Today 5/20/2009

AFS Morning Note, February 9, 2016
Corporate Calendar
Macro Calendar
NL Events: TomTom earnings
08:45 France Budget Balance NL Events Tomorrow: AkzoNobel,Heineken earnings;
10:30 UK Trade Balance Aperam earnings after market 10:30 BoE's Cunliffe Speaks EU/US Events: Actelion, Banco Popolare SC, Enel, ICAP,
11:00 Greece Industrial Production Handelsbanken, Sanofi, Securitas, Telekom Austria, TUI AG, 11:10 Eurozone ECB Main Refinancing Operation Result TUI Travel, Unicredit, Vestas Wind earnings; Klepierre 12:00 US NFIB Small Business Optimism earnings after market;Lufthansa traffic; TUI AG, TUI Travel 12:00 ECB's Linde Speaks AGM; Coca-Cola earnings 16:00 US JOLTS Job Openings EU/US Events Tomorrow: ARM Holdings, Abertis, Aurubis,
16:00 US Wholesale Trade Sales Banco Pop. Romag., Carlsberg, DSV, Maersk, Mapfre, French, German Central Bankers, Finance Ministers Meet Telecity, Telenet, Telenor, UBI, Voestalpine earnings; Hermes, Lagardere sales; Fraport traffic; SAP investor day; Software AG capital markets day; Time-Warner earnings NL/EU Ex-div: TGS Nopec
NL/EU Ex-div Tomorrow: TUI AG

Financials and Regulation
Deutsche Bank Says It Can Pay Debts in Sign Jitters Mounting -- Deutsche Bank AG became the largest lender in at least four
years to feel compelled to reassure investors and employees that it has enough cash to pay its debts. Germany's biggest bank said in a statement Monday that it has more-than-sufficient means to pay coupons on its riskiest debt both this year and in 2017. Deutsche Bank also published a note to employees from Chief Financial Officer Marcus Schenck that said the firm's "capital and risk position remains strong." The cost of protecting Deutsche Bank's debt against default has more than doubled this year, while its stock trades at about one-third of the company's liquidation value. Co-Chief Executive Officer John Cryan has failed to generate confidence in his plan to cut costs and build capital as volatile markets threaten revenue and outstanding regulatory probes raise the specter of continued legal charges. Deutsche Bank and European rivals including Credit Suisse Group AG and Barclays Plc are getting walloped by a global market rout just as they embark on ambitious overhauls of their securities units. The selloff, as investors seek safety from China's slowdown and falling oil prices, is complicating that task by reducing revenue from investment banking and making parts of the business more expensive to exit, hampering efforts to ultimately plow more earnings into capital. January marked the worst start to a year for underwriting bonds in Western Europe since 2008, while high-yield bond fees slumped 78 percent from last year, data compiled by Freeman & Co. show. Stock sales in Europe, the Middle East and Africa dropped 60 percent so far this year, data compiled by Bloomberg show. Shares of the three investment banks have tumbled at least 25 percent since that month began, putting them in the bottom half of the 39-company Bloomberg Europe Banks and Financial Services Index. Deutsche Bank said Monday that it still has room to pay about 1 billion euros in 2016, enough to cover about 350 million euros in Additional Tier 1 coupons due in April. The estimated payment capacity for 2017 is about 4.3 billion euros, boosted in part by proceeds from the announced sale of a stake in Huaxia Bank Co., the Frankfurt-based lender said. The 2017 estimate is before any effect from 2016 profit or losses. Deutsche Bank shares in the U.S. climbed almost 2 percent after that announcement, finishing the day with a decline of 8 percent. The stock dropped 9.5 percent on Monday in Germany, the biggest decline in almost seven years, reaching its lowest price since at least 1992. The statement did nothing to reverse a selloff in credit markets. The cost to protect against losses on the bank's riskiest debt continued to climb, reaching the highest level since the height of the European debt crisis in 2011, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The statement came after Simon Adamson, an analyst at CreditSights Inc., signaled concern about the bank's ability to pay coupons in 2017 if operating results disappoint or litigation costs are higher than expected. A loss in 2015, driven by legal costs and writedowns of goodwill, and declining revenue from the firm's biggest business in the fourth quarter narrowed the room for error. Doubts about Deutsche Bank's ability to pay coupons on Additional Tier 1 debt fueled a sel off in the bank's bonds and shares this year, with the stock losing about 39 percent of its value. The contingent convertible bonds -- also known as CoCos - - have turned in a similar performance as the cost of protecting the company's subordinated debt from default for five years using credit-default swaps more than doubled since the end of 2015. Deutsche Bank's core long-term returns will be affected either by significant balance-sheet deleveraging or by raising capital, Berenberg analysts wrote in a note to clients Monday. Cryan has canceled the dividend for 2015 and 2016 and said the firm doesn't need to raise additional capital. Credit Suisse, also under pressure to strengthen its balance sheet, tapped investors for 6 billion Swiss francs ($6.1 billion) to bolster capital last year. (BN)

AFS Morning Note, February 9, 2016
Global Growth Fears Hit Bank Stocks -- Investors are dumping bank stocks amid worries that a protracted period of slowing
global growth, plunging oil prices and rock-bottom interest rates will combine to inflict pain on the world's largest financial institutions. Global markets' anxiety spilled over into Asia early Tuesday, sending investors scurrying for havens like Japanese government bonds, where yields fell to zero percent for the first time. Near the midday break, the Nikkei 225 Stock Average was down almost 5%. Selling was intense Monday on both sides of the Atlantic, with bank shares leading the Dow Jones Industrial Average down 1.1%. U.S. markets staged a late-day bounce that narrowed the Dow industrials' decline by more than half, but many of the largest U.S. banks closed lower by at least 4%, including Dow component Goldman Sachs Group Inc. Morgan Stanley dropped 6.9%, while Citigroup Inc. fell 5.1%. The retreat adds to a rout that has shaved tens of billions of dollars from the value of major U.S. banks' shares this year. European lenders are also suffering. The Stoxx Europe 600 index fell 3.5% on Monday, with Germany's Deutsche Bank AG sliding 9.5%. Adding to the jitters abroad, a small German lender, Maple Bank GmbH, defaulted on its debt Monday. Underlying the anxiety is an about-face in many investors' expectations for global growth. While the U.S. economy continues to add jobs, suggesting