Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Wednesday Watch

Evening Headlines

  • Europe Banks Resist Draghi Bid to Avoid Crunch by Hoarding Cash. Banks are hoarding the European Central Bank’s record 489 billion-euro ($625 billion) injection into the banking system, thwarting attempts by policy makers to avert a credit crunch in the region. Almost all of the money loaned to 523 euro-area lenders last month wound up back on deposit at the Frankfurt-based central bank instead of pouring into the financial system, according to estimates by Barclays Capital based on ECB data. Banks will use most of the money from the three-year loans to meet their refinancing needs for this year and next, analysts at Morgan Stanley and Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc estimate. “It’s illusory to think that the measure will translate into credit generation,” Philippe Waechter, chief economist at Natixis Asset Management in Paris, said in an interview. “It will assuage some of the anxiety banks have regarding their liquidity needs. But they’ve engaged into a massive overhaul of their strategy and shrinkage of their balance sheets, which is, coupled with the deteriorating economy, not compatible with increasing credit.” Governments are urging European banks to keep lending to companies and individuals while requiring them to raise an additional 114.7 billion euros of core capital by June to weather a deepening sovereign-debt crisis. Instead of raising equity, most lenders across Europe have vowed to meet capital rules by trimming at least 950 billion euros from their balance sheets over the next two years, either by selling assets or not renewing credit lines, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. That has stirred concern among policy makers that banks will cut lending and throttle growth in the euro region.
  • Greek Crisis Dries Up Drug Supply as Even Aspirin Can't Be F0und. For patients and pharmacists in financially stricken Greece, even finding Aspirin has turned into a headache. Mina Mavrou, who runs a pharmacy in a middle-class Athens suburb, spends hours each day pleading with drugmakers, wholesalers and colleagues to hunt down medicines for clients. Life-saving drugs such as Sanofi’s blood-thinner Clexane and GlaxoSmithKline Plc’s asthma inhaler Flixotide often appear as lines of crimson data on pharmacists’ computer screens, meaning the products aren’t in stock or that pharmacists can’t order as many units as they need. “When we see red, we want to cry,” Mavrou said. “The situation is worsening day by day.” The 12,000 pharmacies that dot almost every street corner in Greek cities are the damaged capillaries of a complex system for getting treatment to patients. The Panhellenic Association of Pharmacists reports shortages of almost half the country’s 500 most-used medicines. Even when drugs are available, pharmacists often must foot the bill up front, or patients simply do without. The financial crisis is brewing a “Greek tragedy” of slowing access to medical care and worsening outcomes for patients, Martin McKee, a professor of European public health at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, wrote in an October article in The Lancet.
  • China Savers Lose in Longest Streak Since 1995: Chart of the Day. Savers in China have had negative returns on their bank deposits for the longest stretch in 16 years, leaving Premier Wen Jiabao less scope to cut interest rates to sustain economic growth. Inflation has exceeded the benchmark one-year deposit rate for 22 months, the longest span since 1995. "Such a prolonged period of negative real savings rates means the central bank will face a tough decision on whether to cut interest rates to boost growth," said Liu Li-Gang, chief China economist at Australia & New Zealand Banking Group Ltd. in Hong Kong. "Lowering rates may risk more deposits moving out of the banks as savers seek higher returns from other investments such as real estate, private lending and wealth management products."
  • India's Skyscraper Boom Matching China's May Signal Bubble, Barclays Says. India, which is building the world’s second-tallest skyscraper, is catching up with China in an office building boom that may indicate that an economic slowdown is imminent, according to Barclays Capital Research. India is scheduled to complete 14 new skyscrapers taller than 240 meters (787 feet) over the next five years from the current two, Barclays’s analysts led by Andrew Lawrence said in a report yesterday. China will increase the number of skyscrapers to 141, from the current 75, by 2017, according to the bank’s annual Skyscraper Index report. Over the past 140 years, completion of the tallest buildings has coincided with periods of economic turmoil such as the Great Depression, the Asian financial contagion and the global credit crisis, Barclays said. China is home to 53 percent of all skyscrapers being built around the world, up from 44 percent a year earlier, according to Barclays. “India, it seems, is playing catch-up,” the Barclays analysts, based in Hong Kong, wrote. “If history proves to be right, this building boom in China and India could simply be a reflection of a misallocation of capital, which may result in an economic correction in the next five years.” The 720-meter India Tower will be the world’s second- tallest skyscraper when work on the building finishes, overtaking the 632-meter Shanghai Tower that is scheduled for completion in 2014, according to the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat. Dubai’s 828-meter Burj Khalifa is the world’s tallest building.
