

rushing for the exits... All eyes will be on ECB chief Mario Draghi on Thursday as the market

hungers for reassurance euro zone assets will be supported.

Short of another "whatever it takes" moment, BNP Paribas economists look at what Draghi

might be able to cook up to comfort investors.

Their preferred option, they say, would be a pre-announcement or more convincing language on

the possibility of interest-rate tiering.

"It would have a powerful signalling effect (which would probably be the ECB's main aim),"

write BNP economists.

More practically, it could:

* boost banks' profitability

* buy the ECB the option of cutting rates further into negative territory, if needed

* help fend off any potential appreciation of the euro

"Given low expectations for the outcome of Thursday's meeting, a move in this direction

might be welcomed," the economists argue.

You can read our piece on five questions for the ECB here and below, you can

see how sluggish euro zone lending growth has been since the crisis.

(Helen Reid)



Thumbs down for Infineon's $10 billion Cypress bet?

Analysts point to regulatory risks and believe its an "ambitious" purchase price. These

factors are likely weighing on the shares of the German chipmaker, which are slumping 7.4% to

more than 2-1/2 year lows.

Citi analysts, ranked five stars for estimate accuracy on Infineon, see the deal's

risk-reward as "unfavourable", citing hard-to-substantiate revenue synergies and deal execution


Several brokers remind us about Infineon's failed purchase of Cree's Wolfspeed Power as

regulators deemed the deal posed a risk to U.S. security.

"(The deal) faces significant questions over regulatory overhang, a cycle peak price at a

time cycle is at trough and visibility is low and deal synergies in this space aren’t as easy as

the appear on paper," says Mirabaud Securities analyst Neil Campling.

U.S. lawmakers passed reforms last year that increased CFIUS' ability to scrutinise deals.

Citi also points to recent deals called off in the semis sector.

DZ Bank analysts say the deal is a good step, but comes with an ambitious purchase price.

(Thyagaraju Adinarayan)



If the U.S. goes on to impose 25% tariffs on the remaining $300 billion imports from China,

Morgan Stanley economists believe we could end up in a recession in three quarters.

Morgan Stanley says when 10% tariffs were imposed the corporate sector had greater capacity

to absorb them, but if they rise to and include all imports, they are likely to result in

"higher pass-throughs with more knock-on effects".

How will the knock-on effects pan out? MS says:

* Tariffs will increase costs, and consumers, facing higher prices, may pull back on demand

* Tariffs will spill over to domestic and global supply chains and consequently global trade


* In the medium-term, multi-national companies will incur more costs to develop alternative



* Corporate confidence will take a hit and companies will pull back on capex, hitting global


* Corporates take additional hit on growth and profitability from international operations

"My recent conversations with investors have reinforced the sense that markets are

underestimating the impact of trade tensions. Investors are generally of the view that the trade

dispute could drag on for longer, but they appear to be overlooking its potential impact on the

global macro outlook," Morgan Stanley's chief economist Chetan Ahya says.

The whole Street is shifting its opinion of the trade war as the possibility of a resolution

seems further away: Goldman Sachs pegs the chances of a next round of tariffs on Chinese goods

at 60% (40% earlier), saying the rhetoric in China has intensified.

Below you can see the crux of the matter: the large gap between U.S. exports to China and

imports from China. Tariffs have lessened that gap very slightly so far.

(Thyagaraju Adinarayan)



UBS have looked into this and they've found European equities are interesting when it comes

to yields.

"They are one of the few large asset pools to have a yield above their 30-year average (4.0%

vs 3.4%)," strategists at the Swiss house led by Nick Nelson say.

But given recent high-profile dividend cuts such as Vodafone and Royal Mail,

it's also worth asking how sustainable they are.

Here's what Nelson and tem say, which looks somewhat reassuring:

1. Pay-out ratios are not extended (57% vs a long run average of 53%)

2. Free cash flow cover is also reasonable at 1.38x for 2019E

3. Balance sheets are under-geared with gross cash on the balance sheet set to reach c. €900

billion by end-2019

4. Dividends are far less volatile than earnings – the gap between EPS and DPS momentum

tracks the

PMI where there are signs of stabilisation

As you can see in this chart, the gap between Europe's STOXX 600 dividend yield and yield on

the German bund has been rising to its highest in at least a decade.

(Danilo Masoni)



Although European stocks have taken a battering over the past month, they're still

substantially up this year despite data showing big outflows from equity funds.

The question on everybody's lips, as Goldman Sachs puts it, remains: "Markets are up and

buyers should in any case be matched with sellers - so who is purchasing European equities?"

Cumulative outflows from equity funds year-to-date are larger than in 2016, GS strategists

say, citing Morningstar data.

