***Economic Data*** - (US) MBA Mortgage Applications w/e Apr 9th: -9.6% v -11.0% prior - (BR) Brazil Feb Retail Sales M/M: 1.6% v 0.6%e; Y/Y: 12.3% v 10.4%e - (RU) Russia Mar Producer Prices M/M: 1.8% v 0.9%e; Y/Y: 19.2% v 12.4%e - (US) Mar Consumer Price Index M/M: 0.1% v 0.1%e; CPI Ex Food&Energy M/M: 0.0% v 0.1%e; CPI NSA: 217.63 v 217.714 - (US) Mar Advanced Retail Sales: 1.6% v 1.2%e; Ex Autos: 0.6% v 0.5% - (US) Feb Business Inventories: 0.5% v 0.4%e - (US) DOE weekly crude inventories: Crude: -2.2M v +1.4Me; Gasoline: -1.04M v -1Me; Distillate: +1.1M v +1Me; Utilization:85.6% v 84.6%e
- A trio of very strong earnings reports from leaders in three key sectors - JP Morgan, Intel and CSX - are sending indices higher this morning, washing away the bad taste left by Alcoa's mixed results earlier in the week. The March advanced retail sales data beat expectations and improved markedly from February's levels, echoing the very strong March comps data seen last week. Business inventories data returned to the recent highs seen last November as businesses continue building stock. In the background, Fed Chairman Bernanke is testifying before a House committee, where he reiterated the "extended period" language and warned that there are significant restraints holding back the US economic recovery. Front month crude has reversed its retreat from the 16-month highs seen over the last several sessions and retaken the $85 handle, up about a buck. Natural gas is not benefitting from this morning's risk appetite, with the contract more or less flat on the day.
- JP Morgan crushed Wall Street's forecasts for the bank's performance in Q1. Revenue outperformed thanks to investment banking revenues that were more than one third higher than last quarter. Note that this outcome reversed the big decline seen in investment banking revenue seen in JP Morgan's Q4. Provisions for credit losses continue to decline, and executives said the firm's performance would only improve in the second half of the year, citing the likelihood of a "strong recovery." Most of the leading US banking names are up 2-3% in early trading. Intel came in well ahead of expectations and guided above par for next quarter. Intel's CFO said that businesses have resumed spending and said tight global demand is strengthening, although he also warned that average selling prices would fall somewhat in 2010. Shares of INTC and other major chip makers AMD and TXN are up 3% or so on the news. CSX beat earnings expectations, although revenue was more in line with the Street. CSX said it has begun recalling furloughed workers, thanks to "stabilizing demand and improving global trade." CSX is up nearly 4% in early trading, with other major rail names catching a bit of a tailwind.
- The greenback fought off some bearish sentiment in the early part of the NY morning helped by an EU assessment on Portugal which labeled the country's stability program "ambitious" and warned that Portugal might need additional measures this year. The EU added that the country's economic assumptions were "somewhat favorable" after 2010. Dealer sentiment continues to focus on whether Bernanke will fine tune his language on the US interest rate outlook, although the softer CPI data re-enforced the view that it might be some time before any change is seen in the Fed's mindset. EUR/USD continues to hold above the 1.36 handle while USD/JPY probing its best session level near 93.70.
***Looking Ahead**** - Fed's Fisher - (US) Fed's Beige Book - (AR) Argentina Consumer Price Index M/M: 1.1%e v 1.2% prior; Y/Y: 9.9%e v 9.1% prior - (AR) Argentina Wholesale Price Index M/M: No est v 1.3% prior; Y/Y: No est v 13.2% prior
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