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Tuesday June 9, 2009 - 16:11:58 GMT
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Forex Blog - US Market Update

Today 11:33am EST/03:33pm GMT

US Market Update

Dow -27 S&P -1 NASDAQ +9

- US stocks opened higher but have been drifting lower after the expected Treasury announcement on the banks cleared to repay TARP funds. Investors are evidently selling the news, after a buying surge late yesterday afternoon. Other cautious voices on the financial system have been heard, with Fed Governor Fisher warning again that some banks are still too big to fail and a Congressional bailout oversight panel stating that the stress tests might have to be repeated. Yale economist Robert Schiller told Bloomberg TV that "We may have a recovery, but I suspect it will be a disappointing one." Front-month crude is strong again this morning, trading up above $69 while gold is back above $950. The Greenback came under a fresh bout of selling pressure after Goldman Sachs made a technical call by the Euro against the Dollar. Yields continue to give back some of the recent gains with some steepening across the curve. The 2-year has given back more than 10 basis points from the highs yesterday to dip back below 1.3%. Later today the US Treasury is auctioning off $35B in 3-year notes.

- After the close last night, the Fed approved the capital raising plans for the 10 banks that were deemed in need of extra capital in the government's stress tests. The WSJ later reported that the Treasury would approve $50B worth of TARP paybacks this morning, while further press speculation about which institutions would be cleared to repay continued through the US open. In the end, Tresury Secretary Geithner stated just after the open of trading that 10 banks holding a total of $68B in TARP had been approved for repayment (without naming any individual firms); confirmation from the banks themselves has been hitting the wires since that time. For the record, Geithner noted that more than 600 banks have taken $199B in TARP funding.

- Since the announcement, Morgan Stanley, JP Morgan, American Express, Capital One, Bank of New York, US Bancorp, State Street BB&T Corp and Northern Trust have confirmed TARP repayments. AXP and COF are about the only names to make significant gains on the news, with the two credit card companies up as much as 4% on the news, although AXP is off its best levels. Most of the rest of these names are trading around even or in negative territory.

- Apple is trading around even in the wake of its big iPhone news yesterday. Multiple analysts raised price targets and made positive comments on the name overnight. BoA/Merrill Lynch believes the new iPhone are likely to put some near-term pressure on Research In Motion to move faster on user interface innovation, although indicated that RIMM isn't that threatened by the development. Shares of RIMM are up 2% today, while shares of PALM, which released its competing Pre smartphone last weekend, are back around even after rising as much as 5% after the open. Nuance and especially TomTom are riding Apples coattails on the iPhone news, as software from both firms are integral to the phone's speech recognition and GPS capabilities. Share of NUAN are up more than 3% today, while the Netherlands-listed shares of TomTom have shot up 15% today.

- In other equity news, Texas Instruments offered an upbeat mid-quarter update yesterday, guiding Q2 results well above expectations and saying that the semiconductor industry is making incremental improvements. Shares of TXN are up 6%, while the SMH is up 3% on the good news. Truck maker Navistar missed earnings and revenue targets by quite a bit, and slashed its 2009 forecast nearly in half. Navistar's CEO was not sunny on the economy, noting that the recovery will likely take longer than expected, leading to the worst market conditions for the firm in nearly half a century. NAV opened down 5% but has risen back into positive territory in early trading. Apparel retailers Men's Warehouse and Talbots both did markedly better than expected in Q1. MW was solidly profitable (versus expectations for a small loss), while Talbot's quarterly loss was half the expected amount. Talbot's CEO said the company saw a substantial rebound in merchandise margin from the fourth quarter and is seeing strength in key categories. Shares of MW are up 15%, while TLB is off opening highs around even.

- The greenback and commodity prices were back in sync during the New York session, reinforced by a research note from Goldman Sachs that discussed five reasons for a weak dollar, including rising risk appetite, the continued climb in commodity prices and lingering doubts about the reserve currency issue. EUR/USD moved above the 1.3900 handle as New York traders took the helm and proceeded to test above the 1.420 level before consolidating. The reserve currency question is likely to have continued momentum as the BRIC meeting later this month is expected to discuss the issue. There has been more talk about an SDR as a new synthetic reserve currency, which has in turn undermined confidence in the currently dominant reserve currency over the last six weeks. The current IMF SDR basket contains about 40% USD and 37% for the EUR, compared to the current share of about 60% USD and 30% for the EUR in central bank reserves globally.


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