Friday, March 30, 2012
Posted by Gary .....at 8:01 PM
- S&P 500 1,408.47 +.81%
- DJIA 13,212.04 +1.0%
- NASDAQ 3,091.57 +.77%
- Russell 2000 830.30 +.03%
- Wilshire 5000 14,627.44 +.71%
- Russell 1000 Growth 663.73 +.93%
- Russell 1000 Value 691.34 +.62%
- Morgan Stanley Consumer 801.54 +1.20%
- Morgan Stanley Cyclical 1,017.02 -.31%
- Morgan Stanley Technology 716.79 +1.36%
- Transports 5,253.16 +.68%
- Utilities 458.93 +1.36%
- MSCI Emerging Markets 43.06 +.04%
- Lyxor L/S Equity Long Bias Index 1,039.41 -.08%
- Lyxor L/S Equity Variable Bias Index 822.11 +.38%
- Lyxor L/S Equity Short Bias Index 538.99 unch.
- NYSE Cumulative A/D Line 145,222 -.02%
- Bloomberg New Highs-Lows Index -77 -80
- Bloomberg Crude Oil % Bulls 12.0 -7.7%
- CFTC Oil Net Speculative Position 229,452 -2.2%
- CFTC Oil Total Open Interest 1,562,147 +.25%
- Total Put/Call .97 -6.73%
- OEX Put/Call 1.07 +3.88%
- ISE Sentiment 97.0 -9.35%
- NYSE Arms .68 -26.09%
- Volatility(VIX) 15.50 +4.59%
- S&P 500 Implied Correlation 61.09 -2.04%
- G7 Currency Volatility (VXY) 10.08 -.59%
- Smart Money Flow Index 11,114.31 +.54%
- Money Mkt Mutual Fund Assets $2.605 Trillion -.70%
- AAII % Bulls 42.47 +.21%
- AAII % Bears 25.48 -8.38%
- CRB Index 308.46 -1.91%
- Crude Oil 103.02 -3.49%
- Reformulated Gasoline 330.81 -1.69%
- Natural Gas 2.13 -10.22%
- Heating Oil 317.01 -1.61%
- Gold 1,671.90 +.50%
- Bloomberg Base Metals Index 219.61 +.06%
- Copper 382.50 +.46%
- US No. 1 Heavy Melt Scrap Steel 402.93 USD/Ton -.10%
- China Iron Ore Spot 147.60 USD/Ton +1.65%
- Lumber 260.90 +.11%
- UBS-Bloomberg Agriculture 1,554.92 +.41%
- ECRI Weekly Leading Economic Index Growth Rate 0.0% +80 basis points
- Philly Fed ADS Real-Time Business Conditions Index -.0427 +11.59%
- S&P 500 Blended Forward 12 Months Mean EPS Estimate 108.55 +.23%
- Citi US Economic Surprise Index 18.90 -8.5 points
- Fed Fund Futures imply 50.0% chance of no change, 50.0% chance of 25 basis point cut on 4/25
- US Dollar Index 79.0 +.11%
- Yield Curve 188.0 unch.
- 10-Year US Treasury Yield 2.21% -2 basis points
- Federal Reserve's Balance Sheet $2.861 Trillion -.51%
- U.S. Sovereign Debt Credit Default Swap 30.0 -3.22%
- Illinois Municipal Debt Credit Default Swap 217.0 +1.79%
- Western Europe Sovereign Debt Credit Default Swap Index 269.07 -3.15%
- Emerging Markets Sovereign Debt CDS Index 271.24 +.44%
- Saudi Sovereign Debt Credit Default Swap 118.35 +.39%
- Iraqi 2028 Government Bonds 84.33 +2.85%
- China Blended Corporate Spread Index 626.0 +16 basis points
- 10-Year TIPS Spread 2.34% -3 basis points
- TED Spread 40.25 unch.
- 3-Month Euribor/OIS Spread 41.25 -3.5 basis points
- 3-Month EUR/USD Cross-Currency Basis Swap -50.50 +1.5 basis points
- N. America Investment Grade Credit Default Swap Index 92.61 +1.19%
- Euro Financial Sector Credit Default Swap Index 220.24 +5.42%
- Emerging Markets Credit Default Swap Index 244.74 +2.37%
- CMBS Super Senior AAA 10-Year Treasury Spread 162.0 +7 basis points
- M1 Money Supply $2.208 Trillion -.88%
- Commercial Paper Outstanding 937.50 +.70%
- 4-Week Moving Average of Jobless Claims 365,000 +10,000
- Continuing Claims Unemployment Rate 2.6% unch.
- Average 30-Year Mortgage Rate 3.99% -9 basis points
- Weekly Mortgage Applications 663.70 -2.67%
- Bloomberg Consumer Comfort -34.7 +.2 point
- Weekly Retail Sales +3.40% +10 basis points
- Nationwide Gas $3.92/gallon +.03/gallon
- U.S. Heating Demand Next 7 Days 27.0% below normal
- Baltic Dry Index 934.0 +2.86%
- Oil Tanker Rate(Arabian Gulf to U.S. Gulf Coast) 40.0 +6.67%
- Rail Freight Carloads 232,401 +2.32%
- Large-Cap Growth +.93%
- Small-Cap Growth -.06%
- HMOs +7.69%
- Oil Tankers +6.85%
- Networking +2.27%
- REITs +1.67%
- Restaurants +1.61%
- Alt Energy -2.05%
- I-Banking -2.22%
- Oil Service -2.93%
- Coal -3.28%
- Education -5.10%
- AMLN, PNR, TAST, EPAM, KIOR, RHT, FDO and HII
- TEA, SCOR, LPI, JOSB, MAPP, SNX, AFFY, FINL, MMR and KDN
Stocks Rising into Final Hour on Euro Bounce, Better US Economic Data, Window-Dressing, Investor Performance Angst
Posted by Gary .....at 4:02 PM
Broad Market Tone:
- Advance/Decline Line: Higher
- Sector Performance: Most Sectors Rising
- Volume: Below Average
- Market Leading Stocks: Underperforming
- VIX 15.58 +.65%
- ISE Sentiment Index 100.0 -15.25%
- Total Put/Call .99 -3.88%
- NYSE Arms 1.13 +25.89%
- North American Investment Grade CDS Index 91.15 -1.82%
- European Financial Sector CDS Index 220.25 +1.18%
- Western Europe Sovereign Debt CDS Index 268.84 -1.60%
- Emerging Market CDS Index 244.62 -.50%
- 2-Year Swap Spread 25.0 +.25 basis point
- TED Spread 40.25 -1.0 basis point
- 3-Month EUR/USD Cross-Currency Basis Swap -50.50 -.5 basis point
- 3-Month T-Bill Yield .07% +1 basis point
- Yield Curve 188.0 +6 basis points
- China Import Iron Ore Spot $147.60/Metric Tonne -.07%
- Citi US Economic Surprise Index 18.90 -.7 point
- 10-Year TIPS Spread 2.34 +3 basis points
- Nikkei Futures: Indicating a +102 open in Japan
- DAX Futures: Indicating a +21 open in Germany
- Slightly Higher: On gains in my Biotech and Medical sector longs
- Disclosed Trades: Covered all of my (IWM)/(QQQ) hedges and some of my (EEM) short, then added them back
- Market Exposure: 75% Net Long
Posted by Gary .....at 3:15 PM
- Rajoy to Unveil Deepest Spanish Budget Cuts in 30 Years. Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy will unveil the most austere budget since before Spain’s return to democracy in 1978, risking a deeper recession in a bid to avoid succumbing to Europe’s debt crisis. “There’s interest in seeing how they are going to manage this particular trick of cutting the budget so aggressively,” said Harvinder Sian, an interest-rate strategist at Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc in London, during a telephone interview. “The recession will be dramatic.”
