Current Futures: Dow +8.00, S&P +1.10, NASDAQ +4.00
European Trade: Both European and Asian equity markets rose overnight, reversing the declines seen yesterday. The U.S. futures traded mixed once again, unaffected by the overnight market activity.
Bad news from the auto industry continues. Carmakers seem to be the second most affected business by the credit crisis, after the financial sector.
Toyota, the largest car manufacturer, and the company with the biggest share in the U.S. market, had its debt-rating cut by Moody's tonight. This decision comes after the car manufacturer announced its losses might be up to three times larger than expected, on very weak U.S. and Japanese sales. The Japanese company said losses might reach $5 billion, or about 5% of its market cap. According to Moody's, the company now has an Aa1 rating, down from Aaa. Toyota was the only non-financial corporation that held such a high debt rating in Asia.
Ford, the U.S. car company that, until now, refused money from the U.S. government, might need to raise as much as $4 billion cash due to a deficit in its pension fund. This would only add additional pressure on Ford, after it reported a $14.6 billion lost last year and depleted its $10 billion credit line in the following days. Some say that Ford will run out of the minimal cash reserves by the middle of this year, making government aid a necessity. To make things worst in the auto-industry, it now looks like the auto-suppliers will also need a bailout program, worth of $25 billion.
Ahead, the global markets are preparing themselves for the Non-Farm Payroll release, which will probably reveal, once again, the bad situation in the U.S. labor market. It is expected that the report will show that the unemployment rate surged another 0.3%, to 7.5%, the highest level since 1992, while payrolls dropped for the 13th consecutive month.
Analysts expect the NFP to print a -530.000 read, the first time since 1939 that the economy shed more than 500,000 workers for three consecutive months. However, analysts' estimates range from -400,000 to a whooping -750,000.
The German Dax rose 38.98 points (0.86%) to 4,549.47, while the U.K. Ftse gained 32.88 points (0.78%) to 4,261.81.
Crude oil continues to trade in the same small range that it has for the last three days. Crude oil for March delivery fell $0.60 to $40.30.
Gold is again trading above the $900 benchmark. Bullion for immediate delivery rose $1.40 to $910.10.
Previous Asian trade: Tonight, the Nikkei added 126.97 points (1.60%) to 8,076.62. The Australian S&P/Asx rose 41.30 points (1.20%) to 3,469.90.