- The US officially emerged from recession this morning, helping the leading US indices break their week-long downtrend. And while the advance GDP numbers were even better than expected at +3.5% v +3.2%e, recall that it was back in mid September that Fed Chairman Bernanke called the recession "technically over." Markets across the spectrum have seen risk appetite re-emerge sending the dollar and bonds lower while buoying commodities and stocks. Front-month crude has gained two bucks this morning GDP news, putting the contract back in sight of the $80 handle while Dec copper has climbed back above three bucks. The 10-year yield is pushing back up towards 3.5% and the long bond is down a full point. The US Treasury's final auction of the week is taking place with the results of the $31B 7-year note sale expected just after .
- Big oil is having a very bad morning: Exxon and Royal Dutch Shell both missed consensus estimates across the board this morning. Little has been heard from Exxon as of writing, but Shell's CEO blamed the weak global economy. Shares of XOM are down 2% in early trading, while competitors BP and Chevron are up in the low single digits.
- The ADRs of Brazilian mining giant Vale are up 8% in the early going after the firm beat revenue expectations and said it saw a significant rise in metal prices between March and July. Gold miner Newmont crushed expectations, sending NEM up 3%. Note that BHP offered grim commentary on commodities at its annual meeting this morning. According to BHP, China has been the major and sometimes only source of demand for commodities in the second half of 2009. The firm believes that restocking in China is now essentially complete and is now seeing signs of a pullback in demand as a consequence.
- Health insurance giant Aetna squeaked in ahead of expectations but trimmed its guidance range for the year. Shares of AET are up nearly 7% on the strong results (competitors Cigna, UnitedHealth and WellPoint are all up in the low single digits), however uncertainty stemming from the vicissitudes of Congressional healthcare reform is lurking in the background. Aetna has postponed its shareholder meeting so that it can discuss the eventual outcome of the reforms. And like WellPoint yesterday, Aetna expects unemployment to hold down growth in 2010. Medicaid benefits administrator Molina missed earnings estimates and withdrew its 2009 forecast, blaming big trouble in Federal and state budgets stemming from the recession. Shares of MOH opened down 8% but have recovered quickly to around even. Generic drug maker Mylan beat bottom line expectations and raised its full-year guidance; MYL is up 5%.
- Consumer staples names Proctor & Gamble, Kellogg and Colgate offered strong quarterly results, meeting or beating consensus estimates. Improved full-year guidance from Proctor and Kellogg is helping shares of the two firms advance in early trading, while a lack of firm 2010 numbers from Colgate is keeping CL in the red. Proctor warned that volumes will remain weak, however, while Kellogg remains "pragmatic" about the challenging environment.
- The suffering continues at wireless service provider Sprint, where 545,000 precious wireless subscribers jumped ship in the quarter. Both post- and pre-paid churn was up sequentially. Sprint said that subscriber losses should moderate heading into the end of the year, but hardly mentioned 2010 n the release or on the conference call. Shares of S are in positive territory, while competitors T and VZ are in the red this morning. Cell phone manufacturer Motorola is up nearly 9% after a largely in-line report, although the tailwind from the launch of its Droid smartphone (which is getting positive initial reviews) is surely helping the stock.
- In currencies, the greenback has pulled a u-turn this morning, retracing recent strength from earlier this week. The price action remains highly correlated to equity markets, which are moving on the US GDP data, while the IMF's optimistic Asian outlook overnight only whetted risk appetite. Traders did point out that inventories added +0.9% to US GDP figures. The commodity-related currencies responded well to the US data as both the AUD amd CAD pairs reversed earlier losses on the back of higher energy and metal prices. NYMEX. GBP/USD surged over two big figures from its open in Tokyo to test 1.66 in the mid-NY morning which dealers citing good interest from Middle eastern names.
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