***Economic Data*** - (CA) Canada Mar Net Change in Employment: 17.9K v 26.0Ke; Unemployment Rate: 8.2% v 8.1%e - (US) Feb Wholesale Inventories: 0.6% v 0.4%e
- The DJIA appears ready to make a run at 11,000 today as investors digest yet another round of Greek drama and send markets higher. The dollar was a touch weaker and even Fitch's two-notch cut of Greece's sovereign ratings has done little to reverse this trend. More importantly, CDS and the spread between the German and Greek bonds have narrowed sharply after various reports suggested that EU and Greek officials would disclose concrete details of the standby financing package for Greece. Note that the Greek PM stated that his country has become a test case for the survival of the euro. Front-month crude is around unchanged, at $85.30. Gold is heading higher, testing YTD highs above $1,160. US Treasury prices are a little pushing the 10-year benchmark yield back above 3.9%.
- Struggling mortgage insurer Ambac has surged 80% in early trading after the firm reported its second consecutive quarterly profit after the close on Thursday, although keep in mind that much of the green stemmed from a $472M tax credit. Shares of the other major mortgage insurers were up on the news, with PMI, Radian, MBIA and MGIC up 4-8% just after the open, although all four are well off their best levels. In other financial sector news, FHA Director Lockhart is testifying before Congress today about the financial crisis. Lockhart said that losses at Fannie will be larger than those seen in Freddie. FRE was up 4% this morning.
- Chevron was up one percent providing a mid quarter update after the close. Chevron said it expects its Q1 profit to be higher sequentially, driven by higher earnings from its production and exploration operations, which are benefiting from higher commodity prices. Small shale gas player Atlas Energy signed a JV deal with an affiliate of Indian industrial giant Reliance Industries. Atlas will transfer an interest in its Marcellus Shale position equal to 120,000 net acres in a transaction valued at $1.7B.
- In other news, Constellation Brands beat earnings estimates but missed on the top line. The firm's guidance for 2010 was a little soft. Shares of STZ are down 3%, while those of competitor Diageo are up 1.5%. Homewares name Blyth beat expectations in its Q4 report, sending its shares up more than 30%, although executives warned that the strong performance would unlikely be repeated in the near term.
- In currency trading, Canada's March jobs report was weaker than expected, contradicting market rumors that made the rounds yesterday. USD/CAD moved from 0.9990 to test 1.0080 area in the aftermath of the employment data. The Polish Central Bank officially confirmed it intervened in EUR/PLN cross. Dealers note that intervention took place between the 3.8450 to 3.85 level and the pair was testing 3.89 in the early part of the NY morning.
***Looking Ahead*** - Midnight Friday (CH) China Mar Trade Balance: -$0.4Be v $7.6B prior
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