- US equity indices have given up much of yesterday's post-stimulus gains as
corporate earnings and economic data continue to be weak. New home sales in
December fell 14.7% m/m with monthly supply reaching all time highs, while
December durable goods orders were down more than expected and the November
reading was revised downward significantly. March crude looked to be making a
run at $40 early in the NYMEX session but has since recovered somewhat. The
contract remains lower by 2% though at $41.30 after the IEA lowered their
demand outlook. Treasury yields remain on an uptrend consolidating the large
move seen at the long end of the curve following yesterday's FOMC statement.
The curve remains steeper with the benchmark spread back above 180 basis points
and the long bond yield approaching 3.45%.
- Allstate missed earnings and revenue expectations in a big way yesterday
evening, earning itself a ratings downgrade at S&P. The insurance giant alsp
suspended its share repurchase program and said it would cut 2.6% of its
workforce. Shares of ALL are down more than 20% in early trading.
- Ford managed to beat fourth-quarter revenue targets and squeeze out a loss
that was smaller than expected, ex certain charges for restructuring and loss
provisions. In its release, the shaky automaker reiterated that it doesn't need
any Federal funding, confirming that it has drawn down its credit lines to the
tune of $10B. On the conference call, Ford lowered its first-quarter North
American production estimate to 400K; it had affirmed a 430K as recently as
December. Several major auto industry parts suppliers also reported this
morning, including Lear and Autoliv. LEA's earning were a complete disaster,
although the big loss was largely driven by a big goodwill impairment; revenues
were in line. ALV missed earnings and revenue estimates by large margins and
cut its dividend in half. Automobile retailer AutoNation missing revenue
targets by around 10%, noting that sales collapsed in the quarter. AN's CEO
warned that orders for new vehicles are down 60% in February. Shares of Ford
are only down 2% or so, AN is up more that 10%, while ALV-2% and LEA-10%.
- In technology, Qualcomm is down more than 6% after missing earnings estimates
yesterday evening, although the firm beat the consensus revenue view. DELL-4%
announced more cost cutting plans and said it sees a Q4 $135M pretax charge.
Electronics manufacturer Flextronics fell 10% before the bell after missing
earnings estimates and guiding well below par for Q4, but has retraced much of
these losses in early trading. Western Digital is rocketing, with shares up 10%
after the hard drive manufacturer blew out the street on the bottom line
- Manufacturing names Illinois Tool Works and Textron both beat consensus
earnings estimates and reported revenue totals in line with the Street. ITW
offered a very broad 2009 EPS forecast that was nevertheless below the
consensus view. Textron also missed earnings and revenue targets for its 2009
forecast; shares of TXT plunged 25% from the open, while ITW-5%.
- Dry bulk shippers are under pressure this morning after DryShips discussed
its exposure to the spot shipping market in a filing yesterday. DRYS noted that
12 of its vessels are trading in the spot market, warning that the huge
declines in the Baltic Index and potential further declines could hurt the
company's top line. In addition, it noted it is in breach of covenants with
certain lenders. DRYS is trading down 23%, while fellow dry bulk names EGLE,
DSX and GNK are down 5-8%.
- US Airways, Continental Airlines and JetBlue reported better-than-expected
results this morning. US Airways' loss was smaller than expected, while its
flight metrics held up well compared to year ago levels. JetBlue eked out a
profit, versus expectations for a small loss, and said it grew CASM 17% y/y.
Continental's loss was a bit smaller than expected, ex charges. JBLU and LCC ar
bog up aroud 5%, while CAL has
fallen into negative territory. Elsewhere in leisure, cruise line RCL-20% is
getting hammered after missing earnings targets and offering a very weak
forecast for next quarter.
- In currencies, the greenback was mixed in New York
trading. EUR/CHF was quite active after the SNB's Roth prompted decent CHF
buying after he noted that there was no need to curb CHF strength at this time.
He did note that recent CHF appreciation has been painful for Swiss exporters.
The USD was firmer against the EUR on continued concerns that the new upper limit
imposed by the Russian Central bank last week would be tested far sooner than
expected. USD/RUB exhibited its largest two-day price move in a decade, while
Russian FX reserves declined by $10B w/w according to the latest data. The
weaker US data
had global implications in terms of safe-haven flows. Both the USD and JPY
benefited from risk-aversion flows while gold moved back towards the $900/oz
level to recoup earlier lows below $880/oz.
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