US equity indices are trading sideways this morning as investors
contemplate mixed economic data and an imminent bankruptcy filing by
GM. The GDP numbers are offering some support for the "getting worse
more slowly" theme, while the U of Michigan confidence data is all
green shoots. The preliminary Q1 GDP reading was a hair worse than
expected at -5.7%, versus expectations for -5.5%, although it was
better than the advanced reading of 6.1% back on April 29th. The third
and final reading is expected in late June. The second and final
University of Michigan May consumer confidence reading was a bit above
expectations and a whole percentage point above the preliminary reading
two weeks ago, sending the index to levels from last September.
However, the May Chicago Purchasing Managers Index indicated no
positive trends, coming in significantly below expectations at 34.9 (v
42e) and well below the April's surprisingly strong reading.
Front-month NYMEX crude is extending its streak this morning, hitting
another six-month high above $66 while gold also makes new multi-month
highs nearing $980 as the Greenback remains on the defensive.
US Treasury prices are experiencing a late-week rally after yesterday
afternoon's 7-year auction results seem to have calmed the markets.
After the sharp move up in rates mid-week, the benchmark 10-year yield
has drifted back below the 3.55% level it was trading at ahead of the
5-year auction. The curve has flattened substantially as well with the
benchmark spread narrowing more than 15 basis points from the all time
highs made Wednesday afternoon. Markets seem be taking some solace in
reports the Fed was not nearly as concerned about this week's rate
spike as many other were. The WSJ reported that Fed officials saw the
move up in rates as more a factor of an improving economy and that they
remain comfortable with the currently historically low level of
- Morgan Stanley and Citi are
outperforming the other tier-1 financials this morning as investors
react favorably to recent bond sales. BoA/Merrill Lynch commented on
Goldman Sachs overnight, saying they believe Goldman is headed for a
strong Q2 as the firm benefits from weaker competitors. The analysts
also said that only JP Morgan has improved competitive position
relative to Goldman in the quarter. In a development that would affect
the financials across the board, the FT reported there are growing
concerns that triple-A-rated mortgage backed securities could face a
"cascade" of rating downgrades following remarks from S&P that it
may downgrade tens of billions of dollars in triple-A-rated securities
backed by real estate loans.
- In earnings, PC
powerhouse Dell reported Q1 results that were largely in line with
expectations. CEO Michael Dell said indicators of global IT demand
remain mixed, and the broader environment is still challenging, while
the CFO said he does not believe IT spending has seen a bottom. Luxury
retailer Tiffany's also met estimates, and also reaffirmed its 2009
forecast in line with analysts. On the conference call, Tiffany
executives said they are seeing cautious consumer spending across sales
units across the board, with high-end jewelry encountering largest
declines. Elsewhere in retail J. Crew blew out analyst estimates for
the quarter and said it sees a modest profit next quarter (versus an
expectations for a loss).
- In currencies, traders
continued to see the long-term dollar outlook at a critical technical
level in the New York session, with the greenback showing more weakness
against the major pairs, emerging market pairs and commodity-related
pairs. Concerns that major central banks and large government-backed
agencies might diversify away from the dollar weighed on sentiment.
Overnight comments earlier from South Korea's Pension Fund that it was
looking to diversify away from the dollar and more fallout from
Thursday utterance from a Brazilian minister fueled the sentiment in
today's session. Attempts by US officials to downplay USD depreciation
have not calmed feelings. The Fed's Fisher commented during the Asian
session that the AAA sovereign rating of the United States was not at
risk. Dealers are noting that USD/RUB broke below 31.00 level,
triggering fresh buying in the EUR/USD pair. The EUR/USD was moving
toward the 1.4150 level as the NY morning ended.
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Mon 18 Dec
10:00 EZ- final HICP Tue 19 Dec
09:00 DE- IFO Survey
13:30 US- Housing Starts/Permits
13:30 US- Current Account Wed 20 Dec
15:00 US- Existing Homes Sales
15:30 US- EIA Crude Thu 21 Dec
03:00 JP- BOJ Decision
13:30 CA- CPI & Retail Sales
13:30 US Weely Jobless
13:30 US- GDP Fri 22 Dec
09:30 US- GB- GDP
13:30 US- core PCE Deflator & Presonal Income
15:00 US- New Homes Sales
15:00 US- final University of Michigan
17:00 US- early Closes Mon 25 Dec
00:00 Christmas Holidays
Potential Trading Opportunities
POTENTIAL PRICE RISK: Medium Mon--10:00 GMT-- EZ- final November HICP. flash data are rarely changed.
POTENTIAL PRICE RISK: HIGH- Medium Tue --09:00 GMT-- DE- IFO Survey. Key report but usually not a market-mover
POTENTIAL PRICE RISK: HIGH- Medium- Tue --13:30 GMT-- US- Housing Starts and Permits. Leading indicators of activity
POTENTIAL PRICE RISK: HIGH-Medium- Wed --15:00-- US- Existing Homes Sales. Top Housing statistic
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