February 24th, 2011 14:09:28 GMT

Khadafi preparing to flee: reports


With Khadafy’s forces losing town after town, he’s preparing to pack it in, ABC news reports:

[His] own private plane is loaded with gold bullion and lots of hard currency, mainly dollars, and is preparing to flee to Zimbabwe to stay there with his friend Robert Mubgabe..

Oil has slipped back below $100 on the story.

US equity futures are recovering most of their lost ground, now down just 0.1% after being down more than 0.5% overnight.

Perhaps the dollar will get a boost from all this. Perhaps not. EUR/USD trades at 1.3778. The CHF and JPY are weakening on the chatter…


February 24th, 2011 14:00:11 GMT

Has the easy money been made?


A close below 1300 in the S&P today would suggest it has been.

Leaving aside unrest in the Middle East and North Africa for a minute, the prospective end of QE in June is a major uncertainty the equity market has to contend with.

Traditionally, a weaker equity market would suggest “risk-off” and Dollar strength. These days, nothing suggests dollar strength, so I’m not sure we can make any currency prognostications on a break to the downside in equities. Buy Swiss, I guess…seems to work no matter what the situation…

2-24 eur

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February 24th, 2011 13:55:36 GMT

US Init’l Claims -22K to 391K Feb19 Wk;4-Wk Ave Lowest/Jul’08


–Continuing Claims -219K from January Survey Week
–Seasonals Expected NSA Claims To Drop 20K But Instead Dropped 40K

By Denny Gulino and Brai Odion-Esene

WASHINGTON (MNI) – Initial claims for U.S. state unemployment
benefits fell by 22,000 after seasonal adjustment in the Feb. 19 week,
bringing the four-week moving average to its lowest since July 2008, the
U.S. Labor Department reported Thursday.

A Labor Department analyst pointed to the four-week average as
removing some of the volatility of the past several weeks and its chart
line suggested a return to the downward trend that became noticeable
beginning in September. However, he stressed, it takes a sustained
improvement below 400,000 to have any appreciable effect on

According to the analyst, seasonal factors had expected a 4.6%
decline in unadjusted claims, about 20,000, in the latest week and
instead there was instead a 10% decline of about 40,000.

The analyst added that California provided its own estimate and
that Hawaii, Massachusetts and Oklahoma were fully estimated, not
unusual for a reporting week with a holiday.

Economists surveyed by Market News International had expected
initial claims to rise to 405,000 in the current week. The previous week
was revised to 413,000.

Again, the seasonally adjusted 4-week moving average fell by 16,500
to 402,000, the lowest since the July 26 week of the crisis year of

In the Feb. 12 week, continuing claims dropped by 145,000 after
adjustment to 3,790,000. This is 219,000 less than the previous monthly
survey week January 15. It was the lowest seasonally adjusted continuing
claims since Oct. 18, 2008.

Unadjusted continuing claims dropped by 35,422 to 4,536,884. that
was compared to the year earlier’s 5,546,408.

The seasonally adjusted insured unemployment slipped a tenth to
3.0% in the Feb. 12 week, compared to 3.7% a year earlier.

The unemployment rate among the insured labor force is well below
that reported monthly by the Labor Department because claims are
approved for the most part only for job losers, not the job leavers and
labor force reentrants included in the monthly report.

The Labor Department said that the level of unadjusted Emergency
Unemployment Compensation benefits claims rose by 55,757 to 3,685,361.
Extended benefits dropped 111,087 to 761,481.

The Labor Department reported that a total of 9,158,980 persons
claimed unemployment benefits in the Feb. 5 week, down 89,782 from the
previous week, also well below the 11,393,965 persons in the comparable
week a year ago. These data are not seasonally adjusted, and include
regular state claims, federal employee claims, new veterans claims, the
EUC and extended benefits programs, state additional benefits, and
STC/Workshare claims.

** Market News International Washington Bureau: 202-371-2121 **


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February 24th, 2011 13:37:13 GMT

Offers seen a 0.9300/10 on USD/CHF rebounds


Since breaking historical support overnight around 0.9300, USD/CHF has made one attempt to rally which was immediately snuffed. Look for offers to line up in the 0.9300/10 area on rebounds. We trade now at the 0.9258 level.

