April 30, 2014
It will be an interesting day, indeed. This afternoon we’ll get the latest news from the Federal Reserve Open Market committee, which is fully expected to announce another 10 billion dollar tapering in their bond-buying program. That would be the fourth taper in a row and will slow the Fed’s stimulus – yes – they still ARE pump priming this Slowsky economy - to 45 billion dollars per month.
Energizer Holdings shares are higher by about 8 percent on the announcement that the will split those holdings into two separate companies. Time Warner shares are also higher on a good earnings report. Utility company Excelon is buying utility company Pepco for $27.25 per share, which is about a 20 percent premium.
On the famous other hand, Ebay shares are about 4½ percent lower pre-market after announcing a big quarterly loss due to a tax charge from the repatriation of foreign profits. On an operating basis, Ebay did a few cents per share better than expected. But if you want to tweet about the big loser of the morning, try Twitter, which is about 12 percent lower after reporting user growth that was not up to snuff.
At this point, adjusted for fair value, the S&P futures are lower by a point, the Dow futures are higher by a point, and the NASDAQ futures, hurt by the Twitter downdraft, are about 9 points below fair value.April 29, 2014
The Fed’s Open Market Committee starts another two day meeting today. They used to have mostly one day meetings, but recently it’s been double duty almost every seven weeks or so. Maybe if the minimum wage gets raised they can afford to scale back the workload a little bit.
If you’ve used the in-flight wifi service GoGo, you may have wondered who GoGo is, and why their service is the in-flight monopoly. Well, those days may be over, as AT&T announced that they are planning an in-flight internet service. And as we all know, competition is a good thing, unless you happen to be a monopoly. Shares of GoGo are almost 18 percent lower pre-market.
Coach, Nokia and Merck all beat earnings estimates with their profit reports this morning. And Amicus Therapeutics shares are indicated more than 35 percent higher this morning after announcing positive results from late-stage testing of one of their drugs.
Just like yesterday, Asian markets were mixed overnight, but Europe is mostly higher. And as we’ve seen lately, where stock prices start the day may have nothing to do with where they’ll be at noon or at 4 o’clock. However, we should start this day with higher prices. At this point, adjusted for fair value, the S&P futures are higher by about 8½ points, the Dow futures are up about 65, and the NASDAQ futures are 18 points above fair value.
April 28, 2014
The first big wave of earnings reports is behind us, so traders will be watching how Russia deals with Ukraine and how companies deal, or might not deal with each other.
AstraZeneca share are once again getting a shot in the arm on reports that Pfizer is not giving up on acquiring the company. For their part, AstraZeneca directors have rebuffed Pfizer a couple of times already this year. However, their shares are more than 15 percent higher this morning on reports that Pfizer is looking to make another run at the company with an offer of about 100 billion dollars.
Merck shares are higher on a report that they are looking to sell off a health care unit.
Later this morning, we’ll get results from the Dallas Fed’s Manufacturing survey. This will be a busy week for economic reports, but most of the biggies come later in the week. And, although the Federal Reserve Open Market Committee starts another two-day meeting tomorrow, look to events in the Ukraine to hold the most sway in swaying stock prices.
A fair number of overseas markets are taking the day off. But of those that are trading, Asia was generally lower, but Europe is turning higher.
Right now, adjusted for fair value, the S&P futures are higher by more than 9 points, the Dow futures are up about 95, and the NASDAQ futures are almost 18 points above fair value.
There are plenty of earnings reports to talk about this morning, including General Motors.
But as far as moving the markets, the big impact is coming from last night’s report from Apple. Already in the middle of a $100 billion dollar buyback program, Apple will boost the buyback by another 30 billion dollars, raise its dividend by 8 percent and split its stock 7 for 1. Profit was up 7 percent and Apple shares are about 8 percent higher pre-market. Facebook also posted better than expected results last night.
Locally, General Motors reported a 6 cent per share operating profit, which was 2 cents better than expected. Of course, that ignores a massive 1.3 billion dollar charge relating to product recalls.
Elsewhere, Verizon’s 91 cent profit was 4 cents ahead of estimates, Caterpillar beat the $1.24 estimate by 20 cents per share and raised their outlook. The misses of the morning came from UPS, 3M and Quest Diagnostics.
Zimmer Holdings is merging with Biomet and General Electric may be looking to buy Alstrom at about a 25% premium.
Asia was mostly lower overnight, but the European markets that are open are mostly higher. And we are on the way up as well. At this point, adjusted for fair value, the S&P futures are higher by about 10 points, the Dow futures are up 48, but the NASDAQ futures, boosted by the news from Apple, are a fairly massive 56 points above fair value.