that a recession isn't at hand, economists at many major financial institutions have reduced their expectations for Federal Reserve rate increases and U.S. interest rates. The perception that interest rates will stay lower for longer is fueling a sharp decline in expectations for banks and related firms. Rising rates are good for banks because they increase the spread between what banks charge on loans and what they pay for deposits and other funding. While the outlook for banks' profits has been soft for years, the advent last month of negative interest rates in Japan has jarred many investors, suggesting to them that a profit recovery for financial firms could be years away. Adding to investor concerns are the sense that the carnage from the oil-market rout of the past two years could hit bank balance sheets and the fear that banks haven't fully disclosed all the risks they could face in a broad economic downturn. (DJ)  ECB's Coeure Says Euro Area Banks Are Stronger Now Than in 2012 -- European Central Bank Executive Board member
Benoit Coeure says that euro area banks have been strengthened because supervisors forced them to take measures in the wake of the region's sovereign debt crisis. * Issues banks face are global and include low interest rates as well as digital transformation, Coeure says (BN)  Popolare Milano Quarterly Net Rises on Gain From Asset Sale -- Banca Popolare di Milano Scarl, Italy's oldest cooperative
bank, said fourth-quarter profit climbed, boosted by the sale of its stake in the Italian banking-services provider Istituto Centrale delle Banche Popolari SpA. Net income rose to 86.9 million euros ($96 million) in the three months through December from 13 million euros a year earlier, the Milan-based bank said. Earnings beat the 64.8 million-euro estimate of six analysts surveyed by Bloomberg. The bank proposed a dividend of 2.7 euro cents per share. Chief Executive Officer Giuseppe Castagna is among the CEOs of Italy's cooperative banks, known as popolari, that are considering alliances as new rules force them to become joint- stock firms. The lender is in advanced talks to combine with Banco Popolare SC, according to its CEO Pier Francesco Saviotti. Castagna said Jan. 30 that the bank may reach an agreement in February, though he stressed he's still also open to talks with rival Unione di Banche Italiane SpA in addition to Banco Popolare. The bank is "on the right truck" to reach an agreement for a combination, Castagna said during a conference call, without elaborating on the potential partner. The bank is seeking a "merger of equals," that creates value for shareholders, he said. Castagna ruled out a capital increase to finance the eventual deal. (BN)  Swedbank CEO Michael Wolf to Be Replaced After Seven Years -- Sweden's biggest mortgage bank ousted its chief executive
officer after seven years, with the board arguing for the need for a change in leadership. Michael Wolf, born in 1963, will be replaced by Birgitte Bonnesen as acting CEO, Swedbank said in a statement on Tuesday. Bonnesen will continue to run the bank's Swedish banking unit, it said. "Michael Wolf has been successful and inspiring in leading Swedbank to its current position as one of Europe's strongest banks, with lower risk and sustainable earning capacity," said Anders Sundstroem, chairman of the board of directors. "Mr Wolf deserves our profound appreciation for this. But the Board deems that it is time for new leadership and a new CEO who can take Swedbank to the next level." (BN)  Handelsbanken Profit Rose Less Than Estimated in Fourth Quarter -- Sweden's second-biggest bank reported a 35 percent
rise in profit in the fourth quarter, falling short of estimates, as loan losses were bigger than analysts expected and costs rose. Net income was 4.50 billion kronor ($533 million) in the three months through December, Stockholm-based Svenska Handelsbanken AB said on Tuesday. That compares with an average forecast of 4.6 billion kronor in a Bloomberg analyst survey. Net interest income rose 1 percent to 6.97 billion kronor, while loan losses exceeded estimates by about 20 million kronor. Profit in the quarter was boosted by a capital gain of 1.2 billion kronor from the sale of an equity stake. (BN)  Belgium to Receive EU75m Dividend From Belfius This Year: L'Echo -- State-owned Belfius will pay div. to Belgian state of
EU75m for 2015, L'Echo reports, without saying where it got the information. * Board should approve the payout on Feb. 24 (BN)  Russia's Credit Europe Bank Is Up for Sale, Kommersant Says -- sale w/ small discount to book value (BN)
Raymond James Sees $420 Million Investment on Deutsche Bank Deal -- Raymond James Financial Inc. said it expects an
investment cost of more than $400 mil ion in the company's planned purchase of Deutsche Bank AG's U.S. private-client services unit. The final figure will depend on how many Deutsche Asset & Wealth Management advisers join Raymond James, the St. Petersburg, Florida-based buyer said in a regulatory filing Monday. Today's document offers more detail than Raymond James's disclosure in December that it will spend about 1.4 times revenue. (BN) Regulation/Other:
ICAP 3Q Rev. Falls 5%; Tullett Prebon Transaction on Track -- ICAP says 3Q rev. 5% lower y/y at constant FX. * Overall market
conditions have remained challenging * Transaction to combine global hybrid voice broking business with Tullett Prebon is proceeding well * Electronic Markets revenue fell 10% at constant FX, fell 7% on reported basis * BrokerTec avg daily volumes in U.S. treasuries down 11% to $147b * EBS avg daily vol fell 35% to $78b as FX volatility didn't have same central bank interventions from ECB, BOJ as year-earlier * Global Broking revenues fell 7% at constant FX and on reported basis * November, December y/y revenue performance "much improved" on October (BN)

AFS Morning Note, February 9, 2016
Generali May Name Chairman Galateri as Interim CEO Today: Sole -- Gabriele Galateri may take interim CEO role until board
finds a successor to Greco, Il Sole 24 Ore says. * New CEO may be named by end of Feb. * Board may promote CEO Generali head of Italy Philippe Donnet or CFO Alberto Minali (BN)
Research Updates
Goldman Sachs raised ArcelorMittal to Neutral from Sell. ING cut ArcelorMittal to Hold from Buy. JP Morgan cut ArcelorMittal to
Neutral from Overweight; rated Salzgitter new Neutral; rated Voestalpine new Overweight; rated SSAB new Underweight. Credit
Suisse reinstated Solvay at Outperform. RBC rated Henkel new Sector Perform; rated Beiersdorf new Outperform; raised Glencore to
Outperform from Sector Perform; rated Rio Tinto new Underperform. Kepler Cheuvreux cut UBS to Hold from Buy. Morgan Stanley
assumes Wacker Chemie at Overweight.

