- A raft of very strong corporate earnings, led by JP Morgan, helped US equity indices gain considerably during the premarket this morning, with the DJIA once again within striking distance of 10,000. A smaller-than-expected decline in retail sales for September underpinned the market's early advance. Gold has come off fresh all time highs overnight while, generic crude futures made new highs for the year. Investors increasing risk appetite has them moving money out of bonds with yields rising on both sides of the Atlantic. The US long bond yield approached 4.25% while the 10-year neared 3.4% briefly before both backed off.
- Tier one financial names are on fire this morning thanks to JP Morgan, which beat top- and bottom-line estimates handily. JP Morgan citied broad-based strength across its businesses for its solid results, while also warning that dark clouds have not entirely cleared yet. CEO Dimon said corporate lending continues to trend around all time lows and noted that extended credit lines continue to be drawn at very light levels. In addition, JP Morgan said the dividend could move to $0.75-$1.00 in early 2010. JP Morgan is up around 3%, with the rest of the majors not far behind. Note that a Forbes article from last night was cautious on the outlook for some US banks, with results of Citigroup, Wells Fargo and Bank of America expected to underperform those of JP Morgan and Goldman
- Intel opened for trade up 3.5% but has traded off a percent or so in the early going as the JP Morgan effect on broader markets wears off. Note that Intel delivered the better-than-expected revenue growth investors were waiting for, but lukewarm comments heard on the conference call may also be sinking in. On the call, an Intel exec said overall enterprise spending remains weak while inventory in channel is still below normal levels. Rail name CSX gained 5% in the premarket after a largely in line repot, but spiked down from the open. Shares of CSX regained nearly all these losses after an exec said on the conference call that despite the challenging environment, YTD operations are still ahead of 2007 levels. In other earnings, EPS from insurance name Progressive, manufacturer WW Grainger's and hotelier Host Hotels were better than expected and revenue totals were more or less in line with expectations. PGR and HST are up in the low single digits, while GWW is in the red after announcing an acquisition.
- In currencies, EUR/USD continued to linger around 1.4900 throughout the New York morning with dealers surmising a good offer is keeping the cross below the 1.4925 area for the time being. The dollar managed to hold a steady tone despite another round of earnings providing more fuel for the risk appetite that was prevalent throughout the Asian and European sessions. Dealers still believe the 1.50 level is in the crosshairs, although plenty of option barriers are lurking ahead of that key psychological level. Note also that ECB Gov Bini Smaghi said there is no case for pre-emptive interest rate hikes due to higher asset prices. German Chancellor Merkel remains optimistic on German economic growth but cautioned that a credit crunch could still impede the recovery.
- The JPY was initially softer against the major pairs but maintained a firmer tone overall compared to its opening levels in Asia. The yen remained below some key chart levels during the NY morning with 90.10 holding in USD/JPY and 133.80 intact for the EUR/JPY pairs, both represents respective two-month downtrend lines.
- Sterling was weaker with the price action being led by the EUR/GBP cross and the support at 0.9290. BOE's Fisher added to the pound's downward momentum when he noted that the central bank debate on extension of quantitative easing continued and he declined to comment on the appropriate level for the pound.
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