Updated: 05-21-2015

The Market at 04:10PM ET
Dow: +0.34… | Nasdaq: +19.05… | S&P: +4.97…
NASDAQ Vol: 1.56 bln… Adv: 1447… Dec: 1391…
NYSE Vol: 691.9 mln… Adv: 1703… Dec: 1358…

Moving the Market

Initial Claims (274,000; Briefing.com consensus 270,000) remain near 15-year low

Cyclical sectors outperform

Sector Watch
Strong: Consumer Discretionary, Industrials, Energy, Telecom Services
Weak: Consumer Staples, Financials, Health Care, Utilities

04:10PM ET
[BRIEFING.COM] The major averages posted modest gain on Thursday, but the trading day was very quiet once again. The S&P 500 added 0.2% and settled at a new record high while the Nasdaq Composite (+0.4%) outperformed.

Equity indices spent the initial minutes of the session near their flat lines, but they climbed to highs after the Existing Home Sales report for April (5.04 million; Briefing.com consensus 5.24 million) and the May Philadelphia Fed Survey ( 6.7; Briefing.com consensus 8.0) missed estimates. The ensuing advance was accompanied by a rally in Treasuries, suggesting increased expectations that the Federal Reserve will maintain its current dovish stance. Treasuries continued climbing into the afternoon (10-yr yield -6 bps to 2.19%) while the major averages spent the day near their late-morning highs.

Yesterday's session saw relative strength among countercyclical groups, but the opposite was true today as five of six growth-sensitive sectors registered gains while the financial sector (-0.2%) was the lone decliner on the cyclical side. Despite today's retreat, the sector remains higher by 0.6% for the week versus a 0.4% increase for the S&P 500.

Moving on, the energy sector (+0.9%) finished ahead of other cyclical sectors with help from crude oil, which surged 2.9% to $60.70/bbl. The energy component soared after the Energy Information Administration's storage report revealed the third consecutive weekly draw.

Elsewhere among cyclical groups, the industrial sector (+0.5%) received support from transport stocks. The Dow Jones Transportation Average rebounded from recent underperformance, climbing 0.6%, but the bellwether complex remains down 1.5% for the week.

Also of note, the consumer discretionary space (+0.4%) rallied with help from retailers after Best Buy (BBY 35.11, +1.33) and Williams-Sonoma (WSM 78.62, +0.73) reported better than expected results. The two names gained 3.9% and 0.9%, respectively while SPDR S&P Retail ETF (XRT 99.54, +0.54) gained 0.6%.

Over on the countercyclical side, the telecom services sector (+0.7%) displayed strength throughout the day while consumer staples (+0.2%), health care (unch), and utilities (-0.1%) ended near their flat lines.

Today's participation was in-line with recent totals as fewer than 700 million shares changed hands at the NYSE floor.

Economic data included Initial Claims, Leading Indicators, Existing Home Sales, and Philadelphia Fed Survey:
  • The initial claims level increased to 274,000 for the week ending May 16 from an unrevised 264,000 while the Briefing.com consensus expected an increase to 270,000 
    • Despite this week's increase, the four-week moving average fell to 266,250 from 271,750, which is the lowest level since April 2000 
    • The continuing claims level declined to 2.211 mln for the week ending May 9 from a downwardly revised 2.223 mln (from 2.229 mln) while the Briefing.com consensus expected an increase to 2.250 mln 
  • The Leading Indicators report for April was up 0.7% while the Briefing.com consensus expected an increase of 0.3% 
    • The March reading was revised up to 0.4% from 0.2% 
  • Existing home sales for April were reported to have decreased 3.3% from March to an annualized rate of 5.04 million units while the Briefing.com consensus expected a reading of 5.24 million 
  • The Philadelphia Fed's Business Outlook Survey dropped to 6.7 in May from 7.5 in April while the Briefing.com consensus expected an increase to 8.0 
    • Despite the decrease, the general business production growth outlook actually strengthened 
      • Shipments exited a contraction as the related index increased to 1.0 in May from -1.8 in April 
Tomorrow's data will be limited to the 8:30 ET release of the Consumer Price Index for April (Briefing.com consensus 0.1%).
  • Nasdaq Composite +7.5% YTD 
  • Russell 2000 +4.3% YTD 
  • S&P 500 +3.5% YTD 
  • Dow Jones Industrial Average +2.6% YTD
Dow: +0.34… | Nasdaq: +19.05… | S&P: +4.97…
NASDAQ Adv/Dec 1447/1391. …NYSE Adv/Dec 1703/1358.