But looking at ECB data, which also includes flows into equity from multi-asset funds, mixed

or balanced funds, hedge funds, and quantitative funds, they find these other types of funds

have been buying equities so far this year.

Another purchaser is the corporate sector. With new issuance and rights issues diminishing

while buybacks have increased recently, companies have been a net buyer of equity.

"This does not represent the full picture... but it does give a more complete view than

focusing purely on equity fund flows," they write.

(Helen Reid)



European shares are sliding 0.6% as lingering trade war worries keep investors away from

risky assets. Goldman Sachs economists say they now see a 60% chance that the U.S. will slap

tariffs on the final $300 billion of Chinese imports.

Infineon is down 5%, the top faller on the pan-European STOXX 600 index after it agreed to

buy Cypress Semiconductor for $10 billion.

Chipmakers in the region are falling 2-3%, despite expectations from traders that M&A in the

sector could be positive for these stocks. Clearly escalating rhetoric in a global trade war is

trumping that - so to speak.

Wirecard is a rare riser after its CEO tweeted that the company is steering towards an

"outstanding" first-half of 2019.

Oil & gas stocks are the worst-performing in Europe as Brent crude falls 1.1% amid stalling

demand and as trade wars fan fears of a global economic slowdown.

Confirming a risk-off trade, the defensive food & beverage, utilities and telecoms sectors

are down 0.1-0.4%, outperforming the market.

(Thyagaraju Adinarayan)



After the worst monthly performance since January 2016, European stocks are set to start

June on the back foot again. Futures point to another weak open with the trade-sensitive German

blue-chip index seen 0.6% lower.

In corporate news, chip sector M&A is making big headlines after Germany's Infineon agreed

to buy Cypress Semiconductor, which makes microchips used in cars and electronic devices, for

$10 billion.

Infineon shares were last trading down 5.2% in pre-market but traders expect its regional

rivals AMS, Dialog Semi and BE Semiconductor to rise on the M&A


William Hill shares are seen 3% higher by one trader on reports in the Sunday Times

and the Telegraph that it had held merger talks with Las Vegas casino giant Caesars

Entertainment last year.

Traders expect shares of European airlines to come under pressure after IATA slashed profit

forecasts due to the ongoing trade war.

In the UK, construction company Kier is seen dropping 10-20% after a profit warning.

A few other headlines to watch out for:

Kier sees 2019 operating profit lower than expected

Dignity says welcomes proposals to regulate UK funeral plans

Danske Bank to sell Estonian private loans unit to LHV in $458 mln deal

(Thyagaraju Adinarayan)



European shares are expected to be under pressure again today and there are no signs of a

respite as June begins.

"Risk assets are likely to remain highly sensitive to rhetoric around trade, until there are

signs of a more constructive approach by both China and the US," Peel Hunt's Ian Williams says.

The ongoing trade war is certainly hurting global airlines and IATA says the industry's

profits are expected to come down by more than a fifth.

In corporate news, M&A is making big headlines today: German chipmaker Infineon to buy

Cypress Semiconductors in 9 billion euros deal. One trader however says he struggles to see the

deal getting approval, pointing to Infineon's attempt to buy Wolfspeed from Cree, which was

blocked by CFIUS.

Fiat Chrysler is discussing a Renault special dividend and stronger job

guarantees in a bid to persuade the French government to back its proposed merger between the

carmakers, sources close to the discussions said.

Major corporate headlines:

Infineon to buy Cypress Semiconductors in 9 billion euros deal

Sephora to shut U.S. stores for day of diversity training after racial incident

EXCLUSIVE-FCA discusses improved Renault merger bid to win French backing

Aluflexpack aims to raise 140 million euros in latest Swiss IPO

Sunrise takeover of Liberty Global unit under review by competition authorities

Global airlines slash profit forecast on protectionism fears

(Thyagaraju Adinarayan)



European stocks are expected to open lower again this morning on worries of a prolonged

China-U.S. trade war and Washington's new tariff threats against Mexico. The pan-European STOXX

600 index dropped 5.7% in May, its worst monthly performance since January 2016.

"For most of this year the assumption had been that, for all the sound and fury around the

imposition of tariffs, they wouldn’t last that long and any damage could be easily mitigated.

Now it seems that tariffs are likely to last a lot longer and be more wide ranging than

originally thought," Michael Hewson at CMC Markets UK says.

Financial spreadbetters IG expect London's FTSE to open 31 points lower at 7,131,

Frankfurt's DAX to open 69 points lower at 11,658, and Paris' CAC to open 37 points lower at


In corporate news, German chipmaker Infineon Technologies agreed to buy

U.S.-based Cypress Semiconductor for $23.85 per share in cash (enterprise value of 9

billion euros).

(Thyagaraju Adinarayan)


(Reporting by Danilo Masoni, Helen Reid, Josephine Mason and Thyagaraju Adinarayan)