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Morgan Stanley Says Business Travel Suffering

Dollar stronger again; bond rout continues. Stock futures dropped a bit as GDP revision came in in-line, up 0.9 percent from 0.6 previously.

Morgan Stanley out with a long note on business travel this morning, not surprisingly with the title, "Business Travel Fundamentals Worsening." A summary:

1) room rate renegotiations, which first surfaced with financial business travelers, is now spreading to other sectors;

2) group cancellation rates are increasing.

3) rising airfares, already impacting leisure travel, will impact corporate travel this year.

They cut their ratings on Marriott , and reduce the price target to $40 from $47. Marriott closed at $34.14. They go further: "...we do not recommend putting new money into lodging with the exception of stocks with unique catalysts."


1) We have been getting retail earnings reports for the past week, with mixed results.

a) Men's Wearhouse reported earnings a bit below expectations, and guidance for the quarter and full year appears a bit below expectations as well. Down 6 percent pre-open.

b) Big Lots and Costco beat expectations; Big Lots up 8 percent pre-open as they raise their full year guidance slightly. Costco reported good comp store sales growth--U.S. up 6 percent, international up 16 percent.

2) NYSE IPO: Safe Bulkers (SB), a marine drybulk shipping company, priced 10 million shares at $19, below the expected range of $20 to $22 a share.

3) German chip maker Infineon down about 12 percent pre-open, after they lowered their outlook for their communications unit.

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