Updated: 06-22-2017

The Market at 04:30PM ET
Dow: -12.74… | Nasdaq: +2.73… | S&P: -1.11…
NASDAQ Vol: ---… Adv: 1583… Dec: 1142…
NYSE Vol: 852.8 mln… Adv: 1729… Dec: 1197…

Moving the Market

Senate version of healthcare bill seen as more favorable than House version

Biotech stocks outperform once again, underpin health care sector

Crude oil rebounds following three-day swoon

Sector Watch
Strong: Health Care, Technology, Materials, Real Estate
Weak: Financials, Consumer Staples, Utilities, Consumer Discretionary, Industrials

04:30PM ET

[BRIEFING.COM] The stock market held a modest gain throughout the majority of Thursday's session, but increased selling pressure in the final hour of action dragged the major averages from their best marks of the day. The S&P 500 traded as high as +0.3%, but finished with a loss of 0.1%. The Dow (-0.1%) also finished with slim loss while the Nasdaq (unch) settled just a tick above its unchanged mark.

Equities opened Thursday's session slightly lower, but ticked up into positive territory after the Senate released its version of the healthcare reform bill. The Senate's version would roll back the Affordable Care Act's Medicaid expansion more gradually than the version that the House passed last month, but the cuts to Medicaid would be larger in total under the Senate's bill. However, in general, the two versions of the bill are very similar.

Lawmakers were hoping to vote on the bill before the July 4th recess, but Senate Republicans currently do not have enough votes to pass the piece of legislation. Senators Rand Paul (R-KY), Ted Cruz (R-TX), Mike Lee (R-UT), and Ron Johnson (R-WI) confirmed that they oppose the bill as it does not fully repeal the Affordable Care Act.

The health care sector (+1.1%) was strong from start to finish on Thursday, settling at the top of the day's leaderboard by a comfortable margin. Nearly all of the sector's components finished in positive territory, but the biotechnology industry exhibited particular strength, advancing the iShares Nasdaq Biotechnology ETF (IBB 320.11, +4.01) higher by 1.3%. Today's win marks the fourth in a row for the IBB, which now trades higher by 9.4% for the week.

As for the remaining advancers, gains were relatively modest with no group adding more than 0.2%. The top-weighted technology sector (+0.1%) managed to settled a step ahead of the broader market, but its components were pretty evenly mixed between green and red. Oracle (ORCL 50.30, +3.97) was the sector's top-performer, jumping 8.6%, after the company beat top and bottom line estimates and issued upbeat guidance.

Crude oil managed to break its three-day losing streak with WTI crude finishing higher by 0.5% at $42.74/bbl. However, the commodity drifted from its session high in the afternoon, eventually settling in the middle of the day's trading range. The energy sector (-0.1%) also slipped in the afternoon, retracing all of the modest gain it held throughout the morning.

The heavily-weighted financial sector (-0.6%) was weak throughout Thursday's session and eventually finished in negative territory for the third day in a row. The consumer staples (-0.7%) and utilities (-0.4%) groups also closed notably lower while the remaining laggards--consumer discretionary, industrials, and telecom services--finished with losses of no more than 0.2%.

U.S. Treasuries settled modestly higher across the curve with the benchmark 10-yr yield slipping one basis point to 2.15%. The U.S. Dollar Index (97.25, +0.03) ended the day little changed.

Investor participation was below average as fewer than 900 million shares changed hands at the NYSE floor (50-day simple moving average: 1.0 billion).

Reviewing today's economic data, which included Initial Claims, May Leading Indicators, and the April FHFA Housing Price Index:

  • The latest weekly initial jobless claims count totaled 241,000 while the Briefing.com consensus expected a reading of 240,000. Today's tally was above the revised prior week count of 238,000 (from 237,000). As for continuing claims, they rose to 1.944 million from the revised count of 1.936 million (from 1.935 million).
    • The key takeaway from this report is that it will feed expectations for another decent-sized gain in nonfarm payrolls since it encompassed the week in which the survey for the June employment report was conducted.
  • The Conference Board's Leading Indicators report for May increased 0.3% (Briefing.com consensus 0.3%) after moving higher by a revised 0.2% in April (from 0.3%).
    • The key takeaway from the report is that strengths among the leading indicators have remained more widespread than weaknesses.
  • The FHFA Housing Price Index for April increased 0.7%, which followed a revised uptick of 0.7% (from 0.6%) in March.