03:35PM ET
[BRIEFING.COM]
  • Energy commodities rose today with crude oil showing a particularly nice run
  • July crude oil ended the day +$1.73 to $60.70/barrel.
  • Meanwhile, June natural gas rose $0.03 to $2.95/MMBtu
  • Metals ended mixed with June gold losing $4.50 to $1203.90/oz and July silver rising $0.02 to $17.14/oz
  • July copper gained $0.02 To $2.85/lb
Dow: +8.41… | Nasdaq: +20.37… | S&P: +5.78…
NASDAQ Adv/Dec 1397/1347. …NYSE Adv/Dec 1702/1357.

02:55PM ET
[BRIEFING.COM] The S&P 500 trades higher by 0.3% with one hour remaining in the session.

Thanks to today's uptick, the benchmark index is on track to enter the Friday affair with a week-to-date gain of 0.5%. The index has had a better showing than the Dow, which has added 0.2% this week, while the Nasdaq is higher by 0.9% since last Friday.

Elsewhere, Treasuries sit on their highs after extending their gains following today's TIPS reopening. The 10-yr yield is lower by six basis points at 2.19%, which leaves the benchmark yield trading about five basis points above last week's closing level.
Dow: +20.45… | Nasdaq: +22.18… | S&P: +6.44…
NASDAQ Adv/Dec 1410/1351. …NYSE Adv/Dec 1683/1366.

02:25PM ET
[BRIEFING.COM] The major averages continue holding slim gains as the quiet afternoon wears on.

The energy sector (+0.8%) remains ahead of other cyclical groups, but the telecom services sector (+0.8%) has climbed into the lead.

All in all, today's session has been very quiet, which has been the case throughout the week. To that point, only 365 million shares have changed hands at the NYSE floor so far today. NYSE market breadth continues favoring the bulls with 1.2 names trading higher for each decliner while the ratio at the Nasdaq shows one stock trading in the green for each decliner.
Dow: +11.11… | Nasdaq: +17.77… | S&P: +5.33…
NASDAQ Adv/Dec 1350/1384. …NYSE Adv/Dec 1661/1362.

02:00PM ET
[BRIEFING.COM] Equity indices continue holding slim gains.

Some unevenness developed in the April housing data. After a strong month of construction growth, demand unexpectedly slipped in April.

Existing home sales declined 3.3% in April to 5.04 mln SAAR from an upwardly revised 5.21 mln SAAR (from 5.19 mln SAAR) in March. The Briefing.com Consensus expected existing home sales to increase to 5.24 mln SAAR.

Buying conditions were ripe for a breakout in April: employment conditions materially improved over the past few months, income growth returned, mortgage purchasing applications were on the rise, and the pending home sales index moved higher. Yet sales gave back much of the gain seen in March.

The National Association of Realtors blamed the lackluster report on low supply, which has resulted in upward trending prices. As proof of this, the average property sold in April was only marketed for 39 days, which was the fastest selling pace since July 2013; moreover, roughly 40% of the properties sold went at or above asking price.
Dow: -3.13… | Nasdaq: 9.49… | S&P: 2.84…
NASDAQ Adv/Dec 1266/1451. …NYSE Adv/Dec 1546/1470.

01:35PM ET
[BRIEFING.COM] The major U.S. indices continue to sport small gains in today's quiet session. 

A look inside the Dow Jones Industrial Average shows that Caterpillar (CAT 89.30, +1.37), Apple (AAPL 131.41, +1.35), and Boeing (BA 147.55, +1.13) are outperforming. Caterpillar shares are continuing to show gains following yesterday's 3-month rolling period sales data. Apple shares are stronger following favorable analyst coverage. No specific news appears to be in-play for Boeing.

Conversely, McDonald's (MCD 99.29, -0.82) is the worst-performing Dow component as shares continue to pull back from gains seen earlier this week.

With today's small gains, the DJIA is up 0.12% this week.

