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Tuesday January 29, 2013 - 17:02:23 GMT
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| | Email US Market Update: Markets Choppy as S&P500 Hovers Around 1500, Fed Meets Ahead of Tomorrow's Decision US Market Update: Markets Choppy as S&P500 Hovers Around 1500, Fed Meets Ahead of Tomorrow's Decision
Tue, 29 Jan 2013 11:40 AM EST

***Economic Data***
- (EU) OECD Dec Annual Inflation: 1.9% v 1.9% prior
- (US) ICSC/GS weekly chain store sales w/e Jan 27th w/w: -1.0%; y/y: +2.0%
- (HU) Hungary Central Bank (NBH) cuts Base Rate by 25bps to 5.50%; as expected
- (US) Redbook Retail Sales w/e Jan 27th: +1.6% y/y prior; Jan MTD: -0.5% m/m prior, Jan MTD: +1.9% y/y prior
- (US) Nov S&P/CaseShiller 20 City M/M: 0.63% v 0.70%e; Y/Y: 5.52% v 5.50%e; Home Price Index: 145.82 v 145.94e
- (EU) ECB weekly Forex Reserves w/e Jan 27th: 218.7B v 219.2B prior
- (US) Jan Consumer Confidence: 58.6 v 64.0e

- Trading has been choppy this morning, with multiple big earnings reports and contrasting data in play. The November S&P/CS house price index data was very good, but dated, while the January consumer confidence reading hit its lowest level since last fall. Traders are positioning themselves ahead of the Fed rate decision tomorrow. The Nasdaq is flat on the day, the DJIA is up 0.43% and the S&P500 is up 3.3%.

- The November S&P/Case Shiller survey showed prices up 5.5% y/y, in line with expectations. Note that this marks the strongest y/y gain since August 2006. It also reflects the excellent November sales data out several weeks ago and contrasts with the plateau seen in the December US housing data.

- The greenback was taking a softer tone as the Fed meeting began. EUR/USD was probing the upper portion of the 1.34 handle with stops said to be building above the 1.35 level. The recent option-related defense at the level could be facing another test. Peripheral bond yields continued to move lower: the Italy 10-year yield was around 4.16% versus 4.25% earlier in the European session.

- Investors seemed happy with Yahoo yesterday evening, with share making modest gains before the open. The firm's FY revenue outlook was strong and CEO Mayer promised continuing improvements as her overhaul process continued. But after opening up more than 1% shares of Yahoo have tanked, dropping to -3% in mid-morning trade.

- Ford topped expectations in its Q4, with adjusted earnings and revenue beating expectations. North America remains very strong, although the Europe market remains a big problem, with revenue down approx 25% y/y and further contraction on tap for the year. Shares of Ford are down more than 5%.

- Shares of Hess are up nearly 10% this morning after Holder Elliott Management strongly advocated a strategic review for the firm and suggested that unlocking trapped value could push shares to $126 - shares are around $68 presently.

- VMWare whiffed in a big way with its Q4 report, with both Q1 and FY guidance missed expectations. The company said it would be repositioning the business, cutting jobs and reducing costs, given the slowing US government business and the weakness in Europe. VMW is down nearly 20% this morning. Parent EMC is down with VMW more than 6% despite its decent Q4 report.

- Refiner Valero absolutely crushed expectations in its Q4, with big turnarounds in its Gulf Coast and mid-continent operations driving excellent revenue and profit gains. The company said it has replaced all imported light foreign crude oils with cheaper domestic crude oils at its Gulf coast refineries, benefitting profits. VLO is up 9%.

- Coal miner Peabody Energy had solid results in its Q4, with good profits ex a one-time Australia asset impairment charge. The warned about steep losses in Q1, but had an upbeat outlook for the remainder of FY13, citing anticipated higher natural gas costs and better met coal demand from China. BTU is up 6%.

***Looking Ahead***
- 11:30 (US) Treasury to sell $30B in 4-Week Bills
- 13:00 (US) Treasury to sell $35B in 5-Year Notes
- 13:00 (DE) ECB member Asmussen (Germany) in Germany
- 13:00 (EU) ECB member Praet (Belgium) in Belgium
- 13:00 (DE) German Chancellor Merkel speech at BDI event in Berlin
- 14:00 (AR) Argentina Dec Supermarket Sales Y/Y: No est v 11.9% prior
- 16:30 (US) Weekly API U.S. Crude Oil Inventories



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