***Economic Data*** - (US) MBA Mortgage Applications w/e Feb 5th: -1.2% v 21.0% prior - (HU) Hungary Central Bank minutes: Voted 6 to 3 to lowers rates by 25bps to 6.00% on Jan 25th - (CA) Canada Dec Intl Merchandise Trade: -C$200M v -C$100Me - (US) Dec Trade Balance: -$40.2B v -$35.8Be - (IC) Iceland Jan Unemployment: 9.0% v 8.2% prior - (UK) Jan NIESR GDP Estimate: 0.4% v 0.1% prior - (MX) Mexico Dec Final Trade Balance: -$245.8M v -$248M prior
- Conflicting headlines out of Europe regarding Greece and more details on the Fed's exit strategy from Chairman Bernanke are pushing US equities lower this morning. Bernanke's testimony before the House Financial Services Committee was disclosed just after the open despite the cancellation of the committee meeting. Bernanke said tightening would begin with the discount rate and confirmed that TAF and TALF special loan programs would expire in June as planned. However, he also indicated low rates are warranted for extended period; its outlook has not changed from the Jan FOMC meeting. Front-month crude is down slightly, trading just below the $73 as traders now have to wait until Friday to see the Dept of Energy's weekly inventory data. Treasury trade has been pretty quite with prices opening slightly higher but drifting lower post Bernanke, ahead of this afternoons 10-year note auction. The US benchmark yields is nearing 3.65%.
- Shares of wireless operator Sprint are off 8% in early trading after the firm reported a bigger than expected quarterly loss and revenue below consensus. On the bright side, wireless customer losses were at their lowest level in a year, and executives assured investors that Sprint's revenue declines are bottoming out. Dow component Disney is in the red despite better than expected quarterly results. New York Times is down 6% despite outperforming expectations in its Q4. Times executives warned that that visibility remains limited for advertising, and that internet ad revenue would be flat next quarter. Dean Foods is down 12% on a big earnings miss and very soft guidance for next quarter. Healthcare firm Elan missed earnings targets in a big way, but is only down 2% after the company said it would return to operating profitability this year. Communications hardware maker Level 3 is down 6% on yet another quarter of losses. Among the few gainers this morning is manufacturer Sonoco, which beat top and bottom line expectations and is up 6%. Tiffany is up a few percent on a ratings upgrade at BoA/Merrill Lynch, and fellow retailer Jones Apparel is up 2% on solid results and strong guidance
- Headline roulette continues to provide the catalyst for currency price movements. The greenback recovered from European lows aided by conflicting comments about the EU summit meeting on Greece. Throughout the European session the sentiment among traders in regards to the Greek crisis was that nothing appears to be definitive although Greek debt crisis may be heading toward some sort of resolution. However there has also been press speculation about an internal German government report that suggests that Euro Zone member states may be legally barred from guaranteeing the debt of other member states. This mirrored earlier comments from a German official that concrete steps were unlikely in today's summit, warning that debating aid would not solve the issue. EUR/USD moved below the 1.3700 level in the mid-NY morning after testing above 1.38 earlier today.
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