- Italy Losing Luster as Strikes Tarnish Debt Rally. The Italian bond surge delivering better returns than oil, silver or the dollar this year will fade as the nation seeks to borrow 100 billion euros ($136.7 billion) in the second quarter against a backdrop of strikes. Italian securities due in a year or more have outperformed commodities, currencies and other sovereign debt in 2012, when adjusted for volatility, as budget cuts by Prime Minister Mario Monti and European Central Bank lending spurred demand for the nation’s assets.
- Euro Spat Erupts as Fekter Upstages Juncker at Crisis Talks. A euro-area finance ministers’ meeting to bolster Europe’s crisis-fighting efforts was thrown into confusion as a spat between Luxembourg and Austria erupted over who got to brief journalists first on the outcome. Jean-Claude Juncker, 57, who chairs the meetings, abruptly cancelled a press conference in Copenhagen today after Austria’s Maria Fekter stole the Luxembourg prime minister’s thunder and signalled to reporters that the group had limited new bailout lending to 500 billion euros ($667 billion). “There was no point in having a press conference, because the Austrian finance minister announced it,” Juncker told reporters as he hustled into an elevator after the meeting. “I’m against babbling, so I wanted to make a point today,” he said in an interview later in the day. Fekter, 56, apologized.
- Corporate Bond Risk Falls in Europe, Credit-Default Swaps Show. The cost of insuring against default on European corporate debt fell, according to traders of credit-default swaps. Contracts on the Markit iTraxx Crossover Index of 50 companies with mostly high-yield credit ratings dropped 15 basis points to 604, according to JPMorgan Chase & Co. at 8 a.m. in London. The Markit iTraxx Europe Index of 125 companies with investment-grade ratings was down 2.5 at 124 basis points. The Markit iTraxx Financial Index linked to senior debt of 25 banks and insurers declined four basis points to 214 and the subordinated gauge was six lower at 348.
- Sino-Forest to File for Bankruptcy Protection. Sino-Forest Corp. (TRE), the Chinese timber grower accused of fraud by short seller Carson Block, said it plans either a sale of the company or a restructuring under which noteholders would acquire substantially all of its assets.
- Global Payments(GPN) Trades Halted as Industry Probes Data Breach. Global Payments Inc., the electronic-transaction processor, had trading halted as the credit-card industry investigated a data breach that affected firms including MasterCard (MA) Inc. Global Payments fell 9.1 percent to $47.50 when trading was halted in New York, after earlier plunging more than 13 percent. The Wall Street Journal reported that the Atlanta-based firm was hit by a security breach that may have put 50,000 cardholders at risk. MasterCard fell 0.6 percent to $425.47 at 1:19 p.m. Visa Inc. (V) fell 0.5 percent to $118.45.
- Obama Campus Fervor Losing to Apathy as Students Sour on 2012. Now a senior, Cassidy, 21, said she’s not working on a campaign this time around. She’s too busy looking for a job at a nonprofit advocacy group. She and her friends aren’t discussing the election as much as in 2008, she said. “There is not much talk of Obama at all,” Cassidy said of the mood on campus, which extends beyond the president. “I don’t think anyone’s satisfied.”
- Consumers in U.S. Boost Spending. Purchases climbed 0.8 percent in February, Commerce Department figures showed today in Washington, exceeding the 0.6 percent median gain forecast in a Bloomberg News survey of economists. The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan’s final index of consumer sentiment rose to 76.2, the highest since February 2011, from 75.3 last month.
- Business Activity in U.S. Falls Slightly in February. Business activity in the U.S. held near a 10-month high in March, showing the economy is weathering rising fuel costs. The Institute for Supply Management-Chicago Inc. said today its barometer fell to 62.2 from 64 in February. Readings greater than 50 signal growth. Economists forecast the gauge would fall to 63, according to the median of 58 estimates in a Bloomberg News survey.
- Scana Receives NRC Approval to Build South Carolina Reactors. Scana Corp. (SCG) won U.S. approval to build nuclear reactors, the second construction permit issued by regulators in more than 30 years for units that may be among the nation’s last erected this decade. The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission today voted 4-1 to approve the Cayce, South Carolina, company’s plan to construct and operate two units at its Virgil C. Summer plant, about 26 miles (42 kilometers) northwest of Columbia. Chairman Gregory Jaczko dissented, citing pending safety rules in response to Fukushima Dai-Ichi disaster in Japan.
