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Tuesday May 26, 2009 - 16:25:26 GMT
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Forex Blog - US Market Update

Today 10:54am EST/02:54pm GMT

US Market Update

Dow +170 S&P +17.8 NASDAQ +47

- US equities are seeing something of a post-memorial day rally this morning, with investors pushing the three leading indices out to impressive gains on the back of strong consumer confidence data (ignoring another grim look at housing). The March S&P/CS Home Price index was in line with expectations, although the index has fallen more than 19% in Q1, its biggest y/y decline on a quarterly basis in its 21-year history. Home prices in the 20 cities tracked by the composite index fell by 18.7% y/y in March, which is a slight improvement over the February data, marking another faint sign that things are getting worse more slowly. Still, there are no signs home prices have hit bottom in the data. Consumer confidence is showing strong improvements, with the May reading soaring to 54.9 from April's 40.8 reading. Consensus estimates were for 42.6. Front-month NYMEX crude is back above $61 after dropping below $60 early in the session. Various OPEC figures have indicated no changes to production levels will be forthcoming at the organization's May meeting later this week.


- Treasury prices opened marginally higher before moving lower in tandem with rallying stock prices. The 10-year yield is back above 3.45% while the 2-year has regained 0.9%. Later this afternoon Treasury auctions off $40B in 2-year notes in the first of three notes auctions scheduled this week. This weeks auctions are likely to see some increased attention of a two week hiatus of new supply from the US government. Traders will also be focusing on the reverse action results of the Fed's TIPS purchase due shortly. The results could shed some light on any change in inflation expectations.


- News on individual equities has been rather thin, with good news for tech and pharma names helping the Nasdaq outperform. Shares of Apple were raised to Overweight at Morgan Stanley, as analysts at the firm wrote that they expect demand for iPhone sales to beat expectations in the second half of 2009. Morgan raised its price target on Apple to $180 from $105. Canadian Solar reported a smaller than expected quarterly loss, while its revenue was disappointing. In addition, the firm cut its 2009 shipments guidance for the third time. MAP Pharmaceuticals is up more than 170% today after the company said its Phase III trial of LEVADEX migraine product candidate met all four of its primary endpoints.


- In currencies, the greenback consolidated its session gains during the New York morning, benefiting initially from its safe-haven status as US traders returned from the extended holiday weekend. EUR/USD tested 1.3860 before retreating to 1.3920. The euro's overall tone was soft amongst the major pairs, with EUR/GBP tested below the 0.8760 level and EUR/JPY tested 131.45. But risk appetite found traction after the May consumer confidence index beat expectations, with the survey suggesting that consumers believe the worst of the recession is over, forcing the dollar to give up its earlier gains but hold below the 1.40 handle. Commodity currencies also regain some composure as oil firmed following the US confidence data, with USD/CAD around 1.1260 after testing 1.1355 earlier today and AUD/USD looking to retest the 0.78 cent level.

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