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Wednesday August 6, 2008 - 16:45:11 GMT
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Forex Blog - US Market Update

Dow -17 S&P -3 NASDAQ +7.5

- Equity markets opened and moved lower after discouraging results from Freddie Mac confirmed the deterioration in housing markets continues to create headaches for the financials. The NASDAQ has found some solace in CSCO's numbers allowing the index to hold onto positive territory for much of the session. Stocks pared a good portion of today's losses as front-month crude moved through yesterday's low below $118 following weekly inventory data,. FRE-14% reported a $821M loss on the quarter, missing EPS and revenue estimates by a wide margin, and announced it would cut its quarterly dividend to $0.05 from $0.25. to save capital. Freddie's CFO said the firm would probably reduce the size of its portfolio, and noted that it would not likely return to profitability this year. FNM is down 11%. Bond insurer ABK+9% had a mixed quarter: while the firm recorded a net profit on impressive mark-to-market gains from credit derivatives and tripled its revenue from the prior year's quarter, the gains were wiped out by impairment charges, ensuring it came short of analysts' estimates on the core earnings line by a wide margin. On the conference call, the CEO noted that the company may establish a new municipal insurer before the end of the year, and could buy back some shares in the near future. The major financials have been broadly weaker, with the usual exceptions of GS and MS. LEH-4.5% is falling after Ladenburg Thalmann's Bove cut estimates for the firm's 2008 results to EPS -$6.33 versus his prior estimate of -$3.66. Elsewhere in finance, Blackstone is up slightly on solid earnings. CSCO+4% helped prop up the Nasdaq this morning, as the tech giant is strong following a largely in-line earnings report after the close yesterday and a reaffirmation to its long-term growth targets. Sprint Nextel is down more than 10% thanks to a fresh $3B equity offering and signs of declining revenue in its quarterly report. While the telecom giant came in at double earnings estimates, it missed on revenue and guided further declines from falling ARPUs. TWC-5.5% and TWX-2.5% are weak despite both coming in a touch above estimates; TWC cut its full-year guidance, while TWX maintained its outlook. RL+7% after beating the Street on EPS and guiding higher for the year; the COO said that early fall merchandise sales have been "encouraging." NWS.A-5% is down despite higher- than-expected earnings and revenue for the quarter; the company noted that it sees significantly more challenging advertising environment in local broadcasting and newspapers, and is anticipating a difficult year ahead. The media powerhouse also noted it sees financial crisis creating economic shocks. In other news, KMX opened down almost 15% (before recovering to around -6%) after reporting a sizable drop in June-July same-store sales, withdrawing its prior outlook on the year and saying it would cut
staff. GMR+9% announced it would merge with ATB in a stock-for-stock combination, creating a $1.1B company.

- The
US note and bond futures are encountering some selling pressure ahead of the Treasury's $17B ten-year note auction results due out later today. Yields have risen faster at the long end of the curve with the benchmark spread approaching 150 basis points, levels not seen in more than 2 weeks. The 10-year yields sits at 4. 07% while the 30-year is approaching 4.70%. European fixed-income futures off their best levels as they follow the US bond futures price action.

- The USD has been exhibiting strength throughout the
New York morning as weak German factory orders confirm creeping speculation that Germany's Q2 GDP could be turn negative. Reportedly a German government source stated that Q2 GDP is seen down 0.75-1.5%, in line with earlier German press reports from Tuesday. The EUR/USD pair probed the 1.54 handle before consolidating gains, while the USD/JPY hit its best levels since Jan 15 as it overtook the 109 handle. USD/CHF is marching towards the 1.06 area last tested back in late February.

- The IMF lowered its GDP forecast for the
UK to 1.4% from 1.75%, noting that the BoE had little room to maneuver at this time; the GBP/USD cross tested below the 1.95 level. The IMF stated that pound has moved towards equilibrium but remains “on the strong side,” meaning the currency could depreciate further.

- The USD has managed to overcome geopolitical and supply concerns that have helped put the brakes on the recent sell-off in crude. The DoE's weekly inventory report was mixed, showing a build of 1.6M barrels, while the API figures showed a drawdown of 2.55M barrels. The focus of dealers now moves to the BoE and ECB interest rate decisions set for tomorrow.

- The commodity-related currency pairs remained on the defensive thanks to the recent falls in oil and gold prices. For the USD/CAD cross, dealers noted of some key USD resistance levels at the 1.05 area, with chatter circulating on a option barrier at 1.05 level, which corresponds with a multi-year downtrend line. The AUD/USD is testing a 50-week simple moving average at 0.9114 as speculation continues to grow that the RBA next policy move would be a rate cut.

China has reportedly adjusted its FX management rules, allowing the CNY rate to be determined by market supply and demand, reflecting the rapid rise of the country's foreign exchange reserves and increases in Forex flows.


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