***Economic data*** - (IR) Ireland Q2 GDP Q/Q: -1.2% v 2.7% prior; Y/Y: -1.8% v -0.7% prior - (CZ) Czech Central Bank maintained Repo Rate unchanged at 0.75%, as expected - (BR) Brazil Aug Unemployment Rate: 6.7% v 7.0%e - (US) Initial Jobless Claims: 450Ke v 450K prior; Continuing Claims: 4.473Ke v 4.485M prior - (MX) Mexico Aug Preliminary Trade Balance: -$699M v -600Me - (MX) Mexico Aug Unemployment Rate: 5.4% v 5.65%e - (US) Aug Leading Indicators: 0.3% v 0.1%e - (US) Aug Existing Home Sales: 4.13M v 4.10Me - (US) EIA Natural Gas Inventories: +73 bcf v +75 to +80 bcf estimate
- Weak European August PMI figures and a touch of sovereign debt worry drove declines on European equity markets this morning. US equity markets traded off in the premarket session, especially after the weekly claims data returned to the higher levels last seen in late August. US equity indices have come off their lows in early trading, and although the August existing home sales rose nearly 8% from July levels, they remain not far from the decade lows seen in the July data. Gold remains near all-time highs, trading just below $1,295. November crude is trading around $74.50. Natural gas was near one-month highs before the weekly inventory data, but has traded lower after the data. Treasury demand continues to be buoyed by soft economic data and increased expectations for quantitative easing. The US 10-year yield briefly dipped below 2.5% following the initial jobless claim figures. The curve remains flatter as well with the benchmark spread narrowing to 210 basis points.
- In equity news, Rite Aid's Q2 losses were greater than expected while revenue was a bit soft. The firm's guidance for FY11 was slightly lower than the firm's prior range. Executives said that some tough comps impacted earnings. Shares of RAD are down nearly 15%. Bed, Bath and Beyond reported Q2 results that beat estimates and raised its FY10 outlook. BBBY is up 4%. Starbucks warned that the company would implemented targeted price hikes across its business in order to cope with rising coffee prices, although it said most markets would see prices holding steady. In merger news, Avis Budget increases the cash portion of offer for Dollar Thrifty by five bucks or so to $45.79 per share. Avis said it would offer even more cash under certain conditions. Note that many analysts said Avis wouldn't raise its bid after Hertz last raised its cash offer for the company.
- The weak European August PMI data benefitted the greenback in FX trading this morning. After popping above the 1.34 level during trading on Wednesday, EUR/USD headed back toward 1.3300 in today's European trading. Comments by the Irish finance minister to the effect that Anglo Irish Bank bondholders might not be able to get full value for their bond holdings set off minor sovereign debt worries, with spreads between Irish and German 10-year debt widening out further. USD/JPY tested yesterday's lows just below 84.30, and dealers remain on high alert for further intervention despite the holiday break in Japan and the expected meeting of Kan and Obama in New York.
***Looking Ahead*** - (CO) Colombia Q2 GDP Y/Y: 4.7%e v 4.4% prior - (AR) Argentina Aug Trade Balance: No est v $883M prior - (US) July RPX Composite 28-day Y/Y: No est v 0.16% prior; RPX Composite 28-day Index: No est v 197.09 prior
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