Yesterday it was Europe announcing weak economic growth, today it is Hong Kong, where Q2 GDP fell by 1.4 percent quarter-over-quarter. Year-over-year, GDP rose 4.2%, the slowest gain since Q3 2003. Higher costs from China, as well as weaker demand, was the culprit.
The dollar rally continues, oil sitting right on that $112-$113 support level where it's been for the past five days, gold and platinum are at their lows for the year. Gold stocks are down 2-4 percent.
Stock futures rose a few points as an index of manufacturing activity in New York state unexpectedly rose.
1) With the exception of Wal-Mart, all the retailers are following a similar pattern: all did well for the quarter that was finished, but Abercrombie, JC Penney, Kohl'sand Nordstromall said earnings for the current quarter would be below analyst expectations.
Nordstrom lowered their own guidance for the full year, and their situation is also somewhat typical: comp store sales were down (6 percent, in this case), and there seems to be a more promotional atmosphere that is pressuring margins.
2) George Soros' hedge fund raised his stake in Lehman to 9.47 m (worth about $187.7 m, or 1.36 percent of outstanding shares) as of June 30, from 10,000 shares on March 31.
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