Wednesday, December 13, 2006

12/14/2006 Morning Market Comment

While you and I sit before our computers in comfortable surroundings, at least I hope you are comfortable at your end, Jeffrey Skilling, the former Enron CEO, is reporting to prison today. It's a low security prison where he won't be making small rocks into the big rocks but prison none-the-less where he won't be leaving until he's a relatively old man.

While Jeff starts his slammer time and we sit at our computers, Hank and Ben are in China... as in the U.S. Treasury Secretary and the Federal Reserve Board Chairman to meet with our creditors. And since it's Paulson who wears the pants where economics and finance are concerned in Washington these days, the work that he's doing (with Bernanke as sidekick) in China this week is of critical importance, especially since fast results are expected back home on Capitol Hill.

On Sunday night I featured a link to a NY Times article which spun the recent decline in the dollar as a not so bad situation. Today's Heard on the Street Column of the Wall Street Journal has a different take with an interesting discussion on how the greenback's weakness is sending tremors through the all important carry trade and raising the potential for further instability in global currency markets. (Read about it here).

Stock futures are pointing to a higher open. Talk of deals and rumors of deals in the airline sector are pushing UAL and Continental to gains of more than 5%. Midwest Air is up 25%. Retail sales jumped 1.1% in November vs an expected fractional gain, helping to juice up the futures picture, while pushing the Euro lower by 57 ticks, and gold down $2+.

Couldn't help but to notice that Justice has been forced to back track a bit in its pursuit of white-collar criminals with recent tactics even too much for Edwin Meese.

Any surprise that Exxon-Mobil thinks oil demand will soar by 2030?. The company also disputes the peak-oil crowd.

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