- Copper Traders Turn Most Bearish in Two Months on China: Commodities. Copper traders are the most bearish in two months after stockpiles tracked by the biggest metals bourse rose for the first time in five weeks and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. cut its recommendation on commodities to neutral. Eleven of 25 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg expect copper to drop next week, the highest proportion since Jan. 6. Seven were neutral. Inventories reported by the London Metal Exchange rose 1.4 percent on March 27, the first gain since Feb. 22. They retreated the following two days and rose again today. Reserves in Shanghai’s bonded warehouses tripled since November and any strengthening in demand next quarter may be “tepid,” Barclays Capital said in a report March 28.
- Corn, Wheat, Soybeans Surge, Renewing Food-Inflation Concerns. Corn prices surged the most in 21 months, and wheat and soybean jumped after forecasts by the U.S. Department of Agriculture signaled tighter crop supplies, renewing concerns that food inflation will quicken. Corn inventories on March 1 in the U.S. fell more than analysts forecast to the lowest for this time of year since 2004, the USDA said today in a report. Wheat reserves dropped to a three-year low, and planting intentions trailed estimates. Farmers will sow 73.902 million acres with soybeans this year, down 1.4 percent from 2011, the agency said after surveying farmers.
- French Police Arrest 19 Islamic Radicals, Sarkozy Says. Just over a week after killing a self-declared jihadist who murdered seven people in the Toulouse area, French police arrested 19 people involved in radical Islamist networks across the country. “These arrests are linked to the world of a certain sort of radical Islam,” President Nicolas Sarkozy said in an interview today with Europe1 radio. Kalashnikov automatic weapons were found in the homes of some of those arrested, he said, adding that there may be additional raids across the country.
- Apple(AAPL) Labor Pact Could Ripple Across China. Manufacturers grappling with rising labor costs and increasing worker demands in China could face further pressure if a critical probe of a major Apple Inc. supplier sets a new standard for China's factory workers.
- Not-So-Smooth Operator. Obama increasingly comes across as devious and dishonest.
- Bin Laden Traveled All Over Pakistan And Had Several Kids Without Being Hassled By The ISI, Says His Wife.
- The Insanity of the Sarkozy Carry-Trade's Contagion Risk in 3 Charts.
- Is Spanish Regional Debt Out Of Control?
- Is The Chinese Stock Market About To Crash?
- Next Stop, Grand Central for Goldman(GS) Tell-All. It is going to pay off big time for former Goldman Sachs exec Greg Smith to write about his stint in the belly of the Wall Street beast. Smith scored a mind-boggling $1.5 million advance to chronicle his life and times at the investment bank.
- Large Hedge Funds Fared Well in 2011. Hedge funds have endured a rough year. Tumultuous markets. Tighter regulations. An insider trading crackdown. But despite the lackluster environment, the top managers still took home $14.4 billion in 2011.
- A Bill to Loosen Hedge Fund Marketing. Investors may soon get a keyhole view into the cloistered world of hedge funds and private equity firms, thanks to a little-known provision in a new bill that would relax rules on how investment firms can market themselves to the public. The bill, called the Jump-start Our Business Start-ups Act, or JOBS Act, would reverse parts of a nearly 80-year-old regulation preventing these funds from discussing even the most basic items, like performance or investment strategy, with outsiders. The rule, part of the Securities Act of 1933, gave an already secretive industry the regulatory cover to remain silent. “It’s a dramatic change from where the industry is,” said Tripp Kyle, a partner at the public relations firm Brunswick Group, which works with some of the largest investment firms in the world. “I think it presents a real opportunity for firms to evolve their mind-set from what they can’t do to what they can and perhaps should be doing.”
- BP(BP): U.S. Hiding Evidence on Size of Gulf Oil Spill. BP Plc has accused the U.S. government of withholding evidence that may show the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill was smaller than federal officials claimed, a key issue in determining the oil company's liability. A reduction in the size of the spill would lower the maximum civil fine BP could be forced to pay under the U.S. Clean Water Act, a sum now estimated as high as $17.6 billion.
- Germany Launches Strategy to Counter ECB Largesse. Germany is preparing a raft of measures to safeguard its financial system and prevent excess stimulus from the European Central Bank leaking into an inflationary credit boom.
- Fiat SpA CEO Sergio Marchionne said that the month of March was "horrible" and that car sales in Italy fell by around 40%.
Posted by Gary .....at 2:11 PM
- Small-Cap Value +.10%
- 1) Homebuilders -.94% 2) Coal -.81% 3) Airlines -.73%
- IOC, VLO, UAL, BBY, ARLP, FINL, SHPGY, XRTX, TIBX, MAPP, AFFY, GPN, PVR and INVN
- 1) LO 2) IVN 3) ETFC 4) RIMM 5) AET
- 1) KND 2) USB 3) HPY 4) V 5) F
Posted by Gary .....at 11:34 AM
- Mid-Cap Growth +.44%
- 1) HMOs +1.75% 2) Ag +1.0% 3) Oil Service +.97%
- VRNT, IMGN, VVUS, TRIP, ATE, JNY, LPI and CVH
- 1) BBBY 2) RIO 3) RAX 4) KSS 5) ETE
- 1) LNKD 2) VVUS 3) WYN 4) DISCA 5) CSX
Posted by Gary .....at 12:08 AM
- Asian equity indices are -.50% to +.50% on average.
- Asia Ex-Japan Investment Grade CDS Index 162.0 +7.0 basis points.
- Asia Pacific Sovereign CDS Index 133.75 +6.5 basis points.
- FTSE-100 futures +.65%.
- S&P 500 futures +.24%.
- NASDAQ 100 futures +.21%.
Earnings of Note
8:30 am EST
- Personal Income for February is estimated to rise +.4% versus a +.3% gain in January.
- Personal Spending for February is estimated to rise +.6% versus a +.2% gain in January.
- The PCE Core for February is estimated to rise +.1% versus a +.2% gain in January.
9:45 am EST
- The Chicago Purchasing Manager Index for March is estimated to fall to 63.0 versus 64.0 in February.
9:55 am EST
- Final Univ. of Mich. Consumer Confidence for March is estimated to rise to 74.5 versus a prior estimate of 74.3.
- None of note
Other Potential Market Movers
- The Eurogroup meeting and NAPM-Milwaukee for March could also impact trading today.
