- Equity indices opened sharply higher this morning as investors shrugged off
widespread reports that the government would ask Bank of America to raise
billions in additional capital and concentrated on the much
better-than-expected April ADP employment reading. With the ADP small and
medium-sized business sub-indices showing less weakness than expected,
commentators are fixing on the report as just one more sign that the sharp declines
of Q1 are moderating. However, equities traded off from the open, with some
caution in the wind ahead of the expected release of stress test results as
well as the government's conditions for banks to repay TARP funds. Note that
tech stocks have been hit especially hard in early trading, forcing the Nasdaq
into negative territory led by declines in Amazon. Front-month NYMEX crude
continues to gain ground, up more than $2 to trade near the 2009 highs of $56 a
- Treasury markets remain fairly quiet with prices and yields settling into the
new trading range. The 10-year note if marginally lower with yields just a few
basis points from 2009 highs ahead of a $22B 10-year auction this afternoon.
Both the BOE and Fed continued to buy up government bonds in two more reverse
auctions this morning. Lots of trader talk is focused on the $10.6B TALF loans
requested in last night's third round of auctions. That was more than the first
two TALF auctions combined. Credit markets are also focusing on the increased
issuance of junk paper and continued improvements in interbank lending rates as
hope the government policies are continue to have the desired effects.
- Earnings season is slowly winding down, with the bulk of the most watched
large- and mid-cap firms having already disclosed their quarterly results. Oil
services leader Transocean missed earnings targets thanks to the overall
weakness in the energy sector, although utilization and day rates held up on a
q/q basis. Engineering firm Foster Wheeler came in below analysts estimates,
hurt in part by FX impact. Cooper Tire's loss was smaller than expected,
although tire revenues still not growing, demand remains weak and overcapacity
still an issue. Canadian fertilizer maker Agrium is still getting hit by the
overall collapse in demand for its products. AGU reported a small profit ex
hedging losses, write downs and compensation expenses, significantly below
expectations. Agrium said it remains committed to the CF Industries
- Gaming names Las Vegas Sands and Boyd both beat earnings expectations. LVS
eked out a $0.01 per share profit on an adjusted basis (-$0.14 unadjusted), and
said it was still looking to sell assets to shore up liquidity. BYD reported
twice the expected amount, before a big write off for acquisitions. Disney
offered solid quarterly results, a bit ahead on the bottom line and a bit
behind on revenue. The CEO did admit results have been impacted by the weak
economy. Tech darlings Garmin and Electronic arts offered lackluster earnings;
GRMN missed estimates, while ERTS's quarterly loss was smaller than expected.
Revenue lagged at both firms. Shares of GRMN are down a whopping 16%, while
ERTS is down 3%. Also note that Amazon's is launching its new large-screen
Kindle device in New York this
- In currency trading, risk appetite returned in the New
York session following the better-than-expected ADP
employment report. EUR/USD rebounded to move to 1.3370 before consolidating.
Scandinavian currencies were firmer in the NY morning after the Norwegian
Central Bank cut their deposit rate by 50bps to 1.50%, as expected. EUR/NOK was
lower in the aftermath of the rate decision. Sweden's
Riksbank commented that it could stimulate the economy further without cutting
the repo rate to zero and noted that it would not intervene to weaken its
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