- US equity indices are trending upwards in early trading this morning after The August industrial production report rose a bit more than expected and August CPI came in flat (ex fuel and food). Note that the Fed also revised the July industrial production figure to +1%, twice as much as originally reported. Senator Baucus has formally released the fifth and final Congressional proposal for healthcare reform, with no public option and new fees on insurance companies, as expected. NYMEX crude continues to creep up from lows under $69 over the weekend, with the front-month contract looking to break $71.50 after nearly double the expected decline in the DoE's crude inventories report.
- Citigroup's stock has been on a rollercoaster since the government announced on 9/14 that it would sell down its stake in the firm. Rochdale's Dick Bove questioned Citi's ability to turn a profit, saying he expects Citi to lose money in Q3. Note that back in late August Bove said US banks earnings would be dismal for the rest of 2009. Analysts at BoA/Merrill Lynch see the sale of US government's stake in Citi as having little dilution as there is little change the government would exit its equity position in a disorderly fashion. Shares of Citi are nearly 4%. In a wide-ranging interview with the WSJ, Wells Fargo's CEO Stumpf declined to specify when the firm would repay its $25B in TARP funds and insisted that losses at Wachovia are manageable. Stumpf said a rebound in US banking industry profits depends on the consumer.
- Adobe was more or less in line with expectation in its Q3 earnings and Q4 guidance, but the software company's acquisition of business software firm Omniture is really grabbing attention this morning. Adobe said it would acquire OMTR for $21.50 per share in cash, in a deal worth $1.8B. Some commentators have pooh-poohed the deal, saying there are scarcely any synergies in the deal. Shares of ADBE are down 5% this morning, while shares of OMTR are up 25%.
- There has been another spurt of pre-earnings season guidance out since yesterday's close. Agricultural machinery manufacturer AGCO slashed its 2009 revenue and earnings guidance due to softening market conditions and lower margins. AGCO is down 10%. Semi names Rambus and Silicon Labs joined the rest of the industry and hiked guidance for Q3. RMBS is up 2%, SLAB is down 2%. Fortune Brands is up nearly 7% after reaffirming its full-year outlook, noting that rising consumer confidence and improving home sales were encouraging for their business. Medical testing firm Meridian Bioscience provided an initial look at 2010 earnings that was a bit ahead of expectations and reaffirmed its 2009 view; shares of VIVO are flat. Manufacturer Rockwell Automation and wireless communications firm SBA Communications each reaffirmed their 2009 outlooks. Among other guiders were Rogers Corp (raised EPS view for Q3 considerably; ROG+8%), Littlefuse (blew out Q3 estimates on big jumps in sales; LFUS+12%) and Kulicke & Soffa Industries (hiked revenue estimates for its Q4; KLIC+2%).
- In currency trading the greenback has continued its recent habit of hitting fresh 2009 lows against most currencies and then consolidating its losses, and the yen remained the dominant theme as it tried to break below the option barrier said to be in placed at 90.00. Dealers observed a good amount of smoothing operations as the New York session commenced. Many are pondering whether or not these moves were officially sanctioned, although the price action has been similar to other pairs. Overall sentiment continues to be that the market believes the weaker USD trend is being driven by reserve diversification, with central banks playing both sides of the trend. USD/JPY held the 90.0 handle and moved back above the 90.70 level in mid-morning trading in New York. EUR/USD also failed to breech its mid-December intra-day high of 1.4719 but did give it a good college try initially. Spot gold is holding below its all-time high of $1,032.40/oz.
- Note that dealers were chatting that a US think tank report on Fed accommodation claimed two Fed members have been discussing removing accommodation sooner rather than later and noted these members moving from neutral to hawkish in bias. This news briefly transformed into a vague rumor that the Fed might raise interest rates in the near future, but was quickly dismissed as pure nonsense.
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