- Equity indices opened lower this morning and gapped even further downwards as investors extend yesterday afternoon's pull back after the DJIA made fresh 2009 highs on Monday morning. Weight from lower financial stocks and a roughly inline JNJ eps report are also keeping things subdued, not to mention a surprisingly lower than expected reading in the October IBD/TIPP Economic Optimism index. Front-month NYMEX crude tested above the $74 handle earlier this morning, before trading off somewhat, while gold made fresh all-time highs before the open on floor trade in NY. Bonds are getting a bid pushing the 10-year back towards 3.3%.
- The banks are like deer in the headlights this morning in the wake of Meredith Whitney's big call on Goldman Sachs. In addition, traders are maneuvering ahead of JP Morgan's earnings tomorrow morning. Whitney withdrew her price target of $186 on Goldman, although the substance of her note have not come to light as of writing. The Street awaits the details, which should emerge at some point today. The FT made a long-term call on JP Morgan, noting the firm may report annual earnings as high as $24B by 2012 (2007 earnings were over $15B), driven by less competition and the integration of Bear Stearns and WaMu. The NY Times writes that according to Sandler O'Neil, Q3 bank earnings are expected to be down by about 30% y/y and approximately 40% of lenders could report a quarterly loss. CIT was down nearly 20% at the open due to rumors its debt exchange offer was not seeing enough interest to stave off bankruptcy, although its shares are around -14% mid morning.
- In earnings, Johnson & Johnson is off 2% in early trading after missing top line expectations (despite beating earnings targets). On the conference call, the CEO said JNJ continues to cut costs and warned its consumer business continues to feel the impact of the crisis. In addition, he said the company would slow share buybacks to conserve cash. Dominos also beat bottom line expectations while missing on the top line, sending its shares down as much as 9% in early trading. Johnson Controls offered a slightly better than expected forecast for its Q4 earnings, and guided in line with expectations for 2010, citing higher global auto production and plenty of cost cutting. Investors are not impressed, and shares of JCI are down 2%. Note that Pier 1 Imports is up 18% after its September same-store sales showed a very strong recovery in the month. Shares of Starent are up 18% after Cisco said it would acquire the mobile telecommunications name for $35/shr, in a deal valued at $2.9B.
- In currencies, the greenback limped into the New York session at 14 month lows against numerous pairs as spot gold hit fresh all-time highs at $1,068.70 level and silver tested above $18/oz for the first time since the summer of 2008. The ECB's Noyer said there is no reason for the ECB to change its policy for the time being and urged governments to maintain stimulus programs while planning their exit. As the New York morning wore on the dollar managed to regain the bulk of its overnight losses as equities, energy and metals all turned negative. Cautious comments from miner Rio Tinto on Chinese demand eventually eroded the rising risk appetite sentiment. EUR/USD tested 1.4876 before drifting back to 1.4810 as crude futures moved lower. GBP/USD snapped above the 1.5850 level following optimistic comments from BoE Gov Bean, who noted that economic activity in UK likely had bottomed out as quantitative easing was having the desired effects. He did note that it would be some time before determining exactly how effective QE has been.
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