April 23, 2014
Earlier this morning, three big companies reported similar stories for the quarter gone by. That story was “better than expected earnings, but lower than expected sales.” Traders like the earnings surprise, of course, but worry that slipping sales might cut into this quarter’s results.
In any event, those three companies were Johnson Controls, Dow Chemical and Procter & Gamble.
Thermo Fisher Scientific, posted a nice surprise, earning $1.53 versus the expected $1.40, and there are evidently profits in the skies above. Delta Airlines reported adjusted earnings of 33 cents, which was four cents better than expected.
Dow component Boeing beat the $1.56 estimate by 20 cents. Shares of both companies are around 3 percent higher pre-market.
The New Home Sales report at 10 this morning is expected to reflect an increase to 455,000 annualized units sold. Earnings news comes from Apple later today.
Japanese stocks rebounded by one percent overnight, but the rest of Asia was mixed. European markets are generally lower at this hour. We’re not showing much of a preference one way or the other so far.
At this point, adjusted for fair value, the S&P futures are down almost 3 points, the Dow futures are down 4, but the NASDAQ futures are about 4 points below fair value.
April 22, 2014
It’s been six months since the S&P 500 has risen five days in a row. Until now, that is. We’ll see if a sixth day is in the cards, or rather, in the earnings. And, there’s a very full slate of those on tap today.
United Technologies reported $1.32 per share, which was a nickel better than expected. Travelers’$2.95 trounced the $2.16 estimate. The Comcast profit of 68 cents per share is a four cent beat. In the miss of the morning, McDonalds earned $1.21 per share, which was a 3 cent miss. The company is blaming the miss on higher taxes. However, domestic sale store sales were down 1.7 percent, even though global sales were a bit higher.
Shares of Botox maker Allergan are getting a shot in the arm, or the >
Harley Davidson is eight percent higher after a good report. Netflix and Celanese guided profit estimates higher, Rambus guided lower.
Japan was lower, but most other major markets overseas are in the green. At this point, adjusted for fair value, the S&P futures are down 2½, the Dow futures are down 11, but the NASDAQ futures are about a point above fair value.
April 21, 2014
We’re entering the heart of first quarter earnings season this week. In particular focus will be reports from the big technology companies. Last week, disappointing results from IBM and Google contributed to more indigestion in tech stock prices. Keep an eye on high-flyer Netflix. They report after the close this afternoon. Locally, GM and Ford will report later this week.
So far this morning, just about everybody is reporting higher than expected earnings. Oil services firm Halliburton’s 73 cents per share was a one-cent beat, but six cents higher than a year ago. Hasbro’s 14 cents beat the 10 cent estimate, although sales were a little lower than expected. Kimberly Clark earned $1.41, which was a nickel ahead.
Shares of drug maker AstraZeneca are nearly 7 percent higher, on a report that Pfizer has approached the firm with an offer of over 100 billion dollars. Astra Zeneca said “no deal,” and that’s apparently where things sit for now.
Gold prices are continuing to slide, now decidedly under the $1,300 mark at $1,284 per ounce.
Many, many markets overseas are closed for Easter Monday, including London, Hong Kong, Germany and Brazil, but we should get things going with little green arrows at 9:30. At this point, adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are higher by 2 points, the Dow futures are up 27, and the NASDAQ futures are about 9 points above fair value.
April 17, 2014
Well, as we wrap up the trading week, it looks stock traders may be able to stop fixating on the impact of high-speed trading.
Word is that six high-speed trading firms are receiving love letters from the Justice Department (otherwise known as subpoenas.) So, while the Government may have found another big-business fund raising opportunity, traders can turn their attention to more mundane stuff like corporate earnings.
Last night, that earnings stuff was a little scary. Google delivered an uncharacteristic earnings miss on lighter than expected revenue and ad prices that were 9 percent lower. Upon further review, however, the earnings miss was really caused more by foreign currency effects than a lack of execution. IBM, on the other hand, just plain missed, with falling profits and revenue on a continuing decline in demand for their hardware.
This morning, things have brightened a little with earnings beats from Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, United Health, Blackrock, Pepsico, Blackstone and General Electric. SAP, Chipotle and Mattel missed their marks, while DuPont reported in-line with estimates.
Our stock futures are well off their earlier lows and are still pointing a little lower, but if they keep climbing at the current rate, they will be in the green by 9:30. At this point, adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are lower by less than a point, the Dow futures are down13, and the NASDAQ futures are nearly 12 points below fair value.