In other developments, the $13 billion 10-yr TIPS reopening at the top of the hour drew a high yield of 0.358% on a bid-to-cover ratio of 2.33.
Dow: +13.01… | Nasdaq: +18.01… | S&P: +5.55…
NASDAQ Adv/Dec 1396/1321. …NYSE Adv/Dec 1715/1279.

01:00PM ET
[BRIEFING.COM] The major averages hold modest midday gains with the Nasdaq Composite (+0.4%) trading ahead of the S&P 500 (+0.3%).

True to recent form, the stock market has spent the first half of the session in a narrow range with the S&P 500 bouncing between 2,122 and 2,133. The benchmark index spent the first 30 minutes of the day near its flat line, but pulled away from that mark after two of three economic reports released at 10:00 ET came in below estimates (Existing Home Sales and Philadelphia Fed Survey). Coupled with a rally in Treasuries, the overall dynamic suggests participants expect the Federal Reserve to maintain its current dovish stance.

Eight sectors hold midday gains while the two decliners-health care and financials-hover just below their flat lines. Despite today's underperformance, the two groups are among this week's leaders with respective week-to-date gains of 1.1% and 0.6%.

On the flip side, the energy sector (+0.9%) is the top performer thanks to a sharp rally in crude oil. The energy component has jumped 3.0% to $60.77/bbl after the Energy Information Administration's storage report revealed the third consecutive weekly draw.

Similar to energy, four of the remaining five cyclical sectors hold gains. The industrial sector (+0.6%) outperforms thanks to a rebound among transport stocks. The Dow Jones Transportation Average is higher by 0.8% today, but remains down 1.3% for the week.

Elsewhere, the consumer discretionary sector (+0.5%) has also shown relative strength with the SPDR S&P Retail ETF (XRT 99.61, +0.61) trading higher by 0.6% after Best Buy (BBY 35.62, +1.84) and Williams-Sonoma (WSM 78.58, +0.69) reported better than expected results.

Treasuries hover near their highs with the 10-yr yield down four basis points at 2.21%.

Economic data included Initial Claims, Leading Indicators, Existing Home Sales, and Philadelphia Fed Survey:
  • The initial claims level increased to 274,000 for the week ending May 16 from an unrevised 264,000 while the Briefing.com consensus expected an increase to 270,000 
    • Despite this week's increase, the four-week moving average fell to 266,250 from 271,750, which is the lowest level since April 2000 
    • The continuing claims level declined to 2.211 mln for the week ending May 9 from a downwardly revised 2.223 mln (from 2.229 mln) while the Briefing.com consensus expected an increase to 2.250 mln 
  • The Leading Indicators report for April was up 0.7% while the Briefing.com consensus expected an increase of 0.3% 
    • The March reading was revised up to 0.4% from 0.2% 
  • Existing home sales for April were reported to have decreased 3.3% from March to an annualized rate of 5.04 million units while the Briefing.com consensus expected a reading of 5.24 million 
  • The Philadelphia Fed's Business Outlook Survey dropped to 6.7 in May from 7.5 in April while the Briefing.com consensus expected an increase to 8.0 
    • Despite the decrease, the general business production growth outlook actually strengthened 
      • Shipments exited a contraction as the related index increased to 1.0 in May from -1.8 in April
Dow: +14.25… | Nasdaq: +18.29… | S&P: +5.54…
NASDAQ Adv/Dec 1379/1305. …NYSE Adv/Dec 1709/1284.

12:25PM ET
[BRIEFING.COM] Quiet action continues with the S&P 500 trading higher by 0.3%.

Only two sectors-health care (-0.1%) and financials (-0.2%)-remain in negative territory at this juncture while the remaining eight groups trade with gains. Interestingly, the two decliners represent some of the best performers of the week.

Including its current loss, the health care sector is higher by 1.1% since last Friday while the financial sector has gained 0.7% this week.

Elsewhere, Treasuries remain just below their highs with the 10-yr yield down four basis points at 2.21%.
Dow: +17.62… | Nasdaq: +18.83… | S&P: +6.50…
NASDAQ Adv/Dec 1363/1297. …NYSE Adv/Dec 1720/1251.

