- US equity markets have received a sizable boost from lower energy prices
after preliminary reports from the Gulf indicate only minimal damage from
hurricane Gustav. October crude traded with a 105 handle briefly in the
overnight session before climbing back above $109. Front-month natural gas
ticked below $7.25 before recovering somewhat. Commodity markets were also
weighed down by fresh one- year lows in the Euro and two-year lows in Cable.
The effects of lower oil prices in stocks are evident by the strength in most
consumer related names as well as the outperformance in the Dow Jones
Transportation average. Bids in the airlines, truckers, railroads, and
bellwether freight names pushed the Transportation average up as much as 3%.
Shares of Google are higher after reports of an upcoming launch of a new web
browser to compete with Microsoft. On the downside lower commodity prices are
weighing on the oil patch as well as mining stocks. The OIH is trading back
below $180 while XOM, CVX, and AA are the only Dow components in the red.
Arcelor Mittal's South African unit announced several price cuts over the
weekend while a WSJ article highlighted multiple factors leading to margin
compression in the production of nickel and zinc. US Treasury prices began
lower with the 10-year note future off nearly half a point at the open, but
markets have recouped all their losses as equities have given retreated to
session lows. The 10-year now trades up close to a quarter of a point with its
yield falling back below 3.8%.
- In currencies, the USD continued to benefit from the lower oil prices.
Dealers are keeping a wary eye on a number of potential storms are brewing in
the Atlantic region. The greenback ended the morning off its best levels as
dealers noted some covering of intra-day shorts in pair following the ISM
employment component. Dealers are noting that the main focus will be now
directed toward the ECB meeting on Thursday and the US employment report on Friday.
- The GBP was the weakest currency pair as concerns deepen about the UK economy and impacted the value of the
pound. The GBP/USD cross tested below the 1. 78 handle during the New York morning. UK Treasury raised its stamp
duty threshold on house purchases to Â£175K from Â£125K. UK Exchequer Darling
noted that the housing package is a significant aid for the market and remained
positive that the UK will overcome the economic slowdown
despite the unprecedented economic challenges. Darling noted that sterling has
been declining over a year and that FX rates do continuously fluctuate.
- The AUD probed below the 0.83 level in the aftermath of the RBA's first
interest rate cut in seven years. Dealers are concerned that RBA ease might not
be as aggressive as hoped for.
- Sept Bunds -59 ticks at 113.93; Sept Gilts -57 ticks at 109.17. Lower oil
prices continue to boost European equities. Euro Stoxx 50 +1.5% at 3,416; FTSE
100 Index +0.2% at 5,615; CAC 40 Index +1.5% at 4,540 and DAX Index +1.6% at
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