***Economic Data*** - (BR) Brazil Apr FGV Consumer Confidence: 113.0 v 112.3 prior; Construction Costs M/M: 1.2% v 1.3%e - (US) ICSC/GS weekly chain store sales w/w April 24th: +0.2% w/w, +5.5% y/y - (US) Redbook Retail Sales w/e Apr 24th: +2.7% y/y; MTD -2.0% v Mar - (US) Feb S&P/CaseShiller Composite-20 Y/Y: 0.6% v 1.3%e; Home Price Index: 144.03 v 144.8e - (GE) Germany Apr CPI North Rhine Westphalia M/M: -0.2% v 0.6% prior; Y/Y: 0.8% v 1.2% prior - (US) Apr Richmond Fed Manufacturing index: 30 v 6 prior (highest reading on record) - (US) Apr Consumer Confidence: 57.9 v 53.5e
- Markets are in the red this morning as much better than expected April confidence data is being offset by fears about the contagion spreading outward from Greece. A S&P 2 notch downgrade of Portugal only fanned those fears, which was followed by another downgrade of Greece to junk status. Testimony from key figures in Washington remains an overhang as well. In testimony before the Obama Administration's debt reduction committee, Fed Chairman Bernanke warned that the US needs to start cutting its budget deficit soon and stated the US cannot grow its way out of the deficit. Goldman executives are being grilled before a Congressional subcommittee about their specific role in the mortgage backed securities market. Risk aversion has picked up even more in late NY morning trade fueled by the ratings agency actions. Commodities are generally lower with the Euro with the exception being gold. Treasury futures are up sharply pushing the 2-year yield below 1% ahead of this afternoon's $44B auction results.
- Valero reported its fifth consecutive quarterly loss, although the firm's earnings results were better than expected, while top-line revenues crushed expectations. The firm said it would return to profitability next quarter. Elsewhere in the oil patch, BP's quarterly net was well ahead of expectations. Shares of VLO are up 2% (note that Chevron and Exxon both report late this week and Shares of XOM are up 1% this morning). Chemical processors 3M and Du Pont both beat expectations in their first quarter reports and raised 2010 earnings. Dupont cited particularly strong demand in Asia Pacific. Shares of MMM are up 2%, while DD is in the red.
- Ford and several auto sector names reported very strong quarterly results. Ford's earnings were ahead of expectations, although revenue was a little soft. Shares of Ford are down 4%. Engine manufacturer Cummins reported twice the quarterly profit expected, while auto retailer Group 1 was modestly ahead of earnings targets. CMI is up more than 6%, while GPI is around even, after shares fell up to 4% in early trading. Ford CEO Mullaly said that consumer spending growth in the US and Europe would remain below trend in 2010, with a robust recovery continuing in Asia.
- Retailers Office Depot and Radio Shack offered in line expectations. Office Depot said it expects to report a loss next quarter. In tech, Texas Instruments and ADP were in line. Executives from TI said demand has remained strong so far, while ADP's CEO said the pace of decline in pays per control has slowed compared to a year ago. Quarterly losses from leading US airlines United and US Airways were much smaller than consensus estimates. US Airways said it would be profitable next quarter.
- With contagion catching, spreads for Portugal and Ireland came under intense pressure as US traders came to their desks. Greek Finance Minister Papaconstantinou added fuel to the fire when he commented that the need for credit adjustment was greater after Eurostat revised the country's deficit to GDP ratio higher last week. Portuguese yields rose over 30bps to test 5.55%, with the spread widening to the highest levels since at least February 1997 against the German Bund. This scenario was similar for Irish, Spanish and Greek bonds. The Greek 5-year CDS approached 800bps for a record high. Fresh doubts emerge over the sustainability public finances in other euro zone countries aiding the risk aversion sentiment. There has been a divergence in assumptions about the timing of talks among Greek and EU/IMF officials over the debt rescue package: Greece expects the EU-IMF talks to end next week, while IMF and EU officials have talked about early May. The Greek public evidently remains unconvinced of the need for the strict austerity measures, as there has been talk of several days of wildcat strikes to protest the moves. EUR/USD has sustained the 1.33 to 1.34 range with some chatter that sovereign names were helping curb downside momentum in the pair.
***Looking Ahead*** - ECB's Trichet in Chicago - 12:30 (US) Tsy Sec Geithner - 13:00 (FR) France Mar Net Change Jobseekers: 4.0Ke v 3.3K prior; Total Jobseekers: No est v 2.67M prior - 13:00 (US) US Treasury to sell $44B in 2-year Notes - 15:00 (AR) Argentina Mar Shop Center sales Y/Y: No est v 25.9% prior - 15:30 (CA) Bank of Canada's Carney
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