US indices traded lower only briefly in thin trade again after the open on the back of renewed risk aversion coupled with year end flows. Reports of improved Black Friday sales did little to buoy retailers; with most retailers flat on the day (Macy's -3%, TGT -1%, BBY +1%, WMT -0.5%). Cyber Monday details are to be determined, with many analysts expecting a decent showing (AMZN +2.4%, OSTK -1.5%). eBay's (+2.5%) CEO commented in an interview that he is cautiously optimistic about the holiday season. US Banking stocks led the way higher, with BAC, JPM, and Citigroup all higher by about 2%. With the continued risk aversion in light of Dubai World developments; commodities were broadly lower in the early US morning on the back of a stronger USD in the absence of fresh major data. Crude now +1%, Natural Gas -5.2% after reaching monthly highs late in the holiday week last week. Numerous analysts downplayed the Dubai situation, calling it manageable and limited in scope. UK banking stocks are still down from their previous levels, but have recovered somewhat as the details of the Dubai debt situation emerge. Moody's defended Dubai as well, noting that the Dubai debt restructuring was unlikely to affect the overall Sovereign ratings. S&P also placed an Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank on a review for a possible downgrade as further information is released.
In individual names VPRT is +4.25% on the back of reaffirmed guidance in light of their termination of a contract with Vertrue. DPTR also trading higher (+3.1%) after disclosing it intends to pursue strategic alternative for the company. A higher than expected Chicago PMI, coming in at its highest level since August 2008, helped push equities into positive territory after the open. All of the sub indices were higher m/m with the exception of Production; Prices paid reaching expansionary levels vs contraction in the prior month. Indices maintained their inverse relationship with the USD after the data; moving higher with a USD selloff. Milwaukee NAPM reached highest levels since Sept 2009 at 57 vs the 50 in the prior month with Dallas Fed Manufacturing also beating expectations and showing expansion (above 50) for the first time since Oct 2007.
The USD price action mirrored the equity moves as the major US indices maintained a slightly positive spin in the first hour of trading but continued to consolidate within the price action seen over the recent US holiday. European Bourses recovered the majority of their losses as the NY morning progressed. EUR/USD tested the 1.5040 area after the US data painted a better picture of the emerging US recovery. The GBP lagging the other European pairs as its exposure to the debt concerns in the Mid-east weighing upon its sentiment.
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