April 16, 2014
Stock prices whipsawed all over the place yesterday, but ended up in the green, just as they had started the day.. In the meantime, however, it was a bit of a white-knuckle thrill ride with the Dow at one point down by 100 points. However, today, as they say, is another day and we should start this day following almost all overseas markets higher.
Bank of America reported a nickel-per-share loss this morning, if you figure it according to the accounting rules. However, if you ignore for a minute the 40 cents in charges relating to mortgage settlements and legal charges, operating earnings far exceeded the nickel per share profit estimate. Bank of America share, however, are about three-quarters of a percent lower pre-market.
Soda Stream shares are bubbling up by about 9 percent this morning on a Journal report that they may be getting ready to sell a 10 to 16 percent interest in the company to a large beverage maker.
It's a busy day for economic data, with Housing Starts at 8:30, Industrial Production at 10 , the Beige Book at 2 and Janet Yellen speaking to the New York Economic Club over lunch.
But when trading opens it should start with higher stock prices. At this point, adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are higher by 11 points, Sow futures are up 84 and the NASDAQ futures are about 28 points above fair value.
April 15, 2014
Happy tax day, everyone! Get those return submitted or extensions filed today. The government doesn’t really care, as long as you’ve paid what you owe by midnight tonight.
The market roller coaster went up, then suddenly down and then higher again by the close yesterday, and we could be on a slightly upward track as trading starts today.
Within the past hour there have been a couple heavyweight earnings reports. Coca-Cola’s operating earnings for last quarter totaled 44 cents per share. That was right in line with the consensus estimate. Worldwide case volume was 2 percent higher, which was better than expected, although U.S. case volume was flat. Coke shares are a little more than one percent higher pre-market.
Johnson & Johnson reported 1.54 for last quarter. That was 7 cents ahead of estimates on better than expected sales. J&J is increasing full year estimates, but only to about what analysts were expecting already. Johnson & Johnson shares are indicated more than 2 percent higher.
Japanese stock rose overnight, but China fell and Europe is mostly lower. Our futures have been on the rise, however. At this point, adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are higher by almost 5 points, the Dow futures are up 32, and the NASDAQ futures are nearly 14 points above fair value.
April 14, 2014
It’s the first day of a short trading week, as is tradition; there will be no trading in the market’s figurative temple on Good Friday.
It’s also Monday, so there must be a deal out there somewhere. Oh – there it is. Mutual fund giant TIAA-CREF is set to swallow mutual fund giant Nuveen Investments for 6.5 billion dollars. That will represent about an 800 million dollar profit for the hedge fund that bought Nuveen seven years ago. Not exactly a hedge-fund->
Just about 15 minutes ago, Citigroup reported $1.30 of operating earnings versus the $1.13 per share estimate on better than expected revenue, and the stock is about 2 ½ percent higher pre-market.
The March Retail Sales report comes at 8:30. Expect a one percent increase over last March, but only one-half of one percent excluding auto sales.
Most overseas markets are lower, and it’s one of those unusual mornings when the futures look rather uninteresting, but are actually indicating rising stock prices at 9:30. At this point, adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are higher by 8 points, the Dow futures are up 63, and the NASDAQ futures are nearly 19 points above fair value.
April 11, 2014
The stock market’s grand square dance continued yesterday, with losses that wiped out a two-day mid-week rally. This morning, earnings reports from a couple of big banks will set the direction, and so far, that direction is lower once again.
JP Morgan reported a pretty significant earnings miss this morning, with $1.28 of operating earnings coming up 12 cents short of estimates. As expected, the mortgage business was disappointing, but JP Morgan missed the mark on a bunch of different lines of their business.
Wells Fargo reported $1.05 in quarterly profit less than 20 minutes ago, that was 8 cents better than expected, on revenue that was right in line with estimates.
Producer Prices come at 8:30 and the University of Michigan’s first report on Consumer Sentiment comes just before 10. But in the meantime, stock prices will likely head lower.
All overseas markets that did trade, traded lower overnight and this morning. Our futures have taken a turn for the worse over the past 10 minutes.
At this point, adjusted for fair value, S&P futures are down 8 points, the Dow futures are down 59, and the NASDAQ, which has been taking the brunt of the selloff lately, down 3 percent yesterday alone, is looking to open about 23 points lower this morning.
April 10, 2014
Two retailers heading in opposite directions this morning are Family Dollar Stores and Rite Aid. Family Dollar is apparently throwing in the kitchen sink to solve its woes. Earnings of 80 cents per share missed estimates by a dime, guidance for next quarter was lowered substantially and Family Dollar announced a restructuring, which usually portends some pretty disappointing news on the way for some time to come. The bad news this morning is a 3½ percent decline in the stock price.
