***Economic Data*** - (US) MBA Mortgage Applications w/e Dec 3rd: -0.9% v -16.5% prior - (CA) Canada Nov Housing Starts: 187.2K v 173.0Ke - (BE) Belgium Q3 Final GDP Q/Q: % v 0.5% prelim; Y/Y: % v 2.1% prelim - (MX) Mexico Oct Final Trade Balance: -$814 v -$560M prelim - (US) Weekly DOE energy inventories: Crude: M v -1.2Me; Gasoline: K v +250Ke; Distillate: K v -600Ke; Utilization: % v 83.5%e
- Trading has been choppy this morning with an absence of major economic data. Political maneuvering around the tax plan negotiations in Washington continues, with fixed income traders now warily discussing the associated costs after the deal between the Obama Administration and Congressional GOP leaders weighed heavily on USTs during yesterday's session. The benchmark US 10-year yield has climbed above 3.25% and continues to handily underperform the long end of the curve. The 10-30 year yield spread continues to narrow below 115 basis points while the 2-10 year is now wider than 260 basis points. Rising US yields and concerns about the possibility of Chinese rate hikes are driving a sell-off in gold this morning, with gold at one-week lows, around $1,375. Font month silver is down more than 5%.
- Home Depot offered its first FY11 guidance this morning. The firm sees revenue up 2.0-2.5% in FY11, and it also reaffirmed its FY10 revenue outlook at +2.3%, which was right in line with expectations. Semi names Texas Instruments and Novellus Systems both offered mid-quarter updates yesterday afternoon. Both names tightened up their earnings ranges, and TXN also tightened up its revenue outlook; both remained even with analysts' estimates.
- Major US airlines are talking about Q4 at a Hudson Securities conference this morning. Jet Blue cut is PRASM and RASM guidance for the quarter, although it insisted that the company is still seeing strong overall revenue performance in Nov and Dec. A Delta executive said the firm is ready to cut capacity and less efficient planes from the fleet if fuel prices rise again. American's CFO said that higher fuel costs are not the threat they were two years ago due to relentless cost management. JBLU is down 9%, while other major carriers are down 2-3%. LCC is in positive territory.
- In other news, shares of weight loss pharmaceutical developer Orexigen are up a whopping 114% after an FDA panel offered very constructive comments about its Contrave drug candidate. Shares of weight loss drug developers VVUS and ARNA are both up 15% on the news. Costco is in the red after the warehouse firm's first quarter report merely met expectations. Ivanhoe Mines is down more than 10% after striking a funding deal with Rio Tinto for its Mongolian copper and gold project. HRB is down more than 7% after revenue fell well short of Wall Street's targets.
- The European currencies put in a mixed performance in the NY morning. Sterling benefited from better CBI Industrial Trends data while the euro faced technical challenges. EUR/USD was unable to sustain gains above the 1.3250 level and finds itself retesting the lower end of its session range below 1.32 handle. USD/JPY maintained a foothold above 84 as the US 2-year yield moved above 0.60%.
***Looking Ahead*** - 11:00 (US) Fed to purchase $1-2B in TIPS - 13:00 (US) Treasury to sell $21B in 10-Year Notes reopening - 15:00 (NZ) New Zealand Central Bank (RBNZ) Interest rate Decision: Expected to maintain the Current Official Cash Rate at 3.00% - (BZ) Brazil Central Bank (COPOM) Interest Rate Decision: Expected to leaves the SELIC Target Unchanged at 10.75%
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