***Economic Data*** - (US) MBA Mortgages Applications w/e May 21st: 11.3% v -1.5% prior - (BR) Brazil May FGV Construction Costs M/M: 0.9% v 0.9%e - (US) Apr Durables Goods Orders: 2.9% v 1.3%e; Durables Ex Transportation: -1.0% v 0.5%e - (BE) Belgium May Business Confidence: -4.9 v -2.8e - (CA) Canada Apr House Price Index Y/Y: 11.6% v 9.9% prior - (BR) Brazil Apr Total Outstanding Loans (BRL):1.46T v 1.45T prior; Private Banks Lending: 855B v 845B prior - (US) Apr New Home Sales: 504K v 425Ke; highest level in 24 months - (US) Weekly DOE energy inventories: Crude: +2.5Mv +250Ke; Gasoline: -203K v +500Ke; Distillate: -267K v +500Ke; Utilization: 87.8% v 87.9%e
- Yesterday's US equity market rally continued apace this morning before the bell and in the first hour of trading as investors set aside fear of European debt contagion to snap up riskier assets at a perceived discount. Asian equity indices climbed modestly overnight, while European bourses have rocked higher, aided by short covering, positive analyst commentary and also an improved OECD global economic forecast. The euro benefitted briefly from the surge in risk appetite somewhat overnight, although EUR/USD is headed back for yesterday's lows around the 1.2200 level in mid morning trading. The spike in risk appetite has begun to evaporate in mid-morning US trading as equities give back some ground. The US April new home sales data were very strong, with the month's data up nearly 15% over March levels and sales stronger than any time since May 2008. But as was the case with Monday's existing home sales data, commentators have been keen to point out that the government's first-time homebuyer credit expired at the end of April and sales data in subsequent months may not be as rosy. Front-month crude is up nearly $2.50 to trade above the $71 handle, aided by surprise draw downs in gasoline and distillate inventories seen in the weekly DoE data. Gold is near its session highs, trading above $1,215 as traders focus in on the August contract. US Treasury markets have given back some gains, but he weakness has been orderly considering the recent run up in prices. The US 10-year yield remains just above 3.2% while the benchmark spread remains narrower at 240 basis points.
- Citigroup was up as much as 7% in early trading thanks to press reports that the Qatar Investment Authority may be interested in part of US Treasury's 27% stake in the company. Financial stocks benefitted from commentary on the financial overhaul bill out of S&P yesterday evening. S&P said it would not immediately downgrade major US banks following the passage of the financial overhaul bill, due to "several months" needed to determine what effect the complex bill will have on complex institutions. Nevertheless, S&P believes that the bill will effect most of the larger banks it rates.
- The major US homebuilder stocks gained 5-10% a piece on this morning's April sales data. Toll Brothers was up as much as 6% despite its dismal quarterly results, including a miss on top-line revenue. Executives said that May's activity suggests that for us the tax credit wasn't the determinative factor - rather, the past few months' activity has been driven by an increase in confidence among buyers. TOL is around +3% mid morning. American Eagle met expectations in its quarterly numbers, although its forecast for next quarter was very weak, in line with comments out of other retailers last week. AEO is down 12%, while similar apparel names like Gap and Abercrombie are down one or two percent. Tivo is down 4% despite a smaller than expected quarterly loss and better revenue results. The DVR firm's subscriber metrics were notably soft.
- EUR/USD moved out to session lows to test below 1.2230 as dealer chatter cited renewed concerns about the Spanish banking concerns. Dealers took notice of an earlier WSJ about Spain's BBVA bank and its problems in regards to rolling commercial paper in May. The drop in the EUR/CHF cross provided more ammunition to traders that believe the SNB is diversifying some of its euro reserves back into USD. Germany's Bundesbank commented that Germany needed to consolidate its budget quickly and noted that the decline in the euro had not fully restored competitiveness. Better US durables Orders and New Home sales also provided from tailwind for the dollar against the major pairs. USD/JPY ending the NY morning above the 90.50 level.
***Looking Ahead*** - (BR) Brazil Apr Central Gov't Budget: $ v $12.0Be v -$4.6B prior - (US) US Treasury to sell $ 40.0B in 5-year notes - (AR) Argentina Apr Shop Center Sales Y/Y: No est v 36.9% prior - Fed's Lacker
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