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Thursday June 19, 2008 - 16:44:10 GMT
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Forex Blog - U.S. Market Update

Dow -27 S&P -4.2 NASDAQ +3.5

- Markets this morning are focusing on what else but oil and financials. Goldman Sachs raised oil services companies to attractive from neutral, helping the OIH and its various components to early gains. Crude prices were pushing back towards all time highs heading into the Nymex open after RDS.A said it shut its Nigerian Bonga oil field (225K bpd) following fresh attacks by rebels. The energy complex sold off sharply on the NY equity open after
China said it was cutting subsidies on gasoline, diesel and jet fuel prices effective this coming Friday. The August crude contract has sold off more than $5 from its highs to trade near the $134 mark while gasoline has given back more than 2. 5% on the session. Managed care names are under pressure after CVH-22% cut guidance for the coming quarter and the year due to increasing Medicare costs. BMO Capital and Wachovia cut the name overnight. Healthcare names UNH, CI, HUM and WLP were down on the open but recovering somewhat after both AET and HUM came out and reaffirmed guidance in response to the CVH news. Other healthcare stocks are thriving: USNA+10% after boosting earnings guidance, HWAY+11.6% after reporting in-line with estimates and guiding higher for the year and AHG+27% after Blackstone said it would acquire the firm for $21/shr. Lower energy prices are failing ot have an overall positive effect as the major indices have made new lows late in the morning session driven by weakness in the financials once again. The Citigroup CFO warned of more writedowns from subprime and potential Q2 charges from thinner credit spreads sending the BKX back to levels not seen since the 2002 recession. C -4.3% BAC -4.4% JPM -4% WFC -2.5% In other news, PIR-20% is getting destroyed after missing on earnings and HUN-38% as further doubts swirl around its proposed merger deals with Hexion.

- U.S. Treasury yields remain higher on the session showing very little reaction the latest disturbing news from Citigroup and a worse than expected June Philly Fed reading. Within the Philly data the prices paid component did rise to its highest level since 1980 sending yields to session highs. The 10-year has since backed off just below the 4.20% level and the 2-year trades at 2.90%.

- In currencies, the session was a turbulent as dealers analyzed a slew of geopolitical and economic events impacting commodity prices. Overall the USD was mixed against the major currency pairs as forces in
Europe, Nigeria and China proved to be the main driver of price action. Oil was the obvious candidate as Nigerian militant group MEND took credit for two fresh attacks on oil facilities in that country. NYMEX Oil futures probed the $138 area before sharply revering on talk that China raised gas prices by CNY1,000 per ton (later confirmed).

- EUR/USD continues to huddle around the 1.55 area. Dealers are attributing USD strength in today's session to the implication of the SNB's decision to hold rates steady as a potential sign for the ECB. German Gov't advisor Bofinger complemented that view as he sees inflation easing as economic growth slows in the Euro Zone. The advisor added that that the ECB may be wrong in raising interest rates.

- CAD firmed in the
US morning after headline CPI data for Canada came n above expectations. USD/CAD traded below the 1.0150 area to approach the 1.01 handle. Dealers noted that Canadian core inflation came in as expected. EUR/CAD was lower by 150 pips at 1.5680 area.

- European Fixed Income futures were broadly lower as inflationary concerns remain a favorite topic among most European officials and central bankers. EU's Juncker reiterated Euro Zone inflation was too high and is far from ECB price stability target. Juncker added that inflation remains a concern not only for ECB, but for the entire EU. Finland Finance Minister: also expressed concern about Euro Zone inflation, but remained positive that inflation will subside as oil prices decline. Sept Bunds -47 ticks at 109.84; Sept Gilt softer by 49 ticks at 103.66.
UK futures assisted by above expected retail sales data released prior to the US open.

- Euro Stoxx 50 -0.2% at 3,500; FTSE 100 Index -0.6% at 5,725; CAC 40 Index -0.2% at 4,610 and DAX Index -0.255 at 6, 745.


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AA 08:30 GB- Retail Sales
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