  • Too-Big-to-Fail Definition May Be Expanded. Global regulators may expand the definition of a too-big-to-fail financial firm, signing up domestic lenders, clearing houses and insurers to capital rules designed for the world’s biggest banks. The “framework should be in place for domestically systemically important banks by the end of the year,” Mark Carney, chairman of the Financial Stability Board, said yesterday after a meeting of the group in Basel, Switzerland. Deutsche Bank AG (DBK), BNP Paribas SA (BNP) and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS) were among 29 banks subject to the so-called capital surcharge on globally systemic financial institutions drawn up by the FSB in November. Banks will have to boost reserves by 1 to 2.5 percentage points above minimum levels agreed on by international regulators.
  • Hedge Funds Ask SEC to Let Them Go Public in Private Offerings. The Managed Funds Association is urging U.S. regulators to remove restrictions on solicitation and advertising in private offerings to make it easier for hedge funds to raise money and promote their products. The Securities and Exchange Commission should amend its rules to allow private funds to “engage in communication and offering activity while remaining in compliance,” Richard H. Baker, the LinkWashington-based lobby group’s president and chief executive officer, said in a letter requesting the rule change. An SEC advisory group on small and emerging companies voted for a similar recommendation on Jan. 6. The change would let hedge funds avoid the SEC’s registration process while openly seeking money from so-called accredited investors, those deemed sophisticated enough to understand riskier offerings. Changes in securities markets and regulations have rendered the 30-year-old restrictions unnecessary, Baker wrote in the letter dated yesterday. “We believe eliminating the ban would reduce the cost of capital for private funds and lead to greater efficiency in private offerings,” Baker wrote.
  • Cargill Profit Plunges 88% on Commodity-Trading 'Challenges'. Cargill Inc., the commodity trader that’s the largest closely held U.S. company, said fiscal second-quarter profit fell 88 percent because of commodity market “challenges” and a drop in sugar prices.
  • U.S. Wheat Expanding From Century Low as Glut Looms: Commodities. U.S. farmers, the world’s biggest wheat exporters, probably planted the most winter grain in three years, expanding acreage from a century-low reached in 2009 just as a global supply glut swells to its biggest in a decade. About 41.02 million acres, an area bigger than Illinois, were sown from September to November, 0.9 percent more than a year earlier, according to the average of 16 analyst estimates compiled by Bloomberg. That will add to world inventories set to rise 4 percent to 207.7 million metric tons, the most since 2000, the survey showed. Winter wheat accounts for 74 percent of the U.S. crop, and the government gives its first estimate tomorrow.
  • North Dakota Surpasses OPEC Member Ecuador in Oil Production. North Dakota oil production surged 42 percent to 510,000 barrels a day in November, exceeding the output of OPEC member Ecuador, as energy explorers accelerated drilling in the Bakken Shale formation. The state’s daily crude output topped a half-million barrels for the first time during the month, North Dakota’s Oil and Gas Division said today in a statement. North Dakota’s 6,300 wells produced enough oil to displace imports from foreign suppliers such as Iraq or Colombia, Lynn Helms, division director, said in the release. Oil producers including EOG Resources Inc. (EOG) and Continental Resources Inc (CLR). have spurred a five-fold increase in North Dakota’s oil output by using intensive drilling practices to tap the Bakken, a geologic formation that stretches from southern Alberta to the northern U.S. Great Plains. It’s estimated to hold as much as 4.3 billion barrels of tecnically recoverable oil in North Dakota and Montana, according to a 2008 report by the U.S. Geological Survey. “This is big news for the state and the country,” Helms said. “Oil production in the state has increased anywhere from 8,000 to 40,000 barrels a day every month since June.” Production will continue to increase as drillers hone their techniques, Andrew Steinhubl, co-leader of consulting firm Bain & Co.’s North American oil and gas practice, said in a Jan. 6 interview from Houston. In the Bakken formation alone, crude production rose 56 percent in November to 443,425 barrels a day from a year earlier, state figures showed. Bakken oil accounted for 87 percent of the state’s total November output.