Friday's lone economic report--May New Home Sales (Briefing.com consensus 599,000)--will cross the wires at 10:00 ET.

  • Nasdaq Composite +15.9% YTD
  • S&P 500 +8.7% YTD
  • Dow Jones Industrial Average +8.3% YTD
  • Russell 2000 +3.5% YTD
Dow: -12.74… | Nasdaq: +2.73… | S&P: -1.11…
NASDAQ Adv/Dec 1583/1142. …NYSE Adv/Dec 1729/1197.

02:55PM ET

[BRIEFING.COM] Equity indices hover just a tick below their best marks of the day moving into the final hour of action. The Nasdaq (+0.3%) trades slightly above the S&P 500 (+0.2%) and the Dow (+0.1%).

The health care sector (+1.2%) has faded a bit in late-afternoon action, but the group still comfortably holds the top spot on today's leaderboard. Three other sectors--technology (+0.3%), energy (+0.3%), and materials (+0.3%)--also trade ahead of the broader market, but the remaining advancers hold gains of no more than 0.2%. On the flip side, the financials and consumer staples groups hold losses of 0.5% apiece while the utilities space is lower by 0.2%.

Market participants will receive a handful of earnings reports between today's close and tomorrow's open. Bed Bath & Beyond (BBBY 33.82, +0.16) and Sonic (SONC 27.83, +0.31) are among the most notable companies reporting after tonight's close while Blackberry (BBRY 10.97, +0.32) and The Finish Line (FINL 12.92, +0.42) are the most well-known names on Friday morning's docket.

Dow: +25.61… | Nasdaq: +14.43… | S&P: +3.74…
NASDAQ Adv/Dec 1745/1033. …NYSE Adv/Dec 1885/1021.

02:35PM ET

[BRIEFING.COM] Overall, commodities, as measured by the Bloomberg Commodity Index, are currently down 0.35% at 79.3532

  • WTI crude is up on the day
    • Move higher in oil timing close to WSJ story suggesting Saudis may wait for $60/bbl crude to launch Aramco IPO
    • Futures settled $0.21 higher to $42.74/barrel.
  • In other energy, July natural gas saw a upward pop in prices but could not hold on to the gains.
    • Futures finished up $0.001 to settle at $2.894/MMBtu
  • Precious metals saw slight gains while copper saw losses 
  • June gold gained $3.80 to settle at $1249.50/oz, while July silver gained $0.13 to $16.50/oz
  • July copper settled flat at $2.60/lb

Coffee futures dipped to all-time lows, now down ~9% in past 5 sessions.


Dow: +23.60… | Nasdaq: +14.74… | S&P: +3.72…
NASDAQ Adv/Dec 1724/1042. …NYSE Adv/Dec 1885/1032.

02:25PM ET

[BRIEFING.COM] Range-bound action continues with the S&P 500 (+0.2%) staying true to a three-point range over the last three hours of trading.

American Airlines (AAL 48.85, +0.42) moved sharply higher at the opening bell, immediately adding 4.4% on yesterday's closing price, following news that Qatar Airways has expressed the desire to acquire an approximately 10.0% stake in the company. However, since the initial spike, AAL has been trending downwards and currently trades at its lowest mark of the day. Still, the company is higher by 1.0%.

Fellow airline peers like Delta Air Lines (DAL 52.41, +0.14) and Alaska Air (ALK 91.18, +0.35) also outperform, but names like United Continental (UAL 77.34, -0.27) and JetBlue Airways (JBLU 22.37, -0.18) lag. In general, transports trade ahead of the broader market with the Dow Jones Transportation Average sporting a gain of 0.4%.

Dow: +26.21… | Nasdaq: +15.30… | S&P: +4.02…
NASDAQ Adv/Dec 1698/1064. …NYSE Adv/Dec 1881/1022.

02:00PM ET

[BRIEFING.COM] Equity indices hover at their session highs with the Nasdaq (+0.3%) holding a slight edge over the benchmark S&P 500 (+0.2%).