Credit Rating Changes
No credit rating changes
Tech and Telecoms
Tech, spying and hacking:
S&P Withdraws Preliminary Ratings On Dialog Semiconductor PLC -- Standard & Poor's Ratings Services today withdrew its
preliminary 'BB' long-term corporate credit rating on U.K.-based semiconductor provider Dialog Semiconductor PLC (Dialog) at the issuer's request. At the time of the withdrawal, the outlook was stable. On Jan. 14, 2016, Dialog announced that its board of directors had decided not to revise its proposal to acquire U.S.-based semiconductor provider Atmel Corp. As a result, we are withdrawing the preliminary 'BB' long-term corporate credit and issue ratings that we assigned on Nov. 30, 2015, at the issuer's request. (DJ)  Verizon Said to Enlist AOL CEO Armstrong to Explore Yahoo Deal -- Verizon Communications Inc. has given Tim Armstrong,
chief executive officer of its AOL unit, a leading role in exploring a possible bid for Yahoo! Inc. assets, according to a person with knowledge of the situation. Late last week, and as far back as December, Verizon has said "yes" when asked whether it was interested in purchasing some or all of the struggling company. The largest U.S. phone carrier hasn't hired bankers to conduct an offer and there have been no formal talks, according to the person, who asked not to be identified because Verizon's plans haven't been made public. Still, as Yahoo sorts out its strategy, Armstrong is taking a lead in preliminary discussions, the person said. Verizon is looking to make its go90 streaming video service a source of new sales and profit. Yahoo, with more than 1 billion people using its e-mail, finance, sports and video sites, represents a prized asset to combine with AOL's 2 million users and Verizon's more than 112 million wireless subscribers. That kind of Web traffic, along with exclusive content, is just what Verizon needs to secure a foothold in video advertising against YouTube and Facebook serving a mobile phone-addicted generation. Yahoo and Verizon declined to comment. (BN)  French Regulator Alleges Facebook Violates Privacy Laws -- France's data-protection regulator late Monday threatened to fine
Facebook Inc. if it doesn't change how it handles data about its users and others on the Internet, escalating a series of coordinated privacy probes into the social-network across five countries in Europe. In a 17-page order dated Jan. 26 but published late Monday, France's Commission Nationale de l'Informatique et des Libertés, or CNIL, said Facebook must within three months change a host of ways it collects and uses information about Internet users or face a sanctions proceeding that could lead to fines of up to 150,000 euros (about $168,000). The CNIL orders Facebook to, among other things, properly inform people who don't have Facebook accounts that their Internet surfing is being tracked via like buttons across the Web, and to seek explicit consent for collecting information about users' religious beliefs, sexual orientation and other sensitive information. The CNIL said it was making its order "public due to the seriousness of the violations and the number of individuals concerned by the Facebook service," which it numbers around 30 million. "Protecting the privacy of the people who use Facebook is at the heart of everything we do," a Facebook spokeswoman said. "We are confident that we comply with European Data Protection law and look forward to engaging with the CNIL to respond to their concerns." The order from France is the latest escalation in five coordinated Facebook probes launched by privacy regulators from Belgium to Germany. (DJ)  Uber Riding Solo With No CFO -- Uber Technologies Inc. isn't searching for a new chief financial officer, a sign the ride-hailing
company may delay a widely-expected initial public offering. It's last round of funding, in December, valued the company as high as $64.6 billion. The CFO post has been empty since March 2015, when Brent Callinicos stepped down from the position. "We have not been looking for a CFO and we have not spoken to a single CFO candidate since Brent left," a company spokeswoman said in an emailed statement. "We have a deep bench and the team is managing things very effectively." Gautam Gupta, a former Goldman Sachs Group Inc. vice president who joined Uber in 2013, is Uber's head of finance. Mr. Callinicos is an advisor to the company. "They're calling if they want my advice," Mr. Callinicos told CFO Journal last June. The statement is perhaps surprising for the world's most highly-valued and highly-capitalized private tech company. Analysts expected an IPO in 2017. Uber did not comment beyond its statement. "They can't go public without a CFO," said Michael Patcher, research analyst at Wedbush Securities Inc. Under Sarbanes-Oxley, companies are required to have a CEO, a chief accounting officer and a CFO. "They are probably not interested in going right now because of the market turmoil," he said, adding that companies Uber would like to benchmark against -- Netflix Inc. and Inc. -- are down 25%. "I feel like you have to have a good CFO to really even start the (IPO) process," said Barrett Daniels, CEO and managing, an accounting consulting company in Burlingame, Calif. "It would just say to me that they're not planning that any time soon." (DJ)
Telecoms & other: no stories
Energy, Commodities, Transport and Construction

AFS Morning Note, February 9, 2016
Oil Snaps 3-Day Slide in Rebound to $30 Before U.S. Supply Data -- Oil snapped a three-day losing streak, rebounding from a