Thursday, March 29, 2012
Stocks Slightly Lower into Final Hour on Rising Eurozone Debt Angst, Global Growth Fears, Less Financial/Homebuilding Sector Optimism, Profit-Taking
Posted by Gary .....at 4:15 PM
Broad Market Tone:
- Advance/Decline Line: Lower
- Sector Performance: Most Sectors Declining
- Volume: Below Average
- Market Leading Stocks: Performing In Line
- VIX 16.19 +4.65%
- ISE Sentiment Index 122.0 +35.56%
- Total Put/Call 1.08 +5.88%
- NYSE Arms 1.17 -17.39%
- North American Investment Grade CDS Index 93.22 +2.79%
- European Financial Sector CDS Index 217.64 +5.64%
- Western Europe Sovereign Debt CDS Index 273.15 +1.88%
- Emerging Market CDS Index 247.39 +.45%
- 2-Year Swap Spread 24.75 +1.25 basis points
- TED Spread 41.25 +1.75 basis points
- 3-Month EUR/USD Cross-Currency Basis Swap -51.0 -1.0 bp
- 3-Month T-Bill Yield .06% -2 basis points
- Yield Curve 182.0 -3 basis points
- China Import Iron Ore Spot $147.70/Metric Tonne unch.
- Citi US Economic Surprise Index 19.60 -1.9 points
- 10-Year TIPS Spread 2.31 -2 basis points
- Nikkei Futures: Indicating a -39 open in Japan
- DAX Futures: Indicating a +32 open in Germany
- Slightly Higher: On gains in my Retail, Biotech, Medical sector longs and index hedges
- Disclosed Trades: Added to my (IWM)/(QQQ) hedges and added to my (EEM) short, then covered some of them
- Market Exposure: 75% Net Long
Posted by Gary .....at 2:58 PM
- Spain Vows to Resist Strikers’ Demands to Reverse Labor Law. Spain’s government vowed to stick to its labor overhaul, defying union leaders who threatened further unrest after staging the first general strike since Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy took office three months ago. Iberia, the Spanish unit of International Consolidated Airlines Group SA (IAG), canceled 65 percent of its flights, while national power demand was about 17 percent below usual, grid operator Red Electrica Corp. SA data showed. Unions said 77 percent of workers took part, more than during a walkout in 2010, even as the People’s Party government said fewer workers stayed home than last time. Shops, restaurants and banks in central Madrid opened as usual. While Rajoy’s measures have angered unions and undermined support for the party in a regional election on March 25, the government is still struggling to convince investors it can cut debt and reduce a 23 percent jobless rate. Spain’s extra borrowing costs compared with Germany’s increased to the most in more than a month today, surging 67 basis points from the start of March.
- Monti's Labor Law Marks Return of Political Risk: Euro Credit. Investors are facing the return of political risk in Italy as Prime Minister Mario Monti’s plan to make it easier to fire workers divides his ruling coalition. Unless Italy is “ready for what we think is a good job, we may not seek to continue,” Monti said on March 26, prompting concern the government won’t last until elections due by May 2013. He made the comments after leaders of the Democratic Party, which has backed his unelected government, said they would seek to reverse the change in Parliament. The rate on Italy’s benchmark 10-year bond has risen 27 basis points to 5.11 percent since March 20 when Monti unveiled his change to the firing rules, prompting Italy’s biggest union to call a general strike. The yield difference with comparable German bunds was at 327 basis points today, up from a seven- month low of 278 the day before the announcement.
- Sovereign, Corporate Bond Risk Rises, Credit-Default Swaps Show. The cost of insuring against default on European sovereign and corporate debt rose, according to traders of credit-default swaps. The Markit iTraxx SovX Western Europe Index of swaps on 15 governments increased 1.5 basis points to 269.5, according to BNP Paribas SA at 10:45 a.m. in London. Contracts on the Markit iTraxx Crossover Index of 50 companies with mostly high-yield credit ratings added 9.5 basis points to 602.5. The Markit iTraxx Europe Index of 125 companies with investment-grade ratings was up 2.5 at 123.5 basis points. The Markit iTraxx Financial Index linked to senior debt of 25 banks and insurers rose 5.5 basis points to 214.5 and the subordinated gauge was 11.5 higher at 349.5.
- Emerging Stocks Tumble to 2-Month Low on Slowdown Concern. Emerging-market stocks fell to a two-month low as U.S. jobless claims exceeded economists’ estimates and Chinese earnings missed forecasts. The MSCI Emerging Markets Index (MXEF) declined 1.4 percent to 1,029.67 by 11:34 a.m. in New York, on course for its weakest close since Jan. 31. Information technology and energy companies led declines.
- H&M Profit Misses Estimates as Margin Reaches Eight-Year. Hennes & Mauritz AB (HMB), Europe’s second-largest clothing retailer, reported first-quarter profit that missed estimates as increased textile costs and markdowns led to the weakest profitability in eight years. H&M fell as much as 5.9 percent in Stockholm trading, the most since August. The retailer, which sells jeans for less than 20 euros ($26.70) and underwear designed by soccer player David Beckham, said the gross margin narrowed to 55.8 percent of sales from 57.8 percent a year earlier. That was the lowest since the first quarter of 2004, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. “H&M is having to give up margin to drive sales,” Richard Chamberlain, an analyst at Bank of America, wrote in a report.
- Goldman(GS) Should Stop Saying Clients Come First, Levitt Says. Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS) should stop promoting itself as “putting customers first” because the slogan ignores conflicts inherent in trading, said Arthur Levitt, the former Securities and Exchange Commission chairman and a senior adviser to the firm. “We probably ought to stop saying that because nobody really puts customers first,” Levitt, 81, said in an interview with Erik Schatzker on Bloomberg Television today. “Business is a tension between sellers and buyers.”
- Pension Deficit for 100 U.S. Company Plans Increased 41% in 2011. The pension-funding deficit for 100 of the largest defined-benefit pension plans at U.S. companies, including Boeing Co. (BA) and AT&T Inc.(T), increased 41 percent last year as low interest rates drove up liabilities. The 100 largest plans posted a record shortfall of $326.8 billion for 2011, up from $232.1 billion a year earlier, according to a report by Milliman Inc., a Seattle-based actuarial and consulting company. Pension-related charges to earnings rose to $38.3 billion, also a record, from $30.5 billion in 2010, according to the report, based on figures for the largest U.S. plans that reported 2011 data in 10K filings to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission by March 5. Contributions to pensions were $55.1 billion for the 100 companies tracked, according to the report. Costs related to pensions will continue to rise because of low interest rates, which cause estimated pension payouts to increase after they are calculated at net present value.
