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Tuesday March 24, 2009 - 15:12:28 GMT
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Forex Blog - US Market Update

Today 11:06am EST/03:06pm GMT

US Market Update

Dow -95 S&P -11.7 NASDAQ -28.5

- Equity Indices take a much needed breather led by profit taking in the financials. Yesterday's surge into the NY close led to early gains overseas markets. But a hotter than expected CPI reading out of the UK put an early cap on stock gains in Europe and added to selling in the US premarket. Government bond prices have moved lower in tandem led by overnight weakness in the UK GILT market. The 10-year GILT yield has risen above 3.3% while the US benchmark has regained 2.7%. 

- Goldman Sachs is outperforming the vast majority of financial names as speculation continues to pick up that the Co. could repay their TARP funds sometime in the near future. It is worth noting the President of GS said they have yet to decide when they will repay TARP and it is not likely to happen before the results of the stress tests are released. The XLF has given back a very modest 1.5% after gained more than 10% yesterday. 

- Focus Media Holding, FMCN is rallying 10% post earnings results despite a pre-market downgrade at Needham. WSM is up close to 4% after reporting Q4 results and providing guidance indicating the challenging environment is likely to remain through the end of the year.

- Precious metals stocks are lower across the board pressured by weakness in the commodities. Spot gold has given back $15 to trade at $925 while front month silver is off 3.5%. The XAU has given back roughly 2%. The energy complex is also giving back some gains with the OIH down 3.3% as the second day of presentations at the widely followed Howard Weil Energy Conference commences. Apache is down better than 4% after presenting and noting service costs are still too high and they are actively looking at potential acquisitions.

- In currencies, dealers noted the theme of interest rates seem to be coming back into focus. The BOE was vocal following the sharp spike in it inflation data earlier in the session. BOE's King noted that its Feb inflation increase seemed fairly broad based and that it was the MPC job to respond on inflation. King commented that it might not have to reverse its injection of broad money and that a possible exit strategy would be to raise interest rates. EUR/GBP cross was extremely volatile in the session as the BOE noted that Germany was more impacted by global economy than UK. Dealers noting that long EUR/GBP views were blindsided with King "talking up GBP" and impacting those with a long EUR/USD view. Overall dealers viewed that the BOE must see further GBP weakness as inflationary and was drawing a line in the sand. However, in these economic times there are some doubts that the UK seeks a stronger currency thus central banking duties will remain a' balancing act'. EUR/USD also weighed down by ECB comments and chatter circulating of a large EUR/USD 1.30 strike put option going through the market. The size of the option was rumored to be €1B. Various ECB members reiterated that the 1.505 was not the current floor and non-standard measure could be used. A Goldman Sachs report on the upcoming ECB meeting on April 2nd forecasts that the ECB would cut interest rates by 50bps to 1.0%. Goldman also expected ECB to provide unlimited funds for the next year

- European bourses remained near the lower quarter portion of their session range. As noted in the European market Update, equities traders were a 'bit surprised' by the Deutsche bank annual report, which contained higher than expected amount of non-investment grade, and central European debt the bank is carrying, thus implying that the road to recovery was a long way off. 

- In fixed income: BOE's King indicated that the Quantitative Easing (QE) buying would stop short of the £75B if data improved followed the CPI surprise. Dealers noted that a large degree of the pre-positioning noted into the QE program was reversed and 2s/10s steepened out towards the 150 bps area.


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