Dollar Weighs On Traders

Futures dipped a few points as jobless claims hit a 26-year high. But the big topic on trading desks is the dollar, which may be weaker on expectations the U.S. will ease interest rates next week, so commodities and some commodity stocks (notably gold) are stronger. Other commodity stocks like iron ore companies are weaker on concerns over slower global demands.

A couple companies in the industrial space confirmed a notable slowdown in the last several weeks:

1) Engine maker Cummins revised its 2008 outlook, expecting sales to increase 9 percent over 2007, compared to previous guidance of a 12 percent increase. Cummins confirmed what many companies have been seeing: a notable drop in sales in the last several weeks. Still, sales are growing, and they noted 2008 wll be the fifth consecutive year of record sales and profits.

2) Stanley Works , which has experienced "rapidly deteriorating business conditions" in its Construction and Industrial segments, is down 10 percent pre-open as they lowered earnings for the quarter. They are laying off 2,000 employees, 10 percent of the current base.

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1) Lilly up 3 percent pre-open, even though thy provided 2009 guidance of $4.00-$4.25 (slightly below analyst estimates of $4.26, which includes the cost of the acquisition of ImClone) and reiterated 2008 guidance.

2) Boeing down 3 percent as they update the schedule for its 787 Dreamliner program. The first flights are now moved to the second quarter of 2009 and first delivery to the first quarter of 2010, which will have some impact on earnings. The machinist's strike caused some of the delay.

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