- Best Buy to Cut Costs Close 50 Stores. Best Buy Co. said it plans to close 50 U.S. big box stores and open 100 small mobile locations in the U.S. in fiscal 2013 and cut $800 million in costs by fiscal 2015. The news came Thursday as the biggest U.S. specialty electronics retailer posted a fiscal fourth quarter loss partly due to restructuring charges. Despite the loss, Best Buy's adjusted results for the quarter topped Wall Street's expectations. But the company's full year revenue guidance fell slightly short of analysts' expectations, sending its stock down 6 percent.
- Fed Nominees Powell, Stein, Approved by Senate Banking Committee. The Senate Banking Committee approved both of President Barack Obama’s nominees to the Federal Reserve’s Board of Governors, advancing them to the full Senate for a final confirmation vote. The panel voted to approve the nominations of Harvard University professor Jeremy Stein and Jerome Powell, an attorney and private equity investor who was a Treasury undersecretary for President George H.W. Bush.
- Jobless Claims More Than Estimates: Economy. Applications for jobless insurance dropped by 5,000 last week to 359,000, the Labor Department said today in Washington. The Labor Department revised the claims data to reflect updates to the seasonal adjustments used to help smooth out week-to-week changes. The result of the adjustment led to higher levels of initial claims over recent weeks, while leaving intact the trend of declining dismissals over the past year. The median forecast in the Bloomberg survey of 46 economists called for 350,000 claims. The Labor Department revised the previous week’s figure to 364,000 from an initially reported 348,000.
- Fed's Plosser Says Fed May Need to Raise Rates Before End of 2014. Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia Charles Plosser said the Fed may need to raise interest rates before late 2014 and that additional stimulus isn’t needed as the U.S. economy shows signs of strength.
- Euro-Zone Fix Would Cost EUR5.1 Trillion, Says New Report. Remember euro bonds? The Boston Consulting Group is reviving that highly contentious topic in a sweeping new proposal that, even if it never flies, highlights the giant amounts at stake in Europe's debt crisis. BCG's report estimates the amount of debt to be restructured at an alarmingly large EUR5.1 trillion ($6.8 trillion) -- more than seven times the size of German Chancellor Angela Merkel's latest proposal for an expanded European bailout facility. That is hardly going to go over well with Merkel and leaders of other bailout-weary electorates among the euro zone's creditor nations. But the advisory firm believes the eventual alternative to jointly restructuring the region's excess sovereign and private debt is worse: a chaotic breakup in the euro zone with "devastating consequences."
- India Raises Heat on Foreign Companies. If businesses like certainty, then India has been a big turnoff for foreign companies. A series of recent developments have greatly increased the perception that the country has a risky business environment where policies suddenly can turn hostile. Tax proposals in the national budget unveiled in March stunned foreign firms. They could create significant retroactive tax liabilities for international mergers stretching back a half-century and eliminate a tax exemption many investors now have, wreaking havoc on corporate deal making, legal experts say. More than a half-billion dollars in foreign capital has left the Indian stock market in recent days.
- BRIC Nations Push for Faster Change at IMF. The Brics group of nations expressed concern Thursday over the West's slow pace at giving developing nations greater control over the International Monetary Fund, and they bashed Western countries' loose monetary policies for causing instability in global financial markets.
- Autism Cases Rise in U.S., Report Finds. One in every 88 U.S. children has been diagnosed with an autism-like disorder, a government report says, up sharply since figures were last published in 2009, but the reasons for the increase largely remain a puzzle to public-health officials. The number of kids in the U.S. who have been identified with autism-spectrum disorders, characterized by substantial social impairment and repetitive behaviors, has been on the rise for years. Thursday's numbers, put out by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, show a 23% increase over data gathered in 2006 and a 78% increase from 2002.
- The ObamaCare Reckoning. After the third and final day of Supreme Court scrutiny of the Affordable Care Act, the bravado of the legal establishment has turned to uncertainty and in some cases outright panic. Everyone who said the decision was an easy fait accompli has been proven wrong by a Court that has treated the constitutional questions that ObamaCare poses with the seriousness they deserve. This reckoning has also been a marvelous public education.
- Most Tax-Friendly States For Retirees.
- Europe ends sharply lower on data; yields jump. Italy’s FTSE MIB index drops more than 3%.
- Jes Staley, chief executive officer of JPMorgan Chase & Co.'s(JPM) investment bank, told CNBC that equities trading in the first quarter was "still lighter than we'd like to see it." Asked about the trading environment in the quarter, particularly in equities, Staley said it's "down about 20%" from a year ago.
- Do We Have a Hot IPO Market or Not? So do we have a hot initial public offering market or not? After yesterday's stunning debut of Annie's Foods and Vocera Communications, everyone was watching to see if today's IPO crop would outperform. So far, the picture is mixed:
- Investors Brace for China's First Bond Default. China's fledgling corporate debt market will face a watershed moment next month, when an insolvent manufacturer of chemical fibers may become the first company in the brief history of the country's bond market to default on its obligations.
- Spain Is The New Greece: And This Time It's Big Enough To Matter...
- The Citi US Economic Surprise Index Continues To Drop. (graph)
- These Are Not Good Charts For Spain.
- European Stress Getting Progressively Worse As LTRO Boost A Distant Memory. (graph)
- European Weakness Spreads and Accelerates.
- Fighting With Spanish Windmills, Or How Spain's Debt/GDP Ratio Is Double What Is Reported.
- Greek Deposit Run Update: Hopeless and Getting Worse. (graph)
- Wolf: Obamacare's Inescapable Death March. The die is cast: Obamacare will not survive. This is not a prediction of how the Supreme Court will rule on President Obama’s health care takeover, mind you. It’s the harsh reality that if Obamacare does not die a judicial or political death - or better yet, both - it will die an economic death, and if it does, it will take America down with it.
