- The nomination of Ben Bernanke for another term as chairman of the Fed, improved housing numbers and strong consumer confidence data sent US stock markets higher once again. The Conference Board's Consumer Confidence index rose to 54.1 this month from an upwardly revised 47.4 in July and far above the 47.5 reading analysts expected. But continuing skittishness over the sustainability of the recovery has pulled equities off their highs, with both the White House and Congressional Budget Office out with fresh FY09 Federal budget deficit estimates reminding everyone of the precarious situation the US government faces heading into the next decade. Front-month NYMEX crude spiked above $74.50 with the morning's peak in equities, then rapidly traded off to below $74. Treasury prices have stayed right around unchanged to slightly lower in the wake rising stock prices. The 2-year kicks off a week full of Treasury auctions this afternoon when the results of the $42B auction are announced. The when issued 2-year yield of 1.09% is roughly 6 basis points above the cash market.
- The June S&P/CaseShiller and June House Price Index indicated improvements in housing, although there has been lively debate over how the data should be interpreted. The S&P/CS home price index rose on a q/q basis for the first time in three years, prompting some to say housing has bottomed. The S&P/CS composite showed home prices declined less than expected and improved a bit over May levels (a second consecutive gain) in the 20 leading metropolitan areas in the US, but are still 16% lower than last year. The economists that developed the index, Karl Case and Robert Shiller gave contrasting interpretations of the data; Case said "the boat has turned" for US housing while Schiller warned that less positive data should reverse this trend soon. The Commerce Department's Homebuilders spike up in the mid single digits on the news, but have traded off with markets.
- Multiple consumer franchise names reported earnings before the bell. Staples came in line with expectations and once again refrained from offering any forward-looking guidance. Staples CFO told CNBC that while customers returning in larger numbers and back-to-school sales are looking up, average tickets remain flat. Shares of SPLS popped into the black just after the bell but have returned to negative territory mid morning - rivals ODP and OMX are both up 4% or so on their competitor's weakness. Burger King Holdings crushed EPS estimates and offered strong guidance for its FY10, although comps are still in negative territory. Shares of BKC are around +8% in early trading, leaving other fast-food names in the dust. Quarterly losses at bookseller Borders Group were higher than expected, although the CEO said the worst is behind the company, which should be able to drive better sales in the second half of the year. Shares of BGP rose 5% before the open, then dropped right into negative territory from the open. In other earnings, Medtronic met expectations and reiterated its 2010 outlook. Shares of MDT are down 1% on the day.
- The USD and JPY saw their pre-European gains all evaporate as the NY morning wore on aided by better US home price and as rumored consumer confidence data above the 50 level. Congressional Budget Office (CBO) painted a fresh picture on the US deficit front as it raised its FY09 budget deficit at $1.59 trillion compared to $1.8 trillion prior estimate and trimmed its 2010 deficit at $1.38T versus $1.4T prior estimate.
- The CBO slashed its 10-year deficit forecast to $7.14T from its prior view of $9.1T. Loan losses from the BMO were not as bad as feared. The USD maintained its composure at some critical levels, particularly against the EUR, CHF and CAD pairs. The initial euphoria over the data retraced as traders contemplated that tax credit for first-time homebuyers was probably temporarily fuelling US resale for the time being. The real test is looming after November when the tax credit expires.
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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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