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Wednesday September 23, 2009 - 15:09:05 GMT
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Forex Blog - US Market Update

US Market Update

Dow -20 S&P -3 NASDAQ -1
- US equity markets are having a hard time finding something to focus on ahead of the FOMC meeting this afternoon. President Obama is addressing the United Nations, calling for an era of global engagement. Treasury Secretary Geithner said the key goal of economic reforms is to make the financial sector strong enough to survive the collapse of a major player, and warned against declaring certain firms as "systemically important." The most evident driver in stocks has been a reversal in oil and along with it the energy complex. Commodities have moved lower with the return of some firmness in the dollar, and a build across all three products in the latest DOE inventory reading. Treasury prices have rallied from a lower open to the pit trading session. The 10-year yield inched back towards 3.5% before retreating back below 3.45%. All eyes will be focused on the $40B 5-year auction results leading into the FOMC statement.

- In earnings, General Mills reported very strong Q1 results, beating top- and bottom-line estimates and raising its earnings guidance for 2010. Executives were upbeat on the conference call, saying FY10 is off to a good start, with
US retail sales ahead of target and FX impact less negative than planned. GIS is steady around +5%. AutoZone is not comparing well with quarterly results from competitor Carmax out yesterday. AutoZone was largely in line with estimates, with shares down 4% in the early going. Shares of AZO are down 4%.

- Computer hardware manufacturers Seagate and Xilinx have both increased guidance. Hard drive maker Seagate said its full-year revenue would beat its prior view slightly as OEM demand has been stronger than anticipated. Xilinx increased its Q2 revenue guidance thanks to strength in nearly all its end markets. STX was up nearly 3% just after the open, but has fallen into the red, while XLNX is well of its highs, trading around +5%. European solar name Renesola cut its 2009 outlook considerably, warning that better solar product prices may take longer to arrive than anticipated. SOL is up 2%Financial software name Intuit reaffirmed its outlook for the quarter and the year ahead of its investor day today. Shares of INTU are in the red.

- The Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) is expected to approve new accounting rules today that could boost sales and profits reported by tech firms. The move would allow firms that sell products that include hardware and software (like smartphones) to book a larger portion of revenue upfront. According to the WSJ, two big beneficiaries of the move would be Palm and Apple, as they would be able to significantly boost their revenue recognition from sales of their popular Pre and iPhone products. Shares of AAPL are up 2%, while PALM is up 4%. Note that PALM is well above the pricing level of its secondary offer announced this morning.

- A flood of share secondaries have washed over markets this morning. American Airlines parent AMR is trading below the pricing of its 48.5M secondary, while shares of US Airways are down more than 12% after the company said it would sell 26.3M shares. Old National Bankcorp is holding above its pricing of $10/shr. Shares of ATP Oil are down 6%, but off their worst levels after the company said it would sell more than 5M shares.

- As the G20 summit gets ready to discuss possible exit strategies on fiscal and monetary stimulus measured enacted over the last year, the Norwegian Central Bank (Norges) moved up its expected interest rate hike from mid-2010 to its next policy meeting in Oct. The Norges maintained their deposit rate at 1.25% but noted that it did debate a rate hike to today's policy meeting. The NOK was sharply firmer on the bank of the Norges statement on interest rates. German Central Banker Weber reiterated the standard ECB view that the economy was still far away from any sustainable recovery and that unemployment would weigh on consumption. EUR/USD has been focused on the 1.48 level all morning and the digital option appeared to have expired below that level. The Weber comments in seemed to settle the bet where the euro would close at the
New York option cut.


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