  • Funds Trail S&P 500 Index Most Since '97. Equity mutual funds had their worst year since 1997 relative to the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index, as record-high correlation and price swings made it harder for money managers to pick stocks. Among about 4,100 funds that invest in large-cap stocks, 17 percent beat the benchmark index for U.S. equities last year, the least since the 12 percent recorded in 1997, based on data from Chicago-based Morningstar Inc.
  • Fed's George Says Policy Makers Need to Weigh Instability Risk. Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City President Esther George said that central bank policy makers must consider whether they are increasing the odds of instability in the financial system. “Policy choices that attempt to speed improvement in the housing and labor markets can be attractive given these circumstances,” George said, referring to the “weak housing market, high unemployment and impaired bank balance sheets.” “But this desire must be traded off against the need to foster long-term stability within our financial sector,” she said in her first speech since becoming a regional Fed president in October. The remarks indicate that George shares a key concern of her predecessor Thomas Hoenig, who dissented from all Fed policy decisions in 2010 with the warning that a prolonged period of zero-interest rates could provoke turmoil in financial markets. “Some bankers with strong balance sheets tell me they must react to the current environment by taking on more risk,” George said. “While appropriate risk-taking is fundamental to banking and desirable in this environment, creating conditions that encourage the financial system to take on mispriced risk could lead to distortions that will only haunt us later,” she said. The recovery following the recession that lasted from 2007 to 2009 has been “uneven and underwhelming,” George said. “With moderate economic growth have come modest job growth and a too-high unemployment rate, in addition to lingering doubts about whether the recovery is sustainable,” she said. George said that one area where risk may be mispriced is farm land, also a concern of her predecessor Hoenig in his final year as Kansas City Fed chief. “Each week brings a new tale of dizzying prices at the most recent farmland auction,” she said. “I hear from many well-informed, concerned voices across our region wondering whether this could be a bubble.’ “These types of events have played out in the past, and the results were not kind to the industry involved or its banks,” said George, 53. “I view monetary policy as attempting to walk a fine line,” George said. “On the one hand, today’s policy settings are designed to encourage risk-taking and to stimulate much- needed growth across our economy. But on the other hand, experience has shown that pushing risk-taking too far can cause the mispricing of risk, the misallocation of capital and the ultimate weakening of financial firms’ balance sheets.”
  • Microsoft(MSFT) Says PC Sales May Have Missed Fourth-Quarter Estimates. Microsoft Corp. executives said industrywide sales of personal computers will probably be lower than analysts projected for the quarter that ended in December as supply was hurt by flooding in Thailand. Wall Street and industry analysts had estimated that total PC shipments fell about 1 percent in the fourth quarter, said Tami Reller, chief financial officer of the company’s Windows unit, and Bill Koefoed, general manager of investor relations. The actual number is probably lower, Reller and Koefoed said in separate speeches at two investor conferences in Las Vegas. “As the numbers come out, you’ll likely see that number decline further as the impact has been felt faster than people had anticipated,” Koefoed said in a speech at a JP Morgan Chase & Co. conference. Reller told a Nomura Holdings Inc. audience that there could “potentially” be more downward adjustments.
  • Web-Name Expansion to Proceed, CEO of Internet's Overseer Says. The nonprofit overseeing the Internet’s address system plans to proceed with a program that may add hundreds of top-level domains such as .apple and .nyc to the Web over the objections of large brand owners.
Wall Street Journal:
  • Romney Wins New Hampshire Primary. Mitt Romney claimed a comfortable victory in New Hampshire's Republican primary election Tuesday, giving him wins in the first two presidential nominating contests after his photo-finish ending in Iowa a week ago. Mr. Romney's convincing victory here, in a state he had long expected to dominate, substantially narrows the prospects of other Republican candidates as the contest moves into larger states, where Mr. Romney's financial and organizational strengths are likely to increase his advantages.
  • Syrian Leader Vows 'Iron Fist'. Assad Blasts Arab League and Says He Won't Exit, in Address Opponents See as Prelude to Deeper Violence.
  • Spanish Banks Try to Build Their Way Out of Home Glut.
