***Economic Data*** - (US) July NFIB Small Business Optimism: 88.1 v 88.0e - (US) ICSC/GS weekly chain store sales w/e Aug 7th: -0.2% w/w; +3.7% y/y - (CA) Canada July Housing Starts: 189.2K v 185.0Ke - (CA) Canada Jun New Housing Price Index M/M: 0.1% v 0.2%e - (US) Q2 Preliminary Nonfarm Productivity: -0.9% v 0.1%e (the first drop in 18 months); Unit Labor Costs: 0.2% v 1.5%e - (US) Redbook Retail Sales w/e Aug 7th: +3.0% y/y; MTD: +1.2% v July - (US) Jun Wholesale Inventories: 0.1 v 0.4%e - (US) Aug IBD/TIPP Economic Optimism: 43.6 v 45.0e - (MX) Mexico May Gross Fixed Investment: 6.2% v 4.2%e - (MX) Mexico July Vehicle Production: 180.1K v 165.0Ke; Vehicle Domestic Sales: 62.0K v 59.9K prior; Vehicle Exports: 143.5K v 177.6K
Fixed Income: - (EU) ECB drained â‚¬60.5B in 1-week term deposit quick tender; as expected
- Stocks are under some pressure this morning on the back of weakness overseas and uneasiness ahead of the Fed's rate decision. Interestingly US Treasury prices are also marginally lower ahead of 3-year note auction. The greenback is making one-week highs against the euro while the spread between the US 10 and 2-year notes has narrowed below 230 basis points. Markets are very testy ahead of this afternoon's FOMC announcement, with commentators endlessly gaming what measures the committee may or may not possibly take to deal with the recent soft spot in the already weak economic recovery. All in all, the market seems to be expecting some softening in Fed's language but no grand QE initiatives. It is looking unlikely that the Fed will provide the "free money" camp with another fix, while any promises they make could send the bond market into a funk with yields possibly moving higher. On the data front, the preliminary Q2 non-farm productivity reading was negative for the first time since late 2008 and unit labor costs rose much less than expected. Some believe that the slower productivity growth is not necessarily bad news, as it suggests that employers are finally reaching the point where they must expand their workforces to support additional gains in output. Front-month crude continues to lose altitude, with the Sept contract testing $80.
- Troubled mono-line bond insurers Ambac and MBIA reported improved Q2 reports yesterday after the close. Earnings out of MBIA were up notably over last year's Q2, while revenue more than doubled. The losses continue over at Ambac, but the company's net income this year was much stronger than the comparable period last year. Ambac said that it is working on a prepackaged bankruptcy filing. Shares of MBI are up more than 5%. Shares of ABK dropped more than 30% in electronic trading and have recouped some losses in the early going, to trade around -20%.
- Intel has set a decidedly negative tone in tech land as multiple downgrades accompanied by reports of soft channel checks in Asia weigh on prices. INTC is down roughly 4%, back below $20 for the first time in a month, pushing the SMH lower by 2.7%. Shares of CRM software developer Convergys are down a few percent after the firm missed targets in its Q2 report. Enterprise software name Novel revised its Q3 revenue outlook slightly lower, sending shares of NOVL down 3% in early trading. IT consultancy Gartner was a bit ahead of expectations in its Q2 report. Executives said there is strength across the business and expressed confidence in the firm's ability to sustain earnings and revenue growth over the long term. Shares of IT are up 8%. JA Solar outperformed on the top line in its Q2 report, but its bottom line missed the consensus view by a wide margin thanks to several large one-time items. JASO is down 7% or so. Note that shares of Netflix are up 7% after signing a big content deal with Epix.
- FX markets are waiting for the FOMC rate decision to determine whether the session's USD rally can hold up beyond the current short squeeze phase. Risk aversion fears from Asia and Europe continued into the NY morning with the greenback at its best levels in mid-morning trading. EUR/USD tested below the 1.31 level while GBP/USD approached the 1.5710 area. USD/JPY holding steady thus far just above the 86 handle.
***Looking Ahead*** - 12:00 (US) Treasury's Barr on financial reform - 1:00PM (US) Treasury's $34B 3-year note auction - 14:15 (US) FOMC Rate Decision: Expected to maintain interest rates to 0.25% - 16:30 (US) EIA weekly energy inventories - 17:00 (US) ABC Consumer Confidence w/e Aug 8th: No est v -50 prior
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