- US indices have traded roughly sideways since the open as stocks attempt to put the brakes on the slide of the last two sessions. The ADP jobs report declined at its slowest rate since last September, although the -298K reading was worse than consensus expectations for -250K. Growth in July factory orders was a bit lower than expected and the June figure was revised lower. Front-month NYMEX crude tested below $68 before recovering a bit, with some decoupling from the dollar price action seen in oil and gold initially. Note that BP announced a "giant" oil discovery in the Tiber Prospect deep water field in the Gulf of Mexico, with estimates of recoverable resources around 3B barrels. December gold is approaching key medium-term resistance at levels around $975 to $980 after well-known Harvard Economist Niall Ferguson commented that he saw the US moving toward another large financial crisis. Treasury yields continue to drift lower with the 10-year cash of 3.35% testing its 200-day EMA for the first time since early July.
- In other equity news, mining equipment name Joy Global struck it rich in Q3, crushing analyst estimates and guiding higher for the full year. JOYG's CEO said he is encouraged by signs from both the global economy and the commodity markets, but cautioned it is too soon to say whether or not things are just "bumping along the bottom." Shares of JOYG are flat on the day. Mid-cap pharma MDS is up 5% after signing a deal to sell its Analytical Technologies unit to Danaher for $650M in cash. It also said it was looking to sell its MDS Pharma Services business. MDS guided revenue for Q3 a bit below expectations, but also said it intends to return $400-450M of proceeds from the sale of its analytical unit to shareholders. Note that major health insurers made a significant spike up in the mid single digits the first hour of trading before trading off somewhat; the names moved on no particular news besides the continuing gyrations in the healthcare reform debate in Washington. Vonage rocketed up 30% this morning after Apple approved its VOiP application for sale on iTunes. Following an upgrade to Overweight rating at Morgan Stanley yesterday, Goldman raised Textron to a Buy this morning. Shares of TXT spiked 5% on the news.
- Currency trading has been interesting in the US session following the release of the ADP employment report. Risk aversion is up again amid weak equity markets, and the price action in the dollar is mixed against its major pairs as the US currency diverges from commodity price action, creating a sense of confusion and making it difficult to get a sense of the underlying theme this morning. The yen provided the clearest trend, as it maintained a firm tone against the majors and the commodity currencies. One representative of the incoming DPJ government commented that it would be best to avoid intervention in currency markets and expressed support for the dollar's current status. The mere mention of a non-intervention strategy sent the yen to 92.25 before chatter circulated of a European quasi-official name selling JPY.
- Dealers were keener to see whether central banks would show any cards regarding likely trends. There was chatter the Swiss National Bank was buying US Treasuries, with some saying it was a possible prelude to currency intervention. EUR/CHF continues to linger near the 1.5130 support. Then there was vague chatter that Germany's Bundesbank might be buying bonds issued by Spanish State Banks (cajas). Participants are looking for evidence of bold moves ahead of the G20 summit later this month, with many watching for jitters in equity markets (particularly in the financial sector).
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