- US equity indices opened higher this morning in the wake of Monday's
sustained thrashing. With no data to bog things down and a generally positive
reception to GE's investor update regarding their Capital unit, traders are
pushing indices to fresh highs in mid morning trading. Equity futures and
European bourses received a bid overnight when vague chatter circulated that
the US Treasury has secured additional capital to inject into the banking industry.
The chatter was likely spurred by closing remarks yesterday from Treasury
Secretary Paulson, who indicated he would remain aggressive and creative in
finding solutions to the current financial crisis through the duration of his
tenure. Treasuries prices opened for the floor session lower but yields have
really been unable bounce to any real degree, and the late NY morning longer
dated yields are drifting lower once again. January crude remains at or below
$50 as it remains clear OPEC is struggling to implement the full production
cuts agreed upon at the beginning of November.
- Goldman Sachs has received several helpings of grim press coverage over the
last day or so. Overnight the WSJ reported that Goldman is likely to report a
net loss of as much as $2B for its quarter ended Nov 28, for as much as $5/shr
(current consensus estimate are -$1.06). The article notes that Goldman faces
write-downs on everything from private equity to commercial real estate. This
morning a UBS analyst noted that Goldman could see much greater mark-to-market
losses than expected, of up to $4B. These reports come on the heels of
Landenburg Thalman's Dick Bove making negative comments on Goldman's Q4
earnings outlook. GS traded down more than 4.5% in early trading before rebounding
to positive territory. The rest of the major financials are making solid gains
in mid-morning trading, with the XLF up 4%.
- GE Capital hosted an investor update before the open, guiding Q4 earnings in
line with consensus expectations and providing a roadmap for near term
performance. GE pledged to maintain its 2009 dividend but warned it would take
a $1.0-1.4B restructuring charge, 70% of which would be for GE Capital, which
sees 2008 loss provisions approaching $7.2B. The firm insisted it is well
positioned to return to double digit growth in 2010. In a vote of confidence
for the company's outlook, Moody's affirms GE and GE Capital's AAA credit
ratings. Shares of GE are making solid gains, trading up nearly 10% mid
- Ford released its "business plan" ahead of CEO Mullaly's appearance
before Congress later this week. The plan calls for $14B in investments and
access to up to $9B in bridge financing. Ford said it expects to breakeven or
even be profitable by 2011 and does not expect a liquidity crisis in 2009 if
other competitors remain out of bankruptcy. The automaker pledged to cut its
dealerships and suppliers by the end of the year, cancel bonuses and pay
increases, and accelerate the development of new models, including hybrids. GM's
plan is expected soon, while Chrysler said it would merely ask for a bridge
loan to "preserve" the company. Shares of Ford spiked as much as 12%
in early trading, while shares of GM are hovering around +5%.
- In other equity news, Staples reported solid Q3 earnings, although quarterly
same-store sales fell 8% and gross margins contracted significantly. Solarfun
also held things together, reporting a hair behind estimates for Q3. Beazer
Homes reported a giant Q4 loss, with the CEO bravely predicting a return to
profitability when the market recovers. Isle of Capri Casinos reportd a quarter
loss that was twice the expected amount on lower than expected revenue. ISLE's
CFO noted that the firm experienced pronounced revenue declines in August and
September, but slightly recovered in October. The bad news in the semi industry
continues, with manufacturer Skyworks Solutions slashing guidance and revenue
targets to reflect weakness in the handset and broader analog markets, earning
itself price target cuts at Merrill and Stifel. Finally, Mosaic withdrew its
2009 sales volume guidance for phosphates due to market condition, noting that
it expects a loss for Q2 in offshore business due to inventory valuation
- The greenback softened in the New York morning as risk appetite returned
following the weak performance at European bourses earlier in their session.
The first week of December is an active one for the central banks. As expected,
the RBA made another major rate cut, reducing its cash rate target by 100bps to
4.25%. Some had been hoping for a 125bp rate reduction. As expected, the BoJ
announced that additional corporate liquidity will be made available to the
banking system. Significant rate cuts are still expected from the ECB, BOE and
RBNZ on Thursday. EU Finance ministers are meeting today to debate a fiscal
stimulus package. There are concerns that German participation will be modest.
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