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Monday July 28, 2008 - 18:04:53 GMT
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Forex Blog - US Market Update

Dow -135 S&P-9.5 NASDAQ -24

- Markets opened lower and spiked upwards briefly; however both the Dow and Nasdaq have been heading south in mid-morning trading. Even an oil price decline from higher prices caused by another Nigerian pipeline attack overnight could not provide a boost to stock traders. LEH is in negative territory after spiking up 8% this morning. On Sunday the New York Post reported that its sources say Lehman is not planning to sell its Neuberger Berman unit any time soon, noting that the firm believes that the unit still has strategic value. Most of the rest of the major financials are under water, led by C -4.6% and MER-5%. An IMF report out this morning stating that risks to the financial sector remain elevated is not helping the sector. The GSEs jumped up around 10% from the open on residual enthusiasm left over from Congress's passage of the Housing rescue bill; Both FNM+2% and FRE+4% have come off their best levels. Investors should note that the SEC emergency short rules for FNM, FRE and 17 other firms expire tomorrow. In healthcare, AMGN+13% is surging after announcing positive results from a Denosumab Osteoporosis study, saying the trial met both its primary and secondary endpoints. VNDA-60% after receiving an FDA non-approvable letter for Iloperidone. While the FDA said the company had demonstrated the effectiveness of iloperidone, the agency said it would require additional trials comparing the drug to a placebo and an active competitor, as well as additional safety data. Multiple consumer names reported this morning: ACV+10% is off its early strength after beating estimates, while AHC-5% is off its early weakness after a big miss on earnings. KFT+5% after beating EPS and rev targets and guiding higher for the year. MTL-30% is dropping on heavy volume as the firm takes more grief from
Russia. Prime Minister Putin accused MTL last week of selling steel and coal in for higher prices in Russian than abroad. Now Putin is accusing the company of evading taxes by selling products abroad. An MTL spokesperson has declined any comment on Putin's remarks. Several significant M&A deals have been moving markets this morning. Confirming speculation that has been circulating all month, KKR Private Equity Investors announced on Sunday evening that it would go public by acquiring KPE. Commentators say the company's expected IPO could be worth up to $15B. ENSI+18% is rising after Sempra Energy said it would acquire the firm for $61.50/shr in cash in a deal worth $510M; Sempra's offer represents a 22.6% premium to ENSI's closing price on Friday. Sempra said the transaction will be slightly accretive to earnings in 2009 and contribute up to $0.30/shr in 2012. IBM is acquiring ILOG for €10/shr in cash, in a deal valued at €215M. This price represents a premium of 37% premium to ILOG's closing price on Friday.

- In other energy news, a Lundberg survey of more than 7,000 gas stations showed yesterday that national average gas prices have dipped below $4 gallon, hitting $3.996 a gallon on Friday. According to the survey, retail gasoline prices are at their lowest level since May 16, declining an average of 11.7 cents per gallon versus two weeks ago. But not everyone is bullish on the recent decline in oil: The Economist speculated yesterday that a decline in oil prices stemming from a global recession would hardly be positive for stock markets.

- Treasury prices are the major beneficiary of the declining stock market. Prices are up across the curve with continued steepener trades present. The 2-year cash yield has fallen back below 2.6% while the 10-year is sub 4%. The Oct fed fund future has seen the odds of a hike two meetings out fall below 30% from closer to 50% this morning. Later this afternoon the Treasury is expected to release its latest financing estimates which should show an increase in borrowing needs for both this quarter and next.

- In currencies, the USD continued it mild looses against the majors, but is off its worst level as oil pares its gains. Comments from an NBC interview snippet with
Iran's president helped to offset the earlier supply concerns following an attack on a Nigerian pipeline by Militant group MEND. The Iranian president noted as saying that oil prices are “not realistic.” The EUR/USD cross is trading at the 1. 5730 level. Dealers are noting good buying among Russian names in recent sessions. The Russian Central Bank disclosed that it has reduced its holdings in the GSEs to under $50B from levels around $100B at the start of 2008.

- In
Europe the German CPI data for North Rhine-Westphalia CPI came in at 0.6% for the month of July, but this has had little impact given oils rapid deterioration in recent weeks. The pound has shugged off the Hometracks disclosure that UK house prices have fallen for a tenth consecutive month. In addition, there are growing calls among analysts that the BoE will be forced to cut the UK base rate early by early 2009. The EUR/JPY pair is within striking distance of fresh all-time highs, but dealers are continue to note an option barrier at the 170 level.

- Sept Bund +37 ticks at 110.98; Sept Gilt +22 at 106.23. Euro Stoxx 50 index -0.4% at 3,340; FTSE 100 Index -0.1% at 5,349; CAC40 Index -0.5% at 4,358; DAX -0.4% at 6,412.


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