President Hosni Mubarak finally announced that he would step down this morning, sending Egyptians into wild cheers and sending the Egypt exchange traded fund (ETF) surging.
- Mubarak has ceded all power to the Egyptian military and left Cairo, sending tens of thousands of protesters cheering and shouting “Egypt is free!” Market Vectors Egypt (NYSEArca: EGPT) jumped 1.3% in early trading; we’ll keep an eye on the ETF as this situation plays out.
- The trade deficit widened in December as rising oil prices pushed the value of imports up faster than U.S. exports. The deficit increased 5.9% in December to $40.6 billion, the Commerce Department reported Friday. U.S. exports of goods and services rose to $163 billion, a 1.8 percent gain and the best showing since July 2008. Sales of industrial machinery, civilian aircraft and autos and auto parts led U.S. exports. The Industrial Select Sector SPDR (NYSEArca: XLI) is up just slightly so far this morning.
- European stocks fell Friday as traders weighed the developing Egypt crisis, a contraction to Spain’s economy and news of a key tie-up between Microsoft and the world’s biggest mobile phone maker Nokia. “There’s still a belief that Egypt will see a peaceful transition of power but the theme of risk aversion does seem to be creeping back onto the cards ahead of the weekend break,” said Chris Weston, a trader at IG Markets. The ProShares UltraShort Europe ETF (NYSEArca: EPV) rose almost 2% in early trading.
- The Obama administration will propose a wind-down of government-controlled mortgage buyers Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. A large portion of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac should be wound down over time while the fees that the troubled mortgage refinance giants charge for guaranteeing mortgages sold to investors are increased to slowly ease the private sector back into the housing market, the Treasury Department said Friday. The SPDR Dow Jones REIT ETF (NYSEArca: RWR) is up just slightly in early trading.
- Shares of Nokia (NYSE: NOK) fell almost 13% in early trading after the company announced plans to use (NASDAQ: MFST) mobile operating system for its smartphones in a last-ditch effort to take on Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) and Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL). SPDR Morgan Stanley Technology (NYSEArca: MTK) is down slightly on the news; Nokia is 3% of the fund and Microsoft is 2.7%.
For full disclosure, Tom Lydon’s clients own shares of GOOG and AAPL.
Gregory A. Clay contributed to this article.
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