Dow +83 S&P +7 NASDAQ +13 - Investors are ignoring some fairly concerning US economic data and pushing US equities back toward yesterday's opening levels and fresh highs for the year. The Sept deficit registered a larger than expected $36.5B representing an 18% jump over Aug which was the fastest rise since early 1999. Imports surged at the quickest monthly rate in nearly 15 years. Goldman Sachs warned that the trade data suggested a likely downward revision to Q3 GDP. The preliminary Reuters/University of Michigan consumer sentiment index for November came in at 66.0, down from 70.6 in October and below expectations. Regardless stocks prices are being bid up while Greenback has resumed a defensive stance as risk appetite returns. Gold is drifting up towards all time highs back above $1,115 while oil seems to have found a floor above $75. Bond prices are little changed after initially seeing some bids following the trade data. - Disney beat estimates in its Q4 report, and said it is seeing encouraging signs for advertising sales in the next two quarters. Retailers JC Penny and Abercrombie & Fitch are up as much as 6% this morning after strong quarterly results. JCP was in line with expectations and guided higher for the full year. On the conference call, JC Penny's CEO said sales in November are "on plan." Abercrombie beat greatly diminished earnings targets, and finally said it would cut prices in the next few quarters, a move the firm has resisted throughout the recession so far. Nordstrom was also in line with expectations and raised its FY09 outlook, although investors are sour on the name this morning, with shares of JWN down 4%. Troubled video rental firm Blockbuster opened down 15% and is slowing gaining after a very poor third quarter report.
- Yingli Green Energy is up 10% in the early going after strong earnings results and moderately improved 2009 shipments guidance. On the conference call, executives said margins in 2010 may push out toward 25%, compared to 20% in Q3. Selected solar and wind names are gaining with strength this morning after Spain approved new renewable energy goals for 2010-12. STP is among the leaders, up 6%.
- In other news, the IPO for discount retailer Dollar General opened for trade at $22, in the middle of the prior guidance range. Share of DG are trading around $22.87 mid morning. Playboy is up 10% after more unconfirmed reports made the rounds today that Iconix would pay $300M to acquire the publisher. Yesterday both firms declined to comment on the acquisition chatter. Share of financial services firm Assured Guaranty are surging, with AGO up 15% after Moody's credit rating cut last night; apparently investors are satisfied that Moody's didn't cut the name further than it did.
- The greenback was mixed against the major currencies from the opening levels seen in Asia, although it maintained a firmer tone during the New York session after the US trade data. The euro exhibited some broad-based weakness in the New York morning, attributed to chatter circulating that Greek banks had allegedly been told by the ECB to reduce bond holdings. The Greek 10yr yield spreads widened by 5bps against German Bunds to 136bps. IMF commentary that a revaluation of the Chinese Yuan was needed prompted ever more speculation that China would revalue its currency over the weekend, particularly with President Obama visiting the region.
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