Updated: 02-23-2017

The Market at 04:20PM ET
Dow: +34.72… | Nasdaq: -25.12… | S&P: +0.99…
NASDAQ Vol: 1.71 bln… Adv: 1146… Dec: 1681…
NYSE Vol: 1.07 bln… Adv: 1570… Dec: 1359…

Moving the Market

Crude oil holds solid gain following bullish EIA inventory report.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin says Trump administration anticipates tax reform by August.

Former House Speaker Boehner says repeal and replace won't happen on the Affordable Care Act.

Chipmakers trade lower following two analyst downgrades of NVIDIA (NVDA) shares.

Retailers down following a wave of earnings reports.

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

04:20PM ET

[BRIEFING.COM] Investors hurdled news headline after news headline on Thursday, but still drove the Dow (+0.2%) to its tenth consecutive record close, a feat that has not been achieved since 1987, when the price-weighted average recorded 12 consecutive record closes. The benchmark S&P 500 (unch) finished flat while the Nasdaq (-0.4%) and the small-cap Russell 2000 (-0.6%) couldn't keep pace.

Early on Thursday morning, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said that he anticipates the new administration's tax reform plan to to pass through congress before the August recess.

Mr. Mnuchin's timeline may have cooled the recent bullish sentiment surrounding President Trump's upcoming "phenomenal" tax-related announcement, a promise which sent the stock market on its most recent rally. However, the financial sector (+0.1%), which has led post-election rally on promises of deregulation and tax reform, finished Thursday with a small gain.

On the earnings front, Tesla (TSLA 255.99, -17.52) disappointed investors with a wider than expected loss per share, but the automaker did announce that the mass-market electric Model 3 sedan is on track for initial production in July.

Similarly, L Brands (LB 48.94, -9.19) finished Thursday lower, plummeting 15.8%, after the company's below-consensus guidance overshadowed better than expected earnings. LB's slide weighed on the SPDR S&P 500 Retail ETF (XRT 43.10, -1.03), which ended lower by 2.3%, while the consumer discretionary sector (-0.7%) also underperformed.

Technology (-0.1%) was plagued by a poor showing from chipmakers, evidenced by the 1.6% decrease in the PHLX Semiconductor Index. The semiconductor industry was led lower by NVIDIA (NVDA 100.49, -10.27). The company plunged 9.3% after analysts from both BMO Capital and Instinet downgraded NVDA shares on Thursday morning. To be fair, NVDA shares skyrocketed 223.9% in 2016, so a pullback of this magnitude isn't really all that surprising.

However, a 8.6% jump in shares of HP (HPQ 17.60, +1.40) put a lid on the tech sector's loss. The company's spike followed its most recent earnings report, which showed better than expected top and bottom lines.

Industrials (-0.8%) finished Thursday at the bottom of the leaderboard amid growing speculation of a potential delay in the implementation of the Trump administration's infrastructure plan. Likewise, the materials sector closed lower by 0.6%.

On a positive note, the energy sector finished 0.5% higher thanks to crude oil's solid performance. The energy component finished up 1.6% at $54.47/bbl following Thursday's EIA crude inventory report, which showed a build of 0.6 million barrels while the consensus called for a build of about 3.475 million barrels. Today's EIA report confirmed yesterday's bullish API reading.

On the countercyclical side, health care (+0.7%) also closed in the green. Outside of the biotechnology industry, health care components showed broad strength. It is also worth pointing out that Former House Speaker John Boehner said a full repeal and replacement of the Affordable Care Act is "not going to happen." Considering that Mr. Boehner led Republican opposition to the Affordable Care Act for years, his comments are particularly notable.

The remaining sectors--consumer staples, utilities, telecom services, and real estate--all closed with gains between 0.3% and 1.1%.

U.S. Treasuries finished Thursday modestly higher. The benchmark 10-yr yield closed three basis points lower at 2.38%.

Today's economic data included Initial Claims and December FHFA Housing Price Index:

  • The latest weekly initial jobless claims count totaled 244,000 while the Briefing.com consensus expected a reading of 242,000. Today's tally was above the revised prior week count of 238,000 (from 239,000). As for continuing claims, they declined to 2.060 million from the revised count of 2.077 million (from 2.076 million).
    • The key takeaway from this report is that it covers the period in which the survey for the February Employment Situation report was conducted, and given the low level of claims, it will likely feed a belief that nonfarm payrolls are apt to increase by 200,000+ again.
  • The FHFA Housing Price Index for December rose 0.4%, which followed a revised increase of 0.7% in November (from 0.5%). The reading was in line with Briefing.com consensus (+0.4%).
    • The key takeaway from the report is that high prices and limited inventory continue to compress the affordability factor for prospective buyers, and have prevented existing home sales from being even stronger.