Crude oil has faded a bit in recent action, slipping to its lowest level since pre-market trade. The energy component still trades in the green, up 0.7% at $42.84/bbl, but the energy sector is drifting right at its unchanged mark after holding a modest gain earlier in the session. A loss today would mark the fourth in a row for the energy group.

In the currency market, the U.S. Dollar Index (97.34, +0.13) hovers at its best mark of the day, up 0.1%, with the greenback adding 0.2% against the euro (1.1143). 

Dow: +28.55… | Nasdaq: +18.48… | S&P: +4.68…
NASDAQ Adv/Dec 1738/1044. …NYSE Adv/Dec 1875/1012.

01:30PM ET

[BRIEFING.COM] The major U.S. indices continue to sport modest gains at this time amid today's sideways trade.

A look inside the Dow Jones Industrial Average shows that UnitedHealth Group (UNH 187.33, +2.41), Johnson & Johnson (JNJ 136.55, +1.64), & Pfizer (PFE 34.27, +0.39) are outperforming as health care leads the charge today amid the release of the U.S. Senate's version of the Obamacare reform bill. 

Conversely, Goldman Sachs (GS 220.08, -2.41) is the worst-performing Dow component as financials slip in today's session. 

For the week, the DJIA is now up 0.23%.

Dow: +25.18… | Nasdaq: +19.32… | S&P: +4.72…
NASDAQ Adv/Dec 1717/1049. …NYSE Adv/Dec 1857/1033.

01:05PM ET

[BRIEFING.COM] The S&P 500 (+0.2%) hovers at the upper end of today's relatively narrow trading range as the health care sector's (+1.5%) positive performance outweighs the financial sector's (-0.6%) slide for the time being. The Nasdaq (+0.2%) and the Dow (+0.1%) trade roughly in line with the benchmark index.

Equities opened Thursday's session slightly lower, but ticked up into the green after the Senate released its version of the healthcare reform bill. The reaction has been pretty favorable thus far as the Senate's version would roll back the Affordable Care Act's Medicaid expansion more gradually than the version that the House passed last month. However, in total, the cuts to Medicaid would be larger under the Senate's bill. Both the House and Senate versions call for a repeal of ACA taxes.

Lawmakers were hoping to vote on the bill before the July 4th recess, however, according to a recent report from CNBC, Senate Republicans currently do not have enough votes to pass the bill.

Eight of the eleven sectors are trading in positive territory this afternoon with the health care sector (+1.7%) leading its peers by a wide margin. Biotech companies are outperforming for the fourth day in a row, evidenced by the 2.0% increase in the iShares Nasdaq Biotechnology ETF (IBB 322.29, +6.32), but nearly all health care components are solidly higher. The remaining advancers hold gains of no more than 0.4%.

The energy sector (+0.2%) exhibited relative strength earlier in the session but has since faded. However, crude oil is still going strong this afternoon, up 1.4% at $43.12/bbl, as the commodity attempts to break its three-day losing streak. Still, for the week, WTI crude trades lower by 3.6%.

On the flip side, the heavily-weighted financial sector (-0.6%) is currently on track to post its third-consecutive loss as influential components like Wells Fargo (WFC 52.32, -0.66), Goldman Sachs (GS 219.95, -2.54), and Bank of America (BAC 22.91, -0.22) underperform. The three names show losses between 1.0% and 1.3%.

U.S. Treasuries are trading higher across the curve, but currently hover in the bottom half of today's trading range. The benchmark 10-yr yield is down one basis point at 2.15%. 

Reviewing today's economic data, which included Initial Claims, May Leading Indicators, and the April FHFA Housing Price Index:

  • The latest weekly initial jobless claims count totaled 241,000 while the Briefing.com consensus expected a reading of 240,000. Today's tally was above the revised prior week count of 238,000 (from 237,000). As for continuing claims, they rose to 1.944 million from the revised count of 1.936 million (from 1.935 million).
    • The key takeaway from this report is that it will feed expectations for another decent-sized gain in nonfarm payrolls since it encompassed the week in which the survey for the June employment report was conducted.
  • The Conference Board's Leading Indicators report for May increased 0.3% (Briefing.com consensus 0.3%) after moving higher by a revised 0.2% in April (from 0.3%).
    • The key takeaway from the report is that strengths among the leading indicators have remained more widespread than weaknesses.
  • The FHFA Housing Price Index for April increased 0.7%, which followed a revised uptick of 0.7% (from 0.6%) in March.
Dow: +22.05… | Nasdaq: +19.81… | S&P: +4.92…
NASDAQ Adv/Dec 1712/1018. …NYSE Adv/Dec 1917/974.

