***Economic Data*** - (CL) Chile Dec Industrial Production Y/Y: -0.3% v 1.2%e; Industrial sales Y/Y: -1.8% v -0.4%e - (CL) Chile Dec Unemployment Rate: 8.6% v 8.9%e - (CL) Chile Dec Total Copper Production: 502.0K v 477.3K tons - (BR) Brazil Dec Nominal Budget Balance (BRL): -13.9B v -2.4B prior; Primary Budget Balance: 0.3B v 1.0Be; Net debt to GDP ratio: 43.0% v 43.1%e - (US) Dec Chicago Fed National Activity Index: -0.61v -0.40e - (US) Dec Durable Goods Orders: 0.3% v 2.0%e; Ex Transportation: 0.9% v 0.5%e - (US) Initial Jobless Claims: 470K v 450Ke; Continuing Claims: 4.602M v 4.593Me
- Markets opened right at yesterday's closing highs and then headed straight down as another round of strong corporate earnings failed to ward off risk aversion. With both weekly jobless claims and the December durable goods data worse than expected, traders dumped stocks and sent the major US indices back though lows seen yesterday, to levels not seen since last November. After the open, Standard & Poor's released a reported indicating that it no longer considers Britain among the "most stable and low-risk" banking systems, aiding the greenback and bonds and further undermining equities. The Euro is now below 1.40, March copper is slipping back towards $3 and crude continues to flirt with its 200-day EMA below $74. The US 10-year note opened lower but has moved back into positive territory on the day with the weak equity markets.
- Dow components AT&T, Procter & Gamble and 3M met or beat expectations this morning. AT&T was entirely in line, and saw strong wireless adds growth over last quarter. Shares of AT&T opened in the red, although they have popped back into positive territory as executives talk up their plans for 2010 on the conference call. PG beat bottom-line estimates but also reiterated its soft full-year earnings guidance and missed expectations for next quarter. Shares of PG are up 3%. 3M came in ahead of the Street across the board and increased its 2010 forecast slightly. MMM is down 2% and heading lower.
- Ford's revenue results blew out expectations, and said it would be profitable on a pre-tax basis this year. CEO Mulally reiterated that the company would be fully profitable next year. Healthcare giant Cardinal Health beat EPS targets and raised its full-year view. Bristol Myers was strong on the bottom line. Textron is still racking up quarterly losses, with Cessna remaining a drag on results. The conglomerate's full year forecast was way below par. Eastman Kodak rose as much as 25% after the open on very strong quarterly results, although EK is back below +20% mid morning. Potash Corp is down 5% after offering very conservative guidance for next quarter and the full year. CF Industries and Mosaic are down 2-3% in sympathy.
- In tech, Semi giant Qualcomm did better than expected, although its guidance for next quarter and the full year was noticeably soft. QCOM is -13%. Mobile phone giants Motorola and Nokia are headed in opposite directions: MOT is down nearly 10% after missing revenue targets and guiding a loss for next quarter, while NOK's profit was roughly twice the expected figure, sending shares of NOK up 8%. Netflix is up a whopping 20% after crushing earnings estimates. Note that Apple is down 4% in the wake of yesterday's iPad release, despite numerous positive analyst notes and analysis released overnight.
- Currency traders remain fixated on the European peripherals this morning as commentary and rumors wreck havoc on intra-European bond spreads (and feed risk aversion). French press speculation of a potential Greek bailout plan led by Germany and France helped to move the EUR/USD pair above the 1.4020 level during the early part of the New York session. However, firm denials of the report by both French and German government officials sent the Greek 10-year spread towards the +400bps level against the Bund. The Greece PM insisted that yesterday's rumors of Chinese interest in Greek bonds were "totally false." S&P commented on the UK banking system, warning about losses that could accrue as the UK deals with the relatively high amount of leverage in its economy. Weaker initial claims and durables data also added to risk aversion sentiment and benefited the USD and JPY. EUR/USD back within striking distance of the overnight lows of 1.3935 while USD/JPY retests the 90.00 handle.
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