Monday, January 29, 2007

Evening State of Play

Major stock indices were flat today. The markets were on hold ahead of the start of the Fed's two day meeting tomorrow and a barrage of economic data that starts flowing at 10 Tuesday morning with the consumer confidence data. Then at noon the Fed policy makers gather behind closed doors (brings back memories of the Charlie Rich country hit lyrics: "When Ben Bernanke gets behind closed doors... and he lets his hair hang down.. makes me proud to be a Fed policy maker... Oh no one knows what goes on behind closed doors!!!") But I digress. At these two day affairs, they actually start off with a rousing game of Pictionary, then Monopoly where no player ever goes broke because he/she has his own currency printing press w/special helicopter. Seriously, the first day of these two day affairs is spent considering the data and reports supplied by the regional Fed banks. Then on day two they have the usual rousing debate on whether or not to do anything about rates. With Andy Lacker not a voting member this year, it will likely be a unanimous decision to leave rates alone with a continuing expression of inflationary risk.

Ahead of the data and Fed meeting stock futures are flat. The dollar lost a bit of ground earlier in the day and is holding steady tonight - basis March EuroFX back at $1.2994. Gold range bound at just above $640. Crude oil profit taking sent WTI below $54 earlier, now back at $54 tonight. The news that Saudis are comfy with $50 is good for the bears, but bad for the bears. You can darn well bet that if the price pokes much below $50 the OPECers led by the Saudis and Kuwait will fiercely defend that level; tanker data beginning to show that OPEC cuts are getting more serious. Latest COT by the way makes we wary of shorting the liquids for any length of time. 10 yr t note yield nudged up to 4.896.

U.S. Steel (X) managed to nudge higher by a little more than a half dollar after hours. Earnings beat streeet estimates... blew the doors off of estimates, though the company warned earnings this quarter would be below last quarter's barn burner numbers.

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