1) Oil continues to trend downward, and airlines are again among the most actively traded pre-open (I noted yesterday that oil is down 27 percent since its July highs but the S&P 500 is only up about 5 percent since its July lows);
2) the dollar rally continues, with the euro/dollar challenging the January lows;
3) mortgage rates have fallen to a 7 week low of 6.39 percent, and as a result applications to purchase homes rose 10.5 percent.
4) Home DepotCEO Frank Blake said “we’re getting awfully close to the bottom” of the housing downturn.
Still, looking for signs of a global slowdown has become something of a sport on Wall Street. Two signs today:
1) LG Display, a maker of LCD screens, said it would keep output at only 90 percent due to sluggish demand worldwide for flat panel TVs and computers. On top of slower demand, TV makers have been embroiled in a bitter price war that is squeezing margins for everyone in the business.
2) Paul Jacobs, Qualcomm's CEO executive, speaking on our air this morning, said there were some signs that consumers globally were holding onto their phones a little longer than expected before turning them in for newer models.
1) commodity hedge fund manager Ospraie Management said it would close its flagship fund. Lehman owned 20 percent of the fund. Separately Korea Development Bank proposed buying 25 percent of Lehman for up to $3.5 billion, according to newspaper reports.
2) GM President and COO Fritz Henderson said he expected vehicle sales in the U.S. to fall to the low-14 million level, down from 16 million last year. Separately, the company said they were extending the Employee Discount For Everyone plan for another month.
3) Furniture seller Ethan Allendown 6 percent, they announced earnings would be below expectations, noting that sales volumes were "substantially lower" in July and August.
4) ConAgra down 7 percent as they also announced earnings would be below expectations due to underperformance in the Consumer Foods division due to higher costs. Merrill Lynch and JP Morganlowered their rating.
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