On Friday, Investors will receive January New Home Sales (Briefing.com consensus 566,000) and the final reading of the University of Michigan Sentiment Index for February (Briefing.com consensus 95.8). Both reports will be releases at 10:00 am ET.

  • Nasdaq Composite +8.4% YTD
  • S&P 500 +5.6% YTD
  • Dow Jones Industrial Average +5.3% YTD
  • Russell 2000 +2.8% YTD
Dow: +34.72… | Nasdaq: -25.12… | S&P: +0.99…
NASDAQ Adv/Dec 1146/1681. …NYSE Adv/Dec 1570/1359.

03:30PM ET
[BRIEFING.COM]
  • Crude closed just under Tuesday's 7-week high after EIA reported a smaller-than-expected build in crude & a larger-than-expected draw in gas inventories, compared to Consensus
    • April crude oil futures rose $0.86 (+1.6%) to $54.47/barrel
    • Reminder: Baker Hughes rig count data will be released tomorrow at 1 pm ET.
    • EIA highlights:
      • Crude oil inventories had a build of +0.6 mln barrels (consensus called for a build of about +3.475 mln barrels).
      • Gasoline inventories had a draw of -2.6 mln barrels (consensus called for a draw of -0.888 mln barrels).
      • Distillate inventories had a draw of -4.9 mln barrels.
  • Natural gas extended last session's gains & closed near the midpoint of its early morning rally after EIA reported a draw roughly in-line with expectations
    • April natural gas closed $0.05 higher (+1.9%) at $2.75/MMBtu
    • EIA highlights:
      • Natural gas inventory showed a draw of -89 bcf vs expectations for inventory to be a draw between -85 to -93 bcf.
      • Working gas in storage was 2,356 Bcf as of Friday, February 17, 2017, according to EIA estimates.
      • Stocks were 261 Bcf less than last year at this time and 156 Bcf above the five-year avg of 2,200 Bcf.
      • At 2,356 Bcf, total working gas is within the five-year historical range.
  • In precious metals, gold & silver erased all of yesterday's losses on continued weakness in the dollar index
    • April gold ended today's session up $17.90 (+1.5%) to $1251.60/oz
    • Mar silver closed today's session $0.19 higher (+1.1%) at $18.13/oz
  • The dollar index was -0.2% around the 100.99 level, provided support to precious metals
    • Commodities, as measured by the Bloomberg Commodity Index, were -0.2% around the 87.37 level
  • Base metal copper dropped 3.3% & closed down $0.09 around the $2.64/lb level
Dow: +36.39… | Nasdaq: -26.44… | S&P: +1.13…
NASDAQ Adv/Dec 1159/1679. …NYSE Adv/Dec 1573/1325.

03:00PM ET

[BRIEFING.COM] Range-bound action continues as the closing bell approaches. The Dow (+0.3%) is in position to close at a record high for the tenth consecutive session, a feat that has not been achieved since 1987.

Over 90.0% of S&P 500 components have reported their quarterly earnings with Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE 24.61, -0.17), Gap (GPS 24.37, -0.50), and Nordstrom (JWN 44.70, -0.65) adding to that number after today's close. Foot Locker (FL 69.41, -1.61) will headline tomorrow's earnings docket, which is otherwise relatively light.

On the data front, Friday will see January New Home Sales (Briefing.com consensus 566,000) and the final reading of the University of Michigan Sentiment Index for February (Briefing.com consensus 95.8). Both reports will be releases at 10:00 am ET.

Dow: +58.96… | Nasdaq: -23.47… | S&P: +3.10…
NASDAQ Adv/Dec 1096/1736. …NYSE Adv/Dec 1560/1329.

02:30PM ET

[BRIEFING.COM] Equity indices hover near their recent levels with the S&P 500 holding a slim gain of 0.1%.

The Dow Jones Transportation Average (DJTA) underperforms the broader market with a loss of 1.1%. Ryder System (R 74.77, -2.00) is the worst performing DJTA component, while railroad names also show relative weakness. Union Pacific (UNP 106.87, -2.00), Norfolk Southern (NSC 119.92, -2.40), and CSX (CSX 47.87, -0.53) show losses between 1.0% and 2.0%. The broader industrial sector also lags, down 0.8%, amid growing speculation of a potential delay in the implementation of the Trump administration's infrastructure plan.

Treasuries hold modest gains as their trading day nears its close in 30 minutes. The benchmark 10-y yield trades three basis points lower at 2.39%.

Dow: +47.56… | Nasdaq: -27.28… | S&P: +1.30…
NASDAQ Adv/Dec 1053/1775. …NYSE Adv/Dec 1524/1368.

02:00PM ET

[BRIEFING.COM] The benchmark index remains flat this afternoon while the small-cap Russell 2000 index holds a loss of 0.8%.

