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Barchart Morning Call 3/6

|Includes:AKRX, ALOG, Barnes & Noble Inc (BKS), BPI, BRT, ESC, KRO, MAKO, MRAAY, MTN, P, RIGL, SHFL, UNFI

Barchart Morning Call

Barchart.com - Tue Mar 06, 7:00AM CST

Overnight Developments

  • Global stocks this morning are weaker with the Euro Stoxx 50 down -1.04% and Mar S&Ps down -11.60 points, both at 1-week lows. Stocks declined, Treasuries rose and the dollar index rallied to a 2-1/2 week high, which fueled a slide in commodities as gold fell to a 5-week low, on signs the global economy was slowing along with concern over how many of Greece's private creditors agree to write down their sovereign-debt holdings by this Thursday's deadline. If at least 75% of the private creditors agree to the voluntary debt swap, Greece will reduce its borrowings by 106 billion euros and lower its debt to 120.5% of GDP by 2020, but so far, only 20% of the investors in Greek debt have declared their participation in the restructuring. As expected, the revised Q4 Euro-Zone GDP remained unchanged at -0.3% q/q and +0.7% y/y, while the cost of insuring European sovereign bonds rose after the Markitt iTraxx SovX Western Europe Index of credit-default swaps on 15 governments rose 5 bp to 352 bp, a 1-1/2 month high. EU Commissioner for Economic and Monetary Affairs, Ollie Rehn, said the Euro-Zone economy will likely be "turning the tide in the coming months" as the ECB's actions have prevented a credit crunch and "significant steps" by Italy and Spain have improved confidence and reduced tensions on government bond markets.
  • Asian stocks today closed lower with Japan down -0.63%, China -1.56%, Australia -1.37%, South Korea -0.72%, India -1.09%. Asian stock markets fell to a 1-week lows on concern a slowdown in China's economy will lead to reduced demand for the region's goods and services. Japanese stocks fell as the yen strengthened which indercut exporters and as shipping companies and machinery makers declined on concern a shift in China's growth strategy away from investment and exports in favor of domestic consumption will reduce demand for Japanese goods. The Australian dollar fell to a 5-week low against the dollar after the RBA kept its benchmark rate at 4.25% as expected and kept its easing bias when it said in a statement that while current settings are "appropriate for the moment," there is scope for easier policy if demand weakens "materially."
Overnight U.S. Stock News
  • March S&Ps this morning are trading down -11.60 points at a 1-week low. The U.S. stock market Monday settled lower for a second day on global growth concerns after China reduced its economic growth target and after the Feb Euro-Zone PMI composite index was unexpectedly revised lower: Dow Jones -0.11%, S&P 500 -0.39%, Nasdaq Composite -0.86%. Bearish factors Monday included (1) carry-over weakness from a fall in Asian and European stocks on global economic concerns after China cut its growth projections to 7.5% from 8.0%, the lowest in 8 years, and after the Feb Euro-Zone PMI composite was unexpectedly revised down to 49.3 from 49.7, which signals greater-than-expected contraction in the European economy, (2) weakness in commodity producers, mining and industrial companies on concern a slowdown economic growth will reduce demand for their goods, and (3) comments from Dallas Fed President Fisher who said he opposes additional Fed asset purchases and that Wall Street should get ready to become less dependent on monetary easing as financial markets "have become hooked on the monetary morphine we provided" after the 2008 financial crisis.
  • Bullish factors included (1) the unexpected increase in the Feb ISM non-manufacturing index to its best level in a year (+0.5 to 57.3, stronger than expectations of -0.7 to 56.1), (2) the smaller-than expected decline in Jan factory orders and the upward revision to Dec (Jan -1.0%, better than expectations of -1.3%, while Dec factory orders were revised up to +1.4% from the originally reported +1.1%), and (3) reduced European sovereign-debt concerns after Greek Finance Minister Venizelos said he expects private creditors to accept its debt-swap terms because it constitutes "the best offer."
  • Amgen (NASDAQ:AMGN) fell 1.1% in European trading after Sanford C. Bernstein downgraded the world's largest biotechnology company to "market perform" from "outperform."
Today's Market Focus
  • June 10-year T-notes this morning are up +10 ticks. T-note prices Monday traded on either side of unchanged until mid-morning when they turned down and settled lower after growth in U.S. non-manufacturing industries unexpectedly grew in Feb, while safe-haven demand for Treasuries fell after Greece said it expects private creditors to accept its debt-swap terms: TYM2 -7.0, FVM2 -5.7, EDU2 -3.0. Bearish factors Monday included (1) the unexpected increase in the Feb ISM non-manufacturing index to its best level in a year (+0.5 to 57.3, stronger than expectations of -0.7 to 56.1), (2) comments from Greek Finance Minister Venizelos that dampened the safe-haven demand for Treasuries when he said he expects private creditors to accept its debt-swap terms because it constitutes "the best offer," and (3) hawkish comments from Dallas Fed President Fisher who said he opposes additional Fed asset purchases and that Wall Street should get ready to become less dependent on monetary easing as financial markets "have become hooked on the monetary morphine we provided" after the 2008 financial crisis. Bullish factors included (1) global growth concerns after China cut its growth projections to 7.5% from 8.0%, the lowest in 8 years and after the Feb Euro-Zone PMI composite was unexpectedly revised lower, and (2) increased safe-haven demand for Treasuries as the stock market faltered.
  • The dollar index this morning is higher and at a 2-1/2 week high with the dollar/yen -0.48 yen and the euro/dollar -0.80 cents. The dollar index Monday posted a 2-week high on increased safe-haven demand after China cut its growth projections but then erased its advance and settled lower after the euro gained when Greece said it expects private creditors to accept its debt-swap terms: Dollar Index -0.103, USD/JPY -0.139, EUR/USD +0.00196. Bearish factors included (1) strength in the euro after Greek Finance Minister Venizelos said it expects private creditors to accept its debt-swap terms because it constitutes "the best offer," (2) the unexpected increase in Jan Euro-Zone retail sales, which is euro supportive, and (3) reduced safe-haven demand for the dollar after the Feb ISM non-manufacturing index unexpectedly expanded to its best level in a year. Bullish factors included (1) global growth concerns which boosted the safe-haven demand for the dollar after China cut its growth projections to 7.5% from 8.0%, the lowest in 8 years, (2) the unexpected downward revision to the Feb Euro-Zone PMI composite index to 49.3 from 49.7, which signals greater contraction in the European economy and is euro negative, and (3) data from the IMF that showed Q3 2011 global foreign-exchange holdings of euros fell to a 3-year low of 25.7%, while the U.S. dollar's share climbed to 61.7%, a 1-year high.
  • Apr crude oil prices this morning are down -61 cents a barrel and Apr gasoline is -0.13 of a cent per gallon. Crude oil and gasoline prices Monday settled mixed as a weaker dollar and Iran concerns offset China's cut to its economic growth target: CLJ12 +$0.02, RBJ -1.41. Bullish factors included (1) the reversal in the dollar after the dollar index fell from a 2-week high and closed lower, which boosts investment demand in commodities, (2) increased geopolitical concerns after comments from President Obama who said he takes "no options off the table" including a "military effort" to stop Iran from having a nuclear weapon, and (3) supply concerns in the U.S. Midwest after a vehicle collision and fire prompted Enbridge to close a 320,000 barrel a day pipeline from Superior, Wisconsin to Mokena, Illinois that supplies refineries run by BP Plc and Citgo Petroleum in the Chicago area. Bearish factors included (1) the action by China to cut its economic growth goal to 7.5% from an 8.0% goal that had been in place since 2005, which signals reduced crude consumption by the world's second-largest crude oil consumer, (2) the increase in Iraq's crude production to more than 3 million barrels a day according to Iraq's oil minister, the highest since 1979, which signals increased global supplies, and (3) possible long-liquidation pressures after CFTC data showed hedge funds increased net-long positions in NYMEX crude by +5% to 272,032 contracts in the week ended Feb 28, the highest in 9-1/2 months.
Today's U.S. Earnings Reports