11:55AM ET
[BRIEFING.COM] Not much change in the market with the S&P 500 (+0.3%) holding a modest gain. Meanwhile, the Dow trades flat while the Russell 2000 (-0.2%) underperforms. Despite today's relative weakness, the small-cap Russell 2000 has shown relative strength this week and it currently trades with a week-to-date gain of 1.0% versus a 0.4% increase for the S&P 500.

The energy sector (+0.8%) holds the lead, which is largely due to a 3.0% increase in crude oil, which currently trades at $60.75/bbl. The greenback has had little impact on oil today considering the Dollar Index (95.28, -0.16) is lower by 0.2% after holding a slim loss throughout the night.
Dow: +8.08… | Nasdaq: +15.60… | S&P: +5.43…
NASDAQ Adv/Dec 1311/1308. …NYSE Adv/Dec 1714/1227.

11:25AM ET
[BRIEFING.COM] Equity indices remain near their highs with the S&P 500 up 0.3%.

Yesterday, countercyclical sectors had a better showing than the growth-sensitive groups, but the opposite is true today. Five of six cyclical groups trade with gains between 0.3% (materials and technology) and 0.7% (energy) while the financial sector (-0.3%) has yet to make it out of the red.

Over on the countercyclical side, consumer staples (+0.1%) and telecom services (+0.5%) hold gains while health care (unch) and utilities (-0.2%) underperform.

Elsewhere, Treasuries continue trading near their best levels of the day with the 10-yr yield down four basis points at 2.21%.
Dow: +15.22… | Nasdaq: +22.09… | S&P: +6.08…
NASDAQ Adv/Dec 1443/1123. …NYSE Adv/Dec 1825/1093.

10:55AM ET
[BRIEFING.COM] The major averages hover near their best levels of the session with the Nasdaq Composite (+0.4%) trading ahead of the S&P 500 (+0.2%).

The Nasdaq has been boosted by large cap members of the technology sector (+0.3%). Specifically, Apple (AAPL 130.86, +0.80) has added 0.6% while Google (GOOGL 553.57, +1.06), Salesforce.com (CRM 73.98, +3.82), and Qualcomm (QCOM 70.92, +1.64) show gains between 0.2% and 5.5%. Furthermore, chipmakers have also shown relative strength with the PHLX Semiconductor Index trading higher by 0.4%.

Similar to technology, four other cyclical sectors hold gains while financials (-0.2%) underperform.
Dow: +5.47… | Nasdaq: +18.06… | S&P: +4.31…
NASDAQ Adv/Dec 1461/1076. …NYSE Adv/Dec 1808/1061.

10:35AM ET
[BRIEFING.COM]
  • Movements in the dollar this morning, driven by the progressive release of domestic econ data, has greatly weighed on commodities such as gold, silver, crude oil and copper
  • The dollar index saw an initial rise during the session, on the release of US claims data. 
  • However, following a subsequent Philly Fed data release the index fell modestly lower, and is now trading -0.1% to 95.34
  • Precious metals have been seeing pressure from the dollar, falling early on data, then subsequently rallying on new data to re-capture those losses.
  • June gold is almost back to flat on the session, currently -0.3% at $1205.50/oz, while July silver is +0.3% to $17.17/oz
  • Crude oil has been trading up all morning, partially on reports suggesting a Cushing stockpile draw. In most recent trade, crude has rallied to near its HoD.  
  • The June crude contract is now +2.3% to $60.33/barrel
  • July copper has also been in the black all morning, rising in most recent trade to +1% at $2.86/lb
  • June natural gas was trading moderately higher ahead of inventory data released minutes ago at 10:30 ET
  • Upon release of the data, which showed a smaller than expected build, cause nat gas futures to pop to a new high for today. 
  • June nat gas is now +2% at $2.97/MMBtu
Dow: -1.20… | Nasdaq: +12.36… | S&P: +3.02…
NASDAQ Adv/Dec 1390/1125. …NYSE Adv/Dec 1723/1131.

10:00AM ET
[BRIEFING.COM] The S&P 500 trades right near its flat line.

Just released, the Leading Indicators report for April was up 0.7% while the Briefing.com consensus expected an increase of 0.3%. That followed a revised 0.4% increase in March (from 0.2%).

Separately, the Philadelphia Fed Survey for May fell to 6.7 from 7.5 while economists polled by Briefing.com had expected that the Survey would improve to 8.0.

