Dow +30 S&P +2.25 NASDAQ +3.3 - The slow but steady equity market rally continues this morning, spurred on by solid housing and manufacturing data. August housing starts pushed out to a nine-month high, rising 1.5% sequentially, and building permits rose 2.5% sequentially; both data sets were largely in line with expectations. Commentators noted that growth in both series was overwhelmingly in multi-family units. The very strong Philadelphia Fed data is also fuel for the rally, although the miss in the employment sub-index remains concerning. Verizon's CEO offered a contrarian dose of skepticism in comments out after the open, noting that the US economy is still contracting and that no new job creation is taking place. Front-month crude continues to gain on growing economic optimism, with the front-month contract over $72. Gold is above $1,015, off its best levels but still not far below fresh all-time highs made overnight. Treasury prices have moved higher since the open of pit trade, despite the $112B in supply announced to come on the market next week.
- FedEx disclosed its official Q1 results today, with earnings right in line with estimates after its pre-announcement last week. Revenue was a bit of a surprise, as it missed higher targets. The company also said it would raise rates for 2010, a move that would be partially offset by lower fuel surcharges. FDX's CEO said the pricing environment is becoming more favorable. Oracle disappointed investors with in-line earnings and lackluster revenue in its Q1 report yesterday. The firm's revenue outlook for next quarter missed analysts' targets. Both FDX and ORCL are down in the low single digits.
- Auto parts manufacturers Autoliv and American Axle both offered guidance this morning. Autoliv raised its revenue forecast for Q3 slightly on what the company called a faster-than-expected recovery in vehicle output. American Axle's revenue guidance for the current quarter was a bit soft, although this news is being offset by the receipt of yet another credit waiver, giving the company more time to negotiate with its creditors and avoid bankruptcy. Shares of AXL spiked 8% on the news, before giving up all their gains on the guidance component of the news. AXL is up 3% mid morning, while ALV is in the red. Note also that BWA rose 4% after being cut to a hold from buy at KeyBanc.
- In other pre-earnings guidance, manufacturer Rockwell Collins adjusted its FY09 earnings and revenue guidance ranges downwards on special charges taken to reduce output. The company also provided an initial range for its 2010 forecast that was solidly in line with expectations. Health insurance name Amerigroup cut its 2009 earnings forecast on higher-than-expected medical costs in the second half of the year. Pharmaceutical name Hospira raised its full-year view. Share of AGP are down 4%, COL is up more than 4% and HSP is up 2%.
- In currencies, the price action in the dollar during the New York session tracked overall equity price moves, although it was contained within its Asian and European ranges. Dealers expressed concern over the Philly Fed data, which echoes some overseas numbers that have raised concerns about private demand once the effect of stimulus spending fades. The yen saw its gains evaporate as the NY morning commenced, with USD/JPY unable to break below the 90.00 handle despite the earlier comments from the BoJ that a stronger JPY might benefit Japan in the long run. USD/JPY tested its five-week downtrend line at 91.60 but failed to trigger the large amounts of dollar buy stops building above the level from shorter-term traders. The SNB left its 3-month LIBOR target unchanged at 0.25%, as expected, and reiterated that the central bank would continue to curb the Swiss Franc's appreciation.
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Mon 19 Mar 2018 Tue 20 Mar 2018 AA 9:30 GB- CPI A 10:00 DE- ZEW Survey Wed 21 Mar 2018 AA 03:00 AU- Employment AA 9:30 GB- Employment A 12:30 US- Current Account AA 14:00 US- Existing Homes Sales A 14:30 US- EIA Crude A A18:00 US- Fed Rate Decision A 21:00 NZ- RBNZ Rate Decision Thu 22 Mar 2018 AA All Day flash PMIs AA 9:30 GB- Retail Sales AA 12:00 GB- Bank Of England Decision A 13:30 US- Weekly Jobless Fri 23 Mar 2018 AA 12:30 CA- CPI/Retail Sales A 12:30 US- Durable Goods A 14:00 US- New Homes Sales
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