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Monday March 22, 2010 - 15:22:41 GMT
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Forex Blog - US Market Update (Trade the News)

Monday, March 22, 2010 11:16:46 AM

 US Market Update

Dow +42 S&P +3.7 NASDAQ +12.8

***Economic Data***
- (US) Feb Chicago Fed National Activity Index: -0.64 v -0.04 prior
- (PD) Poland Feb Core Inflation M/M: 0.0% v 0.1%e; Y/Y: 2.2% v 2.2%e
- (BR) Brazil Feb Current Account: -$3.3b v -$2.0Be; Foreign Investment: $2.8b v 2.7Be
- (MX) Mexico Jan Retail Sales -1.9% v 2.3%e
- (EU) Euro Zone Mar Advanced Consumer Confidence: -17 v -17e

- US equity futures lost ground in the premarket this morning helped by European traders' decisions to sell euros and stocks. European officials kept up their squabbling over
Greece with a fresh batch of inflammatory comments sending Greek/German spreads wider. But US indices have shaken off the cobwebs and are solidly back in the green after an hour of trading. Drug, HMO, healthcare facility names have all helped on the back of the healthcare bill's passage Sunday evening. In a CNBC interview this morning, Fed Governor Bullard warned the FOMC's "extended period" language is putting the Fed in a box and insisted that only economic performance should dictate rate moves. Commodities continue to respond to last Friday's inter-session rate hike from India's central bank. Spot gold moved below the $1,100/oz level to elects stops, and the major Australian and Canadian currency pairs retraced on the back of softer energy and metal components. Front-month WTI crude down a buck, trading back below the $80 handle. But like stocks commodity markets have seen bids come in and pare back early declines. The 10-year note is up a quarter of a point yielding 3.67% ahead of $108B in coupon supply scheduled for this week.

- Various stocks connected to healthcare are moving this morning following the House passage of the healthcare reform bill on Sunday. The bill now goes to the Senate, where final passage is all but assured. President Obama has promised to sign the bill as soon as possible. Drug majors and Dow components Merck and Pfizer are both up nearly 2% on Friday's close. Bristol-Meyers and Glaxo have gained less than a point. Hospital names are gaining with strength, with Health Management Associates up more than 8% before trading off, Tenant Healthcare up 6%, and Community Health Systems and Universal Health Services up about 4%.

- In other equity news, Williams Sonoma beat earnings estimates and raised its dividend slightly. The firm's guidance for next quarter was also stronger than expected. Tiffany missed bottom line expectations slightly, while revenue was a bit above the consensus view. Oil services firms are presenting at a Howard Weil energy conference today: Schlumberger warned that it feels consensus estimates for its FY10 remain a little on the high side and would require a very strong second half year to achieve targets, while Rowan said its FY20 revenue would meet expectations. Auto parts firm Autoliv increased its Q1 top-line guidance on better sales in
North America and Asia. Novell is up 4% after calling a $5.75/shr takeover offer from Elliott Associates inadequate.

- Currency trading in the
New York session has been dicey as conflicting comments out of Europe have provided more fuel for sovereign default jitters. The highlight of the session were comments from the Greek Deputy PM, who accused Germany of letting its banks to speculate against Greece in order to achieve a weaker euro, which aids German exports. The Greek official added that if the EU did not finalize a support mechanism soon, the EMU "will not make any sense." The spread between the Greek 10-year bond and the corresponding Bund jumped over 30 bps to test above 350bps. The yen has benefited in the risk aversion and gained against the major pairs. USD/JPY is hovering around the 90 handle.

***Looking Ahead***
11:30 (EU) ECB's Trichet
11:30 (UK) BOE Gov King
12:45 (EU) ECB's Gonzalez-Paramo in Washington DC
15:45 (US) Fed's Lochhart on economic outlook
16:30 (US) US Tsy Sec Geithner


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