Also of note, existing home sales for April were reported to have decreased 3.3% from March to an annualized rate of 5.04 million units (Briefing.com consensus 5.24 million).
Dow: -14.58… | Nasdaq: +0.45… | S&P: +0.09…
NASDAQ Adv/Dec 1040/1289. …NYSE Adv/Dec 1474/1282.

09:45AM ET
[BRIEFING.COM] The major averages began the day in the red before returning to their flat lines.

Four sectors hold early gains with energy (+0.5%) and industrials (+0.3%) showing relative strength after struggling in recent days. On the flip side, consumer staples (-0.3%), technology (-0.2%), and health care (-0.1%) have shown early weakness.

Elsewhere, Treasuries have returned to their overnight highs, pressuring the 10-yr yield to 2.22% (-3 bps).

April Existing Home Sales (consensus 5.24 million), April Leading Indicators (expected 0.3%), and the Philadelphia Fed Survey for May (expected 8.0) will be reported at 10:00 ET.
Dow: -3.84… | Nasdaq: +2.37… | S&P: +0.53…
NASDAQ Adv/Dec 1263/903. …NYSE Adv/Dec 1596/1071.

09:08AM ET
[BRIEFING.COM] S&P futures vs fair value: -1.60. Nasdaq futures vs fair value: -4.70. The stock market is on track for a slightly lower open as futures on the S&P 500 trade two points below fair value after spending the entire night in negative territory. That said, S&P futures have erased more than half of their overnight decline.

Once again, pre-market action has been very quiet with a handful of companies reporting their results. On that note, Best Buy (BBY 35.88, +2.10) has jumped 6.2% in pre-market after reporting better than expected results and reaffirming its guidance. Elsewhere, Salesforce.com (CRM 72.29, +2.27) is on track to open higher by 3.3% after beating bottom-line estimates and guiding higher.  

Economic data reported this morning was limited to weekly Initial Claims, which increased to 274,000 from 264,000 while the Briefing.com consensus expected an increase to 270,000.

More data lurks on today's economic calendar with April Existing Home Sales (consensus 5.24 million), April Leading Indicators (expected 0.3%), and the Philadelphia Fed Survey for May (expected 8.0) all set to cross the wires at 10:00 ET.

Treasuries hover just above their flat lines with the 10-yr yield at 2.24%.

08:55AM ET
[BRIEFING.COM] S&P futures vs fair value: -4.00. Nasdaq futures vs fair value: -10.80. The S&P 500 futures trade four points below fair value.