In small-cap news, Fitbit (FIT 5.97, +0.09) is trading higher despite missing earnings and revenue estimates in addition to issuing below-consensus guidance. Today's 1.9% uptick puts FIT shares just above their all-time low, which was posted earlier this month.

Conversely, Lending Tree (TREE 129.90, +17.75) approaches its all-time high after beating top and bottom line estimates. The company also issued upbeat first quarter guidance. TREE shares currently trade higher by 15.8%.

Dow: +34.10… | Nasdaq: -29.00… | S&P: +0.26…
NASDAQ Adv/Dec 1060/1751. …NYSE Adv/Dec 1451/1431.

01:30PM ET

[BRIEFING.COM] The major U.S. indices continue to trade mixed at this time as the Dow Jones Industrial Average outperforms.

A look inside the Dow shows that Johnson & Johnson (JNJ 121.20, +1.68), Pfizer (PFE 34.04, +0.45), & Verizon (VZ 50.20, +0.53) are outperforming. J&J & Pfizer are leading the Dow amid a rally in health care, one of today's best-performing sectors. 

Conversely, Caterpillar (CAT 95.45, -2.75) is the worst-performing Dow component as a number of industrial & material names lag on speculation that President Donald Trump could delay his infrastructure plan. 

For the week, the DJIA is currently +0.85%.

Elsewhere, at the top of the hour, the Treasury's $28 bln 7-year auction drew a high yield of 2.197% on a bid-to-cover of 2.49. 

Dow: +27.06… | Nasdaq: -30.23… | S&P: -0.39…
NASDAQ Adv/Dec 1049/1753. …NYSE Adv/Dec 1442/1419.

01:05PM ET

[BRIEFING.COM] Investors have navigated a wave of information in the first half of Thursday's session with caution, leaving the benchmark S&P 500 index flat at midday. The Dow (+0.2%) outperforms while the Nasdaq (-0.5%) and the small-cap Russell 2000 (-0.9%) hold solid losses.

The Nasdaq has taken a blow from chipmakers today with NVIDIA (NVDA 101.35, -9.45) leading the retreat. The company has plunged 8.6% after analysts from both BMO Capital and Instinet downgraded NVDA shares this morning. The PHLX Semiconductor Index trades lower by 1.5%.

Biotech names have also weighed on the Nasdaq, evidenced by the 0.7% decrease in the iShares Nasdaq Biotechnology ETF (IBB 288.21, -2.10). The IBB is in danger of posting its third consecutive loss.

Still, despite a disappointing showing from the biotech industry, the health care space (+0.6%) outperforms the benchmark index thanks to broad strength in the sector's components. Health care's countercyclical peers also trade in the green with consumer staples, utilities, telecom services, and real estate holding gains between 0.4% and 1.3%.

On the cyclical side, the top-weighted technology sector holds a loss of 0.3%. Like chipmakers, Apple (AAPL 136.66, -0.44) has weighed on the sector, trading lower by 0.3%. 

Consumer discretionary (-0.4%) also holds a modest loss after negative reactions following a batch of earnings reports. Tesla (TSLA 260.06, -13.44) has dropped 4.9% after reporting a wider than expected loss per share. However, on a positive note, the company did announce that the Model 3 is on track for initial production in July.

Retailers reported mixed results, but the SPDR S&P 500 Retail ETF (XRT 43.72, -0.41) trades lower by 0.9% after L Brands' (LB 49.08, -9.02) below-consensus guidance overshadowed better than expected earnings. The company has plummeted 15.8%.

Industrials (-0.7%) hold the bottom spot on today's leaderboard. The sector's components show broad weakness amid growing speculation of a potential delay in the implementation of the Trump administration's infrastructure plan. Likewise, the materials sector trades lower by 0.3%.

Energy (+0.5%) is the only cyclical space to trade in the green thanks to crude oil's solid showing. The commodity held a big gain early this morning following yesterday's API reading, which showed a draw of 0.884 million barrels vs. last week's build of 9.941 million barrels, but crude oil gave back some of that gain after today's EIA crude inventory report.

The EIA crude inventory report came in better than expected, showing a build of 0.6 million barrels while the consensus called for a build of about 3.475 million barrels. However, in light of yesterday's bullish API reading, the upbeat EIA report was not enough to justify all of crude oil's big morning advance. The energy component still holds a solid gain of 1.4% and trades at $54.33/bbl.

Treasuries hold modest gains ahead of comments from Dallas Fed President Kaplan (FOMC voter), who will speak today at 1:00 pm ET. The benchmark 10-yr yield is lower by three basis points at 2.39%.

