Highly influential financial sector analyst Meredith Whitney upgraded her near-term outlook on Goldman Sachs and Bank of America ahead of their earnings results this Thursday and Friday, and the equity market jumped into buying mode. The S&P500 closed up 2.5%, but the banks index posted +7.3%. The US budget deficit has blown out to a record $1.1 trillion for the fiscal year to date. US 10 year treasuries sold off by 6bp following equities, and 3mth Libor posted an unusual 0.5bp rise to 0.515. Oil was roughly flat, held down perhaps by talk US regulators plan to rein in commodity speculation. Copper rose 0.8%, remaining within a 3 day range.
The US dollar weakened only modestly, the more significant moves being confined to the risk currencies. EUR gyrated from 1.3900 to the 1.3990 current high. Talk of QIA buying part of Porsche helped. GBP rallied 2 cents from 1.6035, shrugging off expectations of a large six- month loss by Lloyds banking group. JPY slipped back to 92.75.
AUD continued its domestic session's soft tone and touched a 0.7705 low around the London open, but followed the lead of equity futures thereafter to 0.7825. The Rio Tinto/China saga continues amid compensation claims for China's breaking of contracts.
NZD's evening low was 0.6195, short-covering pushing it higher to 0.6330. AUD/NZD sat in a 1.2400 to 1.2450 range until London, when the kiwi's push saw it fall back to 1.2350 minor support.
Japan June consumer confidence rose to 37.6 from 35.7 in May, extending rebound from record-low 26.2 in December. This is an 18 month high in the index, but is still weak by historical standards. It is possible to speculate that the distribution of a government stimulus payment help boost sentiment that these payments may bolster consumption spending in Q2 GDP after declining over the previous two quarters.
Canadian lending conditions ease further. The quarterly Bank of Canada survey of senior loan officers showed a net balance of 33% in Q2, down from 60% in Q1 and the 76% peak in Q4 last year. A positive read still indicates that conditions are tight (the index was at -22% prior to the credit crunch in Q2 2007!), but they are clearly less tight than in the immediate aftermath of the Lehmans collapse. Also, the Q2 StatCan business survey surged from -22 to 38, the strongest since 1999! That means that many more firms expect increased sales over the next year.
The remainder of this week should be quite volatile for NZD, a stream of both positive and negative US earnings reports due to hit the wires (most important of these will be on Thursday and Friday, NZT). Add to that the largest ever maturities for NZD Eurobonds this month, with most occurring on Wednesday, and plenty of two-way direction is in store. The expected range today is 0.6200-0.6350, with the possibility of 0.6400. Our one month target remains sub-0.6000.
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