close below $30 for the second time in less than a week. Futures climbed as much as 2.1 percent in New York after dropping 3.9 percent Monday. Inventories probably expanded by 3.2 million barrels last week, according to a Bloomberg survey before an Energy Information Administration report Wednesday. North American oil and natural gas drillers will need to cut an additional 30 percent from their capital budgets to balance spending even if crude rises to $40 a barrel, according to an analysis by IHS Inc. Oil is still down about 19 percent this year on speculation a global glut will persist amid the outlook for increased exports from Iran after the removal of international sanctions and brimming U.S. crude supplies. The nation's drillers idled the most rigs since April last week as inventories rose above 500 million barrels to the highest level since 1930. West Texas Intermediate for March delivery rose as much as 61 cents to $30.30 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange and was at $30.03 at 1:32 p.m. Hong Kong time. Prices dropped $1.20 to $29.69 on Monday, the first close below $30 since Feb. 2. Total volume traded was about 33 percent below the 100-day average. Prices lost 30 percent last year. Brent for April settlement gained as much as 52 cents, or 1.6 percent, to $33.40 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange. The contract fell $1.18 to $32.88 on Monday. The European benchmark crude traded at a premium of $1.09 to WTI for April. Shale patches in the U.S. are pumping out more oil and gas than the government previously thought, according to the EIA's Drilling Productivity Report released Monday. The agency predicts the seven major formations to produce 5.02 million barrels a day in February, up from last month's forecast of 4.83 million a day. (BN)  Pemex CEO Lozoya Said Set to Step Down: Reuters -- Emilio Lozoya set to leave as CEO of Pemex, Reuters reports, citing
unidentified people familiar. (BN)  Chesapeake's Half-Billion Dollar Tab Spurs Credit Line Concerns -- Chesapeake Energy Corp.'s ability to pay off a half-billion
dollars in debt next month hinges on how much of a $1.76 billion nest egg and $4 billion credit line has already been burned by the second-largest U.S. natural gas producer. On Monday, uncertainty on those resources helped fuel the steepest one-day drop in the stock's history. Chesapeake now becomes the latest shale driller punished by gluts of gas and crude that have rendered companies increasingly desperate to conserve cash. The company probably finished 2015 with about $1 billion still in hand, said Spencer Cutter, a Bloomberg Intelligence analyst. What's unclear is just how much of the credit line remains in place to help cover $500 million in debt due on March 15. The concern among some investors is that the oil and gas producer may run out of cash to cover debts in a prolonged market downturn, said Tim Rezvan, an analyst at Sterne Agee & Leach Inc. The company, scheduled to report earnings Feb. 24, declined to comment. The Oklahoma-based natural gas producer is expected to post a second consecutive annual loss this year as an oversupply of North American gas weighs on prices and erodes cash flows it needs to cover costs, according to analysts' estimates. Burdened with a total debt load seven times larger than its market value, Chesapeake has been canceling drilling projects, cutting jobs and closing offices to hold onto every dollar it can. Chesapeake pumps more U.S. gas than any driller other than Exxon Mobil Corp. It has $1.3 billion in debts maturing by the end of 2017, and analysts expect Chesapeake to have a cash shortfall of more than $1 billion over the next two years. (BN)  EU Sets 14 Gas Projects to Cut Dependence on Russia: Spiegel -- European Commission has defined 14 projects to reduce
Russia's hold over European gas market, including rapid completion of LNG terminal in Croatia, pipeline to Hungary, Spiegel reports, citing information it obtained. * Also includes more pipelines, more ties w/ Finland and Baltic states to EU gas network and expansion of pipeline network in Romania, Bulgaria, Greece * Russia biggest gas supplier to EU w/ share of 40% * Projects to soon allow every EU country to link its gas w/ several countries * EU Energy Commissioner Miguel Arias Cañete plans to introduce draft EU regulation on so-called Energy Union on Wednesday * Projects to be financed by EU (BN)
France Says It Could Increase Alstom Stake -- France said Monday an agreement with conglomerate Bouygues SA had gone
into effect, giving the state voting rights equivalent to 20% of Alstom's share capital. The Bouygues pact was reached in 2014 when General Electric Co. struck a deal to acquire Alstom's energy assets for 12.4 billion euros. The state's voting rights come via an agreement with Bouygues to borrow its votes for a period of 20 months. "The state has a series of options allowing it to acquire, if it wishes, the shares currently loaned by Bouygues," the French economy ministry said. It added that the government will be represented by two administrators on Alstom's board. The share-purchase agreement--hashed out during marathon negotiations in 2014--removed the final hurdle from GE's pursuit of Alstom's core assets. It was conditional on the deal completing, which happened in November. (DJ)  Enel Green Power 2015 Total Rev EU3b; Net Debt at Yr End EU6.9b -- Enel Green says net installed capacity at yr end 10.5GW
vs 9.6GW end 2014. (BN)  Europe Needs EU150b in Electric Grid Investment: Handelsblatt -- Onshore wind power in Europe growing significantly faster
than transmission networks, Handelsblatt reports, citing survey by consultancy Roland Berger. * Electricity generated by wind power in Europe expected to rise by 2030 to 13% of total from 6% in 2012 * Number of jobs in onshore wind power may rise to 290,000 by 2020 from 150,000 in 2010 * Smart grids urgently needed in addition to network expansion to meet increased share of renewable energy requirements for electricity production (BN)
Renewables and environmental markets: no stories
Commodities: no stories
Transport: no stories

AFS Morning Note, February 9, 2016
LafargeHolcim Chairman Leaving for Linde Amid Integration Drive -- LafargeHolcim Chairman Wolfgang Reitzle, who
