Dow -45 S&P -7 NASDAQ -6 ***Economic Data**** - (NO) Norway Central Bank (Norges) maintained its Deposit rates at 1.75%; As expected. - (US) MBA Mortgage Applications w/e Jan 29th +21.0% v -10.9% prior - (US) Jan Challenger Job Cuts: 71.4K v 45.1K prior; Y/Y: -70.4% v -72.9% prior - (US) Jan ADP Employment Change: -22K v -30Ke; Best reading since Jan 2008 - (US) Jan ISM Non-Manufacturing Composite: 50.5 v 51.0e EUR/USD - (US) DoE weekly energy inventories: Crude: +2.3MM v Flat estimate; Gasoline: -1.3M v +1.2Me; Distillate: -1M v -1Me; Capacity Utilization: 77.7% v 78.5%e
- Equities lost ground before the NYSE open and after a quick rebound are back around their opening levels in mid morning trading. The January ADP Employment report showed its ninth consecutive improvement, foreshadowing improvement in Friday's widely-anticipated January employment data. Toyota remains fodder for traders and media alike after the US government requested owners stop driving all recalled models. The stock has traded down another 7% today. Tech is holding up relatively well led by a nice reversal in shares of Apple. The bellwether was trading down before the open but has now added nearly $3 to its share price. Front-month crude is up very slightly after a surprising draw down in gasoline and distillate inventories, although gains are limited by growth in crude inventories. Treasury prices have been lower throughout the session but did find buyers briefly, following the quarterly refunding announcement which kept the 3, 10, and 30-year auction sizes unchanged. The 10-year has been down roughly a quarter point for much of the morning yielding 3.67%.
- Dow component Pfizer offered solid Q4 results this morning, although its 2010 earnings forecast was a little soft. PFE is down 2%. Revenue totals from big insurance names Aflac and Met Life were a hair below target, while earnings were in line. Met Life confirmed earlier press speculation that it is talking to AIG about acquiring American Life Insurance Company (ALICO). Shares of MET are down more than 3%, while AFL is up 3%. Cable TV names Comcast and Time Warner Cable both beat estimates. Comcast reported sequential declines in new customer adds across its businesses. Both TWX and CMCSA are -1%. Media giant News Corp crushed expectations and hiked its dividend by 25%. Shares of NWSA are up 7%. New new media name AOL offered its first quarterly report since its IPO, with both top- and bottom-line results ahead of expectations. Refining name Tesoro racked up a quarterly loss after last quarter's profit and suspended its dividend. Upstream oil and gas name Pioneer had blow-out results, with earnings way ahead of expectations. PXP is down 2% and TSO is down nearly 7%.
- After slipping a bit early in the European session, the greenback managed to regain its composure after the ADP employment data sparked fresh risk aversion and markets digested the European peripheral debt situation. EUR/USD moved into negative territory as dealers took notice that the wording of EU approval of the Greek austerity plan commission included an overabundance of red flags in their full assessment and the report was summarized by the 1,224 word count of their report versus the typical EU conclusion has around 300 words for other countries in the 2009 period. The spokesman for Greece's main labor union said the union would call for a 24-hour anti-austerity strike later this month. The yen was softer against the majors with USD/JPY testing the 91 handle for its highest reading since Jan 21st. EUR/JPY cross approached the 127 area. There was no fresh news in the New York session; dealers cited Japanese Finance Minister Kan's comment that Japan's net debt situation was deteriorating rapidly as an excuse to sell JPY.
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