  • NYSE(NYX) Deal Nears Collapse. EU Regulators Argue Against Proposed Merger With Germany's Deutsche Börse.
  • Hungary Seen Signing Letter Of Intent For IMF Loan - Sources. Hungary and the International Monetary Fund are likely to outline the conditions for a loan program later this week, observers familiar with the matter said. Prime Minister Viktor Orban's emissary Minister Tamas Fellegi is holding meetings with top IMF officials to prevent Hungary from becoming Europe's new Greece. Under fierce pressure from international markets, its currency at times in freefall and its credit rating downgraded to junk status, Hungary's government appears to be increasingly open to compromise.
  • Negotiators Work to Restructure Greek Debt. Negotiators for banks and governments are working to complete a promised debt restructuring for Greece that will slice in half what the nation owes its private bondholders. But the deal sets up other governments in the euro zone to bear any additional burden if—many analysts say when—Greece needs more help to get out of its deep fiscal rut. The concerns about additional costs have made some European capitals wary of consummating the deal, said people familiar with the talks, and are among the reasons discussions have dragged on for months.
  • Canadian Government Mulls Deeper Spending Cuts In Budget 2012 - Sources. Canada's Conservative government is contemplating a more aggressive budget-cutting campaign than previously indicated, as it drives to reduce the country's deficit. Deeper cuts, and at a faster pace, are now likely in this year's budget, due to be released by the government in late February or March, according to people familiar with the government's planning. These people say, however, that no final decisions have been made.
  • New York Probes Banks, Insurers on Home Policies. New York's Department of Financial Services has been probing banks and insurance companies for allegedly obtaining excessive fees on homeowners' policies that they force borrowers to pay for when their insurance lapses, said people familiar with the matter. Superintendent Benjamin M. Lawsky in the fall of 2011 dispatched formal letters to insurers and subpoenas to insurance agents and insurance brokerages run by several large banks to gather information on their practices, the people said. The concern is that banks are unfairly forcing borrowers to take on an overly expensive new policy, said the people.
  • Trouble is Brewing for Office Market. Penn Mutual Towers, an office complex across the street from Independence Hall in Philadelphia, has seen its vacancy rise and income fall after one big tenant left and another renewed its lease for 15% less than it had been paying. Its creditors are foreclosing on the property, according to data company Trepp LLC. Similar problems are mushrooming in office markets throughout the country, foreshadowing a new wave of real-estate trouble.
  • FDA Panelists Had Ties to Bayer. Food and Drug Administration advisers, in a recent vote, said the benefits of four popular Bayer AG birth-control pills outweigh the blood-clot risk. What the FDA didn't disclose is that three of the advisers have had ties to Bayer, serving as consultants, speakers or researchers.
  • Singapore Construction Demand to Drop. Private-sector construction demand in Singapore could fall by more than 50% this year compared with last year due to the effect of the global and domestic economic woes on the domestic property market, the government said. Singapore's Building and Construction Authority said in a statement private-sector construction demand could fall to between 8 billion Singapore dollars (US$6.19 billion) and S$12 billion in 2012, from S$16.8 billion last year, "reflecting a more cautious market sentiment among developers amid heightened global uncertainties." Private-home construction demand is projected to drop to between S$3.4 billion and S$4.8 billion in 2012 from S$8.1 billion last year, "weighed down by the anticipated muted market sentiments amid (a) cloudy global economic outlook as well as the effects of various property cooling measures introduced by the government," the authority said. These factors will likely lead property developers to adopt a "more cautious stance in terms of new construction investments," it added.
  • China's Stats Bureau in Odd Ownership Spat Over Important Index. As if the reputation of China’s economic data wasn’t shaky enough already, an odd bureaucratic tug of war is casting new doubt on one of the country’s more closely watched indicators. China’s official Purchasing Managers Index (PMI), a gauge of the nation’s manufacturing activity, has been jointly released by the National Bureau of Statistics and an industry association called the China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing (CFLP) since 2005. Now, however, each body is trying to claim the data for itself.
  • Class Warfare and the Buffett Rule by Arthur B. Laffer. Implementing a surtax on 'millionaires' would hurt just about everyone but the super rich like Warren Buffett.