Today's economic data included Initial Claims and December FHFA Housing Price Index:

  • The latest weekly initial jobless claims count totaled 244,000 while the Briefing.com consensus expected a reading of 242,000. Today's tally was above the revised prior week count of 238,000 (from 239,000). As for continuing claims, they declined to 2.060 million from the revised count of 2.077 million (from 2.076 million).
    • The key takeaway from this report is that it covers the period in which the survey for the February Employment Situation report was conducted, and given the low level of claims, it will likely feed a belief that nonfarm payrolls are apt to increase by 200,000+ again.
  • The FHFA Housing Price Index for December rose 0.4%, which followed a revised increase of 0.7% in November (from 0.5%). The reading was in line with Briefing.com consensus (+0.4%).
    • The key takeaway from the report is that high prices and limited inventory continue to compress the affordability factor for prospective buyers, and have prevented existing home sales from being even stronger.
Dow: +43.35… | Nasdaq: -26.39… | S&P: +0.54…
NASDAQ Adv/Dec 1080/1682. …NYSE Adv/Dec 1488/1349.

12:30PM ET

[BRIEFING.COM] The Dow (+0.3%) continues to outperform the benchmark index (unch) early this afternoon, while the Nasdaq (-0.5%) remains solidly lower.

Health care (+0.5%) names have provided support for the Dow's advance with UnitedHealth (UNH 161.91, +1.34), Pfizer (PFE 33.99, +0.38), and Johnson & Johnson (JNJ 121.03, +1.51) all showing gains between 0.8% and 1.3%.

However, it is Exxon Mobil (XOM 82.15, +1.22) that leads all Dow components with a 1.5% gain. The energy giant, like the energy sector (+0.7%), has profited from crude oil's solid showing. The commodity remains higher by 1.6% this afternoon and currently trades at $54.43/bbl.

Treasuries hold modest gains ahead of comments from Dallas Fed President Kaplan (FOMC voter), who will speak today at 1:00 pm ET. The benchmark 10-yr yield is three basis points lower at 2.39%.

Dow: +54.73… | Nasdaq: -29.17… | S&P: +0.80…
NASDAQ Adv/Dec 965/1784. …NYSE Adv/Dec 1439/1410.

12:00PM ET

[BRIEFING.COM] Today's cautious tone continues as the S&P 500 shows a loss of 0.1%.

Sector standings reflect the slight defensive posturing as all five countercyclical spaces trade in the green. The influential health care space (+0.3%) has outperformed despite the weight of the biotech industry. The iShares Nasdaq Biotechnology ETF (IBB 287.79, -2.52) is lower by 0.8% and is in danger of posting its third consecutive loss.

On the cyclical side, industrials (-1.0%) hold the bottom spot on today's leaderboard. The sector's components show broad weakness following reports of a potential delay in the implementation of the Trump administration's infrastructure plan. Dow component Caterpillar (CAT 95.37, -2.83) is among infrastructure-related names impacted by the news, falling 3.0%. Similarly, the materials sector also trades lower, down 0.6%.

Dow: +23.29… | Nasdaq: -38.32… | S&P: -2.51…
NASDAQ Adv/Dec 847/1904. …NYSE Adv/Dec 1286/1531.

11:30AM ET

[BRIEFING.COM] Equity indices hover near their recently-established lows with the S&P 500 lower by 0.3%.

The EIA crude inventory report came in better than expected, showing a build of 0.6 million barrels while the consensus called for a build of about 3.475 million barrels. However, in light of yesterday's bullish API reading, the upbeat EIA report was not enough to justify all of crude oil's big morning advance.

The energy component still shows a solid gain, up 1.2% at $54.25/bbl, but traded as high as $54.89/bbl earlier in today's session. Energy (-0.1%) has also slipped from its session high. The space now trades in negative territory.

Conversely, the U.S. Dollar Index (100.98, -0.31) ticked up from its session low following the bullish EIA reading. The dollar still holds a loss of 0.3% with the euro (1.0583) and the Japanese yen (112.67) adding 0.2% and 0.6%, respectively, against the greenback.

Dow: -0.79… | Nasdaq: -45.04… | S&P: -5.35…
NASDAQ Adv/Dec 792/1933. …NYSE Adv/Dec 1197/1606.