Earnings reports (confirmed releases, sorted by mkt cap): DKS-Dick's Sorting Goods (BEST earnings consensus $0.88), KRO-Kronos Worldwide (0.50), P-Pandora Media (-0.02), UNFI-United Natural Foods (0.44), MAKO-MAKO Surgical (-0.14), MTN-Vail Resorts (1.38), AAT-American Assets Trust (-0.03), BPI-Bridgepoint Education (0.38), AKRX-Akorn (0.08), BLT-Bluont International (0.33), SHFL-Shuffle Master (0.11), ESC-Emeritus (-0.36), RIGL-Rigel Pharmaceuticals (-0.24), ALOG-Analogic (0.69).

Global Financial Calendar

Tuesday 3/6/12
United States
0745 ET ICSC (Int?l Council of Shopping Centers) weekly retailer sales.
0855 ET Redbook weekly retailer sales.
1130 ET Weekly 4-week and monthly 1-year T-bill auctions.
United Kingdom
0300 ET Feb U.K. Halifax house prices expected +0.3% m/m and -1.6% y/y, Jan +0.6% m/m and -1.8% y/y.
Euro-Zone
0500 ET Revised Q4 Euro-Zone GDP, previous -0.3% q/q and +0.7% y/y
Canada
1000 ET Feb Ivey purchasing Manager s Index expected -2.1 to 62.0, Jan +0.6 to 64.1.
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