12:30PM ET

[BRIEFING.COM] The major averages hover at the upper end of their trading ranges this afternoon with the S&P 500 sporting a gain of 0.2%.

Only three of the eleven sectors--financials (-0.5%), consumer staples (-0.5%), and utilities (-0.1%)--are dealing in the red this afternoon. Meanwhile, the health care sector (+1.4%) is setting the pace for the remaining eight groups. The energy (+0.3%) and materials (+0.4%) spaces also outperform, but the remaining advancers trade roughly in line with the benchmark index.

In Europe, the major indices settled Thursday's session mixed with the UK's FTSE dropping 0.1% while Germany's DAX and France's CAC added 0.2% apiece. Financials struggled across the region with Deutsche Bank (-1.0%) and Barclays (-2.1%) showing relative weakness.

Dow: +19.76… | Nasdaq: +9.40… | S&P: +3.60…
NASDAQ Adv/Dec 1680/1054. …NYSE Adv/Dec 1903/978.

12:00PM ET

[BRIEFING.COM] The stock market has been trending sideways as of late with the S&P 500 (+0.2%) drifting within a two-point range over the last hour of trading.

Financials' bullish two-week run has been put on hold as of late with the financial sector (-0.4%) currently on track to register its third-consecutive loss. The group, which plays an important role in driving economic activity, is under broad pressure with heavyweights like Wells Fargo (WFC 52.43, -0.55), Goldman Sachs (GS 220.58, -1.91), and Bank of America (BAC 22.99, -0.14) showing losses between 0.6% and 1.0%.

In the bond market, U.S. Treasuries trade slightly higher across the curve with the benchmark 10-yr yield dropping one basis point to 2.15%.

Dow: +33.00… | Nasdaq: +5.97… | S&P: +3.96…
NASDAQ Adv/Dec 1604/1118. …NYSE Adv/Dec 1843/994.

11:25AM ET

[BRIEFING.COM] Equity indices continue to move higher late this morning with the S&P 500 (+0.2%) and the Dow (+0.2%) leading the modest advance.

The top-weighted technology sector (-0.1%) has struggled to keep pace with the broader market so far today as heavyweights like Apple (AAPL 145.38, -0.49), Microsoft (MSFT 69.93, -0.34), and Alphabet (GOOGL 976.90, -1.69) weigh, showing losses between 0.2% and 0.5%. Chipmakers have also put together a relatively downbeat performance, evidenced by the 0.3% decrease in the PHLX Semiconductor Index.

However, on a positive note, Oracle (ORCL 50.45, +4.13) has spiked 8.7% in today's session after the company beat both top and bottom line estimates and issued upbeat guidance. ORCL shares currently trade at a fresh, all-time high.

Dow: +40.60… | Nasdaq: +6.60… | S&P: +4.60…
NASDAQ Adv/Dec 1597/1112. …NYSE Adv/Dec 1859/971.

11:00AM ET

[BRIEFING.COM] The major averages trade at their best levels of the day with the S&P 500 showing a gain of 0.1%.

Most sectors trade within 0.4% of their unchanged marks, but the health care (+1.1%) and energy (+0.7%) groups are exhibiting relative strength. The health care sector has benefited from broad strength while the energy sector has been underpinned by crude oil's positive performance. The energy component is currently trading higher by 1.3% at a price of $43.09 per barrel.

In Washington, the Senate released its version of the healthcare reform bill earlier this morning. The bill is similar to the House's version that was passed last month, calling for a reduction in ACA taxes and Medicaid spending. A vote on the bill is expected next week before the July 4th recess.

Dow: +25.55… | Nasdaq: +4.35… | S&P: +2.66…
NASDAQ Adv/Dec 1555/1115. …NYSE Adv/Dec 1787/1014.

