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Tuesday April 28, 2009 - 16:02:56 GMT
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Forex Blog - US Market Update

Today 11:14am EST/03:14pm GMT

US Market Update

Dow +5 S&P +1 NASDAQ +5

- Much like yesterday's open, equity indices took a tumble this morning and then popped right into positive territory shortly after the open. Although the Swine Flu jitters seem to have died down somewhat, there are plenty of other factors in play, chiefly the initial leaks surrounding the Treasury's stress tests and the Feb S&P/CS housing data. Commentators are rejoicing that the latter did not register another record-setting decline, with optimists fixing on this as yet another sign that the housing market is bottoming. Note that the decline in the index of home prices in 20 cities was 18.6%, a very slight improvement over January's 19% decline. Bond prices opening higher but have since given back any flight to safety bids as stocks recovered. The 5-year note is down 4 ticks yielding 1.86% ahead of this afternoon's $35B auction. June Gold is down 1.5% moving back below $900 on speculation central banks will become more aggressive in selling gold.


- Despite reports last week that US regulators had imposed a harsh gag order on banks with regards to the stress tests, the inevitable disclosure of the test results has begun. Citing people familiar with the results, the WSJ reported overnight that Citi and Bank of America have been told to raise billions of dollars in fresh capital - apparently regulators want the banks to take on the extra capital to provide a bigger cushion rather than to stave off insolvency. Unsurprisingly, executives at both banks are reportedly objecting to the findings. There were other reports circulating that US regulators are already holding talks with Citi on the results and the bank's capital position. Note that last night FDIC Chairwoman Bair reiterated that the stress tests are not pass/fail "solvency tests." Meanwhile, republican banking point man Senator Shelby believes many banks are inadequately capitalized, and called for banks to be closed or merged with others if they fail the stress tests. Shares of Citi and BoA are both down around 3% early on, while WFC is down about 2%.


- Pharma titans Bristol-Myers Squibb and Pfizer reported largely in line with expectations this morning, and both firms reaffirmed their 2009 forecasts. Note that Pfizer reported substantially lower revenues for several of its leading drugs, including the blockbusters Lipitor (-13% y/y) and Chantix (- 36% y/y). Mid-cap health insurance name Coventry came in a bit ahead of the Street and reaffirmed its full-year guidance, noting that membership growth in medicare business has been even stronger than expected in 2009. Shares of CVH are up 6% and headed higher mid morning, while PFE and BMY are underpeforming.


- In the European session BP said its profit fell 64% in Q1 despite its growing production, improving refinery output and declining costs and the company's Chairman said BP must adjust operations to $50/bbl world. Before the US open, Valero beat earnings estimates as net income rose 18% amid higher margins on gasoline and fuel oil.


- Office Depot made a small profit in Q1 (ex items), beating expectations for a small loss. Note that ODP recorded a net loss $0.20 from charges related to its decision to shut 107 underperforming stores. On the conference call, executives warned that ODP is seeing no "material improvement" in corporate spending in Q2. Apparel name Under Armour stomped estimates, but warned that Q2 would be much weaker. Fortune Brands guided well above the Street for its upcoming Q1 results and reaffirmed its 2009 outlook. On the downside, the firm cut its dividend to preserve cash. ODP is up nearly 20% in early trading, US is up 14% and FO is up 8%.


- -In currency trading, the risk aversion theme that dominated the early European session faded away during the New York morning, aided by the faintly positive housing data. Both the USD and JPY saw earlier gain evaporate as the S&P500 and DJIA recovered from electronic sessions lows. The EUR/USD was back testing the pivotal 1.3070 level as the New York morning drew to a close after testing 1.2965 earlier in the session. USD/JPY rebounded over 100 pips from session lows after retesting its historical pivot point of 95 handle. Sterling also firmed from its 1.4520 session low, aided by the best CBI distributive data out of the UK since January 2008. GBP/JPY surged almost 300 pips off its 139.00 lows to probe the 142 neighborhood.


- Dealers have also been watching the session weakness in spot gold, attributed to long liquidation chatter. Key support remained at $860/oz level. Additional chatter circulated that an imminent new Central Bank gold pact that might lead to changes to increase the amount of gold that can be sold. The central banks are currently in the fifth and final year of a Central Bank Gold Agreement (CBGA).

 

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Real-time forex market news reports and features providing other currency trading information can be accessed by clicking on any of the headlines below. At the top of the forex blog page you will find the latest forex trading information. Scroll down the page if you are looking for less recent currency trading information. Scroll to the bottom of fx blog headlines and click on the link for past reports on forex. Currency world news reports from previous years can be found on the left sidebar under "FX Archives."



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Wed 20 Dec
15:00 US- Existing Homes Sales
15:30 US- EIA Crude
Thu 21 Dec
03:00 JP- BOJ Decision
13:30 CA- CPI & Retail Sales
13:30 US Weely Jobless
13:30 US- GDP
Fri 22 Dec
09:30 US- GB- GDP
13:30 US- core PCE Deflator & Presonal Income
15:00 US- New Homes Sales
15:00 US- final University of Michigan
17:00 US- early Closes
Mon 25 Dec
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  • POTENTIAL PRICE RISK: HIGH- Medium- Tue --13:30 GMT-- US- Housing Starts and Permits. Leading indicators of activity

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