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Tuesday June 24, 2008 - 16:59:26 GMT
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Forex Blog - U.S. Market Update

Dow - 3.3 NASDAQ -12 S&P -1

- Markets started the day by sliding lower in the wake of further negative housing and consumer confidence data, and a profit warning out of UPS, but have been rallying in mid-morning trading. Financials have help spark the turnaround after opening lower once again. Many of the major US banks and broker/dealers have rallied 2%+ from opening levels helping the Dow and S&P go green. The S&P/Case-Shiller home-price index dropped 15.3% y/y, although this drop was less than forecast. Data showed that home prices are still generally sliding, signaling the recession in housing is far from over. The gauge has fallen every month since January 2007. Meanwhile, the June Consumer Confidence poll slipped to its fifth-lowest reading ever. UPS-5% cut its earnings outlook for the coming quarter, citing an “anemic” economy and surging fuel costs. UPS's CFO noted that the cost of jet fuel has risen 30% since the start of its second quarter, representing the single biggest factor in its reduced EPS outlook. Goldman and GM are helping markets recover: GS+3% after saying its Alpha Fund is up nearly 20% ytd, while GM+5% is surging as hopeful bargain hunters pick up the stock after its shares moved to a 27-year low this morning. DOW-3% announced its second major price hikes in a month, citing "relentless" energy cost increases. Steel has been in play, with both RS and X jumping before the open and then trending lower: RS raised its Q2 outlook thanks to higher prices for carbon steel, while X's CEO stated that he sees increasing steel prices. Coal names ACI, ANR and MEE are down 2% or more after the Wall Street Journal wrote that
US coal producers are struggling to meet demand; note that BTU is bucking this trend, rising about 2% in early trading. Treasury prices have been higher throughout the session, but yields have lifted back towards their early tops of today's range as stocks have rebounded. The 10-year briefly traded below 4.10% while the benchmark curve has continued to steepen.

- The USD remained on the defensive through most of the
New York morning as firmer commodities continued to weigh on dollar sentiment. After a brief recovery following denials from Iran, Israel and US officials regarding rumors of an attack on an Iranian nuclear facility, the USD was hampered by the weak US housing and consumer confidence data. EUR/USD was back above the 1.56 handle as it lost 80+ pips since the opening levels in Asia. Former Fed Chairman Greenspan noted that current data shows the US is on the brink of recession, but noted that the Fed's actions in March reduced the chances of recession.

- Geopolitical concerns continue to meddle in commodity prices. Commodities were initially led higher after OPEC's El-Badri stated that he was not aware of any Kuwaiti hikes in oil production, adding that OPEC members (besides
Saudi Arabia) don't want to boost output. Known ECB hawks were vocal during the US morning: the ECB's Ordonez noted that risks to price stability have risen and said he sees increased risks of second round CPI effects. The ECB's Orphanides bluntly stated that the market's expectations for a July rate hike were appropriate, and that if inflation prospects worsen after July further action may be necessary. Lastly, ECB's Bini Smagi added that it is the responsibility of the EU to push growth, reiterating that price stability is the ECB's primary mandate.

- USD/JPY continues to display a lack of momentum, hovering around 200-day moving average in the 108.00 area. The yen crosses were mixed as the JPY balance the demand of Japanese investors seeking overseas yields and risk aversion concerns as equity markets were lower on inflationary concerns. CAD and AUD held steady on firmer oil and gold prices: USD/CAD at 1.0145 and AUD/USD at 0.9570.

- Elsewhere, the Indian Central Bank raised its Repo rate for the second time this month. The RBI raised rates by 50 bps to 8.50%, saying the rate increase was aimed at anchoring inflationary expectations.

- Sept Bund +7 ticks at 110.56; Sept Gilts -14 at 104. 21. Euro Stoxx 50 -0.9% at 3,395; FTSE 100 Index -0.6% at 5,631; CAC 40 Index -0.9% at 4,470 and DEX Index


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