orchestrated the merger between the world's two largest cement makers last year, plans to hand the reins to current Vice- Chairman Beat Hess as he moves to Linde AG. Reitzle is stepping down to focus on his new role announced earlier Monday as chairman of the supervisory board at Linde, the German industrial-gases maker, LafargeHolcim said in a statement. Reitzle's departure comes at a time when LafargeHolcim is still pushing through the integration of the Swiss and French companies as well as grappling with a slowdown in demand for construction materials. The news helped send shares in the world's largest cement maker to their lowest level since 2009. The stock, which has shed almost a third of its value this year, closed 8 percent lower at 35.91 Swiss francs in Zurich. (BN)  LafargeHolcim Receives Revised CCI Divestment Order -- LafargeHolcim starting new divestment process for 3 Lafarge cement
plants and 2 grinding stations in India after receiving approval from country's competition commission for revised plan, co. says in e-mail statement. * Part of co.'s CHF3.5b divestment target in 2016. (BN)  Ferrovial to Consider Options on Broadspectrum Bid -- Co. says Broadspectrum's announcement yday that it will have to
compete with another party for new 5-yr contract with the Dept. of Immigration and Border Protection has resulted in breach of defeating condition, in statement. * Changes to DIPB contract status "adversely impacts the valuation of Broadspectrum," co. says (BN)
Netherlands and AEX
TomTom 4Q Rev. In Line, Ebit Misses Ests.; Sees More Investments -- TomTom 4Q rev. EU282m vs est. EU280m. * 4Q Ebit
EU0.2m vs est. EU10.4m (4 ests.) * FY rev. EU1b vs est. EU1b; co. forecast EU1b * FY adj. EPS EU0.21 vs est. EU0.21; co. forecast EU0.20 * FY Ebitda EU123.7m vs est. EU121m * Sees 2016 rev. EU1.05b, adj. EPS EU0.23 * Current ests. are sales of EU1.07b, adj. EPS of EU0.31 * Co. says weakening of euro, higher investments in core technologies affected profitability negatively in 2015 * Sees higher investment level in core technologies vs last year, both in capex, opex * Will invest in advanced content, software for automotive industry to enable autonomous driving, also in new map- making platform (BN)  [yday] HAL Said to Plan Sale of Dutch Hearing-Aid Retailer AudioNova -- Investment company HAL Trustis considering selling
its hearing aids retailer AudioNova International BV in a deal that could fetch 500 million euros ($559 million), according to people familiar with the matter. Amplifon SpA, William Demant Holding A/S, Sonova Holding AG and private equity firm EQT Partners AB's Sivantos AG are among the companies weighing bids for the Rotterdam, Netherlands-based unit, the people said, asking not to be identified because the deliberations are private. The decision making is at an early stage, and the companies may decide against a transaction, they said. ABN Amro Group NV is managing the process for HAL, the people said. Representatives for HAL, ABN Amro, Milan-based Amplifon, William Demant, EQT and Staefa, Switzerland-based Sonova declined to comment. A spokeswoman for Sivantos didn't immediately respond to an e-mail seeking comment. The hearing-aid industry has been a popular target for acquirers recently. Last year, William Demant, based in Denmark, agreed to buy Audika Groupe of France. In 2014, Amplifon bought a stake in a Brazilian hearing aid supplier as well as Audika's Italian assets. HAL, through its subsidiaries, owns and manages a wide range of companies from media to shipping services. At the end of 2014, AudioNova operated about 1,300 stores in a dozen European countries. Its revenues climbed 8.5 percent from a year earlier to 333 mil ion euros, according to HAL's website. (BN)  *ABN AMRO REPORTS CALL OF EU1 BLN PERPETUAL CAPITAL SECURITIES; *ABN TO EXERCISE RIGHT TO REDEEM
Davivienda Sells 71% Stake in Cifin to Transunion Netherlands II -- Co. sold 68,735 shrs for 629,563.37 pesos each. (BN)

Stock Markets, M&A and Other Corporate News
Stock markets:
Global Stock Rout Extends to Japan, Credit Risk Climbs With Yen -- The global stocks rout intensified with equities in Tokyo
sliding the most since August and index futures indicating U.S. stocks will add to declines that sent the Standard & Poor's 500 Index to a 22-month low. The yen reached its strongest since 2014 and corporate bond risk climbed. Stock gauges in Japan and Australia slumped and U.S. index futuresslid at least 0.8 percent. Markets from China to South Korea remained closed for Lunar New Year holidays. Evidence of mounting distress in global credit markets boosted government debt, with yields 10-year Japanese bonds tumbling as much as 5 basis points to below zero and Treasuries heading for their best start to a year since 1988. Gold was on track for its longest rally since 2011 as the yen surpassed 115 per dollar. Oil traded at about $30 a barrel. Japan's Topix index tumbled 5.5 percent in Tokyo, falling the most since Aug. 24 as banks and financial shares led losses. The Nikkei 225 Stock Average dropped 5.4 percent, its biggest decline since June 2013. Energy and banking shares led Australia's S&P/ASX 200 Index down 2.9 percent. The S&P/NZX 50 Index in Wellington lost 1.3 percent in its first day of trading this week. MSCI's All-Country World Index fell 0.4 percent, leaving it down 19 percent from a peak reached in May. Most investors regard a 20 percent retreat from a peak as the definition of a bear market. (BN)  Rout Worsens in U.S. Stocks as Nasdaq Lurches Toward Bear Market -- U.S. stocks tumbled, with the Standard & Poor's 500
Index falling to a 22-month low, as a second straight selloff pushed bank shares to the lowest since 2013 and left the Nasdaq Composite Index approaching a bear market. Equities pared declines in a late-session rebound sparked by gains in energy shares, with the Nasdaq Composite briefly cutting its drop by more than half. Inc., Facebook Inc. and Google parent Alphabet Inc. slid, bringing declines since Thursday to 3.5 percent or more in companies that held the market aloft in 2015. Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. tumbled more than 4.6 percent. The Nasdaq Biotechnology Index fell 3.2 percent. The Nasdaq Composite dropped 1.8 percent to 4,283.75 at 4 p.m. in New York, after falling as much as 3.5 percent. The gauge closed at its lowest since October 2014, and is down 18 percent from an all-time high in July. The S&P 500 fell 1.4 percent to 1,853.44, to its lowest close since April 2014. The Dow Jones Industrial Average slid 177.92 points, or 1.1 percent, to 16,027.05, trimming an afternoon drop of more than 400 points. (BN)

