Markets Start a New Quarter in Good Shape

A new quarter begins with the markets in good shape.

Still, the wall of worry never goes away. Big leadership stocks like Apple, Google , Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan, are struggling to hold on to their upper ranges.

Dollar up, stocks weaker. With the G7 meeting this weekend, Mr. Trichet is again trying to jawbone the dollar up. And when the dollar goes up, stocks are usually weaker, which is the case this morning.

The G7 is the meeting of finance ministers from the U.S., France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Canada, and the United Kingdom. The G8, which met recently, are the heads of those governments, plus Russia. Got that?


1) For all the handwringing about how Ken Lews was pushed out at Bank of America, the stock reaction has been positive, up fractionally this morning.

(You can watch how Charlie Gasparino broke the news on CNBC last night.)

And for all the talk about a lack of succession plan, Morgan Stanley said that Lewis' exit "reduces uncertainty" and that "The timing also effectively gives the BAC board three months to explore both internal and external candidates for the CEO position."

2) Semiconductor testing equipment maker Teradyneis up 7 percent after significantly raising Q3 guidance on improved demand. The firm now expects revenues of $250 million-$260 million from prior guidance of $190 million to $205 million and sees earnings of $0.10-$0.13 compared to earlier expectations of a loss of $0.02. Both sets of numbers are well ahead of analyst estimates for revenues of $201 million and earnings of $0.01.

3) Auto dealer Penske Automotive Group falls 11 percent after withdrawing its bid to acquire GM's Saturn brand. Penske decided to pull its offer after it failed to find a car manufacturer who would continue Saturn production after GM stopped manufacturing the vehicles in 2 years.

GM announced that it will now close the Saturn brand pursuant to a previous plan it had struck with its dealers.

4) Drink Up! Shares of Constellation Brands rise 7 percent after the alcoholic beverage producer handily beat estimates and reaffirmed its full-year outlook. Notable were sales of its spirits products which saw organic growth of 49% from strong demand for its SVEDKA Vodka brand.

The company reaffirms its full-year guidance of $1.60-$1.70 vs. $1.63 est..

5) Say that again? Alcoa up about 3 percent pre-open as Deutsche Bank upgraded to a buy on a more favorable outlook on aluminum.

This is curious, since we know China has been furiously stockpiling base metals, and they have clearly indicated they will be slowing the restocking. DB acknowledges this, and that the whole metals complex "will be hindered by a slow recovery in the industrialized economies."

So why the upgrade? "Our outlook becomes more constructive in 2011." Thanks.

6) More understandable is JP Morgan's downgrade of Saks; the stock has doubled in six months and hit their 2010 price target of $7. The team at JPM said "we believe management is on the right track to return to profitability, but patience will likely be required from these levels." In other words, "the easy money has been made."



Questions? Comments?