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Friday September 5, 2008 - 16:46:03 GMT
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Forex Blog - US Market Update

Dow - 99 S&P -14 Nasdaq -32

The morning's soft economic data is dragging down markets this morning. The Labor Department reported that the August unemployment rate rose to 6.1%, its highest rate in nearly five years and well above the expected 5.7% reading. August non- farm payrolls decreased by 84,000, slightly more than expected, while the prior month's number was revised upward (from -51K to -100K) for the seventh month in a row. In addition, the Q2 mortgage delinquencies reading rose to 6.41%, the highest level since records began 29 years ago. Front- month crude is making five-month lows around $105. MER opened down as much as 5% after being cut at Goldman, although the firm is down barely 2% in mid-morning trading, while the rest of the major financials are around breakeven as the XLF is down1%. Various tech and telecom stories are attracting attention this morning off the back of the surprise Nokia warning. NOK-10% after cutting its mobile device market share outlook for Q. . The firm noted that factors behind the move include its decision against matching aggressive pricing at some competitors and the temporary impact of a slower ramp-up of a mid-range Nokia device, and said it expects the overall mobile device market to be impacted by weaker consumer confidence in the rest of the year. Nokia's move is putting pressure competitors ERIC and MOT, as well as industry suppliers QCOM, TXN and ASML. Network solution developer SCMR was down 5% after missing earnings expectations before the open, although the name has recovered nicely in early trading after positive comments on its conference call. NSM remains under pressure after coming in a hair under estimates. On the upside, SNDK+26% is surging after confirming merger talks. Investors are disregarding a significant earnings miss at telecom ADCT+7% to focus on the firm's better-than-expected revenue guidance for FY08, although analysts are less impressed; Merrill and Baird cut the name overnight. Retailer ZQK+9% is strong after beating the Street on earnings and revenue, although the company did slightly reduce its FY09 guidance. FBR initiated the major office supply retailers SPLS, ODP and OMX, although the names are down 3-4% in early trading. In other M&A news, UST+25% after the New York Times reported that Altria was holding talks to buy the firm in a deal valued at $10B.

- In currencies, the spike in
US unemployment rate has knocked the dollar off its best levels and into negative territory against the European majors. Dealers are noting that the Fed was not forecasting a 6.0%+ reading in the unemployment rate until 2009. Other analysts downplayed the surge in unemployment as being merely a quirk caused by a combination of the extension of unemployment benefits, end-of-summer job search resolutions and college grads entering the market.

- Ahead of the
US payroll release the EUR/USD tested and held its 100-week moving average, a level last violated back in April 2006. The greenback also took a hit from a jump in gold prices as safe-haven buying sent the yellow metal back above $800. The USD/JPY recovered from post- payroll lows of 105.51 and moved into positive territory as widespread JPY selling was cited in an successful attempt to protect an allege option barrier at the 105.00 level. Dealers noted that the market seemed to be reversing some of the recent USD gains ahead of the data, but risk aversion concerns remain on the front burner.

- European fixed-income futures are firm thanks to the
US data and dovish comments from Austrian ECB member Nowotny, who emphasized that that CPI may have peaked. Dec Bunds +80 at 115.49; Dec Gilts +83 at 112.93. European Equities recovered from session lows. Euro Stoxx 50 -2.0% at 3,205; FTSE 100 Index -1.2% at 5,291; CAC 40 -1.7% at 4,229 and DAX Index -2.0% at 6,154.


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