- Equity markets are churning higher this morning as traders weigh the positive
tone set by Warren Buffet's stake in Goldman, as well as prepare for another
day of Congressional testimony from Bernanke and Paulson on the government
bailout plan. Speculation is rife over the final shape and eventual timetable
for passing the legislation, with multiple players making a variety of comments
on the bill. Natural gas is down 2%, while crude is off early highs around
$108. Buffet's big investment in Goldman Sachs helped the firm rise as much as
20% in the pre-market, but Goldman was down to +2% just before the open and has
declined a bit more in early trading morning. Goldman also doubled the size of
its common stock offering to $5B overnight, pricing the 40M share offering at
$123/shr. The move brings Goldman's total capital raise to $10B over the last
day or so. Overnight the WSJ said it thinks Buffet got a "sweet deal"
from Goldman since the investment gives him downside protection as well as an
attractive income stream, reminding readers that the move is Buffet's first big
financial sector bet since the credit crunch began. Investors are reacting
negatively to AIG-16% signing a definitive agreement with New York Fed for an
$85B credit facility last night, quashing hopes among some that the company
might still find a private-sector solution to its problems. According to Indian
newspaper the Economic Times, Asian clients have pulled close to $6B of assets from
Citigroup and UBS, handing them over to Deutsche Bank's private wealth unit.
Citi is trading down more than 4%, while UBS is down slightly. In other
financial news, CNN said the FBI is probing four major US
financial institutions whose collapse helped trigger the bailout plan. The FBI
are looking at potential fraud at Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, Lehman and AIG; the
probe will focus on the financial institutions and the individuals that ran
them. Last night the Senate extended around $17B in tax credits for alternative
energy in a move that is helping solar stocks burn hot in early trading this
morning, with most names up 6-9%. In addition, Trina Solar predicted that
silicon costs would be lower by 20% next year. In other news, WFR+8% is on fire
despite cutting its Q3 revenue guidance due to the impact from Hurricane Ike,
although it should be noted the name was raised at RBC to outperform before the
cut. SQNM+25% is doing very well after reporting more positive results from
trials of its Down Syndrome test and getting a price target hike at
- Credit markets remain the overall focus in currencies as signs of renewed
stresses in the system continue to highlight the insatiable demand for cash.
LIBOR is once again taking center stage with the three-month USD fixing surging
27bps to 3.48% against Tuesday's fixing of 3.21%, moves that are certainly
alarming given the circumstances. Fed fund futures have moved higher with the
Nov contract pricing in roughly a 75% chance the Fed cuts rates at the next meeting.
The TED spread has remained above the 300bps level throughout the New
York morning. Dealers are noting that liquidity in
overnight and Tom/Next rates were plentiful, but in the longer term the rates
continue to remain elevated. The Fed undertook a reverse overnight repo to
drain liquidity and bring the funds rate back up to the 2.0% target. Concerns
are lingering over the Treasury bailout plan, with money market investors
remaining uncertain about the ability of policy makers to offload distressed debt
from banks smoothly and fast enough. The yield on the three-month T-bill has
fallen back below 0.5%. Nevertheless the USD is maintaining a steady tone
despite bearish chatter among dealing desks, focusing on the potential for the
US deficit to move sharply higher and the growing probability the the next FOMC
move will be a interest rate cut. Additionally, the spread between short-term
(90 day) German and UK
bills against the US
is starting to turn higher again as the yield on US
bills fell sharply over the course of the session. Dealers noting that this was
a precursor to the last move weaker in the USD.
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