AFS Morning Note, February 9, 2016
European stocks are set for further losses with IG futures pointing to the DAX down 81 points and the FTSE down 30 points. (DJ)
Outgoing Henkel CEO Rorsted Says M&A Key to Plans: Handelsblatt -- Kasper Rorsted, the outgoing CEO of Henkel AG & Co.,
said acquisitions will be key to the household product maker's future and declined to comment on his plans as future CEO of Adidas AG in an interview with Handelsblatt. * Henkel has "a lot of wiggle room" on M&A, said Rorsted, who was CEO for eight years * Rorsted said he's stepped back from key decisions at Henkel * Declines comment on Adidas plans until he takes over as CEO in October (BN)
Other corporate news:
Sanofi Says 2016 Profit Won't Grow as Bestseller Lantus Fades -- Sanofi said profit won't show much change this year as
demand for new products offsets sliding sales of the company's best sel er, the insulin Lantus. Earnings per share excluding some costs and currency movements, which France's largest drugmaker calls business net income, will be "broadly stable" in 2016, the Paris-based company said in an e-mailed statement on Tuesday. The drugmaker reported fourth-quarter profit that beat analysts' estimates, though sales of Lantus disappointed. Chief Executive Officer Olivier Brandicourt, who took over in April, has pledged to slash 1.5 billion euros ($1.68 billion) in costs to help sustain growth through 2020 as Lantus fades. Sales of the drug dropped 13 percent to 1.54 billion euros last quarter, hurt by pricing pressures in the U.S. and competition in Europe. That's less than the 1.67 billion-euro average estimate of nine analysts. The company last week announced plans to cut 600 jobs in France. Business net income was 1.71 billion euros, or 1.31 euros a share, in the fourth quarter, down from 1.83 billion euros, or 1.39 euros a share, a year earlier. That beat the 1.28-euro average of 14 analyst estimates compiled by Bloomberg. Brandicourt is betting that new therapies such as Praluent, a powerful cholesterol treatment that first went on sale in July, the Toujeo insulin and Aubagio for multiple sclerosis, will help make up for the Lantus revenue shortfall. Revenue from Toujeo, now available in more than 20 countries, was 98 million euros (BN)in the quarter. Sanofi is in exclusive talks to trade its animal health business Merial with Germany's Boehringer Ingelheim GmbH's consumer-health operations. The company also is considering options for its European generics operations. Brandicourt has said he is seeking deal that will help Sanofi bolster its competitive position in areas such as oncology. The company will consider transactions as big as the $20.1 billion acquisition of Cambridge, Massachusetts-based Genzyme in 2011, the CEO said in January. In addition: * Newcomer Praluent records sales of 5 million euros * Board proposes dividend of 2.93 euros * Sanofi to continue allocating resources to its late-stage pipeline in 2016 * Genzyme unit sales surge 36 percent to 1.01 billion euros * Vaccines sales advance 23 percent to 1.44 billion euros (BN)  Sanofi Still Considering Options for EU Generics Business -- Sanofi mulling "multiple analyses" for EU generics business, aims
to make decision in previously announced time-frame of 12 months, CEO Brandicourt tells reporters on conf. call. * Stance on deals hasn't changed * Sanofi remains "vigilant" on transactions, will be "agile" when and if deal opportunity arises (BN)  Sanofi May Be in Clinic as Early as Next Year w/ Zika Candidate -- Co. is now testing whether or not there is cross-immunity
between Zika virus and dengue virus in quest for Zika virus vaccine candidate, CEO Brandicourt tells reporters on conference call. * Cross-immunity "probably unlikely" (BN)  Actelion FY Net Income, Oper Profit Beat Estimates -- Co. sees low single-digit percentage core operating income growth at
constant FX for FY 2016. * FY net rev. CHF2.05b vs est. CHF2.04b * FY operating profit CHF656m vs est. CHF650m * FY net income CHF552m vs est. CHF548.4m * Div. CHF1.50/shr vs BDVD est. CHF1.40/shr (BN)  Actelion FY Tracleer Sales In Line With Estimates -- Co. says its FY16 forecast assumes generic pressures (mainly in the U.S.)
and pricing pressure in Europe and Japan. * FY total product sales CHF2.04b, up 7% at constant FX * FY Tracleer sales CHF1.2b vs est. CHF1.21b * FY Opsumit sales CHF516m vs est. CHF519.5m (BN)  Yoox Net-A-Porter 2015 Pro-Forma Rev. Up 31% -- Yoox Net-A-Porter 2015 pro-forma rev. up 31% to EU1.67b. * 4Q pro-forma
net rev. up 28% to EU483.3m * 2015 pro-forma net rev. constant FX up 21%, 4Q up 19% * 2015 pro-forma Italy rev. constant FX up 20%, U.K. up 24%, Europe ex-Italy/U.K. up 21%, N. America up 20%, APAC up 23% * 27.1m avg. monthly unique visitors vs 23.6m in 2014 * 7.1m orders compared to 5.8m in 2014 * 2015 consolidated reported results up 76% to EU922.7m (BN)  TUI 1Q Rev. Beats Ests., Reiterates FY16 Outlook -- TUI 1Q rev. up 5.4% to EU3.72b, est. EU3.68b. * 1Q underlying Ebita loss
constant FX EU97.3m vs loss EU104.8m y/y * Reiterates FY16 outlook: At least 10% growth in underlying Ebita on constant FX basis * Says Northern Region, RIU and TUI Cruises deliver particularly strong operating performance * Has recorded a decline in demand for Turkey, with Summer 2016 bookings there currently down by 40%; own hotels in destinations outside Turkey such as Spain and in particular the Canaries are benefitting from this shift in demand * At 70%, occupancy of the luxury and expedition cruise ships of Hapag-Lloyd Cruises matched the prior year's level * Hotelbeds disposal process initiated (BN)  *TUI WRITES DOWN HAPAG-LLOYD STAKE, TAKING EU41.6M CHARGE; TUI'S 12.3% HAPAG-LLOYD STAKE NOW
German Cockpit Union Says in Talks With Air Berlin Over Wages -- Germany's Cockpit pilots union, Air Berlin in talks over
wage agreement to replace existing one that expires at yr end, union says in e-mailed statement. * Draft agreement not yet available (BN)  *SECURITAS PROPOSES DIVIDEND OF SK3.5/SHR; BDVD EST. SK3.30; 4Q NET SK668.6 MLN; EST SK717 MLN; 4Q OP.
