Dow +45 S&P +7.5 NASDAQ +15 - Traders are buying in the wake of yesterday's difficult US session and this afternoon's FOMC announcement. Little is expected out of the Fed, although more on the exit strategy may be forthcoming. The November housing starts and building permits numbers both bounced back from the softness seen in October, while Nov CPI and Q3 current account balance were both roughly in line with expectations. Intel is in the spotlight this morning, after the FTC announced it would sue the company for monopoly practices (AMD is up 5%). Front-month crude is up $2 or so following much bigger than expected draw downs in both crude and distillate inventories. The greenback bounce has taken a bit of a pause after the Euro found support at 1.45. Bond prices are rising but yields still remain above some key levels that were broken earlier this week. The 10-year rate is 3.55% while the long bond holds 4.5%.
- After the open this morning Senators John McCain (R-AZ) and Maria Cantwell (D-WA) proposed reimposing aspects of the Glass-Steagall Act that would bar bank holding companies from owning other financial companies. As the legislative process of reauthorizing TARP grinds on, the WSJ looked at decisions the US Treasury faces in regards to the GSEs. By the end of 2010, the Treasury has to decide whether to increase the amount of bailout funds committed to Fannie and Freddie. Note that both names have risen nearly more than 35% over the last seven days on heavy volume, and are off 10% this morning. Shares of Citi are off another 3% in the wake of its TARP repayment plans.
- In earnings, software developer Adobe was slightly ahead of expectations in its Q4 and guided in line with expectations for next quarter. Executives said that demand improved in the quarter and certain products would continue to drive demand growth in its Q1. ADBE was up about 5% in early trading, although the name is around +4% in mid-morning action. Mining equipment manufacturer Joy Global beat expectations by wide margins in its Q4 results and guided above consensus for its 2010 earnings - although it warned 2010 revenue would be largely flat. JOYG is flat on the day, after giving up a slight early gain. Aviation services name AAR modestly exceeded bottom line projections thanks to strong margins, while revenue missed estimates. Shares of AIR are up 8% and heading higher.
- Honeywell's 2010 earnings guidance missed Street estimates on the top and bottom lines. Shares of HON are under slight pressure. Executives from the firm discussed their outlook for the year at an analyst event this morning, noting that the firm is planning conservatively for 2010. Steel name Nucor said earnings for next quarter would be breakeven (the Street expects $0.28), and said mill utilization rates would fall on a sequential basis. Boston Beer Company raised its 2009 earnings forecast, based on better brewery performance and a favorable cost outlook. SAM spiked above +6% on the open, but is below +4% in mid morning trade. Power control equipment manufacturer Powell Industries outlook for 2010 was way below expectations. POWL is holding up well, +2%.
- In currencies, the greenback was steady during the early New York morning, little changed from opening levels in Asia. Note that GBP/USD is a big exception here. For the most part dealers remained largely sidelined heading into this afternoon's FOMC announcement. Sterling has held onto the bulk of its gains following the UK claimant count jobs data earlier today.
- Early in the New York session there were several surprise central bank moves. The Czech Central Bank unexpectedly cut its repo rate by 25bps, while the Norway Central Bank raised its discount rate by 25bps. Nevertheless, little is expected from the Fed later today, although there is a slight risk the FOMC might disclose more details surrounding its exit strategy. There is some dealer chatter making the rounds about an analyst "long" recommendation helping EUR/USD retest session highs of 1.4580.
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