- U.S. Moving Minesweepers to Waters Near Iran. Four Navy minesweepers will be on their way to the Persian Gulf within weeks as part of an effort to boost American military capability in the region amid rising tensions with Iran, a Navy official says. The minesweepers will be loaded onto cargo ships leaving the United States in late April, according to the Navy official. The deployments were publicly confirmed by Adm. Jonathan Greenert, chief of naval operations, earlier this month in testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee. "We are moving four more mine sweeps to the theater," he said. "That'll make eight. We are moving airborne mine countermeasure helicopters. That'll take us to eight in theater. And ... those, working with the British mine sweeps there, which we exercise with frequently, sets us up a little bit there."
- Goldman(GS) Commodities Crown Slips As Traders Exit.
- US Gold and Copper Slide as Dollar Strengthens.
- Oil Slips Under $123/bbl. U.S. unemployment claims fell to a four-year low but still failed to meet heightened market expectations, leaving investors to wonder whether the economy can sustain a rally. Brent crude futures fell $1.30 to $122.86 a barrel at 1601 GMT, extending losses after falling 1.09 percent the previous session. U.S. crude futures also fell, down $2 to $103.41 a barrel, having dropped by 1.79 percent on Wednesday. Signs of slowing economic growth also emerged from China, where the Shanghai exchange closed at a two-and-a-half month low on weaker-than-expected corporate results.
- Pentagon Sees Mass Layoffs If Budget Cuts Prevail. The Pentagon said on Thursday it would expect hundreds of thousands of layoffs across the defense industry if lawmakers did not take action to avert an additional $500 billion in defense budget cuts that could take effect in January 2013.
- Debt Crisis: Live. Investors remain jittery after the OECD warns the eurozone is holding back a shaky G7 recovery while a general strike in Spain and a fall in unemployment in Germany highlights the two-speed nature of the eurozone economy.
- UK is Back in Recession, Says OECD. Britain has plunged back into a recession, as the economy continued to shrink in the first three months of the year, according to a leading global authority.
Het Financieele Dagblad:
- Portugal May Need More European Aid, ECB's Knot Tells Dagblad. Portugal's adjustment program has been affected by the prolonged discussion on private sector involvement in the Greek rescue package, ECB Governor Klaas Knot said in an interview.
- Italy's economic recession will last the entire year, Development Minister Corrado Passera told a parliamentary committee.
- Sales of New Homes Fall for Third Straight Quarter. Between January 1 and Wednesday, a total of 1.18 million square meters of new apartments, excluding government-funded affordable units, were sold, down 11 percent from the previous three months, Century 21 China Real Estate said in a report released yesterday. "Compared with the same period in 2011 and 2010, this quarter's apartment transaction would also be the lowest as buying momentum didn't pick up until this month," said Huang Hetao, a research manager at Century 21. "The real estate developers also seemed not keen to release their projects over the past three months amid sluggish sentiment."
Posted by Gary .....at 1:24 PM
- Small-Cap Value -1.10%
- 1) Homebuilders -3.0% 2) I-Banking -2.21% 3) Banks -1.67%
- BBY, SABA, FMCN, PATK, MAPP, GSVC, WPRT, WFM, UBNT, ANGI, VRA, ARUN, MPEL, AFFY, NTES, JCOM, STO, AIZ, LNCR, GMCR, PEET, HELE, DXPE, PVR, EWH, WWW, GME, UNG, MOS, BIG, TXI and AH
- 1) PHM 2) XHB 3) OIH 4) BBY 5) F
- 1) WFM 2) AXP 3) NTES 4) JPM 5) UPS
Posted by Gary .....at 11:12 AM
- Large-Cap Growth -.48%
- 1) HMOs +.88% 2) Computer Services +.15% 3) Software -.12%
- MOV, AET, CI, YPF, ILMN, RHT, PSS, MCP, CVH and FUL
- 1) WLP 2) AET 3) RHT 4) BBY 5) TEX
- 1) EBAY 2) SSI 3) DTV 4) T 5) DHI
Posted by Gary .....at 12:24 AM
- Spanish General Strike Looms as Rajoy Corned by Deficit Crisis. Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy will today face down the first general strike against his three-month old government as pressure from investors and European peers trumps demands from unions. The People’s Party government “will not cede” as the economic situation is at the “limit,” Budget Minister Cristobal Montoro said yesterday. Spain’s two biggest unions are predicting broad support for the strike against changes to labor laws and austerity, even as a poll by El Pais showed just 30 percent of workers would join the walkout. While Rajoy’s measures have angered unions and undermined support for the party in a regional election on March 25, the government is still struggling to convince investors its policies are enough to restore the public finances and reduce a 23 percent jobless rate. Spanish 10-year borrowing costs have surged almost 50 basis points since the start of March. “He has no choice,” said Antonio Barroso, a political analyst at Eurasia Group in London and a former government pollster. “If he gives in the markets will punish Spain. Rajoy has his back against the wall.” Unions have organized a demonstration in central Madrid at 6:30 p.m. In the El Pais poll, published on March 25, 51 percent of those surveyed said the strike was justified. Comisiones Obreras and Union General de Trabajadores have agreed with the government to run 35 percent of rush-hour suburban train services and 20 percent of high-speed trains today.
- Espirito Santo Among Five Portugal Lenders Downgraded by Moody’s. Banco Espirito Santo SA (BES) was among five banks in Portugal to have credit ratings cut by Moody’s Investors Service, which cited asset risks and a “poor economic outlook” in a nation whose own grade was reduced last month. Espirito Santo, Portugal’s largest publicly traded bank by market value, had its debt rating lowered one level to Ba3, Moody’s said yesterday in a statement. It took the same action for Caixa Geral de Depositos SA and Banco BPI SA. (BPI) Banco Internacional do Funchal was downgraded to B1 from Ba3.
