- Equity markets are feeling the pain once again from the flailing US financial industry. Stocks opened lower
after the government was forced to step in and help engineer the sale of the
troubled investment bank, Lehman Brothers, to a consortium of private firms.
Reports have circulated regarding the identity of the potential acquirers, with
the WSJ and FT putting Bank of America at the front of the line of candidates,
although the firm has not confirmed these reports. Other names from an FT
report this morning include the investor JC Flowers & Co and China
Investments Company, the Chinese sovereign wealth fund. Given the precedent set
by the Bear Stearns rescue earlier this year, many are speculating about the
role the government will play in the deal. Former Fed member Poole said he hopes the government â€śdraws a
line in the sandâ€ť and doesn't inject any capital in Lehman, noting that private
companies must be allowed to fail. CNBC's Liesman reported this morning that
his sources in the Treasury said no government money will be involved in the
deal, emphasizing that markets have had time to prepare themselves for the
current situation (presumably unlike the sudden decline of Bear Stearns).
Ladenburg's Dick Bove said he believes Bank of America will win the auction for
Lehman, and took the opportunity to lower BAC's FY08 EPS outlook somewhat while
maintaining a buy rating. Washington Mutual is adding to the sense of crisis
today, after loosing nearly half of its value this week: Moody's and Fitch cut
their ratings for the bank to the very edge of junk status after WM released an
update on its Q3 performance metrics, insisting that its capital ratios remain
significantly above levels for well-capitalized institutions. AIG-19% is also
under heavy pressure as its credit default swaps rise to all-time highs.
Merrill is also under the gun, down more than 7% in early trading. Outside of
the financial sector markets are finding some support from a return to strength
in many commodities that in turn is boosting commodity stocks, Mining names
RTP, RIO, FCX and PCU are all gaining ground while the oil patch is
experiencing nice gains as well, which has helped Indices rally late in the NY
morning. Investors are bullish on POT's board raising the firm's buyback
ceiling to 10% of the company's public float. PDGI is down more than 50% after slashing
guidance due to postponement and cancellation of key drug trials. CMG is off
more than 20% after guiding lower earnings and sales for the coming quarter.
- Bond prices have been slipping lower since the open of floor trade putting
upward pressure on yields. Traders may be getting spooked by talk of yet
another bailout by Uncle Sam. Despite the higher yields, fed fund futures continue to project
a small probability that the FOMC could cut rates before year's end.
- In currencies, the greenback continued to experience some retracement
following the advances seen earlier in the week. EUR/USD continues to hover
around the 1. 41 handle while GBP/USD regained a foothold above 1.77. The
EUR/JPY cross is holding above its 200-week moving average at 150.22, which
last experienced a price violation back in April 2002. The slowing global
growth scenario is reflected in today's US retail sales data, but offset by a
positive reading in Michigan confidence survey. Dealers are focusing as the final
resolution of the Lehman question. All signs point to the firm's fate being
sealed by Monday.
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Mon 9 July 2018 AA 12:00 EZ- Draghi EU Parliament Testimony Tue 10 July 2018 AA 08:30 GB- Ind/Prod Output, Trade AA 09:00 DE- ZEW Survey Wed 11 July 2018 A 12:30 US- PPI A 14:00 CA- Bank Of Canada Decision A 14:30 US- EIA Crude Thu 12 July 2018 AA 12:30 US- CPI Fri 13 July 2018 A 14:00 US- Prelim University of Michigan
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