***Economic Data*** - (BR) Brazil Mar Central Gov't Budget: $2.0Be - (BR) Brazil Apr FGV Inflation IGP-M M/M: 0.8% v 0.7%e; Y/Y: 2.9% v 2.8%e - (BR) Brazil Mar Unemployment Rate: 7.6% v 7.6%e - (US) Initial Jobless Claims: 448K v 445Ke; Continuing Claims: 4.645M v 4.618Me prior - (US) Mar Chicago Fed National Activity Index: -0.07 v -0.20e - (BR) Brazil Mar Total Outstanding Loans (BRL): 1.45T v 1.44T prior; Private Banks Lending: 845M v 833B prior - (US) EIA Natural Gas Inventories: +83 bcf v +65 to +75 bcf estimate range
- With spreads and yields on European peripheral debt narrowing somewhat risk aversion has backed off a little this morning, aiding equity markets on each side of the Atlantic. Although EU officials have been opaque in their statements, there is a general feeling that an expanded EU/IMF aid deal for Greece is imminent. Weekly jobless claims continue their very gradual decline, although this week's number was slightly higher than expected. After testing the $81 handle during yesterday's session, front month crude has bounced and is above $85 in mid morning trading. Natural gas has dropped 10% after weekly inventories grew more than expected. Treasury prices are slightly higher despite the better risk environment with the US benchmark yield holding just above 3.75%.
- Shares of Exxon fell more than 1% before the open this morning after the oil major missed top- and bottom line expectations in its Q1 report. The company noted that lower refining margins offset the benefit of higher oil prices, while downstream results appear to be turning around. Conoco's earnings exceeded expectations. Note that number two producer Chevron reports tomorrow morning. COP is up 2%, CVX is up 1.5% and XOM remains in the red. Earnings at second-tier energy name Apache missed their mark slightly, although the firm's steady profit growth continued in the quarter. Apache also said it would acquire more assets in the Gulf of Mexico from Devon Energy. APA and D are both around even.
- Visa reported a Q2 profit that was slightly better than expected and reiterated its full year forecast. On the conference call, Visa's CEO affirmed that the worst of recession appears over, and spending is picking up in the US and abroad. Insurance giants Allstate and Aetna are headed in different directions: ALL is up down more than 2%, while AET is up nearly 3%. Allstate missed on the bottom line, while Aetna crushed earnings targets and raised its 2010 guidance. Pharma majors AstraZeneca and Bristol Myers were both more or less in line on earnings. Cardinal Health's revenue was a little soft, sending shares down 2%.
- Media giant Viacom met expectations in its Q2 and discussed its options for resuming returning cash to shareholders, sending shares of VIA up 2%. Viacom's CEO said the advertising environment is definitely on an upswing, advertisers are eager to get into the market to talk about new products. Time Warner Cable is up 5% and heading higher after stating that it is on track to meet or exceed FY guidance. Earnings from consumer staple names Procter & Gamble and Colgate were modestly better than projected, although revenue was disappointing. Both names are in the red in the early going. Mobile manufacturer Motorola made a small profit in its Q1, against expectations for a small loss. Shares of MOT were up as much as 8%, before settling around +5%. First Solar is up 15% on blowout results.
- EUR/USD has drifted off 50 pips off its best levels to trade around 1.3225 as concerns surface about contagion and the implementation of the Greek aid package. EU Commissioner Rehn's statement on Greece failed to provide any insight, just noting that talks would be concluded in coming days with no fresh details of the potential plan. EU remained confident that funding from the Euro Zone would depend on fiscal consolidation.
***Looking Ahead*** - 13:00 (US) Treasury to sell $32B in 7-years Notes - 14:30 (US) Tsy Sec Geithner on FY11 budget
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Mon 18 Dec
10:00 EZ- final HICP Tue 19 Dec
09:00 DE- IFO Survey
13:30 US- Housing Starts/Permits
13:30 US- Current Account Wed 20 Dec
15:00 US- Existing Homes Sales
15:30 US- EIA Crude Thu 21 Dec
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POTENTIAL PRICE RISK: Medium Mon--10:00 GMT-- EZ- final November HICP. flash data are rarely changed.
POTENTIAL PRICE RISK: HIGH- Medium Tue --09:00 GMT-- DE- IFO Survey. Key report but usually not a market-mover
POTENTIAL PRICE RISK: HIGH- Medium- Tue --13:30 GMT-- US- Housing Starts and Permits. Leading indicators of activity
POTENTIAL PRICE RISK: HIGH-Medium- Wed --15:00-- US- Existing Homes Sales. Top Housing statistic
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