- China's Stocks Poised to Extend Drop on Profit, Says Julius Baer. Chinese stocks are poised to extend their slump as the slowing economy hurts earnings, according to Bank Julius Baer & Co., which has about $286 billion in client assets worldwide. Chinese equities will probably retreat unless there is “significant” easing of monetary policy, Alan Lam, a Hong Kong-based analyst at Julius Baer, said by phone yesterday. His comments came after the Shanghai Composite Index (SHCOMP) fell 2.7 percent, the most in four months, as Societe Generale SA said Chinese corporate profits won’t grow at all this year. “In the coming three months, the rally has ended,” Lam said. “The economic slowdown will continue for a while and there are overexpectations on policy. It’s a fact that the economic slowdown in China is negative on profitability.” The Shanghai Composite has slumped 7.2 percent from this year’s high on March 2 on concern the world’s second-biggest economy is stalling as government property curbs and tight monetary policies reduce profits. The Hang Seng China Enterprises Index (HSCEI) of Hong Kong-listed Chinese stocks has tumbled 9.5 percent this month, the second-biggest slump among 93 primary indexes tracked by Bloomberg.
- Californians Love Taxes, Not Government Reform. A funny thing happened after California officials announced the shutdown of 70 state parks in the face of an estimated $33 million in budget cutbacks: Private companies, wealthy donors, nonprofit organizations and local governments came up with ways to keep many parks open. Eleven parks have already been dropped from the closing list, and the parks agency is holding workshops to teach community groups how to run a state park. Unfortunately, such creative solutions -- where government officials privatize services or find other ways to stretch the taxpayer’s dollar -- appear less likely as Californians express support for tax increases.
- 4 Numbers Add Up To An American Debt Disaster. 1) 2.2 percent is the average interest rate on the U.S. Treasury’s marketable and non-marketable debt (February data). 2) 62.8 months is the average maturity of the Treasury’s marketable debt (fourth quarter 2011). 3) $454 billion is the interest expense on publicly held debt in fiscal 2011, which ended Sept. 30. 4) $5.9 trillion is the amount of debt coming due in the next five years.
- BofA(BAC) Says Monynihan Received $7 Million in Compensation Package. Bank of America Corp., the second- biggest U.S. lender, said Chief Executive Officer Brian T. Moynihan's 2011 compensation package was $7 million for 2011, a 30 percent cut, as the company's stock slumped. The CEO's salary was unchanged at $950,000, with the rest of his package consisting of $1.82 million in "cash-settled restricted stock units" and $4.24 million of restricted stock units tied to performance, according to a regulatory filing yesterday. A separate calculation conforming to U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission standards showed Moynihan's compensation quadrupled to $8.09 million. Moynihan, 52, spent his second year as CEO selling more than $33 billion in assets and targeting $8 billion of cost savings as revenue stagnated. Profit rebounded to $1.4 billion in 2011 from a $2.2 billion loss a year earlier, and capital levels rose in the fourth quarter. The stock plunged 58 percent last year, the worst in the Dow Jones Industrial Average.
- MF Global Treasurer Provides No Answers on Missing Funds. A U.S. House investigations subcommittee ended a third hearing into the collapse of MF Global Holdings Ltd. with the same problem they had four months ago: No answers from the woman said to have the most information about what happened to $1.6 billion in missing client money. Edith O’Brien, assistant treasurer at the firm’s brokerage, invoked her constitutional right against self-incrimination yesterday at a congressional hearing, disappointing lawmakers seeking answers to questions about frantic money transfers during the company’s final days in October.
- Health Case Ripples Outword. After three days of historic Supreme Court debate, the political world and health-care companies confronted the prospect of President Barack Obama's health law being wiped away, a decision that would upend years of planning by businesses and roil the November elections.
- Iran Oil Slows as Price Concerns Rise. Iran's oil exports appear to have dropped this month as buyers prepare for tough new sanctions, market observers say, and shipments are likely to shrink further if President Barack Obama determines by Friday, as expected, that markets can adjust to fewer barrels of Iranian oil.
- For Portugal, Moment of Truth Nears. Politicians in Lisbon and policy makers in Brussels insist that Portugal isn't like Greece. This spring, the country will have to prove it. The European Central Bank's injection of money into the Continent's banking system has, for now, pulled Italy and Spain away from the edge of the sovereign-debt crisis. But that medicine hasn't soothed Portugal. Though its government-bond yields have improved this week, they remain at elevated levels that suggest distress.
- AIG's Death-Bet Team Departs. A team who helped run American International Group Inc.'s $18 billion portfolio of "life-settlement" investments has left the company to launch a firm that advises investors on the controversial holdings. The departures signal that AIG, one of the largest financial conglomerates to fall victim to the financial crisis, remains committed to retreating from ancillary businesses to focus on its core property-casualty and life operations.
- Facebook(FB) Targeting May IPO. Facebook Inc. is preparing its initial public offering for May, according to people familiar with the matter, in what is shaping up to be the largest-ever U.S. Internet offering. The Menlo Park, Calif., social network halted trading of its shares on the secondary market this week, as it sets about nailing down its shareholder count, according to a person familiar with the matter.
- Survey Finds Americans Staying Put. A scant 10% of Americans plan to move to a new residence this year, while 70% plan some sort of home improvement, showing that consumers continue staying put as they wait for the housing crisis to finish playing out. Of those looking to move, some 44% expect to buy, while 42% are looking to rent, according to the latest American Express Spending & Saving Tracker survey released Wednesday. (The questions related to moving are new this year, so no previous comparison is available.) Not surprisingly, the survey found a lack of confidence in the housing market is hampering buying and selling activity. More than half of those surveyed are “not very/not at all confident” that they would get their asking price. Most respondents are also willing to make concessions to help sell their home — including paying for buyer’s closing costs (15%), offering to make requested repairs (29%), offering to include appliances (41%) and offering to include furniture (12%).
- Chaos Over a Plunging Note. Regulators are examining volatile trading in a complex exchange-traded note that caused it to lose 60% of its value in the past week. The Securities and Exchange Commission is looking into the VelocityShares 2x Long VIX Short Term Exchange note(TVIX), managed by Credit Suisse Group AG, which had about $700 million in assets before the decline, according to people familiar with the matter. The SEC review is preliminary, the people said.
- We're Not France, Yet. Maybe the United States dodged a bullet this week. Make that a deep-penetration bunker buster into the original idea of America. On Tuesday, the justices of the Supreme Court sounded, on balance, to be disposed against affirming the Obama health-care law's mandate.
