***Economic Data*** - (SA) South Africa Mar Trade Balance (ZAR): +0.5B v -2.5Be - (CA) Canada Mar Industrial Product Price M/M: % v -0.1%e; Raw Material Price Index M/M: % v 1.0%e - (CA) Canada Feb Gross Domestic Product M/M: 0.3% v 0.3%e - (US) Q1 Advanced GDP Annualized Q/Q: 3.2% v 3.3%e; Personal Consumption: 3.6% v 3.3%e - (US) Q1 Advanced GDP Price Index: 0.9% v 0.9%e; Core PCE Q/Q: 0.6% v 0.5%e - (US) Q1 Employment Cost Index: 0.6% v 0.5%e - (CL) Chile Mar Unemployment Rate: 9.0% v 8.9%e - (BE) Belgium Q1 Preliminary GDP Q/Q: 0.1% v 0.3% prior; Y/Y: 1.0% v -0.8% prior - (BR) Brazil Mar Nominal Budget Balance (BRL) -17.1Bv -9.1Be; Primary Budget Balance: -0.2B v 5.0Be; Net Debt to GDP: 42.4% v 42.1%e - (US) Apr Chicago Purchasing Manager: 63.8 v 60.0e - (US) Apr Final University of Michigan: 71.0e v 69.5 prior - (US) Apr NAPM Milwaukee: 66.0 v 62.0 prior
- Risk aversion is running high again this morning, fueled by fears of potential criminal charges against Goldman Sachs, the evolving peripheral debt crisis in Europe, US economic data and month-end flows. More statements out of key players in Europe indicate that a revised Greece aid package will be agreed upon over the weekend. European finance ministers will discuss the package at a conference on Sunday, with various estimates about the size of the new backstop ranging around or above â‚¬130B. The first reading of the US Q1 GDP was only a hair below expectations, although investors are more focused on the Chicago PMI survey, which its highest level since April 2005 this morning. Special attention is due to the very high prices paid component preceded a new multi-month high in gold prices. Front month crude prices are up nearly a buck, testing the $86 handle. Treasury prices are bid which has sent the 2-year yield back below 1% and the 10-year under 3.7%.
- Shares of Goldman Sachs are at their lowest levels for the morning, down more than 7% after the Wall Street Journal reported the US attorney's office in Manhattan is undertaking a preliminary criminal probe related to mortgage trading at the firm. Note that in the article, the WSJ writes that no firm in the last 200 years has ever survived criminal charges. Shares of the other leading US banks are down 2% on the news. Leading insurance names Hartford Financial and Met Life are headed in opposite directions, with HIG down 2% on weak full-year guidance (despite slightly better than expected Q1 results), while MET is up more than 2% after beating top- and bottom-line expectations.
- Number two US oil producer Chevron offered strong earnings and weak revenue results this morning. Executives noted that profits benefitted from higher prices and higher production levels. Shares of CVX are % in early trading. Refiner Sunoco crushed analysts expectations, reporting a healthy profit against expectations for a small loss, while revenue was way ahead. Quarterly losses from Sunoco competitor Tesoro were bigger than projected.
- In other equity news, Wynn is well off its highs despite crushing expectations yesterday after the close. Wynn and other casino names are suffering after China's PBoC said it would curb internet gambling. Semi name MEMC Electronics is off more than 18% after reporting a loss, instead of the small profit expected. MEMC also guided well below par for next quarter. Other semi names are getting hit by the lousy report from MEMC, with Ingram Micro in the red despite the firm's better than expected results and industry ETF SMH down 2%. Computer security name McAfee is off 12% or so after missing targets slightly and guiding well below par.
- The risk aversion slowly gathered some momentum over the course of the NY morning. Greece Fin Min Papaconstantinou commented that the debt could 'explode' if austerity measures were not implemented ahead of the planned strikes to be taken on May 5th. Greece added that Europe was "slow" in putting together the rescue package. The Fin Min commented that was not concerned about possible political costs of reform and would clash with vested interests in order to ensure the reforms more forward. The possibility that US Federal prosecutors were conducting a preliminary criminal probe into Goldman Sachs regarding possible securities fraud in relation to mortgage trading weighed on financials. The USD and JPY benefited from the uncertainty of the above mentioned events.
***Looking Ahead*** - 12:00 (CO) Colombia Mar Unemployment Rate: 13.0%e v 13.4% prior - 15:00 (AR) Argentina Mar Construction Activity Y/Y: No est v 5.2% prior - 15:30 (MX) Mexico Mar Budget balance YTD (MXN): No est v 22.9B prior - (CO) Colombia Central Bank Interest Rate Decision: expected to maintain the Overnight lending Rate at 3.50% - 21:00 (CH) China Apr PMI Manufacturing: 55.9e v 55.1 prior
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