- 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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