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Wednesday January 27, 2010 - 17:37:39 GMT
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Forex Blog - US Market Update (Trade the News)

Wednesday, January 27, 2010 12:18:32 PM

 US Market Update

Dow -34 S&P -3.7 NASDAQ -1.6

***Economic Data***
- (US) MBA Mortgage Applications w/e Jan 22nd: -10.9%% v 9.1% prior
- (US) Dec New Home sales: 342Ke v 355K prior
- (RU) Russia Dec Real Retail Sales M/M: 20.2% v 17.9%e; Y/Y: -3.6% v -5.2%e
- (MX) Mexico Nov Global Economic Indicator: -1.5% v -2.1%e

- Equity indices opened lower for the second consecutive session as European and Asian stock markets weighed on New York.
US indices tested their lows in mid morning trading in the wake of the weak Dec new home sales data but losses have been minimal. The housing data missed estimates and fell nearly 8% on a sequential basis (following an 11% m/m decline in November). Yale Economist Robert Shiller warned that house prices could be faltering yet again and suggested the economy may need another stimulus package. The FOMC decision arrives later this afternoon, and while no major changes are expected traders continues to worry about the fate of Chairman Bernanke's pending nomination. The partisan rhetoric continues to heat up on the Hill, where Congressmen are taking swipes at Treasury Secretary Geithner over the AIG bailout. Apple's big product announcement is also scheduled for this afternoon. Treasury prices have remained bid as money continues to find its way to the relative safety of government bonds on both sides of the pond for many of the same reasons. Copper prices dropped to their lowest levels of the year below $3.30 after the Shanghai Composite closed below 3000 for the first time in months.

- Heavy manufacturing Dow components Boeing, Caterpillar and United Technologies offered strong quarterly results this morning. Earnings were ahead of expectations at all three firms, with Boeing well ahead of the Street. On the other hand, full year EPS forecasts at Boeing and Caterpillar both missed expectations, while UTX reiterated a range that lagged analysts' outlook. Boeing warned that its below consensus FY10 EPS reflects the lower revenue and includes some consideration for development program and market risks. CAT said economies in the developed world remain weak and have not rebounded as quickly as developing countries, impacting its earning forecast. Manufacturing names Illinois Tool Works and Stanley Works both missed bottom-line expectations. General Dynamics' revenue for the quarter was a little soft. Shares of BA are up 4% in early trading, while UTX, ITW, SWK and GD are all down 2-4%. CAT is down 8% and heading lower.

- ConocoPhillips and Valero topped expectations, and COP crushed revenue targets. However, the outlook is not bright for integrated oils. Valero warned that there is too much inventory and spare refining capacity in the industry for margins to rebound quickly, while new refining capacity is scheduled to come online this year. Both VLO and COP are trading off following the unexpected build in gasoline inventories announced by the DoE this morning.

- Yahoo met expectations, managing to sustain the quarterly performance seen over the last several quarters.
YHOO rose 3% before the bell, but has been losing altitude in early trading. Semi names STMicro and Altera both beat earnings estimates. Altera sought to downplay all the talk of inventories driving demand, noting on the conference call that major customers are telling the company that the increase in demand is not because they are building inventories. Executives said Sees communications chips having a strong 3-5 year growth cycle, but clear visibility beyond one quarter is poor. STMicro said its sales would decline markedly next quarter. ALTR is up 6%, while STM is down 3.5%.

- Healthcare benefits administrator WellPoint offered excellent quarterly results, although its full-year forecast was a little soft. Cardiac device maker St. Jude was largely in line. Shares of
STJ and WLP opened in the red and have climbed into positive territory mid morning. Pharma giant Abbott was also more or less in line, while biopharma Gilead crushed expectations. ABT is down 2%, while GILD is up 6%.

- In currency trading, rumors about pending sovereign downgrades in
Portugal and Greece are weighing down the euro this morning. EUR/USD turned around and headed back toward the 1.39 handle, which was last seen back in July 2009. There is talk of an Eastern European option barrier at the 1.40 level that is curbing the dollar's upside momentum somewhat, however. Chatter that Greece was trying to get China to buy up to €25B in bonds made the rounds as well this morning, prompting denials from both the Greek Finance Ministry and the Greek debt agency. Investor George Soros summed up the current situation aptly, noting that the Greek debt problem shows up the shortcomings of Euro Zone structures and the inherent weakness of not having a single Euro Treasury. He later noted that Greek debt could be a good speculative buy.



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