- US equity indices have fallen apart this morning after testing fresh 13-month highs for most of the week, following the lead of Asian and European markets. The weekly jobless claims data was very modestly higher, although the four-week moving average for claims continues to decline. After the open, the regional Philadelphia Fed regional manufacturing survey was higher than expected and leading indicators were in line. In its November outlook, the OECD more than doubled its global and US GDP growth estimates, and significantly hiked its outlook for the Euro Zone, noting that China is leading the global recovery. Front-month crude is near the bottom of its near-term range, trading below the $78 handle. Bond prices are moving higher once again the short end of the curve continues to outperform. The two-year yields have touched their lowest levels of the year at 0.67% widening the benchmark spread back out towards 265 basis points.
- PIMCO's Bill Gross released his always colorful investment outlook this morning, noting that the US needs another 12 months of 4-5% nominal GDP growth before the Fed dares exiting the "0% foxhole, mini-bubbles or not." Gross also forecasted that China may abandon its dollar peg within six months' time and with it, its own easy monetary policy.
- Plenty of commentators are dumping on the financial sector this morning. The WSJ's "Heard on the Street" column is cautious on the exposure of small US banks to commercial real estate, noting that bailing out the commercial real estate market would be challenging due to its size, as the market has $3.4T in outstanding debt, while it is less likely that smaller US banks have raised enough capital to deal with their exposures. In a press interview, Meredith Whitney reiterates that banks still face $2.7T in credit line cuts and predicted that credit reductions would accelerate given the weakness of consumer spending.
- More retail sector earnings squeaked by the Street's greatly reduced expectations. The Limited pulled off a small profit in its Q3, although executives warned that the holiday season does not look bright. Apparel names Ross Stores and Cato Corp were largely in line with expectations, as was Gamestop. Quarterly losses from Sears Holdings and Stage Stores were smaller than expected and revenue met expectations. Dicks Sporting Goods was the standout, beating top- and bottom-line expectations. All of these names are in the red this morning, with SHLD down 6% and DKS is down 10%. Chinese solar names Suntech and Trina Solar both crushed estimates across the board, sending shares of both up 3%.
- In other sector news, health insurance names were down sharply this morning after Senate Democrats officially unveiled their healthcare bill on Wednesday evening. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates the bill will cost $849B over ten years. Semi names are broadly lower after analysts at BoA/Merrill Lynch downgraded the industry and predicted a moderate inventory correction. Industry ETF SMH is down 4%. Note that earlier this week, BoA/Merrill Lynch predicted a broader tech sector correction of up to 15-20%.
- In currency trading, the greenback consolidated gains from the European morning as risk appetite ramped up. The Q3 mortgage delinquencies continued their march into record high territory as the unemployment situation in the US would likely keep the pace of higher rates of delinquencies and foreclosures intact into 2010. Dealer are watching comments from numerous emerging market officials, who are now implementing or thinking about some steps to combat the trend of dollar weakness . For the most part, EUR/USD continues to maneuver within the 1.48 to 1.51 double no-touch option range that is alleged to expire on Friday. The dollar was also benefiting from verbal support with EU's Juncker commenting that the Euro was overvalued and USD was too weak.
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