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Wednesday April 22, 2009 - 15:37:38 GMT
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Forex Blog - US Market Update

Today 11:25am EST/03:25pm GMT

US Market Update

Dow +51 S&P +7 NASDAQ +24

- Equity indices opened lower for the third morning in a row after Morgan Stanley spooked investors with its Q1 results. But the focus swung quickly to stronger results from Wells Fargo, AT&T and McDonalds, helping the DJIA and S&P500 test Monday's opening levels. The Nasdaq is relatively strong this morning thanks to Yahoo's results and bidders in Apple ahead of this afternoon's Q1 results. Money also flowed to the financials in the early going sparking the broad rebound following reports that stress tests will penalize troubled loans more than asset backed debt securities. Energy prices are holding near unchanged consolidating recent losses despite weekly DOE inventory builds across all products.


- US Treasury prices have slipped as stocks gained traction. The 10-year yield has climbed back toward 2.95%. US yields also moved higher while eyeing the GILT market across the pond. UK's Darling announced the DMO intends to issue £220B in GILT debt this year sending prices lower and the curve steeper. GILT futures are down 145 ticks pushing the 10-year back above 3.45%.


- Wells Fargo and Morgan Stanley were the last of the most highly anticipated financials to report their Q1 results. Morgan Stanley has fallen far behind the other leading US banks, offering dire Q1 results that included a much larger-than-expected loss and revenues well behind analyst targets. The firm cut its dividend steeply to $0.05 from $0.27. The CEO said the firm would have been profitable if not for the dramatic improvement in credit spreads, which is a positive development but one that had a negative impact on revenues. In a press interview ahead of the conference call, Morgan's CFO said real estate is the firm's "single biggest worry" and noted that it may issue non-guaranteed debt. Wells Fargo followed in the footsteps of Citi, BoA and Goldman, beating earnings and revenue estimates, although by narrower amounts than other big banks. Nearly all of the bank's key metrics saw substantial improvement, and on the conference call executive said the integration of Wachovia is going well and should not lead to further losses. Elsewhere among the financials, Capital One bombed in quarterly earnings, reporting a huge loss and missing revenue estimates by almost half. Shares of the tier-1 banks are making steady gains mid morning, with shares of WFC up 8% and MS well off its opening levels around -2%. COF has been volatile, opening down 7%, rising to +6% and continuing to pivot in and out of the red.


- Major Dow components AT&T and McDonalds reported strong earnings, although both missed a bit on revenue. Both companies reported healthy growth in sales metrics and emphasized that they are working to prepare themselves for strong growth upon the arrival of economic recovery. AT&T's iPhone business was especially strong, with more than 1.6M activations in the quarter, boding well for Apple's results today after the close. Dow component Boeing missed the Street's estimates slightly and lowered its EPS forecast for 2009. The aerospace giant's order backlog and operating margin both fell on a q/q basis. Shares of BA and T are up around 3.5%.


- Yahoo is helping prop up the Nasdaq this morning after a big earnings win in the first quarter, with profits twice the estimated figure. But Yahoo's CFO warned that "dark clouds" remain on the horizon, noting that the difficult economy impacted "all aspects" of business. Also note that various press reports are claiming that talks over some kind of search/ad partnership between the two keep rolling on and on and on, prompting a denial from Microsoft's CEO this morning. Quarterly losses at chip maker AMD and memory manufacturer SanDisk were smaller than expected. SanDisk cited improving demand and lower operating expenses, while AMD benefited from a big jump in margins. On the conference call, AMD's CEO said that the inventory contraction should end in Q2, but warned that consumers are now only paying for what they need. Hard disk maker Seagate had a larger-than-expected loss, and expects losses to be worse than estimates next quarter. Shares of SNDK and STX are up 12% and 8%, respectively. AMD is around even.


- Sterling has been the focus of currency trading this morning, following the unveiling of the UK budget by Chancellor of the Exchequer Darling. The proposed UK deficits would total £703B during the five fiscal years through April 2014 compared with £434B forecasted back in November. For the 2009 year, the £175B deficit would equate to 12.4% of GDP, which would be the biggest in the G20 nations. The pound exhibited weakness after Darling announced a 50% tax bracket for incomes greater than £150K, effective April 2010. The UK is also raising tobacco duties by 2%, effective immediately. The Department of Debt management (DMO) stated that the UK Government would now issue £220B in Gilts during 2009 period, above £200B the market had expected. GBP/USD fell 250 pips to test below the 1.44 level before rebounding back above the 1.45 handle. EUR/GBP drifting back toward the 0.90 neighborhood.


- The USD price action saw some earlier risk aversion flows evaporate despite cautious GDP remarks from the IMF, which has once again revised its 2009 global growth outlook lower, to -1.3% compared to the -0.5% forecast back in January. The IMF also noted that financial stabilization would take longer than expected and that interest rates would likely stay around 0%. EUR/USD moved back above the 1.30 area with euro strength attributed to buying in the EUR/GBP cross coupled with interbank stop hunts above 1.3000 level. The 1.3070 area was cited as a key hourly resistance level in the pair. Note that both the USD and JPY seemed back in sync with equity price action as US indices managed to reverse earlier weakness to probe into positive territory in the mid-NY morning.

 

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