Dow +227 S&P +25 NASDAQ +45 ***Economic data*** - (UK) BOE maintain both its Interest Rate and Asset Purchase Target (APT) at current levels of 0.50% and Â£200B; as expected - (SA) South Africa Apr Manufacturing Production: M/M: -1.0% v -1.0%e; Y/Y: 8.7% v 7.1%e - (EU) ECB maintained the Main Refi Rate Unchanged at 1.0%; as expected - (US) Apr Trade Balance:-$41.0Be v -$40.4B prior - (CA) Canada Apr New Housing Price Index M/M: 0.3% v 0.3%e - (CA) Canada Apr Int'l Merchandise Trade: C$200M v C$600Me - (US) Initial Jobless Claims: 456k v 450Ke; Continuing Claims: 4.462M v 4.640Me
- Traders are taking on risk in an aggressive way this morning, quickly erasing the steep losses seen late yesterday afternoon. Shares of BP have bounced back while Chinese officials confirmed that exports grew at nearly 50% last month, and well-received bond auctions in both Spain and Italy were all key factors in rejuvenating risk appetite ahead of the NY open. There were no surprises from either the BoE or the ECB interest rate decisions this morning, although strong rhetoric from Trichet helped boost the euro, with EUR/USD pushing out to test above the 1.2100 level in mid morning trade. Other data supporting sentiment this morning includes weekly jobs data and May foreclosure numbers. The weekly initial claims data grew incrementally, although the continuing figure fell below last week's figure. RealtyTrac reported that the US foreclosure rate continued to decline in May. Front-month crude is up another $1.70 this morning, trading just above $76, while spot gold traded back below $1,220. Treasury yields are rising as some of the recent flight to safety trades are unwound ahead of the 30-year reopening this afternoon. The 10-year yield has regained 3.25% and the long bond is above 4.15%.
- Financial names have seen a moderate rally this morning, with the notable exception of Goldman Sachs. The FT reported last night that the SEC has launched a preliminary investigation of another Goldman CDO deal, this time the $2B Hudson Mezzanine package, created in 2006. Recall that in late April, Senate investigators looked into the Hudson CDO along with four other deals. Shares of GS are in the red this morning. In other finance sector news, the Congressional Oversight Panel released a report that insisted US taxpayers remain at risk for "severe losses" in relation to AIG stake. In testimony yesterday Fed Chairman Bernanke said that he believes AIG will repay all its TARP funds. The FT published disturbing metrics concerning the frozen market for corporate debt in Europe, noting that European banks have raised less from capital markets in the past six weeks than any year since 1995.
- US-listed shares of BP fell 16% in yesterday's difficult session, and the London listed shares of BP lead the FTSE plunging lower during the European session today. However, BP's US listed shares have reversed course, and are up around 14% in today's session even as the firm's London shares remain down 8%. Some strength is being driven in part by all sorts of takeover chatter. BP stated overnight that it could not understand why its shares fell as much as they did yesterday and insisted that the firm had ample fiscal resources to cope with the Gulf oil spill. In an investor note, analysts from BofA/Merrill Lynch agreed with the company, estimating that BP has flexibility to cover costs, and maintained their Buy rating on the firm. According to BP, the cost of the response to date has been approximately $1.43B (compared to $1.25B on June 7). Note that this morning shareholders filed suit against BP over the spill. Shares of BP partner Anadarko are up 10% this morning as well, and broad strength is seen among other oil names.
- In other equity news, shares of Del Monte Foods are up 6% after the food crushed earnings expectations, offered strong FY11 earnings targets and also raised its dividend a whopping 80%. Men's Warehouse also crushed expectations, sending shares of MW up 15% in early trading. More troubling news is being heard in certain corners of the tech sector. DigiTimes writes that some DRAM module makers have reported revenue declines in May driven by weak demand related to the debt crisis in Europe. The companies that reported revenue declines included A-Data Technology, Transcend Information and Power Quotient International.
- EUR/USD tested above the 1.21 handle aided by some verbal intervention this morning: ECB Chief Trichet called the euro a "credible currency" with an "exceptional track record." Trichet reiterated that the euro had the capacity to conserve its value. Other highlights from the ECB press conference centered on the ECB's alternative monetary policy tools. Trichet said the ECB had no plans to sell debt certificates although it would offer a fixed rate, full allotment three month LTRO every month in Q3. AUD/USD was moving towards the 0.85 area on reports that PM Rudd would extend an olive branch to mining companies over the proposed mining tax. Treasury Sec Geithner testified on the topic of China and stated that a stronger yuan would benefit China by increasing its purchasing power and permit more balanced and sustainable growth. Geithner also promised that the administration would apply "forceful remedies" under US law and WTO to address China's unfair trade practices.
***Looking Ahead*** - (US) EIA Natural Gas Inventories - (US) Treasury to sell $13B in 30-year notes reopening - (US) May Monthly Budget Statement - ECB's Trichet speaks
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