Dow -18 S&P -2.7 NASDAQ -3 ***Economic Data*** - (CL) Chile Oct Economic Activity Y/Y: 4.8% v 5.8%e - (BR) Brazil Nov Vehicle Sales: 321.1K v 303.2K prior; Vehicle Production: 328.5K v 321.8K prior; Vehicle Exports: 68.1K v 78.1K prior - (CA) Canada Oct Building Permits M/M: -6.5% v -4.0%e - (EU) ECB completed â‚¬1.97B v â‚¬1.35B w/w in settlements in its gov't bond purchase program in w/e Dec 2nd - (CA) Canada Nov Ivey Purchasing Managers Index: 57.5 v 56.4e
- US equities are mostly flat on the day in midmorning trading as markets pause in the aftermath of three up sessions late last week. With no major US data on the docket today, traders have been eyeing Europe, where the eurogroup is meeting to discuss ways to reform its structures, including a possible eurobond system. Chairman Bernanke's comments from '60 Minutes' yesterday are there in the back of many traders' minds, especially his comment that the Fed may spend more than $600B in QE2 and that he fears deflation more than anything else. Commodities continue to benefit from focus on quantitative easing. Oil is holding near $90, front-month silver is testing more 30 year highs testing $30 while gold is up another 1% remaining near all time highs. Copper is still testing the $4 handle; note that overnight there was word that the mystery trader who had cornered more than 80% of the London market for copper turns out to be JP Morgan, according to the London Telegraph. JP Morgan is looking to launch a physical copper ETF. US Treasury prices are rallying to begin the week with the 10-year up more than half a point pushing the yield back below 2.94%.
- It's been a merger rumor Monday this morning, with plenty of chatter and talk moving names rather than announced deals. In a statement published overnight, Bill Ackman's Pershing Square stated that it is prepared to finance an offer for Borders Group to buy Barnes & Noble for $16/share (about a 20% premium to BKS' closing price). Pershing owns a 37.3% stake in Borders. BKS is up nearly 17%. Carl Icahn has sent yet another letter to holders of Lion's Gate, offering more reasons why they should support his bid for the company. Takeover speculation moved Radware higher, with Riverbed rumored as the suitor. Shares of RDWR are up more than 20%. There were press stories asserting that AOL was looking to split its dial-up and display ad units and continues to mull an alliance with Yahoo.
- With the fourth quarter drawing to a close, firms have begun offering profit warnings or improved guidance ahead of earnings season, which will begin in mid January. Met Life offered a very strong earnings outlook for Q4, while the FY10 and FY11 earnings guidance ranges were right in line with consensus expectations. Kellogg reaffirmed its FY10 and FY11 outlook and named a new CEO. Suntech Power's FY10 and FY11 revenue guidance beat expectations, while its earnings per ADR forecast for FY11 was very strong. Rambus jumped 10% before the bell after nearly doubling its Q4 revenue outlook (RMBS is down to +3% in the early going).
- The greenback consolidated its gains ahead of the eurogroup meeting, after the ECB's Quaden commented that he would like to see the EU rescue fund expanded (despite German opposition). He added that he was not opposed to a euro bond, but the political conditions for setting up a euro bond process are not good at the moment. Note that the ECB's Bini-Smaghi told CNBC that he believed the EMU backstop fund is big enough for the time being, although his comments have not really helped the euro. Tuesday is looking to be key for the peripherals as Ireland's Parliament prepares to vote on its 2011 budget.
***Looking Ahead*** - 11:00 (MX) Mexico Nov IMEF Manufacturing Index: No est v 53.4 prior; Non Manufacturing Index: No est v 52.3 prior - 11:00 (EU) Euro-Area Finance Ministers Meet in Brussels - 11:00 (EU) ECB member and Bank of Italy Gov Draghi in Brussels - 11:15 (EU) EU Barroso press conference with Greece PM Papandreou in Brussels - 11:00 (US) Fed to Purchase $1.5-2.5B in Notes/ - 11:30 (US) Treasury to sell $29B in 3-Month Bills and $28B in 6-month Bills - 13:00 (US) Fed's Lacker Speaks on Economic Outlook in NC - 22:30 (AU) Australia Central Bank (RBA) Interest Rate Decision: Expected to maintain the Cash Target unchanged at 4.75% - Tuesday: (IR) Ireland Parliament votes on 2011 Budget
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Mon 18 Dec
10:00 EZ- final HICP Tue 19 Dec
09:00 DE- IFO Survey
13:30 US- Housing Starts/Permits
13:30 US- Current Account Wed 20 Dec
15:00 US- Existing Homes Sales
15:30 US- EIA Crude Thu 21 Dec
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POTENTIAL PRICE RISK: Medium Mon--10:00 GMT-- EZ- final November HICP. flash data are rarely changed.
POTENTIAL PRICE RISK: HIGH- Medium Tue --09:00 GMT-- DE- IFO Survey. Key report but usually not a market-mover
POTENTIAL PRICE RISK: HIGH- Medium- Tue --13:30 GMT-- US- Housing Starts and Permits. Leading indicators of activity
POTENTIAL PRICE RISK: HIGH-Medium- Wed --15:00-- US- Existing Homes Sales. Top Housing statistic
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