***Economic Data*** - (IR) Ireland Dec Consumer Confidence: 53.3 v 53.6 prior - (CA) Canada Dec Housing Starts: 174.5K v 160.0Ke - (CA) Canada Nov Building Permits M/M: -4.6% v -3.3%e - (MX) Mexico Nov Final Trade Balance: -$195.2M v $92.9M prior - (CA) Canada Q4 Business Outlook Future Sales: 49 v 53.0 prior; Senior Loan Survey: -8.7 v 6.7 prior
- Follow-through strength from European and Asian equity trading lifted US indices ahead of the bell, spurred on by China's strong Dec trade data. The figures officially make China the world's largest exporter, supplanting Germany while imports reached the highest level on record. Note that China also displaced the US as the biggest auto market. Equities sank from the NY opening bell, however, as investors positioned themselves ahead of Alcoa's key earnings report, due today after the close. Feb crude made a brief run at $84 and Mar copper retook $3.50 helped by the positive China news, but oil along with most other commodities have backed off those earlier highs. The US 2-year/10-year spread remains at its widest level ever ahead of this week's slate of Treasury auctions commencing with this afternoon's $10B 10-year TIPS auction.
- Alcoa rings in 2010's initial earnings season today after the close, and preannouncements and guidance calls have really heated up. Note that Intel and JP Morgan are among the big names expected to report later this week. Jarden guided its Q4 revenue slightly above expectations this morning and said it expects to return to organic revenue growth in 2010. Smallcap Engineering design firm Teleflex is among the movers after guiding its FY10 earnings well above consensus estimates. Progress Software boosted its FY10 revenue outlook after acquiring a small private software firm.
- McMoRan is very strong this morning after partner Energy XXI announced a major natural gas discovery in the Gulf of Mexico. MMR is up more than 30% this morning, with partner PXP up 5% on the news. Shale gas player Talisman Energy said its 2010 capex budget would be $5.2B, including a big boost for spending on its North American shale properties, with drilling doubling in some parts of Pennsylvania. Heineken bought Femsa's Mexican beer business and a majority of its Brazil beer business for $5.3B, including the Dos Equis, Tecate and Sol brands. Patriot Coal is up on vague takeover chatter making the rounds
- The dollar consolidated session losses during the New York session. EUR/USD retesting the 1.4500 level and was around 40 pips off its worst levels. Dealers noted that since the release of Friday's payroll data the spread between the US 2-year and 10-year issues highlighting the dilemmas faced by the Fed, meaning it will likely remain on hold for most of 2010. The IMF confirmed that it would visit Greece on Jan 12 to review the country's fiscal situation and might provide technical assistance.
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