10:30AM ET
[BRIEFING.COM]
  • Crude oil saw a notable rally back near Tuesday's 7-week high on a bullish API reading ahead of today's EIA petroleum data release
    • April 2017 crude oil futures were up about $1.10 (+2.1%) around the $54.70/barrel level
    • Reminder: Yesterday evening crude rallied in electronic trading after API reported a draw of -0.884 mln barrels, vs. last week's build of +9.941 mln barrels.
    • Upcoming data reminders:
      • EIA petroleum data is due out today at 11:00 am ET.
      • Baker Hughes rig count data will be released tomorrow at 1 pm ET.
      • The next official OPEC meeting will take place May 25th in Vienna, Austria
  • Natural gas broke out to a fresh session high following the release of EIA data that was in-line with expectations
    • April 2017 natural gas futures were up about $0.09 (+3.3%) around the $2.79/MMBtu level following the EIA data release.
    • Ahead of the release, April 2017 natural gas futures were up about $0.04 (+1.5%) around the $2.74/MMBtu level.
    • EIA natural gas highlights:
      • Natural gas inventory showed a draw of -89 bcf vs expectations for inventory to be a draw between -85 to -93 bcf.
      • Working gas in storage was 2,356 Bcf as of Friday, February 17, 2017, according to EIA estimates.
      • Stocks were 261 Bcf less than last year at this time and 156 Bcf above the five-year average of 2,200 Bcf.
      • At 2,356 Bcf, total working gas is within the five-year historical range.
  • Precious metals erased all of the previous session's losses on weakness in the dollar index
    • April 2017 gold futures were up about $15.90 (+1.3%) around the $1249.20/oz level
    • Mar 2017 silver futures were up about $0.18 (+1.0%) around the $18.13/oz level
  • The dollar index was -0.2% around the 100.92 level, provided support to precious metals
    • Commodities, as measured by the Bloomberg Commodity Index, were +0.3% around the 87.77 level
Dow: -2.28… | Nasdaq: -42.68… | S&P: -4.36…
NASDAQ Adv/Dec 812/1859. …NYSE Adv/Dec 1256/1529.

11:05AM ET

[BRIEFING.COM] The Nasdaq has slipped further into the red this morning and now shows a loss of 0.7%. The S&P 500 (-0.2%) also resides in negative territory while the Dow trades flat.

Crude oil ticked up slightly and now hovers near its session high, up 2.2% at $54.77/bbl, ahead of today's EIA crude inventory report, which will be released shortly at 11:00 am ET.

Energy (+0.6%) remains at the top of today's leaderboard and is currently the only cyclical space in the green. On the countercyclical side, health care (+0.2%), consumer staples (+0.2%), utilities (+0.5%), telecom services (+0.2%), and real estate (+0.1%) all trade higher.

Public Storage (PSA 223.28, -2.88) and Host Hotels (HST 18.00, -0.35) have weighed on the lightly-weighted real estate group, losing 1.0% and 1.9%, respectively, following their latest earnings reports. The two stocks have retreated even though both companies reported better than expected results.

Dow: -7.16… | Nasdaq: -38.23… | S&P: -3.93…
NASDAQ Adv/Dec 832/1832. …NYSE Adv/Dec 1271/1506.

10:00AM ET

[BRIEFING.COM] The major averages are mixed early this morning with the S&P 500 (+0.1%) holding a slim gain while the Nasdaq (-0.2%) shows a modest loss.

Consumer discretionary (-0.1%) underperforms following negative reactions to a host of earnings reports. Tesla (TSLA 260.13, -13.31) has dropped 4.8% after reporting a wider than expected earnings per share loss, while L Brands (LB 49.38, -8.77) has plunged even further after below-consensus guidance overshadowed better than expected earnings results. Even Kohl's (KSS 41.39, -0.42) trades lower despite beating earnings per share estimates and raising its dividend.

U.S. Treasuries hold modest gains in early action. The benchmark 10-yr yield is lower by two basis points at 2.39%.

Dow: +31.43… | Nasdaq: -9.11… | S&P: +3.20…
NASDAQ Adv/Dec 1081/1352. …NYSE Adv/Dec 1681/982.

09:45AM ET

[BRIEFING.COM] The S&P 500 opened Thursday's session with a modest gain of 0.2%.

Nearly all sectors trade higher with energy (+1.0%) showing relative strength. The energy group has profited from crude oil's solid performance, which follows yesterday's American Petroleum Institute report. The API reading showed a draw of 0.884 million barrels vs. last week's build of 9.941 million barrels. WTI crude trades higher by 2.0% at $54.66/bbl.

Meanwhile, the top-weighted technology sector (-0.1%) has demonstrated relative weakness as chipmakers weigh. The PHLX Semiconductor Index is down 0.8% with NVIDIA (NVDA 104.42, -6.45) leading the retreat. The company has lost 5.8% after being downgraded to 'Underperform' from 'Market Perform' at BMO Capital Markets.

Dow: +25.00… | Nasdaq: -12.23… | S&P: +2.44…
NASDAQ Adv/Dec 1092/1215. …NYSE Adv/Dec 1802/820.

09:15AM ET
[BRIEFING.COM] S&P futures vs fair value: +4.50. Nasdaq futures vs fair value: +3.40.

Wall Street is poised for a slightly higher open on Thursday as the S&P 500 futures trade five points (0.2%) above fair value.

