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Monday April 21, 2008 - 15:54:54 GMT
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Mid-Morning Market Update: Treasuries Continue Sell-Off Despite Equity Slide

10:55 04/21 (CEP News) – The Bank of America reported a disappointing set of figures but Treasuries continue to sell off even as stocks slip. The Canadian dollar and TSX are up after oil surged to a new high of $117.60 a barrel.

Analysts surveyed by Bloomberg expected Bank of America first-quarter profits of 41 cents per share but the banking giant earned only 25 cents. The company announced writedowns of $6.01 billion and CEO Kenneth Lewis said second-quarter U.S. GDP growth will be "minimal at best."

Following the earnings report, U.S. equity futures and overseas bourses fell to session lows, the U.S. dollar neared an all-time low against the euro and Treasuries briefly rallied. After months of rallying, Treasuries sold off sharply last week and that trend continued on Monday.

Strategists noted a stabilization in U.S. dollar LIBOR. One-month LIBOR rates increased to 2.90% from 2.87% while three-month rates increased to 2.92% from 2.91%.

“The modest rise in libor overnight suggests the drama there is reaching its end. Second, with Fed Funds futures and our own call consistent that it's a 25 bps ease next week, we think the disappointment trade has largely been seen,” wrote David Ader, U.S. government bond strategist at RBS Greenwich, in a note to clients.

U.S. two-year yields were up 0.9 bps to 2.14%, five-year yields flat at 2.90%, 10-year yields up 0.8 bps to 3.71% and 30-year yields up 0.9 bps to 4.50%. The Dow Jones Industrial Average is down 88.83 points to 12760.53, the S&P 500 down 9.88 points to 1380.45 and the NASDAQ down 9.64 points to 2393.33.

Canadian markets have been buoyed by high oil prices. Toronto's S&P TSX composite index was up 31.48 points to 14268.54 while the Canadian dollar was up 0.10 cents to 0.9971 against the USD (1.00265 USD/CAD). Yields on two-year Canadian government bonds were down 1.7 bps to 2.85%, five-year yields down 1.8 bps to 3.17%, 10-year yields down 1.8 bps to 3.67% and 30-year yields down 1.0 bp to 4.13%.

Oil hit an all-time high after Royal Dutch Shell said it will temporarily stop exports from a port in Nigeria following a pipeline attack last week. The UK-based company announced it will interrupt exports beginning April 22 after announcing force majeure. The move stops 169k barrels a day of crude exports.

Futures on WTI crude oil are down $0.33 to $116.36 while gold futures at the Chicago Board of Trade are up $5.90 to $921.10.

Overseas, fixed income has been outperforming the U.S.

Yields on UK two-year bonds were down 4.9 bps to 4.32%, five-year yields were down 6.2 bps to 4.35%, 10-year yields were down 7.3 bps to 4.66% and 30-year yields were down 5.2 bps to 4.55%.

The UK rally followed a Bank of England plan to allow UK banks to swap mortgage-backed assets for government bonds, which is in the pipeline. The central bank said the preliminary size of the plan is likely to be around £50 billion, with an asset swap permitted for a period of one year, which may be renewed for a total of three years.

UK government debt was also aided by a Rightmove report on UK housing that showed year-over-year house prices increased by only 1.3% in April following a 5.0% gain in March. The property website noted that the drop indicated sellers were recognizing that a decade of rising UK house prices had come to an end.

In Germany, returns on two-year German Bunds were down 5.6 bps to 3.78%, five-year yields were down 5.6 bps to 3.86%, 10-year yields were down 2.0 bps to 4.11% and 30-year yields were down 1.4 bps to 4.65%.

European Central Bank Governing Council member Klaus Liebscher said record oil prices are beginning to push up wages and noted that “second-round effects are appearing in some countries in the euro area.” Liebscher said that even though risks to the euro zone economy were on the “downside”, there is no room to cut rates.

European stock markets are declining, with the Eurostoxx down 45.07 points to 3153.36, the UK FTSE 100 down 28.40 points to 6028.10 and the German DAX down 84.75 points to 6758.33.

In foreign exchange, the euro strengthened following Liebscher’s comments and continued to gain following the Bank of America earnings report. It is up 1.03 cents to 1.5920 against the U.S. dollar. The all-time high of 1.5983 was reached on April 17.

The U.S. dollar is down 0.25 to 103.42 against the yen. The pound sterling was down 1.20 cents to 1.9858 USD while the Australian dollar hit a one-month high and is up by 0.80 cents to 0.9423 USD. The U.S. Dollar Index is down 0.241 points to 71.683.

All data taken at 10:36 a.m. EDT.

By Adam Button, [email protected], edited by Nancy Girgis, [email protected]

(END) ©CEP Newswires - ©CEP News Ltd. 2008. All Rights Reserved.


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