***Economic Data*** - (US) July Import Price Index M/M: 0.2% v 0.3%e; Y/Y: 4.9% v 5.4%e - (US) Initial Jobless Claims: 484K v 465Ke (highest level since mid February); Continuing Claims: 4.452M v 4.54Me - EIA Natural Gas Inventories: +37bcf vs +30 to +40 bcf estimated range
- Aversion to risk was ratcheting up again in premarket trading this morning with US equity indices deep in the red for the third consecutive session. US weakness follows big drops in both Asia and Europe; note that in Japan the Nikkei was down nearly 3% on the session at one point, before recovering. Volume in US trading has picked up from the low levels seen earlier in the week. Comments from Cisco and the weekly jobless claims are among the major catalysts, especially the latter, as initial claims hit their highest level since mid-February. PIMCO's El-Erian warned that the prospect of deflation was unsettling markets and believes that there will be more downward revisions of growth and revenue forecasts among analysts. Front-month crude continues its week-long slide, with the Sept contract trading just shy of the $77 handle.
- Shares of Cisco dropped appox 10% in after hours trading in the wake of the firm's Q4 earnings and conference call. The firm's quarterly results were not bad, with earnings and revenue more or less in line with expectations, although the firm typically beats by a wider margin. On the conference call, Cisco offered a revenue outlook for its Q1 that was below the consensus, and CEO Chambers warned that the company is seeing mixed signals from customers, with business softening in June and July. However, Chambers also said that order growth returned to very strong levels in late July. Shares of CSCO have hardly recovered in early trading, although they are off their worst levels.
- General Motors reported its second consecutive post-crisis quarterly profit. GM earned $1.3B in its Q2, up from $865M in Q1, for its best quarterly profit since 2004. Note that on the conference call, executives warned profits might not be as strong in the second half of the year as in the first half. There was speculation this week that GM's IPO filing could come as early as Friday. Kohl's met analysts' projections in its Q2 report, but missed estimates considerably in its Q3 guidance and narrowed its full year earnings view by a bit. Kohl's said on the conference call that August comps are below the quarterly average so far. Both Wendy's and Brinker International missed expectations in their quarterly reports. Wendy's cut its profit guidance slightly due to the "challenging economic environment." Brinker warned that comps in the firm's FY11 would be challenging. Shares of Estee Lauder lost 9% following weak guidance for the current quarter, although shares popped up to -3% following market chatter that the company may be looking at strategic alternatives.
- In currency trading safe haven flows have benefited the Swiss Franc and gold plays during the New York session, as spot gold tests above $1,215/oz and EUR/CHF probes below 1.35. Peripheral spreads began widening out, with the spread between Spain/German 10-year Gov't bonds above 160bps hitting its widest level in three weeks. The dollar came off its best levels by mid-morning as the EUR/USD probed 1.2850 area; earlier in the session, the pair tested three-week lows of 1.2781. USD/JPY was inching back towards session highs following vague chatter that the Japanese Postal system (Kampo) was selling JPY.
***Looking Ahead*** - (US) Treasury to sell $16B in 30-year bonds - (CO) Colombia Jun Trade Balance: $392.0Me v $507.7M prior - (CL) Chile Central Bank Interest rate Decision:
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