Crude oil has reversed Wednesday's bearish trend this morning after the American Petroleum Institute reported a draw of 0.884 million barrels vs. last week's build of 9.941 million barrels. The energy component is currently up 2.2% at $54.73/bbl.

Also of note, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) crude oil inventory data will be released today at 11:00 am ET.

In U.S. corporate news, Tesla (TSLA 269.00, -4.51) trades lower by 1.7% in pre-market action after reporting a wider than expected earnings per share loss. Also of note, the company announced that the Model 3 is on track for initial production in July.

Retailers' earnings reports have been met with a mixed reaction from investors this morning. Kohl's (KSS 42.50, +0.72) is up 1.7% after beating earnings per share estimates and raising its dividend. Meanwhile, L Brands (LB 50.30, -7.83) has plummeted 13.5% after below-consensus guidance overshadowed better than expected earnings results.

U.S. Treasuries hold modest gains this morning. The benchmark 10-yr yield is three basis points lower at 2.39%.

On the data front, the latest weekly initial jobless claims count totaled 244,000 while the Briefing.com consensus expected a reading of 242,000. Today's tally was above the revised prior week count of 238,000 (from 239,000). As for continuing claims, they declined to 2.060 million from the revised count of 2.077 million (from 2.076 million).

Separately, the FHFA Housing Price Index for December rose 0.4%, which followed a revised increase of 0.7% in November (from 0.5%). The reading was in line with Briefing.com consensus (+0.4%).

Investors will not receive any more economic data on Thursday.


09:03AM ET
[BRIEFING.COM] S&P futures vs fair value: +4.00. Nasdaq futures vs fair value: +2.60.

The S&P 500 futures trade four points (0.2%) above fair value.

Just released, the FHFA Housing Price Index for December rose 0.4%, which followed a revised increase of 0.7% in November (from 0.5%). The reading was in line with Briefing.com consensus (+0.4%).


08:52AM ET
[BRIEFING.COM] S&P futures vs fair value: +3.00. Nasdaq futures vs fair value: +1.90.

The S&P 500 futures trade three points (0.1%) above fair value.

Equity indices in the Asia-Pacific region ended Thursday on a mostly lower note, but the losses were modest in scope. Reports from Japan indicate the Government Pension Investment Fund stepped up its holdings of short term assets due to negative interest rates in Japan. On a somewhat related note, the Bank of Japan is reportedly considering announcing planned purchases of Japanese Government Bonds in order to avoid volatility in yields. Elsewhere, the Bank of Korea kept its key rate unchanged at 1.25%, as expected.

  • In economic data:
    • Japan's Corporate Services Price Index +0.5% year-over-year (expected 0.4%; last 0.5%). Leading Index 104.8 (expected 105.2; last 105.2)
    • Australia's Q4 Private New Capital Expenditure -2.1% quarter-over-quarter (expected -0.5%; last -3.3%)
    • Singapore's January CPI +0.6% year-over-year, as expected (last 0.2%)

---Equity Markets---

  • Japan's Nikkei endured its second consecutive range-bound session, settling just below its flat line. Toshiba was the weakest performer, falling 4.7%. Toho, Kubota, Alps Electric, Sumitomo Mitsui Financial, Mazda Motor, and Kobe Steel lost between 1.2% and 2.1%. On the upside, Ebara, Konami, and Nikon added between 0.8% and 1.5%.
  • Hong Kong's Hang Seng lost 0.4%. Want Want China fell 4.5% while energy-related names like PetroChina, Kunlun Energy, China Petrol & Chemical, and CNOOC lost between 0.3% and 1.5%. Property names outperformed for the second day in a row with Hang Lung Properties, Sino Land, and New World Development rising between 1.3% and 3.7%.
  • China's Shanghai Composite slipped 0.3%. Anyang Iron & Steel, Yunnan Bowin Technology Industry, Avicopter, Beijing Airport High-Tech Park, and Tibet Tianlu lost between 3.9% and 4.7%.
  • India's Sensex added 0.1%. Tata Consultancy, Wipro, Infosys, and ITC climbed between 0.8% and 3.0%. Reliance Industries lagged, falling 2.1%.

Major European indices trade near their flat lines while Spain's IBEX (+0.4%) outperforms modestly. In France, centrist presidential candidate Francois Bayrou announced yesterday that he will not run for office, but instead will throw his support behind Emmanuel Macron. Elsewhere, International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde said Greece does not need a debt haircut, but could benefit from lower interest rates.

