- The Thanksgiving stock rally is screeching to a halt this morning as US
equity indices open down and head lower. Risk aversion has returned to
prominence pushing Treasury yields to yet new historic lows in some cases. The
euro and cable continue to suffer while the yen is being bid up. The US ISM
Manufacturing data is weighing on trade, hitting fresh 26-year lows, with the
prices paid component hitting lows last seen in 1949. Front-month crude and
metals are weaker, with oil below $50 as funds head for cover in fixed income.
- Before the NY open JNJ said it would acquire cosmetic surgery supplies
company Mentor for $31/shr, in a
deal valued at $1.12B. The boards of both companies have approved the
transaction, which is expected to have a dilutive impact on JNJ's 2009 EPS by
around $0.03-0.05. and close in Q109. Also before in the pre-market DOW
confirmed a 50/50 joint venture deal with PIC of Kuwait
to launch K-Dow Petrochemicals, noting that the total value of the Dow
businesses going into K-Dow is approximately $17.4B and that it expects to
receive $9B in pretax proceeds. The partners are getting things off the ground
rapidly, with the new company scheduled to begin operations by Jan 1, 2009. K-Dow will concentrate of
manufacturing and marketing petrochemicals and plastics worldwide, including
polyethylene, ethyleneamines, ethanolamines, polypropylene and polycarbonate.
In addition, DOW said that upon closing of the transaction, each shareholder
plans to receive a $1.5B special cash distribution, paid by K-Dow.
- The Big Three automakers are scheduled to return to Washington
at the end of the week to plead their case to Congress. Before the open Ford
announced it would re-evaluate strategic options for Volvo over the next
several months, continuing work on its restructuring plan. Just last week Ford
said it would trim its 2008 European production by 10%, to 15M units from
16.7M. On Sunday various press reports noted that GM spent the weekend jockeying
for the best possible position ahead of CEO Wagoner's appearance on the Hill.
The WSJ wrote overnight that GM board members are keeping the option of a
bankruptcy filing open, while earlier yesterday the London Times wrote that
Wagoner was holding last-ditch negotiations for a debt-equity swap deal with
lenders over a multi-billion debt for equity scheme. In early New
York trade shares of GM and F extended recent gains
before retreating on reports the Swedish government is unwilling to provide aid
to either the Saab or Volvo.
- In other equity news, Alkermes announced it has cancelled its collaboration
agreement with Cephalon and regained rights to Vivitrol. Thanks to recognizing
deferred revenue of around $120M from the deal as net collaborative profit in
Q309, ALKS substantially boosted its FY09 guidance. ALKS gained more than 5%
before the open, and fell rapidly to around -2% after the bell. Merrill cut
price targets on numerous managed care insurance names, leading to broad-based
weakness in the sector. United Health is an exception, after it fine-tuned its
guidance earlier this morning but essentially reaffirmed; Merrill raised the
name to a neutral from sell. The Semicouductor Industry Association had more
bad news for semi names, reporting that global sales in October declined 2.4%
y/y, noting that 2009 PC shipments would decline by 5% and cell phone shipments
are projected to be down 9%.
- In currencies, traders are nervously noting the return of a risk aversion
theme that looks a lot like last August. Equities are broadly lower, the USD
and JPY pairs are exhibiting strength as funds flow to the safety of government
paper in a week with several key central bank decisions scheduled. Growing
speculation points to aggressive interest rate cuts by the BoE and ECB, with
the consensus at this time looks for a 100 bps cut to 2.0% by the BoE and a 50
bps cut by the ECB. Earlier this morning, an ECB source indicated that a 75bps
would be viewed as a ‚Äúpanic move,‚ÄĚ bringing more harm than benefits. The
Swedish Central Bank moved up its scheduled policy meeting to Dec 3 from Dec
16, sparking chatter about coordinated central bank moves.
- A UK
spokesperson denied speculation that the UK
would consider a move into the euro, but the GBP was markedly weaker in the
session against all major pairs. GBP/USD is down 450 pips at 1.4895, GBP/JPY is
lower by 650 pips at 139.85 and the EUR/GBP cross is firmer by 225 pips at
0.8480. CAD rebounded from session lows following its GDP figures for Sept and
Q3, but lower energy and metal prices offset any positive momentum from the
data. USD/CAD is at 1.2440 and AUD/USD is probing the 0.64 handle. Emerging
market currencies were softer on the risk aversion theme. Russian Central Bank
has spent $2.0B in support of the ruble in today's session.
- The risk aversion theme sent European equities lower by 4.8% and yield curves
steeper. The Dec bund contract continued to make fresh contract highs above the
122.55 area. Dec Gilts +100 ticks at 118.50. Euro Stoxx 50 index -5.2% at
2,303; FTSE 100 Index -4.7% at 4,089; CAC 40 index -4.8% at 3,106 and DAX Index
-5.7% at 4,405.
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Tue 19 June 2018 A 12:30 US- House Permits/Starts Wed 20 June 2018 A 14:00 US- Existing Homes Sales A 14:30 US- EIA Crude Thu 21 June 2018 AA 11:00 GB- Bank of England Decision A 12:30 US- Weekly Jobless Fri 22 June 2018 AFlash PMIs
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