DOW -13 S&P 500 -1.7 Nasdaq -3 - The US unemployment rate rose above 10% for the first time since 1983 this morning and the October nonfarm payrolls reading showed more job losses than expected. The initial reaction was negative, as the US indices traded off in the premarket, although the three leading indices broke back into positive territory in the first 30 minutes of trading. Commentators are focusing on revisions to prior nonfarm data: August and September were revised better, contributing to a lower three-month average. Consumer credit is due at 3pmET; traders will be eyeing whether or not the US will encounter its 8th straight month of credit contraction for the month of September. Front-month crude has fallen off a cliff in the wake of the jobs data, with the contract dropping nearly $3 to trade just above $77.
- Financial behemoths AIG and Fannie Mae have both reported third quarter results in the last 24 hours. AIG managed to rack up its second straight quarterly profit, although it was a fraction of the $1.8 billion gain in Q2. Net income was $455M, or $0.68/shr, compared with a loss of more than $24B a year ago. The latest results included $1.95B in special gains, including improvement in the value of securities held by the infamous AIG Financial Products. Fannie lost nearly $19B, or -$3.47/shr, and asked the US Treasury for another $15B in funding. Fannie said it expects home prices to decline another 6% in 2009, with weakness in real estate to continue into 2010. Shares of both are down 10%.
- In the solvent financial sector, Blackstone Group crushed consensus views across the board, coming in around 30% ahead of EPS and revenue estimates. Shares of BX are up nearly 8%. Fortress Investment Group reported an unexpected quarterly loss on a GAAP basis, a profit in non-GAAP, although its revenue was well ahead of expectations. FIG is down 6% but off its worst levels of the morning. State Street restated their Q3 earnings, originally reported on Oct 20th, after being forced to add $250M to a legal reserve fund to address investor losses on assets managed by State Street Global Advisors. STT is down 3%.
- In other earnings, Starbucks was modestly ahead of expectations. The firm increased its 2010 guidance slightly, and noted that it is seeing broad-based improvement across its business and better sales trends worldwide. SBUX is up 4%. CBS came in well ahead of beaten down expectations. CBS's CEO was optimistic about 2010. CBS is down 3%. In tech, NVIDIA had a stunning Q3 and guided higher for next quarter, and shares are up 7%. Activision Blizzard met earnings expectations but missed revenue goals. ATVI is up 5%. eBay wrapped up its conflict with Skype's founders and private equity SilverLake, which is buying the unit.
- Refiner Sunoco reported nearly three times the expected quarterly loss on weak margins, although revenue was ahead of estimates. SUN is down 10% and heading lower. Oil and gas producer EOG Resources beat earnings targets and cranked up its production guidance. EOG is up 4%. Note also that small steelmaker General Steel crushed expectations on better margins and higher volumes, sending shares of GSI up 15% after the open. GSI is +10% mid morning.
- Currencies traded with slight indecision this morning in anticipation and reaction to the US and Canadian unemployment data. EUR/USD twice briefly tested above the 1.4900 handle touching a high at 1.4914 before tracing to the 1.4860 level by mid NY morning. Loonie sold off following slightly disappointing unemployment data coming to settle near the 1.0700 handle after briefly touching its 72 day moving average at 1.0757. USD/JPY was stable to strong most of the session; primarily attributed to risk aversion in light of the mixed US data. Unemployment figures showed better than expected revisions; yet the psychologically damaging 10%+ unemployment rate in the US left some traders uneasy. BoJ Dep Gov allayed fears about a possible recession in Japanese economy earlier in the session; stabilizing USD/JPY before the US data release.
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