Monday, May 18, 2009

Monday May 18 2009 - Before Opening Bell

Bank of America (BAC 11.48, +0.81, +7.59%)  was upgraded to buy from neutral and added to the conviction buy list at Goldman Sachs, which says the stock overhang should start to abate and that the bank may earn 25 cents a share during the second quarter, well above consensus estimates of a penny a share.
Analysts at J.P. Morgan lifted their rating on MGM Mirage Inc. (MGM 8.31, +0.64, +8.34%) to overweight from neutral and raised their year-end price target to $11 from $9. They cited the company's improved liquidity position after its recent capital raise as well as "really low" investor expectations for MGM's same-store Las Vegas Strip portfolio.
Citigroup upgraded home builder Lennar Corp. (LEN 9.50, +0.69, +7.83%)  to buy from hold, saying the stock is trading on a roughly 50% discount to its peers based on price to book value.
Home improvement retailer Lowe's Cos. (LOW 19.87, +1.42, +7.70%)  said its second-quarter profit declined to $476 million, or 32 cents a share, from $607 million, or 41 cents, a year earlier. Sales fell to $11.8 billion from $12 billion. Lowe's forecast second-quarter profit of 51 cents to 55 cents a share with comparable sales expected to decline in a range of 4% to 8%. Analysts, on average, estimated the retailer to earn 25 cents a share in the first quarter and 50 cents in the second quarter.

Other Headlines (pre-market)

LONDON (MarketWatch) -- U.S. stock futures edged higher Monday, with the housing market in the spotlight as a builder's index is due for release after figures from home-improvement retailer Lowe's topped expectations.

Analysts at Ried Thunberg ICAP said that record-low levels for three-month inter-bank rates, known as LIBOR, weren't necessarily a sign of normalcy in the banking system. On Monday the three-month U.S. dollar LIBOR rate hit 0.785%.

"The bad news is that only a few banks will lend and even fewer banks can borrow at these quoted rate levels for any length of time," the analysts said

May 18 (Bloomberg) -- The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index is supported by a technical indicator derived from trading patterns and the so-called Fibonacci sequence that may prevent the gauge from falling more than 6 percent from current levels, according to UniCredit Markets & Investment Banking.

Fibonacci ratios are based on the sequence pioneered by 13th century mathematician Leonardo Pisano and used in technical analysis to determine highs and lows for prices and predict direction. They include 23.6, 38.2, 50, 61.8 and 76.4 percent moves.

May 18 (Bloomberg) -- China is stockpiling commodities such as copper and iron ore as part of a reallocation of its sovereign wealth amid concern that the value of its dollar assets may decline, according to the Royal Bank of Canada. 

China, the world’s biggest consumer of iron ore, boosted imports of the material to a record 57 million metric tons in April. China’s purchases of copper and copper products reached a record 399,833 metric tons last month, compared with 374,957 tons in March. Oil rose to a six-month high on May 12 after China, the world’s second-biggest energy-consuming country, increased crude imports by 14 percent in April.

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