- Lenders Opening Up To Borrowers With Shaky Credit. The amount of new credit extended last year to U.S. consumers grew more than 10% to $782 billion, spurred in part by more loans to "subprime" borrowers, according to new data from credit bureau Equifax. The total includes credit cards, auto loans, personal loans, home-equity lines of credit and student loans but excludes mortgages. Growth in subprime-loan originations was especially prevalent in the credit-card and auto-loan markets, a stark contrast from the recession, during which banks cut off lending to all but the most credit-worthy borrowers.
- Rubio endorses Romney, saying he's 'earned' it. (video) Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., endorsed Mitt Romney for president Wednesday night on Fox News' "Hannity," saying Romney offers "a very clear alternative" to President Obama's vision for the future of the country. Rubio, a young, first-termer who has been discussed as a possible vice presidential candidate, criticized talk of a fight for the Republican nomination on the convention floor, a possibility that is keeping alive the campaigns of Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich.
- S&P Says Greece May Need Another Restructuring. Greece will likely have to restructure its new bonds at some point in the future, said the head of sovereign ratings for Europe, Middle East and Africa at Standard & Poor's Corp. Earlier this month Greece pushed through the largest sovereign-debt restructuring in history in order to avoid defaulting on its bonds. Speaking on a panel at the London School of Economics, S&P head Moritz Kraemer said the CCC rating on Greece's new bonds is "extremely low," factoring in the large risk of another sovereign debt restructuring.
- The False Promise Of China Bank Profits. There is no longer any doubt over the profiteering model’s risks.
- A Canadian Navy Officer Has Been Arrested For Telling The Russians All About America's Coastal Defenses.
- The 25 Hot Silicon Valley Startups You Need To Watch.
- Is High Yield Credit Echoing 2011's Equity Nightmares? (graphs)
- US Debt Ceiling D-Day: September 14, 2012.
- Bianco & Biderman On Bonds And deBasement. (video)
- Plunge in Natural Gas Prices Is Reshaping Energy Industry. Natural gas prices are falling near levels last seen in the 1990s, which could help spur the US to develop more uses for the fuel, including transportation.
- China Luxury Warning? Ports Design Suspends Trade, Warns Of Results Delay. Fashion retailer Ports Design yesterday suspended trading in its shares at the Hong Kong Stock Exchange and warned of a possible delay in posting its annual results that would put the fashion retailer in non-compliance with listing rules.
The Detroit News:
- Patterson Fears Detroit Is Headed For Bankruptcy, Unrest. Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson said Wednesday he is concerned that harsh comments against a possible consent agreement to solve Detroit's financial crisis could foster economic chaos and even civil unrest. In an interview, Patterson expanded on remarks he made before a Chamber of Commerce breakfast Wednesday morning at Oakland University. During the event, he described Detroit as a "tinderbox" and criticized a minister's comments made at a Detroit town hall meeting. The outspoken Patterson also predicted Detroit couldn't survive without an emergency manager "yet continues to borrow money in an effort to get out of debt." "Detroit is in a desperate economic struggle and appears headed towards the cliff we call bankruptcy," said Patterson. "An emergency manager may be the only way out of it. We have seen that in Flint, Pontiac, other cities, struggling with money problems. In Pontiac, we went from hundreds of employees and eliminated police and fire departments, much of city hall, and will probably be down to about 20 before it is all done."
- Mosaic(MOS) Profit Misses Street On Potash(POT) Sales Drop. Mosaic Co posted a stark drop in quarterly profit as farmers bought less potash fertilizer and costs jumped in the phosphate fertilizer segment. High prices for potash kept many customers from buying ahead of the spring planting season, which begins shortly in North America. Chief Executive Jim Prokopanko blamed global economic concerns during the company's December to February fiscal quarter for the weak results, but said sales are already on the rebound.
- Red Hat(RHT) Profit Beats, To Buy Back Stock. Red Hat Inc's quarterly profit beat analysts' expectation for the fifth straight quarter on the back of higher subscription revenue, and the business software maker said it would buy back $300 million of its shares. The stock of the world's largest distributor of the Linux operating system rose more than 8 percent after the bell.
- Greece still needs to implement several measures which may be "painful" for its population to restore the country's fiscal health and remain in the euro, citing the European Commission's Matthias Mors. European Union member states will probably insist on Greece not becoming accustomed to being a recipient of aid, the newspaper cited the member of the so-called troika of the commission, IMF and ECB as saying.
- North Korea fired two missiles toward the Yellow Sea around 4pm local time yesterday, citing a Japanese govt official.
- China's "major" steelmakers incurred combined losses of 2.8b yuan in Jan.-Feb., citing the China Iron and Steel Association.
- The National Energy Administration told local governments not to "arrange" new wind power projects in areas where more than 20% of wind farm output is lost because of limited grid capacity, citing a notice.
- Rated (GOOG) Buy, target $714.
- Rated (AMZN) Buy, target $230.
- Rated (EBAY) Buy, target $43.
- Rated (Z) Buy, target $40.
- Asian equity indices are -1.50% to unch. on average.
- Asia Ex-Japan Investment Grade CDS Index 155.0 +4.5 basis points.
- Asia Pacific Sovereign CDS Index 127.25 -.75 basis point.
- FTSE-100 futures -.32%.
- S&P 500 futures -.06%.
- NASDAQ 100 futures -.07%.
Earnings of Note
8:30 am EST
- 4Q GDP is estimated to rise 3.0% versus a prior estimate of a +3.0% gain.
- 4Q Personal Consumption is estimated to rise 2.1% versus a prior estimate of a +2.1% gain.
- 4Q GDP Price Index is estimated to rise +.9% versus a prior estimate of a +.9% gain.
- 4Q Core PCE is estimated to rise +1.3% versus a prior estimate of a +1.3% gain.
- Initial Jobless Claims are estimated to rise to 350K versus 348K the prior week.
- Continuing Claims are estimated to fall to 3350K versus 3352K prior.
- (CPRT) 2-for-1
Other Potential Market Movers
- The Fed's Bernanke speaking, Fed's Plosser speaking, Fed's Lacker speaking, Fed's Lockhart speaking, Italian bond auction, 7Y Treasury Auction, weekly Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index, Kansas City Fed Manufacturing Activity Index for March, weekly EIA natural gas inventory report, JPMorgan Insurance Conference and the (SRE) analyst conference could also impact trading today.