On the famous other hand, Rite Aid earned 10 cents per share, which more than doubled the consensus estimate. Rite Aid shares are indicated about 9 percent higher pre-market.
Costco’s same store sales in March were higher by 6 percent in the U.S. and 5 percent worldwide, which beat the 3½ percent estimate rather handily.
The Bank of England held interest rates steady, as expected, this morning. They also made no changes to their bond-buying program.
At 8:30, the weekly Jobless Claims are expected to drop to about 320,000 from last week’s 326,000.
Pretty dovish Fed minutes goosed stock prices sharply higher yesterday. Not much follow-through in the futures this morning, but not much retracement, either. Right now, adjusted for fair value, S&P 500 futures are lower by almost 3 points, the Dow futures are down 19 and the NASDAQ futures are about 4½ points below fair value.April 9, 2014
Yesterday’s mini rally may continue in the early going today.
Last night Alcoa led off the quarter’s earnings report parade, reporting a GAAP loss of 16 cents per share. However, non-recurring charges get the blame once again, as operating earnings came to 9 cents per share. That was almost double what analysts expected and Alcoa shares are higher by almost 3 percent this morning.
Constellation Brands share are about 3 percent higher on better than expected earnings. Bed Bath and Beyond, Ruby Tuesday’s also report in today.
The big information event of the day comes at 2 o’clock with the release of the minutes from the latest Federal Reserve Open Market Committee meeting. Traders will try to parse the minutes for clues regarding any potential hike in interest rates or change in the Fed’s “tapering” program. Later this afternoon and evening, a couple of Fed officials will be out on the speaking circuit.
Mortgage applications fell again last week on a 5 % dip in refinancings. New home purchase apps were 3 percent higher.
Japanese markets were a bit of a mess overnight, but European markets have turned higher. Right now, adjusted for fair value, S&P 500 futures are higher by about 2½ points, the Dow futures are up 33 and the NASDAQ futures are now almost 8½ points above fair value.
April 8, 2014
Yesterday was another disappointing day for stock investors, as chirping about a possible “market correction” got louder. The decline in the NASDAQ Composite over the last three days is the worst three-day performance in almost 3 years. Still, it’s been less than a 5 percent pullback and the broader market, as measured by the S&P 500 is off less than 3 percent over the past four sessions.
Alcoa unofficially kicks off earnings season after the close of trading this afternoon. Expect only 5 cents of operating profit per share, less than half the earnings of last year’s comparable quarter. Citigroup warned about their 2014 earnings, and they’re taking a 100 million dollar charge, while agreeing to a more than 1.3 billion dollar fine relating to past mortgage activities.
Earnings reports this quarter will be important, but perhaps even more critical to markets in the short term will be tomorrow’s release of the Fed minutes. After Janet Yellen’s infamous “six months after taper” comment of a few weeks ago, traders will look for any clues regarding a potential interest rate hike.
Most overseas markets are seeing red today after our selloff yesterday. China was the notable exception, up more than two percent.
Our futures are pointing lower once again this morning, but not by a lot, and they’ve been fighting their way back to even over the past few minutes. Right now, adjusted for fair value, S&P 500 futures are lower by about a point, the Dow futures are also down just a point and the NASDAQ futures are now actually 2 points above fair value.
April 7, 2014
The momentum stocks have been taking it on the chin lately and there’s been a lot of chatter that stock prices have run way past the earnings that theoretically support them. Well here we go. Earnings reports for the first quarter of 2014 kick off tomorrow when Alcoa reports. Far more companies have been warning about than raising estimates for their earnings this quarter. We’ll see if it is truly a problem, or perhaps just adjusting the bar lower so that it can be easily cleared.
In case you’re keeping score, it has now been 916 days since the S&P 500 has experienced a “correction,” defined as a 10 percent drop. That’s’ the fifth longest rally over the past 50 years.
If you’re investing for the dividend, there’s good news from Proctor & Gamble this morning. P&G is raising its dividend by 7 percent.
And if you’re an investor in Questcor Pharmaceuticals, your shares are about 35 percent higher pre-market. Questcor is being acquired by Irish firm Mallinckrodt.
Nothing much on the economic calendar today, save for a report on Consumer Credit at 3 o’clock this afternoon.
A lot of overseas exchanges are closed today, but the markets that are open are generally lower. At this point, adjusted for fair value, S&P 500 futures are lower by almost 5 points, the Dow futures are down 28 and the NASDAQ futures are about 21 points below fair value.
