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Monday April 6, 2009 - 16:06:12 GMT
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Forex Blog - US Market Update

Today 11:38am EST/03:38pm GMT

US Market Update

Dow -102 NASDAQ -31 S&P -13.5

- With no economic data to shape expectations and caution in the wind ahead of earnings season, US equity indices have been under pressure as the trading week begins. The financials have been beaten down by bearish comments from Caylon's Mike Mayo, while Morgan Stanley has been talking down the rally, proclaiming that the bear market is not over and that its analysts are still waiting for positive earnings and housing data and as well as improvements to banks' balance sheets. In particular, Morgan is disturbed by the continuing lag of credit markets, noting that their inability to rally despite lots of government action is a bad sign. Front-month crude has come off overnight highs around $53 to test $50 once again. Note that an Exxon exec said this morning that the company is not planning to revise its investment plans and will boost production.

- Treasury markets are attempting to beat back the ongoing wall of supply worries. Another outright purchase by the NY Fed has kept prices pretty steady despite the Treasuries announcement of another $53B in notes supply to be auctioned of later this week. That amount was generally in line with expectations while prices in Treasury futures remain fractionally higher. The US Benchmark yield trades just below 2.9%. GILT yields jumped higher after the results the BOE latest reverse auction showed no long dated GILTS were purchased. The 10-year GILT yield has ticked back towards 3.45%.

- Calyon Securities threw a wet blanket on the financial sector overnight, initiating most of the major banks (with the notable exceptions of Goldman and Morgan Stanley) with sell ratings. Calyon analyst Mike Mayo said the banks will continue to deal with fallout from the credit crunch, with loan losses across all structured asset classes rising to 3.5% from 2.0% by the end of 2010. Mayo said the changes to mark-to-mark accounting enacted last week will bring only short term relief and does nothing to fundamentally change the situation. Reports are making the rounds that bank executives will meet this week to discuss how to deal with the results of the government stress tests. And note that yesterday the UK Sunday Telegraph wrote that Goldman may sell stock to help repay its $10B in TARP funding as soon as it passes its stress test. Goldman is said to have on hand about $100B in cash assets, more than enough to repay $10B TARP loan. Leading bank stocks opened down 3-4% and remain under pressure but off their worst levels in mid morning trading.

- Topping other equity news are reports that Sun Microsystems has broken off talks with IBM over the latter's $7B acquisition offer. Sun's board reportedly rejected IBM's $9.40/shr offer as too low. The state of the deal, which some had called “at the brink of collapse,” remains unclear. Shares of JAVA fell more than 20% before the open. In other tech news, Goldman removed CSCO-5% from its Americas Conviction Buy List, noting the target price reached and that it still has a positive long-term view on CSCO. Ford has completed its debt restructuring initiatives, cutting its debt by $9.9B and lowering its annual interest expense by more than $500M in exchange for cash and equity. Note that GM's CEO told Meet the Press yesterday morning that a GM bankruptcy, while not inevitable, has become more probable. Shares of Ford spiked over 20% in the early going, before settling down to around +10%. GM is down 5%.

- Risk aversion themes are dominating currency trade. The greenback and yen are firmer as traders monitor declines in stocks and commodities pretty much across the board. Gold is off nearly 3% or $25+ while crude is testing $50. EUR/USD moved below 1.34 which was prior key hourly support post the Fed's QE announcement to trade down a big figure at 1.3380. Cable trades off nearly 100 pips as well at 1.4745. Overnight USD/JPY tested fresh 5-month highs but has since backed off with risk aversion bids coming into JPY. The dollar is also posting gains against the Loonie and Aussie Dollar helped by the commodity weakness.


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