***Economic Data*** - (BR) Brazil Jan Central Gov't Budget: 13.9B v 7.0Be - (US) MBA Mortgage Applications w/e Feb 25th: -8.5 v -2.1% prior - (BR) Brazil Jan Total Outstanding Loans (BRL 1.4T v 1.4T prior; Private Bank Lending: 827M v 824B prior - (MX) Mexico Q4 GDP Y/Y: 3.5% v 1.1%e - (US) Jan New Home Sales: 309K v 353Ke - (US) DoE Weekly Inventories: Crude:+3M v +2Me; Gasoline: -895K v +500Ke; Distillate: -590K v -1.7Me; Utilization: 81.2% v 80%e - Fed Chairman Bernanke: Fed will need to begin tightening at some point, reiterates key rate to remain where it is for "extended period" - Congressional testimony - Treasury Sec Geithner: Current budget deficit levels are not sustainable
- Equity trading has been volatile yet noticeably resilient this morning, with leading US indices bouncing around from flat to up 1%. Both Fed Chairman Bernanke and Treasury Secretary Geithner are on the Hill this morning. In his annual monetary policy report before the House, Bernanke sang the same old song, noting that the key rate was likely to stay low for an "extended period" and that tightening would have to begin at "some point." Commenting on fiscal policy, Bernanke warned that the government's current budget path is not sustainable given CBO projections and said bond markets could get worried and drive up rates. US Jan new home sales unexpectedly declined to a record low of 309K while the median price declined to levels not seen since 2003, rekindling concerns that positive momentum in the housing market is waning as it approaches upcoming headwinds including expiring tax credits and the end of the Fed's MBS purchase program. Regardless markets appear to be taking the news in stride as stocks, oil, and the Euro have all made new highs post this data release. Treasury prices rallied but are off their best levels holding onto minimal gains. The curve has held the flattening injected after the Treasury's SFP extension announced yesterday. The 2-10 year spread has narrowed some 10 basis points from yesterday day nearing 280 basis points. The 10-year yield is holding below 3.7% ahead of this afternoon's 5-year auction results.
- Toll Brothers reported a smaller-than-expected loss and raised its 2010 guidance for home deliveries to 2.1K-2.7K units from 2.0-2.75K units prior. Toll's CEO said that "while the housing market is still in choppy waters, the seas are getting calmer." Shares of TOL rose 2% in the premarket, but have plunged to -2% in the wake of the disappointing new homes sales data, while competitors DHI and PHM are both down 4%. Note that HOV is up 1%. Results from discount apparel name TJX were largely in line, and the firm raised its full-year forecast by a respectable amount. TJX is off its best levels, but still in positive territory. In tech, shares of Garmin fell as much as 8% despite quarterly results that crushed expectations. GMRN is around -6.5% in mid morning trade. Trina Solar also beat the Street by wide margins, and said its PV module shipments would increase up to 100% y/y. TSL spike up +5% just after the open, but fell to around even in the early going. Transocean missed, thanks to lower sequential drilling fleet utilization. RIG is -4%.
- The greenback was softer against most majors in mid-NY session trading following Bernanke's comments. The dollar's tone seemed inevitable after it failed to extend gains despite several risk aversion headlines that failed to provide enough momentum to move the dollar beyond established ranges. Bernanke did note that recovery still required low interest rates to encourage demand by consumers and businesses once federal stimulus expires. The JPY capitalized upon risk aversion concerns stemming from the European and NY morning and approached 11-month highs against the GBP at 138.35.
***Looking Ahead*** - 12:00 (FR) France Jan Total Jobseekers: No est v 2.6M prior; Net Change Job Seekers: 10.0Ke v -18.7K prior - 12:00 (CA) Canada to sell C$400M 30-year real return bonds - 12:30 (MX) Mexico to sell notes and bonds - 12:30 (UR) Ukraine to sell 3-year bonds - 13:00 (US) US Treasury to sell $42B in 5-year notes - 14:00 (EU) ECB's Bini Smaghi - 14:00 (AR) Argentina Jan Shop Center Sales Y/Y: No est v 17.3% prior
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