Markets in the Asia-Pacific region were mixed on Thursday, following in the footsteps of Wall Street's mixed finish on Wednesday. China's Shanghai Composite, however, stood out from the pack with a 1.9% gain that was fueled once again by policy stimulus speculation. That speculation kicked in following the HSBC Flash PMI reading for May, which showed the third straight month of manufacturing activity being in contraction.
  • In economic data: 
    • China's May Flash HSBC Manufacturing PMI 49.1 (expected 49.3; prior 48.9) 
    • Japan's May Flash Manufacturing PMI 50.9 (expected 50.3; prior 49.9) while All Industries Activity Index -1.3% month-over-month (expected -0.4%; prior +0.2%) 
    • Hong Kong's April CPI +2.8% year-over-year (expected +4.3%; prior +4.5%) 
    • Australia's MI Inflation Expectations 3.6% (prior 3.4%) 
    • New Zealand's Budget Balance NZD -4.17 bln (prior NZD -4.00 bln) and Credit Card Spending +7.1% year-over-year (prior +5.2%) 
------
  • Japan's Nikkei ended flat after being up as much as 0.6% earlier in the session. The financial (+1.5%) and utilities (+1.3%) sectors were the day's best performers. Individual standouts on the stock side included Sompo Japan Nipponkoa Holdings (+7.4%), Tokyo Electric Power (+6.7%), and MS&AD Insurance Group (+5.4%). Kyowa Hakko Kirin Co (-3.7%) was the worst-performing issue. Out of the 225 index members, 118 ended higher, 99 finished lower, and 8 were unchanged. 
  • Hong Kong's Hang Seng declined 0.2% with losses in the consumer non-cyclical (-1.5%) and communications (-0.9%) sectors weighing on matters. Leading laggards included China Unicom Hong Kong (-3.2%), Hengan Intl. (-2.6%), and China Resources Power Holdings (-2.4%). Galaxy Entertainment (+4.6%) topped the list of winners. Out of the 50 index members, 20 ended higher, 28 finished lower, and 2 were unchanged. 
  • China's Shanghai Composite increased 1.9%, finishing at its highs for the day after the weaker than expected HSBC Flash PMI report for May triggered speculation that further policy stimulus will be provided. The industrial (+4.1%), diversified (+4.0%), and consumer non-cyclical (+3.8%) sectors were the best-performing areas in the Chinese market on Thursday. Financials (+0.3%) lagged the action. 
Major European indices trade mostly lower, but they are off their lows. In news, the Eurogroup is reportedly considering extending Greece's current aid program into the fall if representatives from the country agree to certain terms during the first week of June.
  • Economic data was plentiful: 
    • Eurozone Current Account surplus narrowed to EUR18.60 billion from EUR27.30 billion (expected surplus of EUR26.00 billion). Separately, May Flash Manufacturing PMI 52.3 (expected 52.0; prior 52.0) and Flash Services PMI 53.3 (consensus 53.9; prior 54.1) 
    • Germany's May Flash Manufacturing PMI 51.4 (consensus 52.3; prior 52.1) and Flash Services PMI 52.9 (expected 53.9; previous 54.0) 
    • UK's April Retail Sales +1.2% month-over-month (expected 0.4%; prior -0.7%) and Core Retail Sales +1.2% month-over-month (consensus 0.3%; previous 0.2%). Separately, May CBI Industrial Trends Orders -5 (expected 3; last 1) 
    • France's Flash Manufacturing PMI 49.3 (consensus 48.5; prior 48.0) while Flash Services PMI 51.6 (consensus 51.9; last 51.4) 
    • Italy's April Wage Inflation 0.2% month-over-month (prior 0.0%) 
------
  • UK's FTSE trades higher by 0.1% with miners showing relative strength. Antofagasta, BHP Billiton, Glencore, and Fresnillo show gains between 1.0% and 1.6%. Consumer discretionary names lag with Carnival, Taylor Wimpey, and International Consolidated Airlines down between 1.9% and 3.6%. 
  • France's CAC is lower by 0.3% amid weakness in financials. BNP Paribas, Credit Agricole, and Societe Generale display losses between 0.6% and 1.3%. Energy-related names outperform with Technip higher by 1.4% and Total up 0.2%. 
  • Germany's DAX has given up 0.3% with all but seven names in the red. Software company SAP is the weakest performer, down 2.0%, while exporters BMW and Volkswagen hold losses close to 1.5% apiece. Utilities and health care outperform with RWE and Merck higher by 0.4% and 0.7%, respectively.

08:31AM ET
[BRIEFING.COM] S&P futures vs fair value: -3.60. Nasdaq futures vs fair value: -10.20. The S&P 500 futures trade four points below fair value.

The latest weekly initial jobless claims count totaled 274,000 while the Briefing.com consensus expected a reading of 270,000. Today's tally was above the unrevised prior week count of 264,000. As for continuing claims, they fell to 2.211 million from 2.223 million.

07:57AM ET
[BRIEFING.COM] S&P futures vs fair value: -3.00. Nasdaq futures vs fair value: -8.30. U.S. equity futures trade modestly lower amid cautious action overseas. The S&P 500 futures hover three points below fair value.

Meanwhile, Treasuries hold slim gains with the 10-yr yield down two basis points at 2.23%.

Weekly Initial Claims (Briefing.com consensus 270K) will be released at 8:30 ET while April Existing Home Sales (consensus 5.24 million), April Leading Indicators (expected 0.3%), and the Philadelphia Fed Survey for May (expected 8.0) will cross the wires at 10:00 ET.

