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Thursday October 30, 2008 - 16:37:04 GMT
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Forex Blog - US Market Update

Today 11:53am

US Market Update

Dow +1.20 S&P +2.00 Nasdaq +4.73

- Indices opened this morning well above yesterday's close, with the Fed policy ease giving investors the courage to face this morning's Q3 GDP reading. In fact the GDP reading was slightly better than expected, at -0.3% v -0.5%e, although it was the worst reading in the last seven years, with the more negative than expected personal consumption component adding to woes. The White House demonstrated the power of positive thinking post data, noting that the US economy is "positioned for a rebound" and insisting that it was "hurricanes and the Boeing strike" that pulled GDP into negative territory. In any case, there are additional components on which investors can focus, including data showing that commercial paper outstanding has grown this week for the first time in two months and the return of big moves downward in the overnight USD LIBOR fixings after the declines stalled over the last several days. At $65 crude is well below overnight highs around $70, while major commodities have also softened up.

- Dow leader Exxon-3% released impressive quarterly results this morning, reporting record earnings and revenue figures well ahead of analysts' estimates thanks to the record prices in the quarter. Other second-line energy companies including Marathon, Dominion Resources and Apache also reported today. MRO and D blew out analysts' EPS targets, while the latter also came in nearly $700M ahead of revenue estimates and reaffirmed its long-term guidance. Apache missed on both earnings and revenue. All three opened up 3-6% and have steadily lost altitude all morning, with MRO and APA in negative territory and D+1%. Utility NRG+4.5% beat revenue targets by nearly $1.0B for the quarter and announced a sizable share buyback. Insurance giant MET moved sharply higher this morning after results after the close yesterday, in line with targets yesterday evening, yet has come well off its highs, while CI -5% after an earnings miss and a highly negative outlook for next quarter and the full year. PRU+3% missed both EPS and revenue targets, and withdrew its guidance. Construction giant SGR+10% is off its best levels after reporting more or less in line. International Paper missed revenue targets by a bit, while on the conference call executives warned that the coming quarter is not looking good. WMI+5% reported in line. Investors are standing by four consumer-oriented names that reported before the bell, Colgate, CVS, Timberland and JAH. CL+7% and CVS+7% reported more or less in line, while CVS guided robust revenue growth for 2008 although it cut its EPS outlook for the year. TBL+3% is well off its best levels, with investors having pushed it up as much as 12% in early trading after beating earnings estimates. JAH+15% is maintaining its early strength after coming in a hair ahead of the Street.

- The XLF is + 1-3% in mid-morning trading, led by MS+9%. Goldman Sachs is not a party to the positive trend, with the name trading down 4%. The FT examined the expected compensation levels for some of Goldman's partners overnight. According to the article, Goldman's 349 partners stand to divide up the smallest bonus pool that the firm has produced on a per capital basis since going public in 1999. The bond insurers have been very volatile in early trading after CNBC's Charlie Gasparino reported last night that New York Insurance Regulator Dinallo wants the US Treasury to extend TARP assistance to the sector, piggybacking recent speculation. MTG and RDN traded as high as +15-20% just after the bell, but both names are back around even. MBI, ABK and PMI are up 4-6% mid morning. AXP announced a major “re-engineering plan” that sees cutting 7,000 jobs (10% of the workforce and a $370-440M restructuing charge in Q4. Fellow credit card name V+4% spiked up as much as 8% after a decent earnings report and solid guidance yesterday.

- The return of risk appetite during the Asia and early European session weighed on the carry-related pairs, with volatility remaining a big factor as a brutal October winds down. The better-than-expected US GDP reading helped the greenback decouple from its recent link to equity markets, wherein higher equity prices were seen as a negative for USD as well as JPY. The spread between the US and German bonds remained below 100bps, helping to pull EUR/USD off its highs of 1.3297 to around 1.2970. But perhaps the real rationale behind the USD recovery from session lows has been the widening of the EU government spreads to record levels not seen since the launch of the euro a decade ago, showing the heightened concern over the continued stress in the Euro Zone. EUR/JPY is moving back below the 128 area after testing 131 in Asia. GBP/JPY was below the 162 versus highs of 165 earlier today. The USD reversal was complemented by the move in energy prices. The CAD was moving off its best levels on the back of softer commodity prices, with USD/CAD re-approaching the 1.21 area after touching 1.1900. Dec Bunds -37 ticks at 116.59 and Dec Gilts at 111.65, off 65 ticks. Euro Stoxx 50 index +2.35 at 2,572; FTSE +1.7% at 4,313; CAC 40 Index +1.1% at 3,441 and DAX Index +3.7% at 4,986.


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