Dow -43 S&P -7 NASDAQ -11.8 - Equity indices are under pressure this morning on some dollar strength and declines in financial names. October industrial production grew slightly less than expected, although the PPI data showed little signs of inflation. The US TIC data showed that U.S. Treasury capital flows soared as foreigners' purchased over $133B in U.S. assets in Sept. Front-month crude is maintaining the gains made in yesterday's session, trading just below the $79 handle. Treasury prices began the session under a little pressure but prices are recovering and yields remain lower consolidating much of the move made yesterday following Bernanke's remarks. The US benchmark yield remains below 3.35% and its 200-day EMA.
- The financials are shaky this morning after yet another serving of doom and gloom from Meredith Whitney, who told CNBC yesterday that "I have not been this bearish in a year" and reiterated that banks will need to raise more capital. In addition, believes there will be a double dip recession in 2010. Whitney asserted that most banks assume that housing prices will not go down from here and that unemployment will reach 10% in 2010. Shares of leading banks fell from the open, but have headed back up after 10amET. Note that Morgan Stanley was the biggest loser, dropping 2% at its worst. In other financial news, Assured Guaranty spiked over 30% just after the open and is around +20% as investors continue to vote in favor of the firm's capital raising plans despite a lousy quarterly report.
- Home Depot's third quarter earnings came in ahead of the consensus view, for a stronger performance than competitor Lowes yesterday morning. In addition, Home Depot increased its full-year guidance, although it remains only a bit ahead of expectations. On the conference call, HD's CEO said that despite positive developments, caution is needed and comps are merely in "less bad"
- Target beat bottom-line expectations and missed top-line estimates slightly. Target also reported October master trust data showing that credit card charge offs are down a bit, in line with industry trends. TJX was in line with expectations, although guidance for 2010 remains well below consensus. Saks surprised markets with a small profit in Q3 (ex items), versus expectations for another loss. Revenue was well ahead of expectations. Regional department store firm Dillard's also racked up a surprise profit in its Q3, thanks to a big income tax benefit.
- In other earnings, Canadian Solar is up around 5% after beating earnings and revenue totals by wide margins. In addition, it provided an initial look at its 2010 shipments estimates, which would be more than double 2009 levels and increase production capacity from 820 MW to 1 GW by the end of April 2010.
- Time Warner has formally scheduled the spin-off of AOL to its shareholders for December 7th, ending its failed decade-long attempt to get mojo online. AOL will have a $3.4B market cap, and begin trading on a when issued basis on the NYSE on November 24th.
- In FX trading, the greenback maintained a firmer tone against the majors in the New York morning following Fed Chairman Bernanke commentary yesterday on the challenges facing the US economy. Dealers watched US yield spreads move against the dollar, although traders are apparently ignoring the curve for the time being. In addition, six-month dollar LIBOR moved below six-month yen LIBOR for the first time in 16 years. The weaker than expected PPI and industrial production data this morning only confirmed the Fed's outlook that the extended period of low borrowing costs might get even longer.
- The Fed's brief mention of the dollar on Monday caught most participants by surprise. Bernanke, in a rare comment on currency issues, said the Fed's mandate also includes keeping USD strong. However, many commentators concede that in order to reverse the dollar's decline, a number of stars would have to come into alignment. China would need to take greater steps toward a more flexible currency regime or the Fed would need to signal an interest rate hike was imminent. Needless to say, the latter is not in the cards.
- EUR/USD price action continues to center around the alleged 1.48 to 1.51 double no touch. Dealers were speculating that the option barrier is apparently related to central banks, making it safe to assume there is a "deep pocket" defense of the strikes.
- Plenty of dealer chatter is focusing on the upcoming December interest rate decision at the Australia's RBA. The RBA has never raised interest rates at three consecutive policy meetings, although the release of the bank's November meeting minutes overnight has desks rethinking that possibility. One dealer noted that the annual January RBA holiday might be a trigger for a December rate hike since it would otherwise present a sizeable gap from December to February without a policy change.
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