Business Insider:
  • Obama's New Chief of Staff Made Some Amazing Hedge Fund Investments At Citi(C). Another well-kept secret in Lew's Citigroup career is that he invested in John Paulson, who is famous for making billions shorting mortgages during the crisis. When Lew became COO of Citi Alternative Investments at the end of 2007, one of Citi's internal funds had $18 million invested in Paulson's Advantage Plus fund. Within three months of Lew becoming COO, the investment in Paulson had doubled to $41.5 million, The Huffington Post reported in 2010. Most of Lew's Wall Street past has already been covered extensively by the media when he underwent a Senate confirmation hearing to become the head of the Office of Management and Budget in 2010. During that hearing, Lew said he did not believe deregulation caused the financial crisis—a striking differentiation from his fellow Democrats, who often cite deregulation of Wall Street as the root cause of the 2008 financial crisis. According to The Huffington Post, Lew said during the 2010 hearing that "the problems in the financial industry preceded deregulation," adding that he "personally know the extent to which deregulation drove it, but I don't believe that deregulation was the proximate cause." Lew's financial history shouldn't come as a surprise, and actually continues the trending characteristic of Obama's chief of staff appointments—former chief Rahm Emanuel used to be an investment banker at the now-defunct firm Wasserstein Perella and outgoing chief-Bill Dalley was the head of JP Morgan's Midwest operations.
  • Now Desperate Greek Parents Are Giving Up Their Children. The economic crisis in Greece is beginning to take its toll in alarming ways. The BBC published a story today recounting how some Greek families are giving away their children because they are now unable to take care of them.
  • The Top 25 Best Performing Hedge Funds In The World.
  • Check Out All The Best Gadgets From CES 2012 Right Here.
  • Google+(GOOG) Is Way Bigger Than We Thought: It's Totally Going To Change How The Web Works.
Zero Hedge:
NY Times:
  • Awaiting a Greek Payout. Could Greece’s next rescue payout go straight into the pockets of London hedge funds? That, more or less, is the bet that a growing number of investors are making now as they load up on Greek government securities that mature in March. That is when Athens hopes to receive a potentially make-or-break bailout payment — a lifeline of as much as 30 billion euros ($38 billion) from the European Union and the International Monetary Fund. Greece’s new prime minister, Lucas D. Papademos, has warned that without that infusion, his country might well default on its debts, a move that might force Greece to leave the euro currency union. So even though Greece is already effectively bankrupt, some investors are buying and holding the country’s short-term debt — gambling that, at least in March, Athens will make a point of paying its creditors. The risks those investors run, though, include the possibility that their very actions could help discourage the European Union and I.M.F from handing Greece the March bailout installment that would enable Athens to make those debt payments. With the stakes so high, investors are betting that Europe will go the extra mile to keep Greece afloat. And if the price to do that means that taxpayer funds end up bolstering the returns of a few hardy speculators — then, as far as those investors are concerned, all the better. Such a trade-off, however, carries ramifications that go well beyond the profit motives of its participants.
  • Hundreds Threaten Suicide at Microsoft(MSFT) Supplier Plant In China. Some 300 Chinese Foxconn employees who manufacture X-box 360 machines said they would throw themselves from their Wuhan, China, plant if demands for lost wages were not met. China Jasmine Revolution, an activist revolutionary organization with a name borrowed from the Tunisian revolt that set off the Middle East unrest, reported that employees made their demands for a wage increase for 100 employees on Jan. 2.
Rasmussen Reports:


  • Urban Outfitters(URBN) CEO Resigns, Stock Falls 15% After-Hours. Clothing retailer Urban Outfitters Inc, grappling with piled-up inventory and declining gross margins, said Chief Executive Glen Senk resigned in a surprise move that sent the company's shares tumbling 15 percent in after-hours trading. Urban Outfitters named its chairman and co-founder, Richard Hayne, as Senk's replacement, but some analysts expressed reservations over the move. "We have low confidence that Dick Hayne will be the right leader to usher in the new 'big company' era Urban needs to embrace," Macquarie analyst Liz Dunn wrote in a note.
  • Mafia Now "Italy's No. 1 Bank" as Crisis Bites: Report. Organized crime has tightened its grip on the Italian economy during the economic crisis, making the Mafia the country's biggest "bank" and squeezing the life out of thousands of small firms, according to a report on Tuesday.
