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Tuesday January 19, 2010 - 16:45:22 GMT
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Forex Blog - US Market Update (Trade the News)

Tuesday, January 19, 2010 11:33:25 AM

 US Market Update

Dow +78 S&P +9.2 NASDAQ +24.4

FLOWS: $126.8B V $30.0BE; TOTAL NET TIC FLOWS: $26.6 V -$13.9B PRIOR

- Equities are off to a strong start this morning after the holiday yesterday and Friday's big slide. Citigroup latest quarterly loss is the focus of commentary this morning, although traders are shrugging off the bank's poor quarterly performance (the loss citied in various whisper numbers was not much smaller than the reported figure, after all), in marked contrast to their response to JP Morgan's surprise last week. The other topic is healthcare, with the voters at the polls in
Massachusetts all day in a decision that may decide whether the Democrats will maintain control of the Senate and finally pass healthcare reform. Hospital names are seen as losers if the reform fails - and they are in the red in early trading. Conventional wisdom has it that insurers could benefit from a failed reform effort. US Treasury prices are a little lower but yields are only a few basis points above where they went out on Friday. The 10-year yields 3.7% once again. Commodity prices are generally softer as the stronger Greenback serves as a slight headwind. Feb crude is trading near $77.50.

- Citigroup reported a $7.6B quarterly loss this morning, although the EPS loss was in line with the Street's expectations. Note that this is the bank's ninth consecutive quarterly loss. Revenue was well below the consensus view. The bank took a $5B after-tax hit after buying back preferred securities from the Treasury after repaying its TARP funds. The government still owns nearly 8 billion shares, worth about $26B at current market prices. Shares of Citi fell as much as 3.5% after the opening bell, although the name is back in the black in mid morning trade. Morgan Stanley is up 2%, while
BAC and JPM are down about 1%. MS and BAC both report tomorrow morning. Goldman Sachs is due on Thursday morning.

- In other earnings, Forest Labs is up more than 6% despite a miss on EPS (ex restructuring costs, earnings were more or less in line). Ameritrade is up 3% after missing targets slightly; total assets and accounts were both up on a sequential basis. Parker Hannifin is up nearly 7% after crushing consensus EPS estimates and raising its FY10 outlook considerably. Management cited big margin improvements for the outperformance. Navistar fell as much as 10% before recovering much of the losses in mid day trading after slashing its FY10 earnings outlook to well below analysts' expectations.

- In other equity news, Brink's is up more than 30% after selling its Broadview Security unit to Tyco International for $2B in cash and stock. Tyco is unchanged. The Williams Companies launched a $12B restructuring effort this morning, saying it would combining its pipeline and processing units and more than triple its stake in Williams Partners midstream processing partner as it angles to take a bigger stake of the growing domestic midstream gas market. The fallout continues from Verizon's price cuts: there was takeover rumors making the rounds in prepaid firm MetroPCS. This comes after talk on Friday that prepaid firm Leap Wireless was looking at strategic alternatives. Sprint, with its ongoing declines in postpaid membership, was cut to Underperform at Sanford Bernstein, sending its shares down 4%.

- The Dollar received a bid in particular against its European counterparts during the overseas session. The Euro was hindered by weaker than expected sentiment readings for the month of January while
UK inflation figures surged to 10-month highs. The Euro has drifted back towards 1.4250 bringing the 200-day MA (last breeched in March) and Dec lows back into sight as key support. Cable slipped as low as 1.6310. The Dollar briefly spiked against the Loonie after the Bank of Canada left rates on hold, trading up towards 1.0350 briefly. Dealers continue to eye the 1.0430 Nov and Dec pivot as some resistance, and the Lonnie still trades just off its best levels since the summer of 2008.



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