***Economic Data*** - (US) MBA Mortgage Applications w/e Apr 2nd: -11.0% v 1.3% prior - (CA) Canada Feb Building Permits M/M: -0.5% v 2.0%e - (CL) Chile Mar Trade Balance: $1.4b v $1.5Be - (BZ) Brazil Feb CNI Capacity Utilization: % v 81.7%e - (CA) Canada Mar Ivey Purchasing Managers Index: 57.8 v 55.0e - (US) DOE weekly energy inventories: Crude: +2.0M v +1.5Me; Gasoline: -2.5M v -1.8Me; Distillate: +1.1M v -1.5Me
- Risk aversion appears to be the order of the day as continued chatter in Europe about Greece's finances weakens the euro and sends the dollar higher. With economic data and corporate news again scarce, investors are sending precious metals out to highs last seen in early January, with gold above $1,147 and silver above $18.20. Front-month crude continues to a breather from its two-month run up, with the contract hovering around the $86 handle, with further upside checked by larger than expected builds in weekly crude and distillate stockpiles. On the Hill, former Fed Chairman Greenspan is giving testimony, defending his record and talking down to Congress, while markets eagerly await speeches by Chairman Bernanke and dissenter Hoenig that follow the 10-year note reopening this afternoon. The 10-year note is a little higher, but the cash yield remains just a handful of basis points below 4%.
- Earnings from Monsanto are a central focus this morning. The big Ag leader missed earnings targets very narrowly and guided to the low end of their prior FY10 EPS guidance. But more negatively for the stock, executives said the company would be unlikely to achieve its target of doubling its gross profit in the 2007-12 period. Shares of MON traded off 3% on the news, but popped back into positive territory after executives said EPS would grow 13-17% outside of 2010. In other earnings, Family Dollar beat earnings expectations and raised its 2010 outlook. Shares of FDO are up 5%. More pre-earnings season guidance came out over the last 12 hours. Equipment rental name Tractor Supply Company offered very strong Q1 guidance, crushing estimates, and hiked its 2010 view. Shares of TSCO were up 10% in the first 30 minutes of trading, before coming off a bit. JA Solar spiked 13% on killer Q1 shipment guidance, thanks to robust demand in the quarter. Other solar names are riding JASO's coattails, with FSLR up 4%, CSIQ up 6% and sector ETF TAN up 2%. Shares of fast food name CKR are up 8% after noting that the firm has received an offer superior to Thomas H. Lee Partners' $11.05/shr offer from Feb 26.
- The greenback maintained a firm tone against the European pairs as Greek concerns remained in focus during the early US session. The spread between the 10-year Greek/German bonds continued to widen in early New York morning, moving above the 400bps area. Dealers noted that investors might demand a yield of as much as 7.25% to buy Greek 10-year dollar-denominated bonds. EUR/USD has moved below the 1.3340 level.
***Looking Ahead*** - 12:15 (US) Fed's Dudley at Economic Club in NY - 13:00 (US) US Treasury to sell $21B in 10-year reopening - 13:30 (US) Fed's Bernanke in Dallas - 14:00 (US) Fed's Hoenig speaks on US economic outlook - 15:00 (US) Feb Consumer Credit: -$0.2Be v $5.0B prior
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