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Friday April 18, 2008 - 17:35:42 GMT
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U.S. Market Update

U.S. Market Update

Dow +243 S&P +27 NASDAQ +64.5

- Markets are surging this morning on positive earnings news out of Dow components C, CAT and HON, as well as tech bellwether GOOG. The DJIA is up more than 200 points, above its 200- day EMA for first time since the very beginning of the year, while the Nasdaq and S&P have penetrated their 90-day EMAs. The dollar was seen strengthening and money is coming out of most commodities, with June gold down more than $30 testing its 90-day moving average to the downside. Market participants appear to be taking the good news as further proof that overly gloomy economic prognostication is misplaced and that the slowing economy won't crimp corporate earnings across the board. Citigroup's is up nearly 7% after reporting a $5.1B loss and more than $12B in additional write-downs. Industrial giant CAT reported a 13% jump in profits before the bell and was up nearly 3% in early action only to rise an additional 4% by late morning. HON's big earnings gain along with CAT's highlighted strong global growth; reaffirming the belief that GE's miss was more company/financial specific rather than an indication that the
US slowdown has spread overseas. GOOG climbed nearly 20% in early trading on yesterday's impressive earnings and revenue news, answering the WSJ and other commentators' speculation on whether the internet giant could continue to grow in the face of the economic downturn. SLB opened lower after missing estimates, but was up 8% by mid morning. The CEO did note that prices in the North American well stimulation market have hit bottom. SLB's reversal as well as that of crude which has moved out to another new all-time high above $116 sent the OIH to new 9-month high. Traders should note that April equity options expire today, which is adding overall trading volume. Better equity markets have helped keep the upward pressure on U.S. Treasury yields. The 2-year yield worked its way back 2.25% for the first time since mid-Feb while the 10-year is above 3.80%. The May fed fund future contract has fully priced out any chance for a 50 bp cut and now sees less than 90% odds of a 25 bp move.

- In currencies, the USD firmed against the Euro and CHF pairs just ahead of the
US open aided by a surge in dollar Libor fixing and “better” earnings from Citigroup. The dollar Libor rate has surged by 17bps over the last two sessions, the most since August. Dealers also noted good selling from Western European names throughout Friday's session. ECB speak remains on the hawkish side, but the ECB's Hurley added a dovish tone to his recent hawkish tone when he stated that Euro Zone inflation should moderate over the coming year. Just prior to the European close ECB's Liebscher bluntly added that he sees no room for an interest rate cut and did not rule out interest rate hikes. The ECB remains concerned over the 3.6% March inflation rate and very, very worried about EUR/USD testing the 1.5700 area after probing 1.5950 in pre European trading. Recent verbal intervention over the course of the week has capped the EUR from testing the 1.60 handle thus far. Dealers note that the post G7 low in EUR/USD was 1.5625 in pre-Asian trading back on April 14th will be the next critical pivot point. GBP exhibited strength after the UK's DMO stated that there would be no change in the size of 2008-09 gilts sales from the previously stated £80B. GBP was softer on speculation that the bond offering would be increased. The JPY continued to soften as dealers noted that the degree of risk aversion appears to be waning, particularly after earnings releases from several US financials during the latter part of the week with C, MER, JPM and WFC fairing better than consensus expectations. Dealers also noted good demand for $1B in real estate bonds issued by LEH and UBS as a further sign of stabilization in the global financial markets. EUR/JPY hitting new 2008 highs of 164.40 level, USD/JPY breaking above the 104 handle. EUR/CHF is up over 130 pips at 1.6125. The commodity-related currencies were mixed and choppy during the US morning. CAD displayed a delayed reaction to its softer CPI data, but USD/CAD managed some upside momentum post data to test 1.0140 before moving back towards parity. A late rebound in oil prices helping firm the CAD data. Nigerian militant group MEND said it will step up attacks on oil industry.

- The Central Bank of
Mexico left its overnight interest rate unchanged at7.5%, as expected. Fixed-income yields were higher on the USD Libor surge, higher oil prices and sector rotation out into stocks June Bund off 80 ticks at 113.69; June Gilts off 91 ticks at 107.94. Euro Stoxx 50 +2.35 at 3,812; FTSE 100 Index +1.1% at 6,048; CAC 40 Index +2.2% at 4, 968; DAX +2.5% at 6,852

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