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Keystone Morning Quickie$

October 28th 2009

Market Commentary

The futures are currently pointing downwards after 3 consecutive days of weakness. Economic data was mixed yesterday as housing was better than expected, while consumer confidence was worse. Durable goods at 8:30am were in line with expectations rising 1%.

So far 185 of 219 S & P companies have reported better than expected earnings, yet many people are concerned that this is due to significant cost cutting and not due to increased sales.

The SPY closed below the 20 EMA on the Daily yesterday and looks like it may be headed back to test the 50 EMA at $105.10. The last time we tested the 50 , earlier this month, the markets exploded to the upside.

We will continue to expect volatility in both directions as market participants start to wonder if the markets have gone to far to fast or is this pullback just another great opportunity to put some money to work.

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Technical Levels

50 Day 200 Day
S&P 1049 916
DOW 9686 8570
NASDAQ 2087 1779

Keystone’s Trades

Wynn Resorts (WYNN) Short sale – After reporting a sharp drop in 3rd quarter profit yesterday which was still better than expected, the stock got hammered on huge volume. What may be exhaustion, after trading down from $75 earlier this month, we believe that the stock will continue to see selling pressure. After closing yesterday at $56.13, we will be patient in getting “our price”. This very well may have a $3-$4 rally before the selling resumes. We will not look to pick a bottom and get long, but rather wait for a good short set up. We will begin building a position around the $60 level.

Target: $52.96


Economic Calendar

7:00 MBA Mortgage Applications
8:30 Durable Goods
9:30 Hearing: Dark Pools, Flash Trading, etc.
10:00 New Home Sales
10:00 Metropolitan Area Employment
10:30 EIA Petroleum Inventories
11:00 Hearing: Executive Pay
1:00 PM Results of $41B, 5-Year Note Auction

Top News Stories

GMAC needs third lifeline. GMAC Financial Services and the Treasury are reportedly in advanced talks to prop up the auto-lender with its third helping of taxpayer money, making it the first of the stress-tested banks to need additional government capital. Treasury will likely inject another $2.8-5.6B into GMAC in exchange for preferred shares, bringing its total investment in GMAC thus far to $15.3-18.1B, for which it currently owns 35.4% of the firm. Sources say the FDIC has also agreed to backstop another $2.9B of GMAC’s debt to facilitate day-to-day lending. The government’s willingness to deepen taxpayer exposure to GMAC reflects the troubled lender’s importance to the revival of the auto industry.

Consumer confidence dips. A lower-than-expected consumer confidence reading sent a chill through markets Tuesday. Conference Board’s index came in at 47.7, down from 53.4 a month ago, and lower than consensus estimates of 53.2. A plunge in expectations (65.7 vs. 73.3 in Sept.) led the way down. “Consumers’ assessment of present-day conditions has grown less favorable, with labor market conditions playing a major role in this grimmer assessment,” the group said, noting its Present Situation Index is now at a 26-year low. Analysts struggled to find an obvious explanation for the decline, but noted the drop didn’t bode well for recovery hopes.

Risk appetite withers. State Street’s investor confidence index fell 10 points to 108.4, the lowest since April, with the most pronounced decline seen among North American investors (-12.8 to 101.1). European investors were also much more subdued (-9.3 to 101.8), but confidence rose among Asian investors, albeit to a level that still trails the U.S. and Europe (+2.4 to 95.3). “Institutional investors have paused to take stock,” index co-developer Ken Froot said. “While the U.S. earnings season has been relatively robust so far, the number of positive surprises that have been observed in employment, retail sales, manufacturing and trade figures has diminished considerably, and this may be influencing investor risk appetite.”

Easing Hilton’s towering debt load. Sources say Blackstone (BX) is in talks with lenders to shave about $5B off Hilton Worldwide’s $20B debt load. Specifically, Blackstone is considering coughing up another $800M in equity to buy back debt at a discount (on top of its $5.6B original investment), and would like to extend debt maturing in 2013 to 2016. With capital markets reopening over the past six months, private-equity firms are using a variety of schemes (exchange offers, repurchases, tender offers) to refinance and extend the maturities on highly-leveraged debt taken on during the heyday, staving off default.

Panel backs hedge-fund clampdown. The House Financial Services Committee overwhelmingly passed a bill that would require advisers to hedge funds, private equity and offshore funds to register with regulators, bringing some transparency to the loosely-policed industry. The bill, however, exempts venture capital funds and funds with less than $150M – which SEC chief Mary Schapiro warned “could come back to haunt investors in later years.”

Tackling too-big-to-fail. Rep. Barney Frank unveiled legislation to monitor and dissolve systemically critical financial institutions. Under the proposal, costs for taking over and euthanizing a failed bank would be paid for by shareholders and bondholders, with taxpayers temporarily covering the overflow until an assessment is rendered against the failed bank’s surviving peers. A council of regulators – including the FDIC, Treasury, Fed and SEC – would be in charge of monitoring the conglomerates and invoking a wind-down if necessary.

That’s a good czar. While so-called pay czar Kenneth Feinberg’s new rules for TARP backed firms cut compensation by about half, they also boosted base salaries by 14% to an average of $438K/year after executives complained, according to an analysis in today’s WSJ. The move appears to contradict Feinberg’s stated goal of tying pay to long-term performance, and “deepens the confusion and skepticism” surrounding the types of pay systems the government is promoting.

Ford shows why it’s #1. Consumer Reports’ much-awaited yearly car reliability survey held few surprises, with foreign automakers dominating its top-10 list, and domestic brands prominently featured on its least-reliable tally. Scion took top spot, followed by Honda (HMC), Toyota (TM) and Infiniti (NSANY). Ford (F), at #10, was the only U.S. carmaker to make the grade. Least reliable brands were Chrysler, Cadillac, Dodge and Jeep. Media reports yesterday claimed Fiat models will drive Chrysler’s turnaround efforts, but with new cars not due until 2012, it’s unclear whether Chrysler has enough staying power in its balance sheet.

Ruiz pegged as AMD insider. Sources say former AMD (AMD) CEO Hector Ruiz is the insider government officials have identified as providing nonpublic information to Galleon’s insider trading scheme. Prosecutors released fragments of recorded conversations between an unnamed AMD executive and a Galleon employee in which they allegedly discuss the timing of the spinoff of AMD’s plants before the deal was announced in Sept. 2008. Ruiz hasn’t been charged, and prosecutors don’t say he profited from insider trading.

Gloom on economy spreads. Americans are growing increasingly pessimistic about the economy after a mild upswing in September, according to WSJ/NBC’s monthly poll released Wednesday. For the first time during the Obama presidency, a majority of those polled now see the country as being on the wrong track. Fifty-eight percent think the economic slide still has a ways to go, up from 52% in September, while only 29% think we’ve hit bottom, down from 35%.

Mortgage apps drop for second straight week. Mortgage applications fell another 12.3% following a 13.7% drop last week, even as the average rate for 30-year mortgages inched down to 5.04% from 5.07% a week ago. Refinancing was 16.2% lower.

Ford picks Geely. Ford (F) selected a group led by China’s Geely as the preferred bidder for its Volvo unit, a senior Geely executive said. Geely and Ford will now enter into exclusive negotiations over Volvo.

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