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Primary markets: New issues pick up on warmer summer sentiment

Bankers report a material shift in confidence levels among investors

After a relatively quiet couple of months in Europe, in which the volume of new equity capital market deals fell to less than half the January and March highs of about $21 billion, the volume of new deals took off again in June. In the first three weeks of June nearly $18 billion of deals took off, equivalent to the volume of the previous two months combined, led by large well-flagged privatization sales for France Telecom and Deutsche Post.

"Post the drop in equity markets in mid March and the credit market correction in May, markets have changed and have a much better feel," says Ed Sankey, head of the European syndicate at Deutsche Bank. "Investors had been very cautious, but seem to have had a material shift in sentiment."

Indeed, after an eight-point drop in the State Street Investor Confidence Index last month, which fell to its lowest point in over a year, the confidence index bounced back up in June by 3.1 points, driven more by sentiment than improvements in fundamentals.

"The underlying market is better and investors are feeling a lot more comfortable right now," says Michael Schaftel, European head of syndicate at Morgan Stanley.

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