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Friday March 28, 2008 - 16:48:24 GMT
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U.S. Market Update

U.S. Market Update

Dow +32 S&P +3.5 NASDAQ +9.5

U.S. equity markets opened modestly higher, but indices are struggling to build momentum as distinct weakness can still be seen in many of the major institutions. BSC -4% MER -3% C -2.5% WM -3% LEH has pushed back into negative territory after gapping up on the open following an upgrade. JCP Penny guided Q1 eps well below consensus estimates pressuring multiple names within the group. JCP -8% TGT -2% SHLD -2.5% TJX -2.3% KSS -6% M -6% Bucking the trend are steel and iron ore names after strong results from global giant Rio Tinto. RTP +1.3% BHP +1.3% X +4% STLD +3% AKS +3% Treasury prices are ticking a little higher but yields are staying within recent ranges. The 10-year is holding near 3.50% while the 2-year is staying just above 1.7%. Overall with this morning's spending and PCE data failing sound any inflation alarms and continued soft housing and durable goods data earlier this week; we have seen the May fed fund future odds of a 50 basis point cut drift back towards 50%, the highest in some time. Commodity markets were under some early pressure igniting the usual rumors of a fund being forced to liquidate positions. Crude backed off towards $105 and is still off 1.6% while June gold traded back towards $930 before bouncing back near $940.

- A plethora of central bank speakers just ahead of the
US open provided for some choppy price movements in the majors. The USD was softer as ECB members continued their verbal assault on containing inflationary expectations. Ultra-hawk Weber reiterated his view that price pressures remain “alarmingly high” and continues to see upward risks to medium term scenario. ECB's Stark echoed that sentiment as well. Fed's Plosser countered with some hawkish inflation speak of his own noting that the Fed could lose its inflation fighting reputation He also added that the Fed would continue to act in line with historical reputation. Dealers noted that the Fed performed a slight drain in its liquidity operation on Friday with a 3-day reverse repo. Noting that the function likely had to do with quarter end adjustment of bank's reserves ratios, but speculation did rise that if the drain is performed again on Monday then it could be a policy signal. The EUR/USD was trading at 1.5755, off session highs of 1.5839. Renewed rumors of losses at a German bank resurfaced as well late in the NY morning. The GBP was off its worst level from the European morning after the release of the March Nationwide House Price data. EUR/GBP did hit fresh all-time highs above the 0.7925 level and GBP/USD approached the 1.99 level. GBP rebounded was aided by the improvement in its Q4 current account data. Overall the USD continued to maintain a consolidating tone against the other majors when viewed over the course of the week. JPY is softer as dealers discuss the impact of the new Japanese fiscal year that begins on April 1st and JPY1T in Toshin funds that appear ready for launch. June Bunds futures dropped dramatically on a 'fat finger trade'. The June contract hit a low of 113.98 from 115.60 area. A Eurex official stated that all June futures trades will stand in today's session and that no trades would be reversed. June Bunds at 115.74, down 4 ticks; June Gilts at 110.68, up 68 ticks Euro Stoxx 50 -0.2% at 3,643; FTSE 100 Index -0.2% at 5,707; CAC 40 Index at 4,703, -0.35% and DAX -0.1% at 6, 567

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