***Economic Data*** - (PD) Poland Jan Avg Gross Wages M/M: -11.5% v -10.0%e; Y/Y: 0.5% v 2.8%e - (PD) Poland Jan Employment M/M: 0.9% v 0.2%e; Y/Y: -1.4% v -2.1%e - (CA) Canada Dec Manufacturing Sales M/M: 1.6% v 1.8% - (US) Feb Empire Manufacturing: 24.91 v 18.00e - (US) Dec Net Long-term TIC: $63.3B v $35.4Be; Total Net TIC: $60.9B v $50.0B
- US equity indices opened higher this morning and are gaining further in early trading. The unexpectedly strong Feb Empire Manufacturing data plus follow-through strength in European markets are driving trade. US financials are very strong in the wake of excellent quarterly results from Barclays in the UK. In the EU, European finance ministers continue to dither, essentially postponing action on Greece until mid March. Meanwhile investor fears on the sovereign debt front swing back to the Dubai after CDS spreads for the debt-ridden city state jumped to their highest levels in nearly a year. Sharpening risk appetite is boosting crude, which is up more than $2.50 to trade just below the $77 handle. US Treasury prices are not seeing much action post holiday with the 10-year yield pinned just above 3.7%.
- Pharma giants Merck and Teva met earnings expectations in their Q4 reports, although Merck's revenue was a bit soft. Looking forward, Merck warned that drugs accounting for $3B in annual revenues would lose patent protection in 2010. Teva's 2010 outlook was in line. MRK is up 2.5%, while TEVA is down 1%. Kraft's earnings were a slightly ahead of the consensus view. General Mills offered slightly soft earnings guidance for the full year. KFT is off 2% and GIS is flat. In other earnings, apparel name Abercrombie & Fitch's bottom line was strong, although revenue was a bit soft; ANF is up 2%. Fertilizer manufacturer CF Industries is up 4.5% despite a miss on earnings. On the conference call, executives echoed the bullish views heard from multiple fertilizer names on demand over recent weeks. Autoparts name Genuine Parts is up 6% on outperformance on the top and bottom lines. Cintas is down 2% on a dismal forecast for earnings in the second half of its FY10. PMI is down nearly 8% after yesterday's dismal earnings report.
- The greenback put in a mixed performance against the major pairs during the New York morning but managed to shrug off higher energy and metals prices. EUR/USD is gaining some momentum moving through alleged buy-stop orders rumored to be in place above the 1.3690 area, which represented the pair's current 200-hour moving average and also corresponded to its hourly downtrend line from mid-January. In the EU, the EcoFin meeting again highlighted that the mid-March assessment of Greece was likely to be a key event. EU Economy and Monetary Commissioner Rehn reiterated his verbal support for the country while also warning once again that Greece needs to help itself.
***Looking Ahead*** - 12:00 (TU) Turkey Central Bank interest rate decision: No change expected in the Base Rate from the current 6.50% level - 12:00 Fed's Hoenig speaks about US budget - 12:30 (MX) Mexico to sell 3-year bonds - 12:30 Fed's Lockhart - 12:45 Fed's Kocherlakota speaks about economic outlook - 13:00 (US) Feb NAHB Housing Market Index: 16e v 15 prior - 14:00 (CO) Colombia Dec Trade Balance: No est v $181.4M prior
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