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Monday November 3, 2008 - 17:14:11 GMT
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Forex Blog - US Market Update

Today 11:42am

US Market Update

Dow +25 NASDAQ +9.3 S&P +1 - Markets are attempting to put a wild October behind them as November begins on positive note, with indices posting early gains on continued signs of the possible return of risk appetite. With a very long 2008 election season drawing to a close tomorrow, market participants are eager to put the uncertainty surrounding the outcome in the rear view mirror. The EU Commission reinforced the notion of a difficult year to come when they said that the Euro Zone probably entered recession in 2008 and said growth would stagnate during 2009. Offsetting some of disappointment from the bleak EU outlook the three-month USD LIBOR dropped below 3.00, falling 17 bps to 2.86%, its lowest level since mid February.

- In earnings this morning, food service giant Sysco reported in line with consensus estimates, showing solid y/y growth in its major businesses. Heavy truck specialist Oshkosh beat the Street but offered cautious guidance for next year. Goodyear reported in line with expectations. Rockwell Collins came in a bit ahead of estimates, but cut its full year guidance thanks to fallout from the Boeing strike and the heavy turbulence in airlines. Rockwell's CEO said "Clearly, conditions have changed since we announced our fiscal year 2009 financial guidance on September 10th."

- Hartford Financial is making strong gains today, up 35% in early trading. Before the open the company reassured investors about its capital position, noting that company is well capitalized, saying that its capital margin would be approximately $2B at the end of 2008. AIG is also up 10% after negative stories in the national press on the company over the weekend. The Washington Post wrote that the government rescue package could be less effective at protecting shareholders and taxpayers than a bankrutpcy filing. A related article in the WSJ noted that AIG risk management operations raises questions about the run-up to the financial crisis. Other insurance names are catching a bid from all the enthusiasm, up around 7% each in early trading.

- Friedman Billings made cautious comments about iPhone output in a note overnight, saying production could fall approx 40%, pulling down AAPL in the premarket; the name is back in positive territory in early trading. RIMM+6% is rising on the steady drumbeat of news regarding its new Storm and Bold models. Meanwhile MOT-3% is down a bit after Merrill cut its price target for the company overnight.

- Risk aversion has crept back into currency markets throughout the New York morning as traders fret over the prospects of global recession. The EU Commission's official declaration of a Euro Zone recession was compounded by softer PMI data from various European nations, with a few countries (Spain, Italy and Hungary) reporting all-time record low readings. These developments come on the heels of China's worst PMI reading on record. Then the US October ISM manufacturing data hit markets, showing weaker employment and rising inventories. The Baltic Dry Bulk Index fell for the 21st time in a row to its lowest reading since February 1999 while Brazil's October trade balance came in below expectations. For Brazil both exports and imports were below expectations, adding further doubt that emerging markets are actually decoupling from anything. In any case, traders will spend the next day and a half watching the US elections, waiting on results of the presidential and Congressional contests. Overall dealer sentiment is viewing the event as USD negative in theory.

- On the bright side, hopes are growing among traders for interest rate cuts in Europe later this week, with speculation noting that the ECB could cut by 50bps and the BoE by 100bps on Thursday. So far the USD is the prime beneficiary of this speculation, with GBP/USD well off overnight highs of 1.6399 testing 1.5890 while EUR/USD is probing the mid-1.27 neighborhood after testing 1.29 in early Europe. JPY strength has complemented risk aversion concerns, with EUR/JPY testing back below the 126 area after trying for 128.40 overnight. Although the weaker global growth picture is weighing on energy and commodities, CAD and AUD are maintaining a firmer tone: USD/CAD has risen by 170+ pips to test 1.19 00 and AUD/USD is up marginally around 0.6730 ahead of the Australian central bank rate decision later today. The RBA is expected to cut its key rate of 6.00% by at least 50bps.


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