***Economic Data*** - (US) MBA Mortgage Applications w/e Aug 6th: 0.6% v 1.3% prior - (SA) South Africa Jun Manufacturing Production M/M: +0.7% v -0.6%; Y/Y: 8.8% v 6.7%e - (RU) Russia Q2 Advance GDP Y/Y: 5.2% v 5.7%e - (NO) Norway Central Bank (Norges) maintained the Deposit Rates unchanged at 2.00%; as expected - (BR) Brazil Jun Retail Sales M/M: 1.0% v 0.5%e; Y/Y: 11.3% v 10.2%e - (PD) Poland Jun Current Account: -â‚¬1.0B v -â‚¬765Me; Trade Balance: -â‚¬287M v -â‚¬480Me - (US) Jun Trade Balance: -$49.9B v -$42.1Be - (CA) Canada Jun Int'l Merchandise Trade: -C$1.1B v -C$300Me - (MX) Mexico Jun Industrial Production Y/Y: 8.4% v 8.4%e - (US) Weekly DOE inventories: Crude: -2.9M v -2Me; Gasoline: +400K v +500Ke; Distillate: +3.5M v +1.7Me; Utilization: 88.1% v 90.7%e
- The voice of the FOMC has been reverberating throughout global markets since yesterday afternoon, with big moves being seen across all asset classes. US equity indices are on the lows in mid morning trade, while the USD, CHF and JPY are firming against other European counterparts and commodity-related pairs. Note also that the dollar tested 15-year lows against the yen earlier this morning, following some commentary out of an influential Chinese think tank. Yields on US Treasuries and other G7 government bonds are down sharply as investors seek safe haven. The June US trade deficit data out this morning is adding to worries; the trade deficit widened by almost 20% m/m to approach the $50B level, for the biggest gap since Oct 2008. According to some measures, the data implies that Q2 US GDP would have to be revised to below 1.5% from the initial 2.4% reading. Sept crude is down nearly $1.50, trading around $78.50. Dec gold is around $1,205. Also weighing on investors nerves is dealer chatter that the ECB elected to use a USD liquidity swap line to purchase sovereign short-term paper for the first time in more than two months.
- Disney beat top- and bottom-line expectations in its Q3 report, with strong y/y revenue growth seen in the firm's media and studio entertainment divisions. In addition, Disney said that bookings at its theme parks have recovered strongly from the same period a year ago. Earnings in Macy's Q2 were above consensus and the firm raised its 2010 earnings outlook modestly. The company again bumped up its view for full-year comps slightly, to +4.0-4.2%. Computer component distributor Avnet was a bit ahead of analysts' expectations slightly in its Q4 report, while its outlook for next quarter was above par. Executives commented that bookings remain strong, and the book to bill ratio indicates that supply has still not caught up with demand throughout the tech industry.
- Solar wafer manufacturer LDK Solar crushed expectations in its Q2, while solar panel maker SunPower beat earnings targets (revenue was a bit behind consensus). LDK's guidance for Q3 was very strong, and the firm sees continued growth in the current quarter. SunPower's CEO said he expects a shift towards a buyer's market for solar panels starting as soon as early 2011. Shares of LDK are down 3%, while shares of SPWRA are around even.
- In other news, AIG reached a deal to sell 80% of its American General Finance unit to Fortress Investment Group. The purchase price was not disclosed, although sources noted Fortress paid a "small fraction" of the unit's equity value. AIG is down 2.5%, while FIG is down 3%. Shares of Aflac are around even after the firm raised its dividend by 7% and resumed share buybacks for the first time since late 2008.
- In currency trading, EUR/USD dropped well below the 1.30 level for the first time in the month of August while EUR/CHF probed the lower end of the 1.36 handle. There was continued dealer discussion on possible ECB purchases of sovereign debt with Irish two-year paper mentioned after the Bank of Ireland (BKIR.UK) widened its loan loss provisions, which corresponded with the ECB allotting dollars liquidity swap line earlier today for the first time in 10 weeks for two (unnamed) European banks.
- The yen got a verbal boost from an influential official at the ChinaAcademy of Social Sciences. CASS deputy chief researcher Zhang Ming observed that Japanese government debt was "more stable" than US Treasuries. The official added that the yen would remain strong against the dollar in the short term. Ming's commentary sent the USD/JPY to 15-year lows and below the pivotal 85.00 level.
***Looking Ahead*** - (US) July Monthly Budget Statement: -$169.0Be v -$180.7B prior
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