***Economic data*** - (US) ICSC/GS weekly chain store sales +0.4% w/w; +3.6% y/y - (US) Redbook Retail Sales +2.5% y/y; MTD: -0.4% v Aug - (CL) Chile Aug Industrial Production Y/Y: 6.9% v 4.3%e; Industrial Sales Y/Y: -0.2% v 1.3%e - (US) July S&P/CaseShiller Home Price Index: 148.91 v 147.97 prior; S&P/CS Composite-20 Y/Y: 3.18% v 3.1%e - (CL) Chile Aug Total Copper Production (tons): 467.7K tons v 454.2K tons prior - (US) Sept Richmond Fed Manufacturing Index: -2.0 v +6.0e - (US) Sept Consumer Confidence: 48.5 v 52.3e
- Markets are digesting weak US economic data reports this morning, and equities are holding up relatively well, all things considered. The Richmond Fed's September factory survey plunged into negative territory versus August's very strong report, echoing the weakness seen in yesterday's Dallas Fed index. The September consumer confidence reading was very weak, falling into negative territory for the first time since February of this year. The major US indices traded off ahead of the 10amET data reports, and then bounced right back up to around unchanged by 11amET. Gold has traded in its widest range in months, dropping down to $1,275 before bouncing to all-time highs around $1,307. Silver and Copper prices are also at multi-month highs. Bond prices are higher with rates moving lower on both sides of the Atlantic after the Bank of England's Posen indicated the UK is getting ready to jump onto the QE2 bandwagon. The 10-year GILT yield has declined 4 basis points to 2.93% while the US 10-year is back below 2.5%.
- Walgreens came in ahead of expectations in its Q4 report, with comps looking fairly decent. On the conference call, Walgreens CEO said he expects even stronger business in 2010 flu season than last year, and said the company ready with 15M flu shots now versus 5M in fall 2009. Shares of WAG are up nearly 10%, while competitor CVS is up 2%. Electronics manufacturer Jabil Circuit in its Q4, with results mildly better than expected. JBL is down 4%. Tech investors are focused on two stories this morning: Research in Motion's new Playbook tablet computer and the strange moves in Apple trading. RIMM's device offers a 7-inch screen and strong specs, but analysts are very skeptical of the firm's decision to launch in 2011 at the earliest, just in time to compete with Apple's second-generation iPad. RIMM is down 4%. Shares of Apple tumbled around $15 just after the open, giving many market participants a heart attack and wiping out billions in market cap, apparently on no news. At this time it remains unclear what caused the jolt (an old rumor about Apple COO Cook being appointed CEO of Hewlett-Packard made the round). In other news, Endo Pharma bought private generics company Qualitest Pharmaceuticals for $1.2B in cash. Peet's coffee responded to higher coffee prices and incremental price increases at Starbucks and GreenMountain with its price increases of its own. PEET is up 4%, while SBUX and GMCR are in negative territory.
- EUR/USD is breaking out to five-month highs this morning, decisively wiping out 1.3500 to top out 1.3550, while EUR/GBP is bumping right up against the four-month highs at 0.8575 seen last Wednesday. The euro moves are remarkable, given the impending downgrade of Spain at Moody's (whose three-month review of Spain's Aaa sovereign rating ends this week, with many expecting at least a one-notch cut) and the precarious situation of Ireland and Anglo Irish bank. The catalyst seems to be comments from BoE Governor Posen, who warned that UK inflation may fall well short of the bank's target level without more QE. Posen also said that additional monetary stimulus should begin in the form of additional QE gilt purchases.
***Looking Ahead*** - (US) API Weekly energy Inventories - (US) ABC Consumer Confidence w/e Sept 26th: No est v -46 prior
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