- Trading in US equity indices is volatile this morning but all three of the
leading indices remain well into positive territory. Front-month crude had been
up more than $2 after Russia promised to follow any OPEC production
cuts with cuts of their own, but energy prices have since made a move to the
downside after weekly petroleum inventory data. The Baltic Dry Bulk index moved
higher for the third straight session, raising a glimmer of hope among traders
that many of the dry bulk carrier stocks may have reached an attractive level.
Feb gold futures as trading up substantially back above $800 for the first time
since the first day of the month. Treasury futures are seeing some selling in
the wake of strong stock markets but yields continue to struggle in finding any
- Oppenheimer's Meredith Whitney reiterated her cautious view for the banking
industry before the open, and that has led to some relative weakness in the
early going. Whitney again suggested that large banks are facing trouble for at
least the next 18 to 36 months and will need to raise more capital, noting that
she believes consumers will be the next "shoe to drop" in the
financial crisis as credit lines get pulled. In 2009 to 2010 she sees banks
pulling some $2T in credit lines. Wells Fargo is also lagging after Merrill
Lynch cut WFC to neutral. Overnight the Wall Street Journal reported that AIG
may owe some Wall Street firms $10B related to "speculative trades,"
noting that this amount is not covered by AIG's rescue agreement with the Fed.
The debts stem from bets on derivatives linked to subprime mortgages and
commercial real estate bonds. AIG later claimed that the Journal's revelations
are ‚Äúnot new.‚ÄĚ
- Another morning, another round of falling guidance and corporate
restructuring. Before the open mining major Rio Tinto said it would cut 14K
jobs, or about 30% of its workforce and reduce 2009 CAPEX to $4B (from $9B) to
help it deal with the commodities slump. RTP hopes to reduce its net debt by
$10B by end of next year, and is planning to divest ‚Äúsignificant assets.‚ÄĚ
Yesterday evening Electronic Arts said its 2009 results would be below its
prior guidance and announced layoffs, giving the lie to the old adage that
videogames are recession proof. According to ERTS, the revised outlook is
primarily the result of lower-than-expected sales in North America and Europe. No fewer than eight firms cut targets
or lowered outlook on the game maker overnight. Praxair also cut its outlook on
the coming quarter last night and announced job cuts. Seagate lowers its
revenue guidance for next quarter, noting it is accelerating plans to lower
production capacity. A.O. Smith cut its full-year earnings guidance due to
sluggish demand. Actuant slashed its Q1 and FY09 earnings and revenue views,
noting it would likely cut production and jobs. In another sign of plunging
international trade, DryShips cancelled a $400M purchase of four panamax
- In currencies, the European pairs were broadly firmer against the USD in the New York morning, with the USD tone hampered by
technical and fundamental factors, including renewed commodity strength.
Dealers noted their surprise that the market did not react more energetically
to China's first drop in exports in seven years.
EUR/USD was probing above the 1.30 handle - dealers noted that euro buy stops
are building above the 1.3050 area. FX chartists noting some favorable chart
patterns above 1.3050 area that suggest a measured move towards the 1.34
neighborhood. Several FX analysts said that the repatriation in USD may be
coming to end and that there could be a trend to the upside for EUR against USD
and JPY. The German Economy Ministry stated it has no immediate plans to change
the government GDP forecast, reiterating that it expects German GDP growth of
0.2% in 2009. In other currency news, the BoE's Blanchflower said that he would
leave the MPC in May when his term expires. Blanchflower is the most dovish
member on the MPC.
- European equity markets are in positive territories. Euro-Stoxx 50 +0.6% at
2,497; FTSE 100 Index +0.1% at 4,384; CAC 40 Index +0.8% at3,325 and DAX Index
+1.0% at 4, 828. March Bunds +1 tick at 122.17 and March Gilts futures +3 ticks
at 118. 32.
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