***Economic Data***** - (PD) Poland March Core Inflation M/M: 0.2% v 0.3%e; Y/Y: 2.0% v 2.1%e - (CA) Canada March Leading Indicators M/M: 1.0% v 0.7%e - (US) March Producer prices M/M: 0.7% v 0.5%e; PPI Ex Food & Energy M/M: 0.1% v 0.1%e - (US) Initial Jobless Claims: 456K v 450Ke; Continuing Claims: 4.646M v 4.600Me - (BR) Brazil March Current Account: -$5.1 v -$4.1Be; Foreign Investment: $2.0B v $1.7Be - (EU) Euro Zone April Advanced Consumer Confidence: -15 v -17e - (MX) Mexico Feb Retail Sales: 2.3% v 1.5%e - (US) March Existing Home Sales: 5.35M v 5.28Me - (US) US Feb House Price Index M/M: +0.2% v -0.2%e - (US) EIA Weekly Natural Gas inventories: +73bcf v. +75 to +80 bcf estimate range
- Investor uncertainty is running high this morning as markets grapple with a flood of data, corporate earnings and Greek headlines. Today has seen the largest helping of corporate earnings yet in the March quarter earnings cycle, with a more or less positive tone emerging from quarterly results overall. The data was modestly positive as well, with weekly claims declining a bit more and existing home sales returning to growth in March for the first time since last fall. However, risk aversion sentiment is forcing data and earnings to the sidelines after shorter term Greek bonds took a beating ahead of another ratings agency downgrade. Sovereign spreads on Greek and Portuguese 10-year bonds relative to Bunds continue to rack up post Euro launch records, while five-year CDS hit all-time highs. Around Moody's cut the Greek sovereign to A3 and warned more could be on the way. The VIX has risen around 10%, to nearly 18 on all the jitters, while front month crude is off another buck to trade below the $83 handle. Natural gas prices popped back above $4 after weekly inventory figures were released. US Treasury prices are higher once again despite the government's announcement that they would be selling another $118B in coupons next week. The US benchmark yield remains below 3.75%.
- Major bank names opened under pressure this morning ahead of a key procedural vote in the Senate on the financial reform bill later today. Note that yesterday a Democratic Senate aide said a final vote could come as soon as April 26th. Also note that the WSJ reported that CDS of some large banks, such as BoA, were heading in the wrong direction on fears about reform and ongoing Federal investigations of the sector. After improvement in early trading, the Greece news knocked the majors deeper into negative territory. Two more regional banks offered very strong results this morning. PNC Bank's earnings were a real home run, with the bank crushing analysts' profit projections. BB&T also topped expectations. Both banks reported declining provisions credit losses and non-performing assets although both firms missed revenue targets slightly. PNC is up 4%, while BBT is down 4%. Most of the other regionals are flat or down. Asset manager Blackstone beat top- and bottom-line expectations, and also cut its dividend steeply. Shares of BX are in the red and heading lower.
- Mobile phone chip manufacturer Qualcomm came in a bit ahead of analysts' expectations yesterday evening and adjusted its 2010 outlook higher. The firm's operating margins were down significantly on a sequential basis. RAM maker SanDisk stomped estimates, achieving its first quarterly revenue figure above $1B, noting that mobile product sales have doubled on a y/y basis. SNDK is up 10%, while QCOM is down more than 6%. E-tailer eBay was largely in line with targets in its Q1 report and forward looking guidance. Shares of Netflix touched $100 after a strong quarterly report. Netflix noted that for the first time more than half of all members streamed content over the internet. NFLX is up more than 15%, while EBAY is off 7%.
- In customer facing names, Dow component Verizon met expectations across the board and managed to increase its FIOS tv and internet customer additions for the first time in three months, a metric that has been widely debated by analysts. Verizon's CEO said the firm may be seeing early signs of recovery in business markets and noted that expanding penetration of data market is driving revenue increases. Mobile phone giant Nokia missed expectations and reported a significant sequential decline in units shipped in the quarter. Nokia's CEO was contrite on CNBC this morning, noting that the firm let down investors in the quarter. NOK is down 14%. PepsiCo met expectations. Shares of Starbucks are up 6% after the coffee giant beat slightly and hiked its full year guidance. Hershey's came in well ahead of expectations and boosted its full year view. HSY is up 7%. Airline names have been volatile on earnings from Southwest and ongoing merger chatter. US Airways broke off merger talks with United.
- The European debt saga shows no signs of fading away during the New York session, which has seemed like a wild game of headline roulette. The IMF spoke at length on peripheral debt situation and stated that Greece should not be treated any differently than any other country borrowing from the fund. IMF Chief Strauss-Kahn said he understands that Greek citizens may be reluctant to support austerity measures. The rumor mill churned out plenty of tales on the matter, with one German paper suggesting that a financial expert from junior coalition party FDP believes Greece needs to examine leaving the Euro Zone if it cannot intensify austerity measures. A Greek official later stated his country might be offered a short-term loan facility ahead of the main IMF/EU aid package but called the bridge loan a "theoretical option." A Portuguese official warned of the possibility of spreading risk of contagion emerging from Greece. All eyes are on the multi-year EUR/USD uptrend line seen currently at 1.3070. That line was last tested back in March 2009 at the 1.2454 level seen during coordinated central bank action to deflate the global recession.
***Looking Ahead*** - 11:55 President addresses financial reform in New York CIty - 12:15 (EU) EU's Barroso - 12:15 (JP) BOJ's Shirakawa speaks at Economic Club in NY - 12:30 (US) US Tsy Wolin address at swap & derivative conference - 12:30 (US) US Tsy Allison testifies to House panel on TARP - 16:00 (US) Feb RPX Composite 28-day Y/Y: No est v -0.51% prior - 19:00 (US) G20 meets in Washington DC
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