- Strength from the Asian and European sessions prompted by the Indian
elections carried over into pre-market trading in New York this morning. All
three leading US
indices made strong gains before the bell after three days of relative
weakness, led by the DJIA and Lowe's strong quarterly earnings. Front-month
NYMEX crude is making strong gains up nearly $2 while copper prices are up more
than 2%. Treasury prices are a little lower following another coupon purchase
from the Fed. The 10-year yield is hovering above 3.1%.
- Various analyst moves are helping the tier-1 financials outperform this
morning, lead by impressive gains at Bank of America. Shares of BoA are on
fire, up more than 10% after analysts at Goldman Sachs raised the name to a
Buy. Goldman said that the bank's capital raise is about half over, noting that
the impact on its shares should start to abate moving forward. Note that Fitch
cut its ratings on BoA's preferred stock just before the open, warning the bank
could face more mortgage and credit card losses over the medium term. Wells
Fargo is off its best levels this morning, after opening up 5% on news that
Warren Buffet's Berkshire Hathaway had raised its stake in the bank by 16M
shares (to 6.4% from 6% prior). Golman Sachs is up 3% after ratings and
earnings estimate upgrades by analysts at Citigroup and JMP Securities.
Analysts at JMP Securities also raised their ratings and earnings estimates for
Morgan Stanley, sending its share up 3% or so in early trading. Note that
Regions Financial jumped nearly 14% on takeover chatter, before trading off
- Over the weekend GM Vice Chairman Bob Lutz told German newspaper Sonnntag
that the company will not meet the Obama Administration's June 1st deadline for
completing its restructuring plan. Negotiations with the UAW continue apace,
however. The union is not feeling cooperative, noting earlier this morning that
it strongly objects to GM plans to close US plants and increase its imports of
vehicles produced overseas.
- Lowe's reported first-quarter earnings that were ahead of consensus earnings
and revenue estimates, and the home improvement giant also offered guidance for
the year and the coming quarter that was well above targets. On the conference
call, Lowe's CEO said there are encouraging signs that the worst may be over,
although the macro headwinds facing the firm remain strong for the rest of the
year. Shares of LOW jumped 10% before the bell, before trading off
substantially by mid morning. Shares of HD were up 6% on the news. Textron cut
its full-year forecast due to dilution from its recently announced public
offering, although shares of the conglomerate are still up 2%. Carnival Cruise
Lines said the impact of the Swine flu panic would trim its second quarter
earnings by $0.05/shr, although share of CCL are steaming higher, up 5% in the
early going. Shares of Dillard's are up 18% on an impressive Q1 showing,
although the retailer's outperformance was buttressed by a one-time tax gain.
- In currencies, risk appetite kept USD and JPY pairs on the defensive. EUR/USD
tested above the 1.35 level while USD/JPY probed the 96.00 neighborhood. IMF
Official Morsink noted that it had agreed that Hungary could tap its second
loan tranche of â‚¬1.4B to sooth over fears over the Eastern European region.
GBP/USD led the way higher aided by the May Rightmove house price survey which
registered its largest month/month gain since Feb 2008. GBP/USD tested the 1.53
level against the USD and probed the 0.8800 level against the euro. EUR/CHF
cross was steady but unable to climb higher following the SNB intervention last
friday after the European close. The pair ends the NY session at 1.5120 level.
Higher energy prices aided the CAD and AUD related pairs.
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