  • In economic data:
    • Germany's Q4 GDP was left unrevised at +0.4% quarter-over-quarter, as expected (last 0.4%); +1.2% year-over-year, as expected (last 1.2%). March GfK Consumer Climate 10.0 (expected 10.1; last 10.2)
    • UK's February CBI Distributive Trades Survey 9 (expected 5; last -8)
    • Italy's December Retail Sales -0.5% month-over-month (expected 0.2%; last -0.7%); -0.2% year-over-year (consensus 0.8%; last 0.8%)
    • France's February Business Survey 107 (expected 106; last 106)

---Equity Markets---

  • Germany's DAX is lower by 0.1% after spending yesterday's session in a narrow range. Henkel, Bayer, HeidelbergCement, and Allianz show losses between 0.6% and 1.6%. On the upside, Infineon and Volkswagen are up 1.2% and 0.9%, respectively, while Deutsche Bank trades higher by 0.7%.
  • UK's FTSE trades flat. HSBC is lower by 2.17% while homebuilders Barratt Developments, Persimmon, and Taylor Wimpey are down between 0.2% and 0.7%. On the upside, RSA Insurance, Lloyds Banking, and Old Mutual are up between 1.4% and 5.8%.
  • France's CAC has added 0.2%. Bouygues has spiked 4.3% after beating earnings expectations while Peugeot is down 1.9% after disappointing with its results. Veolia Environnement is the weakest performer, falling 6.6%, after missing earnings expectations.
  • Spain's IBEX trades up 0.5% with Telefonica rising 2.4% after beating earnings estimates. Repsol, DIA, ArcelorMittal, and Santander are up between 0.9% and 2.2%.

08:31AM ET
[BRIEFING.COM] S&P futures vs fair value: +3.50. Nasdaq futures vs fair value: +1.10.

The S&P 500 futures trade four points (0.2%) above fair value.

Just in, the latest weekly initial jobless claims count totaled 244,000 while the Briefing.com consensus expected a reading of 242,000. Today's tally was above the revised prior week count of 238,000 (from 239,000). As for continuing claims, they declined to 2.060 million from the revised count of 2.077 million (from 2.076 million).


08:00AM ET
[BRIEFING.COM] S&P futures vs fair value: +3.00. Nasdaq futures vs fair value: +2.00.

Equity futures point to a slightly higher open this morning after the major averages finished Wednesday's session mixed. The S&P 500 futures trade three points (0.1%) above fair value. 

The Treasury market has extended yesterday's gain this morning. The benchmark 10-yr yield is two basis points lower at 2.39%.

Crude oil has reversed Wednesday's bearish trend after the American Petroleum Institute reported a draw of 0.884 million barrels vs. last week's build of 9.941 million barrels. The energy component is currently up 1.5% at $54.39/bbl. Also of note, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) crude oil inventory data will be released today at 11:00 am ET.

Today's economic data will include Initial Claims (Briefing.com consensus 242,000) and December FHFA Housing Price Index (Briefing.com consensus 0.4%). The two reports will cross the wires at 8:30 am ET and 9:00 am ET, respectively.

In U.S. corporate news:

  • Tesla (TSLA 278.67, +5.16): +1.9% after reporting Q1 results and noting the Model 3 is on track for initial production in July.
  • HP (HPQ 16.60, +0.40): +2.5% after reporting better than expected earnings and revenues.
  • L Brands (LB 51.00, -7.13): -12.3% after below-consensus guidance overshadowed better than expected earnings.
  • Kohl's (KSS 43.20, +1.42): +3.4% after beating earnings per share estimates and raising its dividend.
  • Square (SQ 16.18, +1.14): +7.6% after issuing positive earnings guidance and reporting better than expected top and bottom lines.

Reviewing overnight developments:

  • Equity indices in the Asia-Pacific region ended Thursday on a mostly lower note, but the losses were modest in scope. Japan's Nikkei unch, Hong Kong's Hang Seng -0.4%, China's Shanghai Composite -0.3%, India's Sensex +0.1%.
    • In economic data:
      • Japan's Corporate Services Price Index +0.5% year-over-year (expected 0.4%; last 0.5%). Leading Index 104.8 (expected 105.2; last 105.2)
      • Australia's Q4 Private New Capital Expenditure -2.1% quarter-over-quarter (expected -0.5%; last -3.3%)
      • Singapore's January CPI +0.6% year-over-year, as expected (last 0.2%)
    • In news:
      • Reports from Japan indicate the Government Pension Investment Fund stepped up its holdings of short term assets due to negative interest rates in Japan.
      • The Bank of Japan is reportedly considering announcing planned purchases of Japanese Government Bonds in order to avoid volatility in yields.
      • The Bank of Korea kept its key rate unchanged at 1.25%, as expected.
  • Major European indices trade near their flat lines while Spain's IBEX outperforms modestly. Germany's DAX -0.1%, UK's FTSE -0.1%, France's CAC +0.1%, Spain's IBEX +0.4%.
    • In economic data:
      • Germany's Q4 GDP was left unrevised at +0.4% quarter-over-quarter, as expected (last 0.4%); +1.2% year-over-year, as expected (last 1.2%). March GfK Consumer Climate 10.0 (expected 10.1; last 10.2)
      • UK's February CBI Distributive Trades Survey 9 (expected 5; last -8)
      • Italy's December Retail Sales -0.5% month-over-month (expected 0.2%; last -0.7%); -0.2% year-over-year (consensus 0.8%; last 0.8%)
      • France's February Business Survey 107 (expected 106; last 106)
    • In news:
      • In France, centrist presidential candidate Francois Bayrou announced yesterday that he will not run for office, but instead will throw his support behind Emmanuel Macron.
      • International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde said Greece does not need a debt haircut, but could benefit from lower interest rates.