April 4, 2014
The long stream of economic data we’ve received this week has been almost uniformly encouraging. When the often market-moving Employment Report comes out at 8:30 this morning, it’s also expected to be pretty good. The March numbers are expected to report 200,000 new non-farm jobs created, which would be a 25,000 job increase over the February report.
This morning we already have a few stocks on the move higher. Align Technology, the maker of those Invisalign smile fixers is up about 8 percent pre-market on a favorable ruling by the International Trade Commission in a patent dispute.
Mylan Labs is about 11 percent higher on a report that they may be about to acquire a generic drug maker. And speaking of takeover speculation, Kellogg shares rose almost 6 percent yesterday on speculation that someone with very deep pockets may be looking to make a bid for the company.
Online food service company Grubhub is going public today, as are three other companies as this year’s IPO flurry continues.
Overseas markets are painting a mixed picture in front of our Jobs Report, but our stock futures have been higher all morning long. At this point, adjusted for fair value, S&P 500 futures are higher by about 4½ points, the Dow futures are up 25 and the NASDAQ futures are more than 11 points above fair value.
April 3, 2014
As we await next week’s start of the first quarter earnings season, traders will focus on the job market for the next couple of days. Earlier this morning, placement firm Challenger reported only 34,000 new layoff announcements from U.S. companies in March. That was down from February and gave us a total of 121,000 announced job cuts in the first quarter of the year. That makes this year’s first quarter the lowest, in terms of job reduction announcements in 19 years.
We’ll see if the good news continues at 8:30 when we’re expecting count of Weekly Jobless Claims. The consensus estimate is 320,000 new claims, which would be a little higher than last week’s surprisingly low 311,000. Of course, the far more important monthly Jobs Report comes from the Labor Department tomorrow morning.
The San Francisco Fed head said yesterday that he foresees no short term interest rate hikes until the second half of 2015, and short term rates ending 2016 still under the 3 percent level, but even 2½ percent is a long way from the near-zero percent we’ve been treated to for more than 5 years.
The European Central Bank held their short term rate steady this morning, and that’s taken the wind out of European markets and our futures.
At this point, adjusted for fair value, S&P 500 futures are down about a point, the Dow futures are down 5 and the NASDAQ futures are just about a two points below fair value.
April 2, 2014
In just about two minutes, payroll processor ADP will release its March Jobs Report. It could give us a clue of what to expect from the Labor Department’s Report this coming Friday. Most expect ADP to report that new job creation perked up in March to a total of 193,000 new private sector jobs. The ADP survey doesn’t cover public sector employment.
Mary Barra will endure another day of torment in Washington today. This time it will be a Senate Committee holding the inquisition. Yesterday, some members of a House panel engaged Barra with some pointed discussion of just what happened at GM and when regarding the faulty ignition switches. Of course, others on the panel appeared far more interested in playing the bully, talking without stopping to listen as they got their five minutes of time in front of the cameras.
There was a one percent uptick in mortgage applications last week for the purchase of homes in the U.S. Overall, though, mortgage application declined due to a 3 percent drop in refi applications. Factory Orders at 10 o’clock are expected to recover from a pretty ugly January reading to a plus 1.2 percent for February.
Monsanto reports earnings later today.
Most overseas markets are a little higher this morning, generally by a half percent or less. Our futures are slightly positive, but have been sliding back toward even over the past hour. At this point, adjusted for fair value, S&P 500 futures are up a half-point, the Dow futures are up 11 and the NASDAQ futures are just about 4 points above fair value.
April 1, 2014
When the General Motors Board of Directors offered Mary Barra the CEO job, they probably didn’t tell her what her first April Fools’ Day would be like. If they had, she might have thought twice. Barra will testify before a House Committee today, and in case you don’t remember 2008, auto executives never seem to have the most comfortable seat in the House when they travel to Washington.
Meantime, back home, the automakers will be announcing their March sales figures as the day goes on. GM and Ford are expected to inch higher from March a year ago. Chrysler is the star of the morning, with a 13 percent increase in sales.
At 10 this morning, the ISM Manufacturing Index is expected to rise slightly to a reading of 54, which would indicate very tepid, but continuing growth in the manufacturing sector of the economy. We’ll also get a report on Construction Spending at 10.
Japan’s sales tax rose from 5 percent to 8 percent today. In response, the Tokyo exchange was slightly lower. Australia was very slightly lower as well, but most other overseas markets are in the green.
At this point, adjusted for fair value, S&P 500 futures are higher by about 5 points, the Dow futures are up 41 and the NASDAQ futures are just about 10 points above fair value.
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