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Friday July 18, 2008 - 17:47:06 GMT
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Forex Blog - US Market Update

Dow +30.5 S&P +5.6 Nasdaq -24

- The rally of the last several days seems to be stalling out this morning, thanks chiefly to marginal results from Merrill and tech titans GOOG, MSFT and AMD. The Nasdaq fell in the pre-market and headed south from the open thanks to tech company struggles, while the Dow managed to keep rising pre-market, dropping after the open before recovering a bit; both indices are trading sideways mid morning. MER is holding up relatively well today, down less than one percent, after reporting a rather large $4.65B loss after the close yesterday. Overnight Merrill suffered multiple price target cuts and Moody's cut the banks debt rating. MER noted that its liquidity position remains strong, citing record liquidity levels of $92B v $82B q/q, and that it is negotiating to sell its controlling interest in FDS for possibly more than $3.5B. Contrast these results with C+10% which reported a $2.5B loss (smaller than the expected amount) and chalked up $7.2B in pre-tax write- downs(within analyst ranges). Citi's CFO commented that the banks sees lower risks to its balance sheet from subprime, but rising trouble in consumer credit. The GSEs are rallying again this morning on fresh reports of capital raising at FRE+15%, which may sell up to $10B in new shares in order to avoid a full-blown government rescue; FNM is up 21%. The major financial names are trading even after having been bid up in the pre-market and falling off the open; the XLF is up 1.7%. The titans of tech, Google and Microsoft, are both under pressure this morning after disappointing results, helping to keep the Nasdaq down. GOOG-9% is down after missing estimates, blaming falling ad revenue; the search giant's CFO insisted that revenues and traffic did well despite uncertain economy, and cited potentially aggressive ad coverage reductions. MSFT-8% is also down after missing by a hair and thanks to very cautious guidance; the CFO noted that the miss was due to tough comparables. The stock naturally may have in addition been affected by reports that the YHOO management has garned additional support from large shareholders, making the acquisition and further revenue diversification more difficult . AMD-12% is also falling, despite reporting a smaller than expected loss. The firm appointed a new CEO, who insisted that the firm can be profitable in 2H. In other news, TEVA+6% announced it would acquire BRL+12% fpr $66.50/shr in cash and stock, in a deal worth a total of $7.46B; Teva said it sees the deal as accretive this year.

- The dollar was mildly firmer during the
US morning following the better-than-expected results from Citigroup as dealers continue to monitor the corporate earnings releases from US financial firms. The EUR/USD continues to consolidate within a 1.58 to 1.59 range. The ECB is reportedly not excluding the need for another rate hike as hinted at by Trichet during his Asian market comments. Carry-related currency pars were firmer (weaker CHF and JPY) as equity markets moved higher after Citi's earnings report. EUR/JPY was trading at 169 and EUR/CHF back above the 1.62 level. The USD/JPY is reapproaching its recent resistance area highlighted by its 200-day moving average at the 107.14 level.

- Sept Bunds -90 tick at 1110.01 as euro aided by comments from ECB Trichet, which seems to start the ground work for the next rate hike in Europe. Trichet focused on the potential of secondary affects of inflation and is zoned in on the on recent rise in labor costs. Sept Gilt -84 at 105.61.

- Euro Stoxx 50 Index +1.6% at 3,309; FTSE 100 Idex +1% at 5,343; CAC 40 Index +1% at 4,269 and DAX Index +1.7% at 6,377.


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