10:40AM ET

[BRIEFING.COM] Commodities are beginning the day down slightly

  • Overall, commodities, as measured by the Bloomberg Commodity Index, are currently down 0.08% at 79.5698
  • Dollar index is currently down 0.08% at 97.48
  • Looking at energy...
    • Crude saw strength early this morning and has since traded in a $0.30 range, reaching a high for the morning in the $43/barrel area.
    • July WTI crude oil futures are now up $0.36 at $42.89/barrel
  • In other energy,
    • Natural gas data was just released and after a quick drop in price, futures have recovered to their pre-inventory release price. 
    • June natural gas is up $0.009 at $2.902/MMBtu on the day
  • Moving on to metals...
    • Aug gold is currently up $6.50 at $1252.20/oz, while July silver is up $0.166 at $16.54/oz
    • July copper is now down $0.005 at $2.597/lb

Dow: -5.18… | Nasdaq: -4.78… | S&P: -1.36…
NASDAQ Adv/Dec 1349/1314. …NYSE Adv/Dec 1509/1260.

10:00AM ET

[BRIEFING.COM] The major U.S. indices trade at their unchanged marks.

Just in, the Conference Board's Leading Indicators report for May increased 0.3% (Briefing.com consensus 0.3%) after moving higher by a revised 0.2% in April (from 0.3%).

Dow: +3.03… | Nasdaq: -7.28… | S&P: -0.47…
NASDAQ Adv/Dec 1509/1067. …NYSE Adv/Dec 1641/1052.

09:45AM ET

[BRIEFING.COM] The major averages open Thursday's session slightly lower with the S&P 500 holding a loss of 0.1%

Movement has been pretty modest in the early going with no sector showing a gain, or loss, of more than 0.4%. Most groups trade in negative territory with the heavily-weighted financial space (-0.4%) exhibiting relative weakness. Meanwhile, the health care sector (+0.4%) shows relative strength as biotechnology stocks outperform once again, placing the iShares Nasdaq Biotechnology ETF (IBB 318.67, +2.68) on track for its fourth-consecutive win.

In the bond market, Treasuries trade higher across the curve with the 10-yr yield dropping three basis points to 2.14%. 

Dow: -1.62… | Nasdaq: -6.74… | S&P: -1.29…
NASDAQ Adv/Dec 1335/1156. …NYSE Adv/Dec 1415/1157.

09:14AM ET
[BRIEFING.COM] S&P futures vs fair value: -1.00. Nasdaq futures vs fair value: +5.80.

Equity futures are pointing to a slightly lower open for the stock market on Thursday with the S&P 500 futures trading one point below fair value. For the week, the S&P 500 holds a slim gain of 0.1%.

Oracle (ORCL 51.72, +5.37) is trading solidly higher in pre-market action, up 11.6%, after the company reported better than expected earnings/revenues and upbeat guidance. Similarly, American Airlines (AAL 51.13, +2.70) has jumped 5.6% on news that Qatar Airways has expressed its intention to acquire an approximately 10.0% stake in the company. Conversely, Accenture (ACN 123.50, -3.61) is down 2.8% despite reporting in-line earnings and revenues.

Crude oil is looking for its first win of the week this morning, up 0.4% at $42.71/bbl, on the heels of a three-day swoon that placed the commodity near its lowest level since early August. The bearish sentiment has been fueled by concerns over excess supply and a deteriorating technical picture. Similarly, the energy sector has faced heavy selling pressure this week, dropping 3.5% thus far.

U.S. Treasuries were trading flat earlier this morning, but have since moved modestly higher following a relatively uneventful batch of economic data. The benchmark 10-yr yield is down two basis points at 2.15%.

On the data front, the latest weekly initial jobless claims count totaled 241,000 while the Briefing.com consensus expected a reading of 240,000. Today's tally was above the revised prior week count of 238,000 (from 237,000). As for continuing claims, they rose to 1.944 million from the revised count of 1.936 million (from 1.935 million).

Separately, the FHFA Housing Price Index for April increased 0.7%, which followed a revised uptick of 0.7% (from 0.6%) in March.

Thursday's last economic report--May Leading Indicators (Briefing.com consensus 0.3%)--will cross the wires at 10:00 ET.

Also of note, the Senate will release its version of the healthcare bill at 9:30 ET.


08:50AM ET
[BRIEFING.COM] S&P futures vs fair value: -1.50. Nasdaq futures vs fair value: +6.40.