05:53AM ET
[BRIEFING.COM] S&P futures vs fair value: +1.30. Nasdaq futures vs fair value: -1.10.

05:53AM ET
[BRIEFING.COM] Nikkei...19371.5...-8.40...0.00%.  Hang Seng...24115...-87.10...-0.40%.

05:53AM ET
[BRIEFING.COM] FTSE...7296.61...-5.60...-0.10%.  DAX...11994.81...-3.80...0.00%.

04:15PM ET

[BRIEFING.COM] Investors tapped the brakes on Wednesday, displaying slight caution amid a wave of potentially influential economic reports. The Nasdaq (-0.1%) closed in line with the S&P 500 (-0.1%) while the Dow outperformed (+0.2%), recording its ninth consecutive gain.

The major averages started today's session with modest losses, but they ticked up following Existing Home Sales for January. The report came in better than expected, showing an annualized rate of 5.69 million units while the Briefing.com consensus expected a reading of 5.57 million. 

Equity indices then slid slowly into the next event on Wednesday's calendar, a speech from Fed Governor Jerome Powell. However, the speech turned out to be a non-event as Mr. Powell provided little to no new information, stating that a gradual tightening of policy is appropriate as long as the economy continues to behave roughly as expected.

Finally, the last major event on the calendar, the FOMC Minutes, was met with a muted response from investors. The minutes showed that many FOMC members see a rate hike "fairly soon if incoming information on the labor market and inflation was in line with or stronger than their current expectations."

And while recent hotter than expected ISM Index, Nonfarm Payrolls, PPI, CPI, Retail Sales, Housing Starts, and Existing Home Sales readings met the rate hike prerequisite, the statement's vague "fairly soon" clause gives little indication as to the timeline of said rate hike.

In summary, after all the noise, the fed funds futures market now points to May as the most likely time for the next rate hike to be announced with an implied probability of 52.1%, up from 45.9% yesterday. The implied probability of a March rate hike increased to 22.1% from yesterday's 17.7%.

On the earnings front, Toll Brothers (TOL 33.93, +1.94) spiked 6.1% after the luxury homebuilder reported better than expected top and bottom lines and issued upbeat delivery guidance. More notably, Toll Brothers' bullish disposition lifted the iShares U.S. Home Construction ETF (ITB 30.04, +0.12) to its highest level in over a decade. The consumer discretionary sector (unch) capitalized on hombuilders' solid showing, outperforming the benchmark index. 

Financials (+0.1%) and telecom services (+0.1%) closed in line with the consumer discretionary sector while technology (+0.2%), materials (+0.3%), and utilities (+0.4%) performed a bit better. 

Energy (-1.6%) led the five remaining sectors lower, succumbing to a 1.4% loss in crude oil. The energy component trades in the red for the week after squandering all of Tuesday's gain in Wednesday's session. WTI crude closed its trading day at $53.59/bbl.

Treasuries closed Wednesday's session slightly higher. The benchmark 10-yr yield finished one basis point lower at 2.42%.

Today's economic data included January Existing Home Sales and the MBA Mortgage Index:

  • Existing home sales for January increased 3.3% from December to an annualized rate of 5.69 million units while the Briefing.com consensus expected a reading of 5.57 million.
    • The key takeaway from the report is that high prices and limited inventory continue to compress the affordability factor for prospective buyers, and have prevented existing home sales from being even stronger.
  • The weekly MBA Mortgage Index decreased 2.0% to follow last week's 3.7% decline.

Tomorrow's economic data will include Initial Claims (Briefing.com consensus 242,000) and December FHFA Housing Price Index (Briefing.com consensus 0.4%). The two reports will cross the wires at 8:30 am ET and 9:00 am ET, respectively.

  • Nasdaq Composite +8.9% YTD
  • S&P 500 +5.5% YTD
  • Dow Jones Industrial Average +5.1% YTD
  • Russell 2000 +3.4% YTD
Dow: +32.60… | Nasdaq: -5.32… | S&P: -2.56…
NASDAQ Adv/Dec 1135/1706. …NYSE Adv/Dec 1277/1611.

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