INCOME BEFORE AMORTIZATION SK1.13 BLN; 4Q ORGANIC SALES GROWTH 7% (BN)  Funds Short Berkeley to Bet Against London High-End Market: FT -- Odey Asset Mgmt, BlueMountain Capital Mgmt,
Anchorage Capital took short positions against Berkeley Group worth 2.2% of its share capital in Jan., FT says, citing data disclosed to U.K.'s Financial Conduct Authority. * Funds are using Berkeley as proxy for new high-end London property, with signs Asian, Russian buyers are pulling back from market * Analysts say co. is well-positioned to continue growth * NOTE: Feb. 3, U.K. Housebuilding Sector To Deliver Strong Growth: Canaccord (BN)

AFS Morning Note, February 9, 2016
Central Banks, Macro and Geopolitics
Greece: no stories
ECB's Coeure Says Further Easing Is Possible in March -- European Central Bank Executive Board member Benoit Coeure
says that the central bank will examine economic conditions at its March meeting and decide whether further monetary stimulus is needed then. He speaks on BFM radio. * "We certainly won't react to pressure from the markets. We won't react to short-term changes. We'll react if our analysis shows that the fundamentals, underlying factors change. So for example growth in the emerging markets is something we're watching. The inflation trend in the euro zone is obviously something we're watching. But we look at the medium-term trends." * ECB is watching very closely for signs of bubbles in euro zone * ECB doesn't currently see any signs of bubbles in euro zone * Weaker emerging market currencies is a risk, needs to be dealt with at the global level (BN)
Eurozone (member states):
German Industrial Production Unexpectedly Fell in December -- German industrial production unexpectedly fell for a second
month in December, a sign that a slowdown in major export markets is holding back factory activity despite strong domestic demand. Output, adjusted for seasonal swings and inflation, fell 1.2 percent from November, when it declined by a revised 0.1 percent, data from the Economy Ministry in Berlin showed on Tuesday. The reading, which tends to be volatile, compares with a median estimate for a 0.5 percent increase in a Bloomberg survey of economists. Slowing demand from abroad has been a major headwind for industrial output in Germany. Growth in China, for instance, is expected to slow to 6.3 percent in 2016 from 6.9 percent last year and 7.3 percent in 2014, the International Monetary Fund said in its World Economic Outlook released last month. China is Germany's fourth-largest export market, based on data published by the federal statistics office last year. German manufacturing output slid 1.1 percent, driven by a 2.6 percent slump in the production of investment goods. Energy production declined 3 percent and consumer goods output fell 1.4 percent. (BN)  Interventionist French Foreign Minister Fabius Expected to Step Down --French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius is expected to
step down in the coming weeks, according to French officials, removing an architect of France's hawkish stance in the Middle East and Africa from the world stage. President François Hollande is considering appointing Mr. Fabius to France's constitutional court in March when one of the high court's judges is due to retire, the officials said. Mr. Fabius declined to comment. Mr. Fabius's expected departure raises questions about whether Paris might temper assertive aspects of its foreign policy, ranging from France's military campaign against Islamist militants in Africa to its support for rebels fighting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. The candidates being considered to replace Mr. Fabius include Environment Minister Ségolène Royal, the people said. Ms. Royal, who is also the mother of Mr. Hollande's children, recently led a ceremony at the Arc de Triomphe to welcome Cuban President Raúl Castro to France for a historic state visit. Élisabeth Guigou, a lawmaker who chairs a foreign-affairs committee in the French legislature, and trade minister Matthias Fekl are also in the running, the people said. (DJ)  Irish Central Bank Posts EU1b Capital Gain on Bonds: Irish Times -- Irish Central Bank realized a capital gain of EU1.07b in
2015 on the disposal of govt bonds held after the Anglo Irish Bank promissory note deal, Irish Times reports, citing a response to a parliamentary question by Finance Minister Michael Noonan. * Central bank said to have sold EU2b of bonds last year (BN)
SNB Hasn't Yet Reached Rock Bottom on Deposit Rate, Jordan Says -- The Swiss National Bank could reduce its already
negative deposit rate further, its President Thomas Jordan said. The rate can be "lower than it is where we are now," he said at a business event in Bern when asked how much further it could drop from its current minus 0.75 percent. In January 2015, the prospect of quantitative easing in the euro area led Switzerland's central bank to drop its currency ceiling, set in 2011 after investors flocked to assets perceived as safe amid the debt crisis. For the past year the SNB has pursued a twin-pillar policy of a negative deposit rate and a pledge to intervene in currency markets if necessary. "It's not just about foreign capital, it's about having market conditions generally that make the franc less attractive," Jordan said. (BN)  SNB's Jordan Says Policy Designed to Make Franc Less Attractive -- "It's not just about foreign capital, it's about having market
conditions generally that make the franc less attractive," Swiss National Bank President Thomas Jordan says at event in Bern. * Policy consists of negative interest rates, willingness to intervene in currency markets * Convinced decision to give up cap on franc of 1.20 per euro in Jan. 2015 was right * "Very surprising" cap was in place for more than 3 yrs (BN)
Fed/North America:
Fed May Lack Legal Authority for Negative Rates: 2010 Memo -- The Federal Reserve may not have the legal authority to set
negative interest rates in the U.S., according to a 2010 staff memo that was posted late last month on the central bank's website. The document, which is dated Aug. 5, 2010, and was publicly released on Jan. 29, suggests the law that authorized the Fed to pay interest on excess reserves, or IOER, may not grant it the authority to charge interest. That could constrain the central bank's ability to take interest rates below zero, though it might be able to find a work-around. Speculation has increased that the Fed might consider negative rates in the next economic downturn as concerns of a U.S. slowdown have mounted. This also follows recent moves to cut borrowing costs below zero by central banks in Europe and Japan that show it can be done. The opinion of Fed staff back in 2010 was that this would difficult under U.S. law. "There are several potentially substantial legal and practical constraints to implementing a negative IOER rate regime, some of which would be binding at any IOER rate below zero, even a rate just slightly below zero," the authors wrote. "Most notably, it is not at all clear that the Federal Reserve Act permits negative IOER rates, and more staff analysis would be needed to establish the Federal Reserve's authority in this area." (BN)

AFS Morning Note, February 9, 2016
SF Fed: Long Recovery Not Fragile or Jeopardized by Small Shocks -- "Current recovery is not living on borrowed time," "is no