  • There will be protests in Italy against Europe, Germany and the European Central Bank unless Italians soon see clear benefits resulting from their willingness to step up savings and accept an economic revamp, citing an interview with Italian Minister Mario Monti. "I am demanding heavy sacrifices from the Italians," Monti is citing as saying. "I can only do this if concrete advantages become visible."
  • Asia-Pacific Credit Outlook Moderated By Sluggish Exports And European Slowdown by Standard & Poor's. Global risks have steadily increased over the past year, with economic growth marked down. Brittle market confidence is manifesting in liquidity and funding pressures, particularly in the eurozone, with a knock-on effect on the rest of the world. While emerging markets are holding up, Standard & Poor's base case is for weak growth in the US and a mild recession in the eurozone during the first half of 2012.
  • The Bank of Japan may say that the country's economy is likely to contract for the year through March 31. The BOJ may revise its economic forecast at Jan. 23-24 policy meeting.

  • China's first-quarter power consumption growth may be as low as 5%, citing Yu Yanshan, deputy director of the State Electricity Regulator Commission, as saying. Power consumption growth slowed to 11.7% last year from 14.5% in 2010, citing Yu.
China Daily:
  • Austerity, while painful, is "a must" for heavily indebted nations, Xiao Gang, chairman of Bank of China Ltd., wrote in a commentary today. Restoring investor faith in European governments and banks is paramount, Xiao wrote. Debt restructuring may also be inevitable and should be done quickly, he said. It is impossible for emerging markets to rescue the world, Xiao wrote.
Securities Times:
  • Home Prices May Fall Further 30% in China's Shenzhen. Property prices in Hong Kong's neighboring city will likely fall to levels seen in April 2009 with government curbs in tact, citing Centaline Property Consultants. Shenzhen new home transactions by area fell to an 11-year low last year, citing Centaline data. Shenzhen used-home sales slumped 55% y/y in 2011, which was the most on record.
21st Century Business Herald:
  • PBOC Adviser Sees 2 More Years for China Property Curbs. One or two more years are needed for curbs to stay in place to stabilize the housing market before the government can introduce long-term policy, citing central bank adviser Xia Bin. China needs to keep property measures stable and consistent, citing Xia. The reduction in property investment is a big risk to China's economy, citing Xia. Risks from the property curbs will emerge this year, bringing more pressure on their implementation and the overall economy. The fall in home prices will reduce local government's land sales, which affects the banking system and equity market, he said.
  • China's Ministry of Commerce targets 10% growth for the value of total imports and exports this year, citing people familiar with the matter.
Evening Recommendations
William Blair:
  • Rated (BSFT) Outperform.
Night Trading
  • Asian equity indices are -.75% to +.75% on average.
  • Asia Ex-Japan Investment Grade CDS Index 207.0 -2.0 basis points.
  • Asia Pacific Sovereign CDS Index 160.0 -.5 basis point.
  • FTSE-100 futures -.51%.
  • S&P 500 futures -.23%.
  • NASDAQ 100 futures -.30%.
Morning Preview Links

Earnings of Note
  • (SVU)/.25
  • (LEN)/.16
  • (FUL)/.59
Economic Releases
10:30 am EST
  • Bloomberg consensus estimates call for a weekly crude oil inventory build of +1,000,000 barrels versus a +2,209,000 barrel gain the prior week. Distillate supplies are estimated to rise by +2,250,000 barrels versus a +3,224,000 barrel gain the prior week. Gasoline inventories are estimated to rise by +2,250,000 barrels versus a +2,479,000 barrel gain the prior week. Finally, Refinery Utilization is estimated to rise by +.5% versus a +.8% gain the prior week.
2:00 pm EST
  • The Fed's Beige Book

Upcoming Splits

  • None of note
Other Potential Market Movers
  • The Fed's Evans speaking, Fed's Lockhart speaking, Fed's Plosser speaking, 10-Year T-Note Auction, weekly MBA mortgage applications report, Needham Growth Conference, CES 2012, Deutsche Bank Auto Industry Conference and the Goldman Sachs Energy Conference could also impact trading today.
BOTTOM LINE: Asian indices are mostly lower, weighed down by technology and real estate shares in the region. I expect US stocks to open mixed and to weaken into the afternoon, finishing modestly lower. The Portfolio is 75% net long heading into the day.

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