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Thursday January 29, 2009 - 17:23:34 GMT
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Forex Blog - US Market Update

Today 11:59am

US Market Update

Dow -130 S&P -17 NASDAQ -31

- 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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