more likely to end simply because it's approaching its seventh birthday," according to SF Fed paper released Monday. * "All else equal, longer expansions are no more likely to end than shorter ones," Glenn Rudebusch, SF Fed's research director, writes in economic letter released Monday * Most recent recovery has lasted since June 2009, or 6.5 yrs; that's "substantially longer than most" * Rudebusch disputes idea that recovery could be jeopardized by smaller shocks; paper looks at duration of postwar U.S. expansions, as well as probability of a recession in any mo. * Increased share of services in economy since World War II tends to diminish importance of inventory fluctuations and moderate the business cycle * Postwar shift to less fragile recoveries reflects influence of federal govt focused on stabilizing economy (BN)  BoC's Lane Says Negative Rates Aren't Needed Now in Canada -- Bank of Canada Deputy Governor Tim Lane answers
questions after speech in Montreal. * Central bank understands extraordinary monetary policy steps could have some negative effects on economy, though costs would need to be weighed against benefits * Extraordinary stimulus not needed now for Canadian economy * China isn't undergoing an extreme slowdown * Canada has a two-speed economy * On divergence with Federal Reserve: flexible currency allows the Bank of Canada to set independent policy * There's no need for BoC to follow Fed, since Canada has independent policy * Higher rates in U.S. could tighten financial conditions in Canada. It could also weaken Canadian dollar. (BN)
Yen Jumps to 2014 High as Japan 10-Year Yield Drops Below Zero -- The yen strengthened past 115 per dollar for the first time
in more than a year and Japan's benchmark 10-year yield fell in an unprecedented decline below zero as haven assets benefited from concern that global growth is fading. Japan's currency, which climbs in times of turmoil thanks to the nation's current-account surplus, rose against all 31 major peers as the Topix index of shares tumbled 5.5 percent. The yield on the nation's 10-year notes has dropped from 0.22 percent on Jan. 28, the day before the central bank unexpectedly announced it would lower rates on excess reserves to minus 0.1 percent. Worldwide financial turmoil has halted the U.S. dollar's 1 1/2-year climb as traders unwind bets that the Federal Reserve will tighten borrowing costs this year after increasing rates in December for the first time in almost a decade. The yen gained 0.9 percent to 114.78 per dollar as of 6:45 a.m. in London, and touched 114.21, the highest since November 2014. It gained 0.8 percent to 128.61 per euro. The dollar fell 0.1 percent to $1.1204 against Europe's shared currency. (BN)
Asia Pacific excluding Japan & China:
North Korea Undeterred as Kim Seeks Rocket Able to Target U.S. -- Kim Jong Uncan't be deterred. The North Korean leader,
whose Feb. 7 long-range rocket launch drew condemnation from China, Russia and the U.S., showed again that global criticism and the threat of more sanctions won't sway him from his ultimate goal: building a missile that can strike the U.S. United Nations Security Council representatives met soon after the launch and vowed to adopt new restrictions on North Korea. China, the country's biggest trading partner, criticized the launch, while South Korea and the U.S. said they would discuss deploying new defensive systems on the peninsula. That won't stop Kim. "Their principle objective is to have the ability to be able to threaten the U.S. homeland with nuclear attack," said Joseph DeThomas, a former U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Nonproliferation. While missile technology experts say North Korea is years away from achieving the technical sophistication to wage a nuclear strike on American soil, the launch by the isolated nation was a step forward, carrying a payload double the weight of the previous launch. (BN)  Thai Central Bank Chief Saving Rate Cuts for External Shocks -- Thailand's central bank is keeping its powder dry on interest
rates and is ready to act in the event of external shocks including a sustained decline in oil prices and even slower growth in China, Governor Veerathai Santiprabhob said. The Bank of Thailand has "limited scope" to reduce rates because borrowing costs are already near a record low but has "reserved some space" to act if needed, he said. Veerathai and the other six members of the bank's Monetary Policy Committee voted unanimously Feb. 3 to hold the rate at 1.5 percent for a sixth straight meeting. "Even though we say that for now we see limited need for further easing of monetary policy, it doesn't mean we shut the door for the possibility for easing in monetary policy if the environment doesn't turn out as we expected," Veerathai, 46, said Monday at his office in Bangkok. "If such a shock occurs coming from outside, the MPC would like to have some space to be able to become more accommodative." While Thailand has benefited from the slump in oil prices because it's a net importer of energy, the nation's exports have tumbled for three straight years as Chinese demand cooled. Asia's biggest economy was dethroned by the U.S. as the biggest overseas market for Thai goods last year, but remains the largest source of visitors to Thailand. (BN)  IMF Says RBNZ Should Stand Ready to Ease Further If Needed -- International Monetary Fund publishes report on 2015 Article
IV consultation with New Zealand. * "Directors considered the current accommodative monetary stance to be appropriate and agreed that, if needed, the authorities should stand ready for further easing given low inflationary pressures and below potential output": IMF * New Zealand economy continues to perform well despite slowdown imposed by fall in dairy prices, plateaued investment associated with the Canterbury rebuild, slower growth in trading partners * Sound and flexible policy frameworks, including buffer provided by flexible exchange rate, position country well to weather recent slowdown * "Medium-term prospects remain positive" * Encouraged by authorities' alertness to downside risks and challenges arising from real estate market pressures, persistently low savings rate, relatively low productivity * Says NZ dollar now less overvalued than it was; may be 0-10% overvalued, "though there are uncertainties around these estimates" (BN)
Nordics: no stories

AFS Morning Note, February 9, 2016
Eastern Europe:
Currency Interventions Jumped Before Czechs Delayed Cap Exit -- The Czech central bank stepped up koruna sales in
December, about a month before it announced the extension of its intervention regime and consideredmore measures to defend the Swiss-style currency cap. Policy makers in Prague bought foreign currencies worth 1.54 billion euros ($1.72 billion) in the last month of 2015 to prevent the exchange rate from appreciating past the limit set at about 27 per euro, the Czech National Bank said on its website on Monday. The intervention volume was more than four times higher than in the previous month and the highest since September. Robust economic growth in the Czech Republic and the European Central Bank's expanded monetary stimulus are boosting demand for the koruna, forcing rate setters in Prague to deter capital inflows that could undermine their efforts to push up inflation. The central bank last week extended the duration of the currency cap, pledging to keep it in place until 2017, and said it was considering negative interest rates as an additional tool. (BN)
Rest of the world: no stories

AFS Morning Note, February 9, 2016
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IUG Journal of Natural and Engineering Studies Vol.20, No.1, pp 31-39 2012, ISSN 1726-6807, The Dispensing Practice Of The Over The Counter Drugs In The Gaza Strip. Jehad Hammad1, Hisham Qusa1, Khamis Elessi1, Yousif Aljeesh2 1- Department of pharmacology, Faculty of Medicine, Islamic University Gaza (IUG)