The S&P 500 futures trade two points below fair value.

Equity indices in the Asia-Pacific region ended Thursday on a mixed note, but overall activity was subdued, leaving most indices little changed. The Chinese press quoted an adviser to the People's Bank of China, who said the central bank does not plan to unwind its balance sheet in the same fashion as the Federal Reserve. Elsewhere, the Reserve Bank of New Zealand left its key rate unchanged at 1.75%, as expected. The central bank's policy statement was perceived as somewhat hawkish by the market.

  • In economic data:
    • New Zealand's Credit Card Spending +7.6% year-over-year (last 6.5%) and Visitor Arrivals -3.0% month-over-month (last 3.8%). May Permanent/Long-Term Migration 5,900 (last 5,790)

---Equity Markets---

  • Japan's Nikkei slipped into the close, shedding 0.1%. Hitachi Construction, SUMCO, Sapporo Holdings, Advantest, Komatsu, J Front Retailing, and Familymart posted losses between 0.8% and 1.8%. On the upside, DeNA, Alps Electric, TOTO, and Sony added between 1.1% and 2.5%.
  • Hong Kong's Hang Seng shed 0.1% amid losses in half of its components. China Construction Bank was the weakest performer, falling 5.0%, while other property-related names like New World Development, Link Reit, Sino Land, Cheung Kong Property Holdings, and China Resources Land lost between 0.2% and 0.6%. On the flip side, China Resources Power jumped 4.6%.
  • China's Shanghai Composite retreated into the close to end lower by 0.3%. Shanxi Coking, Tianjin Capital Environmental Protection, Lawton Development, Lucky Film, Hebei Baoshuo, and Changchun Yidong Clutch lost between 5.6% and 6.7%.
  • India's Sensex settled just above its flat line even though more than half of its components retreated. Sun Pharma gained 2.0% while SBI and Housing Development Finance both climbed near 1.5%. Bajaj Auto and Maruti Suzuki posted respective gains of 1.0% and 0.6% while Power Grid, Lupin, Hindustan Unilever, and Oil & Natural Gas lost between 2.1% and 2.8%.

Major European indices trade on a lower note with Italy's MIB (-0.7%) trailing its peers. The Norges Bank held its key rate steady at 0.50%, but the accompanying policy statement did not contain a reference to a potential rate cut later this year, signaling a hawkish shift. The European Central Bank released its Economic Bulletin, which was in line with recent comments from ECB President Mario Draghi.

  • In economic data:
    • UK's June CBI Industrial Trends Orders 16 (expected 7; last 9)
    • France's June Business Survey 108 (expected 109; last 109)
    • Swiss May trade surplus expanded to CHF3.40 billion from CHF1.96 billion (expected surplus of CHF2.44 billion)

---Equity Markets---

  • Germany's DAX sits just below its flat line with Deutsche Bank weighing the market down. The stock has given up 1.2% while Commerzbank is down 0.8%. Growth-sensitive names like Linde, Heidelbergcement, Infineon, and Lufthansa show losses between 0.3% and 1.5%. On the upside, Thyssenkrupp has jumped 2.8% while Merck, Volkswagen, and SAP are up between 0.7% and 1.5%.
  • France's CAC trades down 0.3% with all but nine components on the defensive. Societe Generale is the weakest performer, falling 1.3%, while BNP Paribas, Credit Agricole, and AXA show losses between 0.4% and 0.9%. On the upside, automakers Renault and Peugeot show respective gains of 0.6% and 0.8%.
  • UK's FTSE is lower by 0.3% with financials and select consumer names leading the retreat. Barclays, RSA Insurance, Lloyds Banking, HSBC, and Standard Life show losses between 0.4% and 1.6% while Morrison Supermarkets, TUI, Tesco, Diageo, Sainsbury, ITV, and Dixons Carphone are down between 0.7% and 1.5%.
  • Italy's MIB shows a loss of 0.7%. STMicroelectronics has slumped 3.0% while FinecoBank, Banco Bpm, UniCredit, and Mediobanca are down between 1.4% and 2.1%. Fiat outperforms, rising 1.5%.

08:31AM ET
[BRIEFING.COM] S&P futures vs fair value: -1.00. Nasdaq futures vs fair value: +2.00.

