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Tuesday May 4, 2010 - 15:13:40 GMT
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Forex Blog - US Market Update (Trade the News)

Tuesday, May 04, 2010 11:08:20 AM

 US Market Update

Dow -266 S&P -30 NASDAQ -81

***Economic Data***
- (RU) Russia Reserve Fund: 40.6B v $52.9B prior; Wellbeing Fund: $88.8B v $89.6B prior
- (US) ICSC/GS weekly chain store sales w/w May 1st: -0.4% w/w, 4.4% y/y
- (BR) Brazil Mar Industrial Production M/M: 2.8% v 1.8%e; Y/Y: 19.7% v 18.8%e
- (US) Redbook Retail Sales w/e May 1st: +1.7% y/y; MTD -2.2% v Mar
- (SI) Singapore Purchasing Managers Index: 51.9 v 50.5e; Electronic Sector: 51.8 v 53.4 prior
- (US) Mar Factory Orders: 1.3% v 0.0%e
- (US) Mar Pending Homes Sales M/M: 5.3% v 5.0%e; Y/Y: 23.5% v 19.5%
- (MX) Mexico Apr Consumer Confidence: 82.5 v 82.5e prior

- Fears of European debt contagion is the central issue this morning, with rumors and speculation heightening anxiety and prompting denials from European leaders. There was chatter that Spain was already asking for an aid package nearly twice as large as Greece's, ramping the risk aversion, smacking EUR/USD down to one-year lows just above 1.300 and sending the Portuguese and Spanish equity markets down 4-5% apiece. Spanish PM Zapatero called the rumor "complete madness," but the damage was already done. The VIX is above +23%, reflecting the heightened risk atmosphere. Front month crude is off nearly $3, while June gold was as high as $1,190 earlier before following equities and other commodities lower. Government bond markets are rallying on both sides of the Pond, pushing the
US 10-year yield back towards 3.6% briefly. The 2-10-year spread has narrowed below 270 basis points as well.

- Leading financial services names are underwater on all the bad news. Note that UBS's lackluster quarterly results, out earlier in the European session, are not helping the sector. Note that Treasury Secretary Geithner is testifying before the Senate Finance Committee this morning, discussing the possibility of a tax on banks, adding further weight. MasterCard beat expectations handily in its Q1. MA's CFO warned that volume headwinds to continue through rest of 2010 due to loss of bank customers. Shares of MA are up one percent, followed closely by competitor Visa.

- Shares of CVS are slowing crawling out of the red after the firm missed top- and bottom-line targets and offered an outlook for next quarter that was also below par. Leading
US pharma names Merck and Pfizer both beat earnings estimates, although Pfizer's revenue missed expectations slightly and Merck's full year view was a bit softer than expected. Generic manufacturing leader Teva was firmly in line with expectations and reiterated its FY10 guidance. Teva's CEO said he believes the benefits of healthcare reform would far outweigh its negative aspects. Going even further, Teva's CEO said he expects to accrue substantial benefits from the healthcare reform. MRK and PFE both rose as much as 3% before trading off, while TEVA headed straight down to -2%.

- In other earnings, big ag name ADM offered disappointing results, missing estimates across the board. Fresh Del Monte also missed earnings targets, although its revenue was better than expected. Shares of ADM and FDM are down 3% or so. Homebuilder Beazer Homes surprised investors will a profitable second quarter, versus expectations for another big loss. Like many other homebuilders reporting this time around, Beazer's new orders and backlog have grown substantially. Shares of
BZH are down 10%. Diversified energy name Marathon crushed EPS estimates and also beat on revenue. Smaller oil and gas producer Anadarko crushed both earnings and revenue targets, and raised its full-year production volumes. MRO and APC are both around even.

- The rumor mill was in high gear this morning, with whispers of a major fund in trouble and potential terrorist attacks in
London and Mumbai making the rounds during the New York morning. The USD and JPY benefited from safe haven flows while government paper benefited from a rotation out of equities. In Europe, the worsening peripheral situation in Europe drove major banks to call for the ECB to lower its refi rate as soon as tomorrow. The situation in Greece continues to haunt the markets as domestic protests against the government's austerity package continue. The spread between the Greek/German 10-year bonds widened back above 600bps with similar widening moves seen in Spain and Portugal. EUR/USD continued to post fresh one-year lows, targeting the option barriers lurking at 1.3000.



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