Off To A Weak Start

Futures weakened a bit as initial jobless claims came in slightly higherthan consensus.

Is the UK going to lose its AAA debt rating? Standard and Poors cut its outlook to negative for the first time, so the U.K. now joins Portugal, Spain, Greece and Ireland with a negative outlook. While the AAA outlook was affirmed, they said there was a 33 percent chance they would get downgraded.

Here's what analyst David Beers said: "We have revised the outlook on the U.K. to negative due to our view that, even assuming additional fiscal tightening, the net general government debt burden could approach 100 percent of gross domestic product and remain near that level in the medium term."


1) Taiwan's GDP shrank 10.2 percent year over yearin the first quarter, the most since record keeping began in 1952. This follows yesterday's news that Japan's economy fell 152 percent in the first quarter,t he most since record keeping began there in 1955.

2) The government is providing a second capital injection of $7 billion to GMAC, following on from the $6 billion that was provided earlier. So the government is not only keeping Chrysler and GM going, they are keeping their finance arm going, and remember they have already said they would provide money to the auto parts suppliers as well.

3) Retailers keep reporting:

a) Bucking the trend. Shares of retailer Buckle rise 5 percent pre-open after its Q1 results topped estimates. Defying the recent trend for many retailers, sales for the apparel chain were strong.

Same-store sales rose 17.7 percent, while total sales were up nearly 25 percent (WOW!).

b) Limited reported a positive quarter (gain of $0.01 vs. loss of $0.03 expected),and guided the second quarter slightly above analyst consensus and at the midpoint for the full year: $0.67-$0.87 vs. consensus of $0.75.

4) Meaty earnings. Meat processor Hormel's Q2 earnings beat estimates by 9 cents. Revenues fell a bit short of expectations, with volume down 2 percent. Hormel now expects full-year earnings to be at the high end of its previous $2.15-$2.25 range - but primarily because of its first-half strength.

5) Power down. Suntech Powerdown 5 percent pre-open. Earnings for the Chinese solar power company fell 95 percent, but still managed to handily beat analyst estimates for a quarterly loss. Revenues were weaker than expected (down 27 percent) on drastically lower pricing, and the company cuts its 2009 shipment forecast.

Suntech also announced it will issue 20 million new shares for working capital and to repurchase securities including some of its senior notes.

6) Boeing is hosting an investor conference today, they are saying the 787 remains on track for its first flight for this quarter.

7) IPO today. Online restaurant reservation service OpenTablebecomes the 3rd IPO to price above its range in the past week. 3 million shares were priced at $20, raising $60 million for the company. Earlier this week, the expected price range was raised from $12-$14 to $16-$18.

OpenTable becomes NASDAQ's first IPO this year, and will trade under ticker "OPEN."




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