Sellers have redoubled their efforts. Their pressure has put the S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite at fresh session lows. The Dow continues to trade near the neutral line, though.
It has been propped up by IBM (IBM 155.25, +4.60), which is at a record high following its latest quarterly report. The company's earnings of $4.18 per share bested the consensus call by a dime.
Of the major averages, losses are steepest in the Nasdaq Composite, which has been dragged down by large-cap tech plays like Google (GOOG 630.60, -9.03) and Cisco (CSCO 20.91, -0.31). Apple (AAPL 342.45, +1.80) is back to a modest gain after it slipped in the opening minutes of trade.
Sees eurozone muddling through in wake of defaults.
Stocks are generally lower in the early going. For the second straight session there are no apparent leaders.
Financials are already off by 0.5%, which comes on top of their 0.8% loss in the prior session. Goldman Sachs (GS 170.72, -3.96) has been a drag on the sector in the wake of its latest quarterly report, which has been tainted by a light revenue figure.
Japanese exporter offers placed above Y111.00 again restrict the topside around Y111.05, with rate easing back toward Y110.80. Sell interest said to extend to Y111.20 (Y111.17 Jan18 high), a break to expose the cloud base at Y111.26. Support seen back at Y110.15/00.
U.S. stocks were headed for a mixed open Wednesday, as investors mulled earnings results from financial heavyweights Goldman Sachs and Wells Fargo, and reacted to reports on the housing market.
On Tuesday, stocks closed higher as shares of Boeing and other industrial names rose -- offsetting weakness from Citigroup (C) and Apple (AAPL). The tech giant didn't report their blowout quarterly earnings until after the close.
Companies: Before the opening bell Wednesday, Goldman Sachs (GS) posted lower fourth-quarter earnings of $2.39 billion, or $3.79 per share, on revenue of $8.64 billion.
While earnings slightly beat expectations, revenue missed. Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters expected Goldman to report earnings per share of $3.76 on revenue of $9 billion. Shares of the bank edged slipped more than 2% in pre-market trading.
Meanwhile, Wells Fargo (WFC) logged quarterly earnings of 61 cents per share on revenue of $21.5 billion -- which was in line with forecasts. Shares of the bank were down about 2% following the report.
Apple reported its best quarter ever late Tuesday. The company's revenue of $26.7 billion was driven by holiday iPad and iPhone sales, which were much better than forecast. The tech giant's profit of $6 billion also set a new record. Apple sold 7.3 million iPads in the quarter -- easily surpassing the expectations of nearly every Wall Street analyst.
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Shares of Apple (AAPL) perked up 2% in pre-market trading Wednesday, after closing down 2% Tuesday amid concerns about Steve Jobs' medical leave of absence.
Also after the bell Tuesday, IBM (IBM) reported net income of $5.3 billion -- or $4.18 per share -- for the fourth quarter. That's up from $4.8 billion, or $3.59 per share, a year ago. Analysts had predicted earnings of $4.08 per share. Shares of IBM rose 2.5% before the opening bell.
Starbucks (SBUX) announced early Wednesday that it will begin accepting mobile payment in all of its U.S. stores, allowing customers to use select smartphones to make purchases. Shares of the company rose more than 1% in pre-market trading.
The U.S. Census Bureau reported that an annual rate of 529,000 new homes were started in December, a decrease from 555,000 from November. Housing starts fell short of economists' expectations.
Building permits jumped 16.7% to an annual rate of 635,000 in December, compared to 544,000 the prior month. Economists had forecasted a rate of 560,000 permits, according to Briefing.com consensus.
Oil for February delivery gained 62 cents to $92.93 a barrel.
Gold futures for February delivery rose $10 to $1,367.80 an ounce.
Bonds: The price on the benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury fell, pushing the yield up to 3.39% from 3.36% late Tuesday.
EUR/USD $1.3475, $1.3500, $1.3300, $1.3700, $1.3800
USD/JPY Y83.00, Y82.25, Y81.80, Y81.50
GBP/USD $1.6000, $1.5900
09:00 EU(16) Current account (November) adjusted, bln -4.0 - -9.6 (-9.8)
09:00 EU(16) Current account (November) unadjusted, bln -6.0 -4.0 -2.1 (-2.3)
09:30 UK Claimant count (December) -4100 - -1,200
09:30 UK Claimant count rate (December) 4.5% - 4.5%
09:30 UK Average earnings (3 months to November) Y/Y 2.1% 2.2% 2.1 (2.2)%
09:30 UK Average earnings ex bonuses (3 months to November) Y/Y 2.3% - 2.3%
09:30 UK ILO Jobless rate (November) 7.9% 7.9% 7.9%
The dollar fell to an eight-week low against the euro on speculation a sluggish recovery in U.S. housing and labor markets will deter the Federal Reserve from raising interest rates.
