***Economic Data*** - (US) MBA Mortgage Applications w/e Apr 16th: +13.6% v -9.6% prior - (CA) Canada Feb Wholesale Sales M/M: -1.2% v 1.0%e - (BE) Beligium Apr Consumer Confidence: v -13 prior - (US) DOE weekly energy inventories: Crude: K v -500Ke; Gasoline: K v +500Ke; Distillate: K v +800Ke; Utilization: % v 86.0%e
- US equity indices initially traded higher post the NY open despite continued peripheral debt jitters, essentially riding the coat tails of another blowout quarter from tech bellwether Apple Inc. Strong earnings reports from a handful of Dow components, and both Morgan Stanley's and a crowd of regional bank's reports were also helpful. Regardless risk averse trades have dragged the Nasdaq and S&P500 into the red in mid morning trading. US Treasury prices have rallied as equities have given back early gains. The US curve is flatter helped by the benchmark 10-year yield slipping back below 3.75% Front-month crude is off a little following weekly DoE inventory data that revealed a build in all three products, trading around the $83 handle..
- Morgan Stanley is up 4% in early trading after beating top- and bottom-line expectations by healthy margins. Note that the bottom-line outperformance was substantially adied by a one-time tax benefit. Much like Goldman yesterday, Morgan Stanley's proprietary trading revenues were significant higher over last quarter. Super regional bank Wells Fargo was a bit ahead of EPS targets, although revenue disappointed, sending its shares down 3% in the premarket. Note that Wells recovered nicely in the first 30 minutes of trading, rising to +1.5%. Although the banks loss provisions were still rising in the quarter, its non-performing assets and charge offs have apparently peaked. Regional banks SunTrust, Zion Bancorp and KeyCorp both reported smaller-than-expected quarterly losses. Provisions for loan losses fell sequentially at all three banks, and STI's CEO said his bank is seeing a significant decrease in credit-related costs. ZION is up 6%, STI is up 1% and KEY is up 8%. Moody's is down 3% despite strong quarterly revenue.
- Apple destroyed consensus estimates in its Q2 reports yesterday. Consumer-facing corporate giants McDonalds, AT&T and Altria offer solid quarterly results, with reported earnings modestly above par at all three names. US comps are finally taking off for McDonalds, after flattish to negative quarterly comparisons more recently. Despite more or less solid financial results, AT&T is off more than a point in early trading thanks to sequential declines in net wireless, postpaid and u-verse subscriber additions. On the conference call, AT&T executives warned it is still early to talk about a recovery in the firm's business revenue, despite "improving metrics" within the segment. Despite solid results in its Q2, Altria trimmed its 2010 outlook and warned that next quarter will be "particularly difficult" for earnings growth.
- Boeing soared as much as 4% in early trading after reporting earnings at least 10% better than estimated, although these gains have been tempered by comments on the conf call, as executives note that current business environment will continue to place pressure on defense and security units. Lockheed and United Technologies are both up one percent a piece or so on solid earnings and firm 2010 outlook.
- The New York morning began with a rising tide of risk aversion as the European peripheral situation continued to bubble over with vague chatter a possible Greek debt restructuring. The 10-year Greek/German spread widened out a record +520 bps as Greece finally commenced discussions with IMF officials about aid. Greek Finance Minister Papaconstantinou commented that Greece could activate the EU aid package before the IMF discussions conclude in two weeks time and also noted IMF talks would include a discussion of Greece's FY11 fiscal policy. Papaconstantinou called chatter about Greece restructuring its debt "absurd," although the price action in New York suggests there may be something to the talk of a 1.3350 defense; dealers were discussing sovereign buying near that level. German Finance Minister Schaeuble addressed the German legislature and noted that it would be a mistake to allow a Euro Zone member state to default as the consequences would be unforeseeable. Peripheral concerns seemed to subside as the morning progressed, as the IMF's updated World Economic Outlook slightly adjusted its 2010 global growth outlook upwards to +4.2% from its Jan view of +3.9%.
***Looking Ahead** - No further events seen
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