The U.S. stock market headed toward an indifferent opening with futures bouncing above and below fair value after Tuesday's selloff. A new round of subprime debt fears on Wall Street spurred selling in equities markets around the world.
Selling in the dollar continues. The currency hit a record low against the euro overnight and a 26-year low against the British pound after big declines Tuesday. The yield on the 10-year is sliding and is at about 5% this morning from 5.04% yesterday afternoon.
Oil is weaker this morning as traders await weekly supply data at 10:30 am New York time.
Real or Overblown?
Yesterday, hand-wringing over subprime mortgage risk returned after a hiatus, ripping into financial stocks and the market as a whole. CNBC's David Faber reported yesterday morning that Standard & Poor's was considering a downgrade of subprime mortgage debt. That report rattled traders, and financial shares lost 2.2%. By the end of trading, rival rating firm Moody's cut a bunch of issues.
The Dow lost 148, or 1.1%, its biggest decline since June 22. The Nasdaq was down 30 or 1.2%, its first drop in six sessions, and the S&P 500 tumbled 21 points, or 1.4%, the biggest drop since June 7.
Some traders saw the selloff as an overreaction and we continue to hear that this is a problem that appears contained. With that said, the Street still has a real fear that there are more credit bombs out there.
"The one thing we know about the stock market is it is able to withstand astonishing amounts of shocks here," and yesterday's market delivered more than a few, says CNBC's Bob Pisani.
"You had Sears, a complete disaster, Home Depot was a minor disaster. You had a flight to bonds. The dollar index hit a new low ... and the S&P comment (on subprime). Bernanke did nothing but he ended his comments with no cheer. He didn't say a word, and they (traders) were disappointed with that ... Then the S&P futures breached a technical level … Despite that, we're still just 100 points away from an all-time high," says Pisani.
There is no economic data due today. Earnings expected after the bell today include Genentech and Yum Brands . UBS today upgraded Yum this morning saying it has potential to use its debt leverage more favorable and that strength in its international business.
The National Association of Realtors releases its housing and economic forecast at 10am. Diana Olick will report on the forecast.
Watch Out Wall Street
Rep. Barney Frank's House Financial Services Committee is just one of three Congressional committees taking aim at the hedge fund industry today. CNBC's Melissa Lee will cover the hearings and expects to hear questions about the subprime mess. Issues include taxing hedge funds and private equity, systemic risk and oversight.
We will also keep a close eye on the financial stocks today as Wall Street comes under the Congressional microscope and as the latest subprime worries continue to rumble through the market.
With media in play, it's the time of year when media's movers and shakers visit Sun Valley for their annual chance to rub elbows at Allen and Co's big event. CNBC's Julia Boorstin is there to report on dealmakers and the buzz around their dealings.
Did They or Didn't They?
There are all signs of a pricing battle in the game console business but interestingly as the industry gathers at the big E3 conference today, there are conflicting news reports of whether Microsoft is cutting the price of Xbox or not. CNBC's Jim Goldman will let us know what's going on when he reports from E3 today.
Up and Down Wall Street
Analysts were busy this morning. Bear Stearns raised estimates on oil majors, saying their estimates are now 5% above consensus and they do not see any downside surprises coming this quarter.
Bank of America took the knife to Lowe's numbers after Home Depot's comments yesterday. Deutsche Bank downgraded Chicago Mercantile to hold from buy because of the acquisition of CBOT and the issues of dilution and integration from the deal.