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Monday May 18, 2009 - 16:04:26 GMT
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Forex Research - US Market Update

Today 11:15am EST/03:15pm GMT

US Market Update

Dow +148 S&P +15 NASDAQ +22

- 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 somewhat.

- 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 €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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