The S&P 500 futures trade one point below fair value.

Just in, the latest weekly initial jobless claims count totaled 241,000 while the Briefing.com consensus expected a reading of 240,000. Today's tally was above the revised prior week count of 238,000 (from 237,000). As for continuing claims, they rose to 1.944 million from the revised count of 1.936 million (from 1.935 million).


07:59AM ET
[BRIEFING.COM] S&P futures vs fair value: -1.00. Nasdaq futures vs fair value: +6.00.

Equity futures are rather subdued this morning following a spiritless performance from the S&P 500 on Wednesday. For the week, the benchmark index trades just a tick above its flat line (+0.1%), but it looks like that small advance may be squandered in the opening minutes of today's session. The S&P 500 futures trade one point below fair value.

Crude oil is looking for its first win of the week in early action, up 0.6% at $42.79/bbl, on the heels of a three-day swoon that placed the commodity near its lowest level since early August. The bearish sentiment has been fueled by concerns over excess supply and a deteriorating technical picture. Similarly, the energy sector has faced heavy selling pressure this week, dropping 3.5% thus far.

U.S. Treasuries trade relatively flat this morning with the benchmark 10-yr yield hovering at its unchanged mark (2.16%). The U.S. Dollar Index (97.22, 0.00) also hovers at its flat line.

On the data front, investors will receive Initial Claims (Briefing.com consensus 240,000) and the April FHFA Housing Price Index. The two reports will be released at 8:30 ET and 9:00 ET, respectively.

Also of note, the Senate will release its version of the healthcare bill later this morning at 9:30 ET. The bill is expected to repeal ACA taxes and reduce Medicaid spending slower than the House healthcare bill, however, long-term cuts to Medicaid will be larger.

In U.S. corporate news:

  • Oracle (ORCL 51.35, +5.02): +10.8% after reporting better than expected earnings/revenues and providing upbeat guidance.
  • Accenture (ACN 125.00, -2.11): -1.7% despite reporting in-line earnings and revenues.
  • Staples (SPLS 9.25, +0.59): +6.8% following a Reuters report that private equity firm Sycamore Partners is in advanced talks to acquire the company.

Reviewing overnight developments:

  • Equity indices in the Asia-Pacific region ended Thursday on a mixed note, but overall activity was subdued, leaving most indices little changed. Japan's Nikkei -0.1%, Hong Kong's Hang Seng -0.1%, China's Shanghai Composite -0.3%, India's Sensex unch.
    • In economic data:
      • New Zealand's Credit Card Spending +7.6% year-over-year (last 6.5%) and Visitor Arrivals -3.0% month-over-month (last 3.8%). May Permanent/Long-Term Migration 5,900 (last 5,790)
    • In news:
      • The Chinese press quoted an adviser to the People's Bank of China, who said the central bank does not plan to unwind its balance sheet in the same fashion as the Federal Reserve.
      • The Reserve Bank of New Zealand left its key rate unchanged at 1.75%, as expected. The central bank's policy statement was perceived as somewhat hawkish by the market.
  • Major European indices trade on a lower note with Italy's MIB trailing its peers. Germany's DAX unch, France's CAC -0.3%, UK's FTSE -0.4%, Italy's MIB -0.6%.
    • In economic data:
      • UK's June CBI Industrial Trends Orders 16 (expected 7; last 9)
      • France's June Business Survey 108 (expected 109; last 109)
      • Swiss May trade surplus expanded to CHF3.40 billion from CHF1.96 billion (expected surplus of CHF2.44 billion)
    • In news:
      • The Norges Bank held its key rate steady at 0.50%, but the accompanying policy statement did not contain a reference to a potential rate cut later this year, signaling a hawkish shift.
      • The European Central Bank released its Economic Bulletin, which was in line with recent comments from ECB President Mario Draghi.

05:55AM ET
[BRIEFING.COM] S&P futures vs fair value: -3.00. Nasdaq futures vs fair value: +0.90.

05:54AM ET
[BRIEFING.COM] Nikkei...20110.51...-28.30...-0.10%.  Hang Seng...25674.53...-20.10...-0.10%.

05:54AM ET
[BRIEFING.COM] FTSE...7407.56...-40.20...-0.50%.  DAX...12729.25...-45.00...-0.40%.

