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US Market Update
S&P -12 Nasdaq -25
US equities were lower by 0.75% in mid-
morning trading following the soft Durable good data and resurfacing geo-
political concerns. Nov Durable Good came in at 0.1%well below expectation
of 2.0%, reinforced by a drop in the Ex-Transportation component.
The financial sector remained hampered by subprime issues after
Goldman Sachs revised thier estimates for numerous US brokerage houses and
banks. Goldman noted that Citigroup could cut its dividend by 40% to
preserve capital and encounter a potential Q4 CDO-related write-off of up
to $18.7B. SLM also traded sharply lower this morning after it announced a
$2.5B offering to raise capital to settle contracts. PPG is trading down
about 3% after Platinum Equity terminated its agreement to buy PPG's auto
glass unit for $500M.
Geo-political concerns continue to
impact commodity prices. Gold tested one-month highs above the $830 level
this morning on safe-have related buying after Pakistani opposition leader
Benazir Bhutto was assassinated after a rally. Various acts of violence
were reported as word of the assassination spread through Pakistan.
Oil continues its push higher this session as the front month
contract broke above the $97 handle. Crude futures were moving towards
their best level since Nov 26th. Crude also aided by the weekly inventory
report, which saw a drop of 3.3M barrels against consensus expectations of
1.7M fall in inventories. The all-time high in front monde Nymex cruse is
99.29 set back on Nov 21st.
The USD was probing 3-week lows
against various European currencies as higher commodity prices weighed down
upon the greenback. China Statistical Office official noted overnight that
the falling USD is pushing up commodity prices. The EUR/USD tested 1.4570
during the NY morning. Euro also helped by regional German inflation data
which is showing the average 2007 CPI at +2.2%, Highest Since 2001.
CHF firmer on some safe-haven buying following the Pakistani news.
Commodity currencies just off their best levels for the session.
USD/CAD at 0.9810 and AUD/USD at 0.8760
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