- US equity indices opened higher this morning and are making further gains after slipping a bit. However, volumes are still one-third below average and the overall sentiment remains substantially unchanged. In an interview with the FT published yesterday evening, Larry Summers said he "does not think the worst is over" for the US recession, warning that it "would not surprising" if GDP falls further. In the UK for talks, Treasury Secretary Geithner commented that there has been a significant easing of the financial crisis, although the recovery still faces plenty of significant risks and challenges. Front-month NYMEX crude is down a dollar or so, trading just above $59. Treasury markets are successfully digesting the recent gains with yields still hovering around the lowest levels in two months. The long bond is below 4.2% and the benchmark is holding at 3.3%.
- The banks were back in headlines as two big stories - Goldman Sachs and CIT - kept analysts and commentators chattering over the weekend. Goldman Sachs, which reports its second-quarter results on Tuesday, was the subject of wildly positive press reports. The New York Times wrote that the company is likely to post "huge profits," given analyst forecasts. The bank holding company's shares climbed in the NY pre-market as Meredith Whitney talked to CNBC about the company. Note that Whitney's firm raised Goldman to a buy with a $186 price target this morning.
Shares of Goldman are up 4%, while other major financials were up 3-4% as well.
- Last Friday CIT apparently hired bankruptcy advisors after failing to win government borrowing guarantees after extended negotiations. CIT has a $1B payment due in mid-August and it remains unclear whether the company will be able to make the payment or not. Executives spent the weekend trying to compile a plan that would convince customers and investors that it can deal with its liquidity crunch, lobbying members of congress, government officials and regulators. Geithner said he is monitoring CIT's situation closely, insisting the US has the authority it requires to resolve CIT if needed. Shares of CIT are down about 25%, compounding the big losses seen on Friday. Many other second-tier financial names and regional banks were making 3-5% gains in the early going.
- In currencies, the risk aversion that characterized the Asian session was put on ice as the European morning wore thanks to constructive comments from China's PBoC and the Japanese cabinet on their respective economic outlooks. A PBoC assistant governor said there were some positive signs in the economy, while the Japanese Cabinet's monthly report raised its view on exports, imports, business spending and private consumption sectors. However, both far east nations noted that uncertainties remained. EUR/USD recovered the majority of its European session losses to trade around the 1.3960 ahead of the US equity open. GBP/USD is also off its worst levels but remains softer across the board against the major pairs. AUD and CAD price action mirrored oil movements, with AUD/USD moving back toward 0.78 after testing 0.77 during Europe. USD/CAD is testing 1.1600 after probing toward the 1.17 neighborhood.
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