Other big signs of risk aversion is large-scale selling of GBP/JPY by institutional traders, London sources say.

There has been strong demand for downside strikes in USD/JPY today. Two weeks ago, it was all demand for upside strikes.

Emerging markets are seeing accelerated outflows given the rise in geopolitical strife. This is usually dollar supportive but it has not helped very much yet.


February 24th, 2011 13:35:27 GMT

ANALYSIS: US Jan Durables Orders +2.7%; Ex-Transport -3.6%


–Ex Defense +1.9%; Civ Aircraft Orders +4900% Distorts the Totals

By Joseph Plocek

WASHINGTON (MNI) – The January durable goods data show modest
strength after three declines, but much of the gain was in the highly
volatile civilian aircraft sector and the balance of the report was

January durable goods orders printed +2.7% after three weaker
months, but ex-transportation orders fell 3.6% after two large gains.
Ex defense orders were up 1.9%, marking their first gain in four months.

Boeing Corp. reported 34 new orders in January after 55 in
December, but nondefense aircraft orders were +4,900% and were a main
driver of orders, as expected in a rebound. These orders had printed
-97.1% in December and -59.6% in November. This gain propelled
transportation orders to +27.6% in its best showing since September

Overall the data show marginal strength as primary metals orders
printed +1.1% and auto orders +0.4%. These may lead the way to higher
orders elsewhere.

In other areas there was weakness: machinery orders posted -13.0%,
computers -6.8%, and electronics -4.9%.

Shipments advanced 0.3% and inventories were +0.7%. Overall, this
shows modest growth at best. Nondefense capital goods shipments fell
2.9%, hinting that business investment will slow in Q1.

Orders for nondefense capital goods excluding aircraft printed
-6.9%. This was the worst showing since -9.9% in January 2009. It comes
after large gains in November and December and might simply be a pause
in an erratic series. Unadjusted these orders tend to peak in December
and fall in the new year; January’s unadjusted level remains up almost
15% on the year.

**Market News International Washington Bureau: (202)371-2121**

[TOPICS: M$U$$$,MU$$$$,M$$FI$,MT$$$$,MAUDS$]

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February 24th, 2011 13:35:26 GMT

US DATA: Jan durable goods orders +2.7% after 3 ex…


US DATA: Jan durable goods orders +2.7% after 3 weaker months, ex
transport -3.6% after two large gains, ex defense +1.9%. Boeing Corp had
34 new orders in Jan vs 55 in Dec, but nondefense aircraft orders were
+4900% and were a main driver of orders, as expected in a rebound. This
propelled transport orders to +27.6% in its best showing since Sept’06.
Overall the data show marginal strength as primary metals orders +1.1%
and auto orders +0.4% led the way. In other areas there was weakness:
machinery orders -13.0%, computers -6.8%, electronics -4.9%. Shipments
were +0.3% and inventories +0.7%. Overall, this shows modest growth at

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February 24th, 2011 13:35:23 GMT

US DATA: Initial jobless claims -22k to 391k in Feb..


US DATA: Initial jobless claims -22k to 391k in Feb. 19 wk, well
below expectations of 405k, back around to the lows at the beginning of
the month. Labor analyst points to 4 wk-moving ave which is -16.5k to
402k, approaching that 400k level below which unempl is seen to improve.
The last time the 4-wk was below 400k was July 26,’08. Continuing claims
-145k to 3,790,000; that’s -219k below the previous survey wk Jan 15 and
the lowest since Oct. 18 wk, 2008. Calif partially estimated and Hawaii,
Massachusetts and Oklahoma fully estimated. Actual NSA claims -40,404 to

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February 24th, 2011 13:24:37 GMT

Heads up! US data coming down the pipe…


Durable goods are expected to rise 2.7%. Core goods (ex-aircraft and defense) are expected to fall 2.5%.

Jobless claims are expected to drop to 400,000 from 410,000 last week.

USD/JPY is triggering stops below the 81.75 level, now down to 81.69. Bids are rumored from Japanese accounts at 81.50.

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