04:30PM ET

[BRIEFING.COM] The S&P 500 (-0.1%) bounced around its unchanged mark throughout the midweek session as the solid performances of the heavily-weighted health care (+1.2%) and technology (+0.7%) sectors helped keep the broader market's loss in check. The Dow (-0.3%) finished a tick behind the benchmark index while the tech-heavy Nasdaq (+0.7%) outperformed. 

Biotechnology stocks were bullish once again on Wednesday, pushing the iShares Nasdaq Biotechnology ETF (IBB 316.10, +12.51) to its third-consecutive victory. Led by names like Incyte (INCY 133.99, +9.41), Celgene (CELG 132.83, +6.61), Vertex Pharmaceuticals (VRTX 134.83, +8.50), and Regeneron Pharmaceuticals (REGN 522.02, +26.69), the IBB climbed 4.1%, extending its week-to-date advance to 8.0%.

This week's positive performance within the biotech industry hasn't been driven by any hard news. However, there have been two factors that have helped fuel the bullish bias, namely an emerging sense that the government's attempt to rein in drug prices might not be as harmful as originally thought and buying momentum on a technical breakout from multi-month trading ranges.

Not surprisingly, the heavily-weighted health care sector (+1.2%) settled at the top of the day's leaderboard. The top-weighted technology sector (+0.7%) also finished solidly in the green amid broad strength. Adobe Systems (ADBE 144.24, +3.33) and Red Hat (RHT 98.58, +8.62) were among the top-performers in the technology group, adding 2.4% and 9.6%, respectively, after both companies reported better than expected earnings/revenues and issued upbeat guidance. Chipmakers also had a solid showing, evidenced by the 1.2% increase in the PHLX Semiconductor Index.

The consumer discretionary sector (+0.1%) was the only other group to finish ahead of the benchmark index. Reports that Nike (NKE 52.59, +1.03) and Amazon (AMZN 1002.23, +9.64) are discussing a possible direct sales relationship weighed on retailers like Foot Locker (FL 47.82, -2.51), which slipped 5.0%. The SPDR S&P Retail ETF (XRT 38.81, -0.51) settled lower by 1.3%, extending its month-to-date loss to 4.8%.

At the bottom of the leaderboard, the energy sector (-1.6%) settled in the red for the third-consecutive session as crude oil continued to slide, dropping 2.3% to $42.51/bbl. The energy component was flat in pre-market action and then moved modestly higher on headlines out of Iran suggesting the possibility of further OPEC production cuts. However, these headlines were later negated by some OPEC delegates.

The real kicker to trading sentiment was crude oil's inability to hold a positive bias following the weekly inventory report from the Department of Energy, which showed a draw of 2.5 million barrels from oil stockpiles and a 0.6 million barrel draw from gasoline inventories. The energy component held up relatively well immediately following the report, but then moved sharply lower around noon ET.

Like energy, the heavily-weighted financial sector (-0.8%) also finished solidly lower, suffering from broad weakness. Out of the remaining laggards, the telecom services (-1.2%) and materials (-1.1%) sectors were the weakest performers while the rest of the sectors finished with losses between 0.2% (real estate) and 0.7% (industrials).

In the bond market, Treasuries settled Wednesday's session relatively flat across the curve with the benchmark 10-yr yield closing unchanged at 2.16%.

Reviewing today's economic data, which included May Existing Home Sales and the weekly MBA Mortgage Applications Index:

  • Existing home sales for May increased 1.1% from April to an annualized rate of 5.62 million units while the Briefing.com consensus expected a reading of 5.52 million. The prior month's reading was revised to 5.56 million from 5.57 million.
    • The key takeaway from the report remains the same: existing home sales are being impeded by a lack of affordable supply, particularly in the lower- and mid-market price ranges.
  • The weekly MBA Mortgage Applications Index, which was released earlier this morning, rose 0.6% to follow last week's 2.8% increase.

On Thursday, investors will receive Initial Claims (Briefing.com consensus 240,000) and the April FHFA Housing Price Index at 8:30 ET and 9:00 ET, respectively.

Dow: -57.11… | Nasdaq: +45.92… | S&P: -1.42…
NASDAQ Adv/Dec 1114/1434. …NYSE Adv/Dec 1041/1914.

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