January 2, 2009 / 4:11 PM / 11 years ago

STOCKS NEWS US-No end in sight for recession: ECRI

Stocks on the move [HOT-RTRS] Real-Time Equity news [U E]

U.S. stock market report [.N] 1104 ET 02Jan2009-No end in sight for recession: ECRI ———————————————————————————————————————

A measure of future economic growth in the United States is still near an all-time low, a sign that the end to the recession is still not in sight, the Ecnomic Cycle Research Institute said Friday. The group’s Weekly Leading Index was 108 in the week ended Dec. 26, up from 106.8 in the previous week.

“Despite a three-week uptick, WLI growth remains close to its all-time low seen in early December, which tells us that the recession will persist for the time being,” the ECRI wrote. [ID:nNYC001219]

Reuters Messaging: ryan.vlastelica.reuters.com@reuters.net 1045 ET 02Jan2009-Stifel Nicolaus picks best bank choices for 2009 ———————————————————————————————————————

Stifel Nicolaus Friday presented a list of banks it considered its top sector choices for 2009, though it cautioned that issues of credit quality deterioration and capital adequacy were still issues that were unlikely to see near-term improvement.

The firm’s list includes: BancorpSouth (BXS.N), City Holding (CHCO.O), Danvers Bancorp DNBK.O, First Horizon (FHN.N), People’s United Financial (PBCT.O) and TCF Financial TCB.N.

“Though not unscathed by the credit cycle, these institutions maintain adequate capital levels, in our view, and, in many cases, will capitalize on weakened competitors,” Stifel Nicolaus wrote. The firm continued that the companies weren’t necessarily stocks that would provide a refuge, saying instead that they had strong balance sheets and compelling valuations.

“The list represents our best ideas in a sector that we believe will remain troubled from an earnings perspective for the next several quarters,” it wrote.

Reuters Messaging: ryan.vlastelica.reuters.com@reuters.net 1028 ET 02Jan2009-Airlines advance on fall in crude oil prices ———————————————————————————————————————

U.S. airline stocks gained ground on Friday, as the price of crude oil continued to slip as investors worried how the recession would impact demand.

The AMEX Airline Index .XAL rose 2.3 percent to 24.81 while February crude futures were off 0.4 percent to $44.43 per barrel. The contract hit a session low of $41.05 a barrel earlier on Friday.

Among the major U.S. airlines, UAL Corp UAUA.O, which owns United Airlines, rose 4.3 percent to $11.50 while U.S. Airways LCC.N gained 2.6 percent to $7.93 and Delta Air Lines (DAL.N) was up 2.7 percent to $11.77.

Reuters Messaging: ryan.vlastelica.reuters.com@reuters.net 1023 ET 02Jan2009-Factory activity hits 28-year low: ISM ———————————————————————————————————————

U.S. factory activity slid to a 28-year low on Friday, according to an industry report by the Institute for Supply Management. [ID:nWEN2173]

The ISM’s index of national factory activity fell to 32.4, compared with the Reuters Estimate of 35.5 and the November reading of 36.2. Any reading below 50 represents contraction.

Reuters Messaging: ryan.vlastelica.reuters.com@reuters.net 1009 ET 02Jan2009-Fitch upgrades Wachovia after deal closes ———————————————————————————————————————

Fitch Ratings raised its view on Wachovia Corp to “AA” from “A-plus” after Wells Fargo closed its acquisition of the bank and assumed its debt. Wells Fargo’s rating was affirmed at “AA.” [ID:nN02356786]

Following the Wednesday close, Wells Fargo now has one of the largest deposit bases in the country.

Wells Fargo shares slid 2.6 percent to $28.72. 0944 ET 02Jan2009-Nov semiconductor sales down 10 pct: SIA ———————————————————————————————————————

Global semiconductor sales fell almost 10 percent in November, hurt by the economic slowdown, according to the Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA). Sales slid to $20.8 billion from $23.1 billion in November 2007. For the first 11 months of 2008, sales were up 0.2 percent.

The SIA said the slowdown was impacting semiconductor companies less than other sectors, and that it expected the group to remain the second-largest exporter in the U.S. for 2008.” [ID:nBNG424684]

Reuters Messaging: ryan.vlastelica.reuters.com@reuters.net

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