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Thursday June 26, 2008 - 16:55:46 GMT
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Forex Blog - U.S. Market Update

Dow -209 S&P -22.8 NASDAQ -54.8

- Indices are tumbling this morning, with the Dow moving below its 2008 intra-day low to levels not seen since late 2006. Crude jumped above $139/bbl at the open of NYC floor trading after
Libya threatened to reduce output and OPEC President Khelil said prices could hit $150-170/bbl over the summer; all against the backdrop of a declining US Dollar. Goldman set the tone for stocks with another disconcerting call in the financials, downgrading the US brokers to neutral and warning that C-6% may need to write down an additional $8.9B in the coming quarter. According to the Goldman analyst, US brokers will take longer to recovery than previously thought, and recommended going long MS, which only lost 2% or so, versus the four and five percent drops for the rest of the major investment banks. MER is falling past a five-year low. RIMM-12% is helping the Nasdaq plunge, after missing earnings and revenue expectations by a hair and guiding below consensus estimates for the coming quarter. Nike -9% has run into some trouble after reporting results as well. Both Merrill Lynch and BMO were out defending the name before the open, without apparent effect. GM-9.5% is stalling badly in early trading, passing its 50-year low; this comes after Goldman cut the name to a sell and Fitch's downgrade yesterday afternoon. Pre-market equity weakness was exacerbated by a rumor out of European markets suggesting a liquidity cruch is looking more and more likely for several of the major auto makers in 2009 and could lead to a bankruptcy filing at Chrysler. The chapter 11 rumor was subsequently denied by a Co. spokesperson, but the damage had been done adding to the pressure on stocks and the Dollar while fortifying gains in commodities. Elsewhere in the auto industry OSK-18% is hurting after slashing its guidance for the coming quarter on rising fuel and material costs. Some bright spots this morning include BBBY+5% after beating estimates after the close yesterday and guiding solid revenue growth for its coming quarter, and PHTH+30%, which is being acquired by ORBK-3% for $15.60/shr.

- U.S. Treasury prices are pushing noticeably higher spurred by the increased deterioration in the equity markets and continued reaction to yesterday's FOMC announcement. Yields remain under pressure across the board, and the steepening in the curve observed post yesterday's statement has accelerated. The 2-year yield has slide some 30 basis points from yesterday's reactionary high of 3% while the 10-year is below 4.05%. Fed fund futures continue to push back expectations for higher rates. The Nov contract had been pricing in better than an 80% chance of an increase of 50 basis points by this fall, but those odds have slipped back below 50%.

- The USD extended its recent wave of losses against the major currency pairs that began after the Fed rate decision. The FOMC's optimistic outlook on reigning in inflation expectations has been tempered by higher oil and metals prices, driven up by the
Libya and OPEC comments. Gold is over $25 as inflation concerns and safe-haven flows sent the yellow metal above $910. Dealers are noting that commodities bids are showing an across the board return to physical asset classes, which is historically a tough environment for the USD. EUR/USD is approaching some alleged Chinese option barriers said to be lurking at the 1.5800 and 1.5850 areas; the options have a few weeks to live before expiring. Germany's BDB Association noted that an interest rate hike would support ECB credibility and could help hit the breaks on inflationary expectations. GBP/USD was firmer on BoE comments regarding higher inflation in the short run and various MPC members noting that they considered the case for an interest rate increase at the last policy meeting. The BoE's King stated that his letter on inflation was not intended to be "dovish" but rather balanced, adding that any prolonged price rises will force the BoE to act. The GBP/USD is above its 1.9790 nine-month down-trend line.

- Risk aversion has not resurfaced among the carry-related pairs, despite Goldman's cautious comments on the
US brokerage sector, rumors of potential auto bankruptcies and the OPEC rhetoric. EUR/JPY is holding onto gains above the 169 level, while the EUR/CHF is at 1.6175. Commodity related currencies are steady. Dealers are noting decent bids building in the 1.0080 level in USD/CAD, which is just above the pairs 30 day and 100 day moving averages.

- European Fixed income futures were firmer as sector rotations emerged from equities. into bonds. Sept Bunds +70 ticks at 111.15 and Sept Gilts +73 ticks at 105.16. European equities have been unable to recover from the Chrysler rumors:
Germany's Daimler still hold 20% of Chrysler, and the rumors help send German stocks lower.

- Euro Stoxx 50 -2.3% at 3,379; FTSE 100 Index -1.8% at 5,565; CAC 40 Index - 2% at 4,446 and DAX -2.1% at 6,479.


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