- Equities continued their post-beige book rally before and then after the bell
taking heart from the Fed's assertion that the slump is moderating in nearly
half its districts. However indices did encounter some early resistance around
950 on the S&P keeping a lid on gains thus far. Before the open May advance
retail sales came in even with estimates, at +0.5%, making for the biggest gain
in the series in four months. Data was aided by consumers snapping up
discounted auto deals and then paying higher prices at the pump. The initial
jobless claims were a bit lower than expected, while continuing claims moved
out to yet another all-time high. Front month crude continues to rally, trading
above $72 after the IEA raised their monthly demand forecast.
- Sellers returned to the US Treasury markets in the early going. Talk still
centered on the 4 basis point tail required in yesterday's 10-year reopening
which briefly sent the benchmark yield above 4%. But following another loss of
600K jobs for the latest week buyers stepped in and yields have backed off. The
long bond is only fractionally lower yielding 4.775% ahead of this afternoon's
- Ratings upgrades are moving selected financial stocks. Bank of America is up
7% after Keefe Bruyette raised the name to Outperform from Market Perform,
noting that the completion of capital raising takes away a level of uncertainty
surrounding the bank. Note that BoA CEO Lewis is getting grilled in front of
Congress this morning on questions regarding his bank's acquisition of Merrill
Lynch. Among the regional banks, Regions Financial rose as much as 9% before
trading off while Fifth Third rose 6% after Goldman Sachs boosted the names to
Buy from Neutral.
- Another crop of corporations sought to mold expectations by adjusting
guidance ahead of earnings season. Qualcomm raised its revenue forecast for Q3
by 10% or so (but refrained from offering earnings guidance), noting that
robust demand for chipsets would aid its top line. Clorox reaffirmed its
forecast for 2010 and raised its dividend by a bit. Medco Health affirmed its
full-year forecast. Railroad GeneseeWyoming
cut its earnings outlook for next quarter thanks to declining traffic, sending
its shares down 4% on the news.
- Recent comments from Boeing and Yahoo have provided insight to the two
companies respective industries. Boeing dropped a bombshell mid morning,
trimming its long-term 20-year demand forecast by a small amount as the airline
industry continues to reduce capacity in the face of the economic crisis. Last
night a Yahoo executive said that the company is seeing lots of advertising
activity from mid-level customers, stating that advertising is "coming
- In currencies, the greenback continued to consolidate under a barrage of
data, bond issues and commentary, providing good two-way price action.
Nonetheless, market participants are well aware that green shots could easily
be replaced by a George Constanza-style "double-dip" recession.
Aiding these fears was White House Advisor (and former Fed Chairman) Volcker,
who commented that prospects for a strong recovery were unlikely, despite some
growth in late 2009. Volcker also added to the ongoing conversation on global
reserve currencies, noting that some sort of special reserve currency would
ultimately be logical but there were no practical alternatives to the dollar
today or "for many tomorrows." A Goldman Sachs economist chimed in as
well, noting that central banks need to hold fewer dollars and forecasted a
softer dollar in the medium and long term on the growing risk of reserve
- Some key levels looking ahead for EUR/USD are in the 1.3950 to 1.4090 area.
Dealers are noting that a break below 1.3800 could alter the recently
constructive Euro picture. Above the 1.4150 would elect another round of Euro
buy stops. The USD/JPY pair faces critical resistance line at the 99.00 area,
which represents the August downtrend line.
- The Swedish Kroner (SEK) continues to get whipsawed thanks to the economic
meltdown in the Baltic states. EUR/SEK tested above the
10.82 on rumors of political turmoil in Latvia;
substantial banking exposure to the former Soviet satellite. SEK sentiment was
also weighed down by dovish comments from the Riksbank's Svensson, who
commented that another interest rate cut (rates are at 0.50%) was possible,
while the Riksbank's Wickman-Parak said low interest ratse might be necessary
for a relatively long period of time
- Two notable meetings are on the horizon. Firstly, G8 finance ministers are
meeting in Rome this weekend. French and German officials have commented that
currencies are unlikely to be discussed at the confab. It should be noted that
it is the finance ministries meeting in Rome
who would provide central banks with any currency intervention orders. Then
next week Brazil,
and China (the
so-called BRIC countries) are set to meet in Moscow
on June 16. Markets expect further talk about diversification of reserves away
from the U.S. dollar. Brazil
stated yesterday that it was not attempting to weaken the USD and did not
benefit from a weaker USD. Russia
has been the most vocal on creating a new reserve currency, while China
has remained a large buyer of US treasuries this year despite inaccurate
stories to the contrary. China's
"diversification" steps have been to purchase many USD based
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