***Economic Data*** - (CA) Canada Mar Consumer Price Index M/M: 0.0% v 0.2%e; Y/Y: 1.4% v 1.6%e - (CA) Canada Mar Core CPI M/M: -0.2% v 0.1%e; Y/Y: 1.7% v 2.0%e - (CA) Canada Feb Retail Sales M/M: 0.5% v 1.0%e; Ex Autos M/M: -0.1% v 0.5%e - (US) Mar Durable Goods Orders: -1.3% v 0.2%e; Durables Ex Transportation: 2.8% v 0.7%e - (BE) Belgium Apr Business Confidence: -2.4 v -2.6e - (MX) Mexico Mar Preliminary Trade Balance: $237.3M v $590.0Me - (MX) Mexico Mar Unemployment Rate: 4.8% v 5.2%e - (US) Mar New Home Sales M/M: 411K v 325Ke
- Uncertainty remains in the air this morning as strong US economic data butts heads with evolving sovereign concerns in Europe. Greece formally requested activation of its package of emergency loans this morning, sparking a flood of commentary from officials as well as the media. Markets initially appeared calmed signified by narrowing sovereign spreads and a retracement in credit default swaps, but questions continue to build surrounding the complexity and timeline of the implementation process. March US durables (ex transport) blew out expectations and posted strong growth with nondefense capital goods orders excluding aircraft up very strongly. Then after the open March new home sales showed very strong growth along with a substantial decline in supply. US Treasury futures remain lower, weighed down by yesterday's supply announcement and the improving data points. The US 10-year yield has climbed back above 3.8% while the 2-year stands at 1.05%.
- Shares of American Express and Capital One both headed higher in after market trading as quarterly reports showed the credit card issuers are turning the corner on credit losses. AmEx modestly exceeded analysts' expectations in its Q1 report, while Capital One crushed expectations, partially thanks to accounting changes. As has been seen among other financial institutions reporting over the last two weeks, credit metrics from both firms are showing distinct improvement. AmEx's loan losses provisions are declining firmly, down nearly 50% over last year's levels, while COF's net card charge-offs are firmly trending downward. AXP is up 4.5% mid morning, while COF approaching the flatline. Visa and Mastercard are both up on the news. Note that there have been reports the Senate probe of ratings agencies has found the agencies were overly influenced by Wall Street firms and used outdated models for rating complex securities. The ratings agencies are flat on the news.
- Microsoft offered the usual staid, inline quarterly report, noting that revenue has been driven by strong demand for Windows 7. Shares of MSFT are down -2%. On the conference call, Redmond's CFO said a new cycle of business IT spending is expected to start this year and should extend for several years. Amazon offered solid quarterly results free of any surprises. The company insists that sales of its Kindle eReader remain strong despite competition from iPad. AMZN is down 4%. European semi name STMicro offered soft results in their Q1 report and also raised its dividend. STMicro's CEO forecasted that the global semiconductor market would grow 15-20% this year, significantly increasing his prior view. STM is off more than 6%. Hard disk manufacturer Western Digital was comfortably ahead of the Street in its Q3. WDC is up 8%.
- Among manufacturing names, Ingersoll-Rand missed expectations and offered a very wide range for its 2010 earnings. Johnson Controls met expectations in its Q2 and raised its 2010 guidance. JCI's CEO said the firm is seeing strong signs of recovery, with orders rising across all geographic regions. Rockwell Collins exceeded earnings targets. IR is down 7%,while JCI and ROC are flat.
- The bond markets have reacted sharply to Greece's mayday call, while the euro has mainly taken the news in stride. The Greek five-year CDS is down from records level around 650 bps to below 550 bps while the premium between the 10-year Greek/German bonds narrowed to 490bps from record highs around 590. However, market participants seemed to look past the safety-net to speculate the Greek tragedy would not end with activation, with expectations running high that the government would be forced to return for more funding soon. With focus turning to the demands imposed by the IMF, sentiment appears to be that the Euro Zone will probably need a weaker currency to offset deflationary policies in the peripheral member states.
- The yen was weaker against the major pairs on interest rate differentials. Better German IFO and peripheral debt concerns sent European yields higher. The US rates firmed following the Durable Ex Transportation data and talk that at least 6 FOMC members were favoring asset sales to implement the US exit strategy. The Canadian Dollar was softer thanks to tepid inflation and retail sales data. USD/CAD was holding above parity with USD buy-stops building above the 1.01 area. Dealers did note that CAD has been aided by reserve manager diversification in every overnight session for the last three weeks.
***Looking Ahead*** - 15:00 (AR) Argentina Mar Trade Balance: $850Me v $604M prior - 15:00 (AR) Argentina Mar Industrial Production M/M: No est v 3.4% prior; Y/Y: 8.0%e v 11.0% prior - 18:00 (US) US Tsy Sec Geithner pre-G20 press conference - G7, G20, IMF and World Bank meetings in Washington DC Apr 24th-25th
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