The U.S. currency dropped to the lowest in two weeks versus the yen before reports today and tomorrow forecast to show housing starts fell and continuing jobless claims increased. It also fell after data yesterday revealed China’s overall holdings of U.S. government debt declined in November.
“The dollar is broadly under pressure from expectations that housing and employment are likely to remain weak, and from the data yesterday, which showed a decline in China’s holdings of U.S. assets,” said Ian Stannard, a senior currency strategist at BNP Paribas SA in London.
The euro rose after the region’s finance ministers made a commitment to increase the size of a bailout fund to tackle the debt crisis.
The euro has risen 5% against the dollar since ECB President Jean-Claude Trichet warned on Jan. 13 that the central bank will act if needed to contain inflation risks, which he said “could move to the upside.”
Inflation accelerated to 2.2% last month, breaching the ECB’s 2% limit for the first time in more than two years. Trichet said last week it may quicken further before moderating toward the end of the year.
ECB Council member Ewald Nowotny said yesterday the central bank sees the present interest rates as “adequate” and it doesn’t “see a need for an interest rate change in the foreseeable future.” Nowotny joins Athanasios Orphanides of Cyprus in suggesting markets may have over-reacted to the comments.
Gains in the euro were tempered on speculation European policy makers will delay efforts to provide more funds for debt- strapped countries.
EUR/USD rose from $1.3360 to $1.3508, but failed to set above the figure. Rate retreated to $1.3430. Currently euro recoveres, holding around $1.3485.
GBP/USD tested highs near $1.6030, but weak employment data from UK dragged the rate down to $1.5940. Later pound rebounded to $1.6009.
USD/JPY printed session lows around Y82.00, where bids were noted that helped the rate to go back to Y82.19.
US data starts at 1330GMT, housing starts and building permits data are due, where the seasonally adjusted pace of housing starts is forecast to fall slightly to 550,000 in December. Builders remain cautious, as suggested by the December NAHB index, which held steady at a very low level. The weekly Redbook Average then follows, at 1355GMT.
Gold tentatively pushing higher as RSI and 10-day Momentum daily studies also point towards the upside, however, stochastics remains neutral. Initial resistance seen as the Jan 3 resistance line around $1377.60 and further key resistance seen as the 55- & 21-DMAs at $1380.70 and 1384.20, respectively, which are also closing in for a possible upcoming dead-cross.
A German newspaper said on Wednesday Berlin was considering a Greek sovereign debt rescheduling plan that would allow Athens to buy back its own debt using a euro zone crisis fund.
Greece's deputy finance minister said no talks on debt restructuring were ongoing. It had denied on Tuesday that it would seek to extend the repayment period of its debt after the deputy prime minister spoke in support of a such a plan.
Die Zeit weekly, citing unnamed government sources, said in a preview of Thursday's edition that the plan was to let Greece use credits from the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF), in return for a commitment to pro-stability policies.
The newspaper used the word 'Umschuldung', which could refer to either a restructuring or a rescheduling. It gave no more details about the plan or conditions of any such buyback.
It did however add that, again according to unnamed sources, Germany was "no longer fundamentally opposed to increasing the lending capacity of the EFSF" as part of a broader package of measures to stabilise the euro.
This is largely in line with what Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble has said regarding the need for a "complete package" that would address the limits to the real capacity of the euro rescue package because of its complex guarantee system.
The dollar slid to a two-month low against a basket of currencies on Wednesday, as continued short-covering in the euro helped spur a broad fall in the dollar.
The euro remained supported after having risen on Tuesday, when it attracted demand from Middle East accounts and gained a lift from an upbeat German ZEW investor sentiment report.
"People are covering euro short positions as Asian sovereign names have been buying the euro on dips in the past few days," said a trader for a Japanese bank in Tokyo.
A near-term focus is whether the euro will manage to clearly break resistance at around $1.3500. That area is important since it marks the euro's mid-December peak, and also because the top of the weekly Ichimoku chart, a technical indicator of support and resistance levels, lies at $1.3510. In addition, there is talk of option barriers near $1.3500. If $1.3500 is breached, the euro's next upside target lies at $1.3571 (50% retracement of the euro's November to January slide).
EUR/GBP extended recovery to stg0.8438, as corporate demand provided the added lift. However, offers placed to stg0.8440 proved strong enough to counter and allowed rate to ease back to stg0.8425/30. Above stg0.8440 and rate can extend toward stg0.8450/55. Support now seen at stg0.8425/20, a break to allow for a deeper move toward stg0.8400.
EUR/USD: $1.3475, $1.3500, $1.3300, $1.3700, $1.3800
USD/JPY:Y83.00, Y81.80, Y81.50
GBP/USD takes the release of employment data in its stride, headline claimant count coming in better than expected though details seen mixed and not positive enough for a retest on yesterday's highs at $1.6040 and $1.6060 but could help to keep rate buoyed above $1.6000.
09:00 EU(16) Current account (November) adjusted, bln - -9.8
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