- 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
- 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 â€śre-engineering planâ€ť 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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