***Economic Data*** - (US) Jan Consumer price Index M/M: 0.2 v 0.3%e; CPI Ex Food&Energy M/M: -0.1 v 0.1%e; First negative core reading since 1982 - (CA) Canada Dec Retail Sales M/M: 0.45 v 0.5%e; Retail Sales ex Autos M/M: 0.45 v 0.3%e - (CA) Canada Jan Leading Indicators M/M: 0.9% v 1.1%e - (BE) Belgium Feb Consumer Confidence: -15.0 v -15.0 prior - (US) Q4 Mortgage Delinquencies:9.47% v 9.64% prior; first decline in eight quarters - (MX) Mexico Central Bank maintained its overnight rate at the current 4.50% level; as expected
- The Fed's surprise discount rate hike briefly dampened a week-long equity market rally, but a lower NY open has brought in bids. Fed governors Bullard and Lockhart both spoke last night in an attempt to shape expectations reminding everyone that the discount rate hike is not a sign Fed will tighten soon, but should be seen as a move toward "normalization." Bullard confirmed that moving the Fed funds rate remains "as far away as it ever was." PIMCO's Bill Gross said the discount rate increase is a slight signal likely designed to appease the hawks on FOMC, which echoed earlier reports the Fed could maintain 50bps spread between Discount Rate and Fed Funds rate, noting that historically the Discount Rate has traded at 100bps over Fed Funds Rate. New York Fed Governor Dudley did warn that it still remains uncertain as to what the final spread will be. Note that the US mortgage delinquency rate fell for the first time in eight quarters. The Mortgage Bankers Association commented that a record 15% of US mortgages are in foreclosure or delinquency. Similar to stocks commodity prices have recovered from the selling seen in the electronic sessions. Crude immediately erased all its discount rate hike declines upon the open of pit trade in NY, and now is within 50 cents on $80.
- Treasury yields were elevated and testing some key levels yesterday afternoon even before the Fed raised the discount rate. The 30-year yield saw levels not seen since last summer while the benchmark 10-year climbed back above 3.8% for the first time in more than a month. The 2-10 year spread made a new high above 280 basis points before the 2-year yield surged on the discount rate decision. The curve continues to flatten some this morning with the long bond actually trading higher following a negative core CPI reading. The Dec fed fund future has given back about half the gains seen post yesterdays move and still sees just under a 50% chance the Fed hikes the funds rate 50 basis in the 4th quarter.
- Dell beat revenue expectations and earnings were in line, although the stock was hit as investors expressed their displeasure that margins missed projections. BoA/Merrill Lynch in particular stated that it had expected Dell's margins to be 18% - the company reported 17.4%. Dell said demand in the important commercial business continues to return and is cautiously optimistic the trend will continue into its FY11. Shares of DELL are at session lows, down 7%. IT wholesaler Ingram Micro was well ahead of top- and bottom-line expectations. However, the company said revenue would be down next quarter due to seasonality. IM is -2.5%. Online health name WebMD crushed EPS expectations and guided well ahead of the Street for next quarter and the full year. WBMD is up 6%. First Solar beat the consensus handily and reaffirmed its full year guidance. FSLR is -8%.
- Retail giant JC Penny met expectations and offered firm guidance for next quarter and the full year. JCP is up 6%. CBS met the Street's targets. On the conference call, executives said the company is a "prime beneficiary" of the improving economy, and said momentum from Q4's rebound is continuing in Q1. CBS is down 2%. UK pharma name Shire's earnings results blew out the consensus estimates, sending its US-listed ADRs up 6% before the open this morning. However, it's worth noting that the number benefitted from a change Medicaid rebates for Adderall, and the company expect next quarter to be lower y/y. Huntsman swung to a Q4 profit after a year and a half of losses. Mining equipment manufacturer Bucyrus beat expectations on higher margins and guided above estimates for full-year revenue. Honeywell raised its Q1 outlook somewhat. In M&A news, the WSJ reported that Schlumberger is in advanced takeover talks to acquire Smith. Both companies declined comment on the story.
- The dollar is consolidating in the New York session, rebounding from its session lows seen in the wake of the US January CPI reading ex food and fuel. Note that US CPI fell for the first time since 1982, indicating that the budding US recovery is hardly driving inflation. The Mexican Central Bank maintained its overnight rate at 4.50%, as expected.
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