In U.S. corporate news of note:
  • Best Buy (BBY 36.80, +3.02): +8.9% in reaction to better than expected results and reaffirmed guidance. 
  • NetApp (NTAP 31.00, -4.33): -12.3% after missing estimates, guiding lower, and announcing plans to reduce its headcount by about 500 employees. 
  • Omnicare (OCR 96.12, +1.49): +1.6% after agreeing to be acquired by CVS Health (CVS 102.30, +1.03) for $98.00/share or $12.70 billion. 
  • Salesforce.com (CRM 73.60, +3.44): +4.9% after beating bottom-line estimates and guiding higher. 
  • Williams-Sonoma (WSM 81.00, +3.11): +4.0% in reaction to better than expected earnings and lower Q2 earnings guidance. 
Reviewing overnight developments:
  • Asian markets ended mixed. China's Shanghai Composite +1.9%, Hong Kong's Hang Seng -0.2%, and Japan's Nikkei settled flat 
    • In economic data: 
      • China's May Flash HSBC Manufacturing PMI 49.1 (expected 49.3; prior 48.9) 
      • Japan's May Flash Manufacturing PMI 50.9 (expected 50.3; prior 49.9) while All Industries Activity Index -1.3% month-over-month (expected -0.4%; prior +0.2%)
      • Hong Kong's April CPI +2.8% year-over-year (expected +4.3%; prior +4.5%) 
      • Australia's MI Inflation Expectations 3.6% (prior 3.4%) 
      • New Zealand's Budget Balance NZD -4.17 bln (prior NZD -4.00 bln) and Credit Card Spending +7.1% year-over-year (prior +5.2%) 
    • In news: 
      • According to Nikkei, the Bank of Japan is likely to raise its economic assessment for the first time in two years at tomorrow's policy meeting
  • Major European indices trade mostly lower. Germany's DAX -0.5%, France's CAC -0.4%, and UK's FTSE +0.1%. Elsewhere, Italy's MIB -0.6% and Spain's IBEX -0.3% 
    • Economic data was plentiful: 
      • Eurozone Current Account surplus narrowed to EUR18.60 billion from EUR27.30 billion (expected surplus of EUR26.00 billion). Separately, May Flash Manufacturing PMI 52.3 (expected 52.0; prior 52.0) and Flash Services PMI 53.3 (consensus 53.9; prior 54.1) 
      • Germany's May Flash Manufacturing PMI 51.4 (consensus 52.3; prior 52.1) and Flash Services PMI 52.9 (expected 53.9; previous 54.0) 
      • UK's April Retail Sales +1.2% month-over-month (expected 0.4%; prior -0.7%) and Core Retail Sales +1.2% month-over-month (consensus 0.3%; previous 0.2%). Separately, May CBI Industrial Trends Orders -5 (expected 3; last 1) 
      • France's Flash Manufacturing PMI 49.3 (consensus 48.5; prior 48.0) while Flash Services PMI 51.6 (consensus 51.9; last 51.4) 
      • Italy's April Wage Inflation 0.2% month-over-month (prior 0.0%) 
    • Among news of note: 
      • The Eurogroup is reportedly considering extending Greece's current aid program into the fall if representatives from the country agree to certain terms during the first week of June

05:49AM ET
[BRIEFING.COM] S&P futures vs fair value: -5.10. Nasdaq futures vs fair value: -14.20.

05:49AM ET
[BRIEFING.COM] Nikkei...20202.87...+6.30...+0.00%.  Hang Seng...27523.72...-61.30...-0.20%.

05:49AM ET
[BRIEFING.COM] FTSE...7010.72...+3.50...+0.10%.  DAX...11805.16...-43.30...-0.40%.

04:10PM ET
[BRIEFING.COM] The major averages finished the midweek session on a flat note. The S&P 500 shed 0.1%, but still marked a fresh intraday record high at 2,134.72 while the Nasdaq Composite (unch) outperformed.

Equity indices spent the first half of today's session near their flat lines with the S&P 500 maintaining a seven-point range that was violated to the upside during afternoon action once the Federal Open Market Committee released the minutes from its April policy meeting. The index could not hold its afternoon gain and returned to the flat line by the close.

Above all, the minutes revealed that some participants believed that the weakness observed in the first quarter could extend into Q2 with many officials characterizing a rate hike in June as "unlikely." However, the minutes did not rule out a near-term rate hike in its entirety.

Treasuries retreated immediately following the release, but they returned to their afternoon levels shortly thereafter. The 10-yr note settled near its high with the benchmark yield slipping four basis points to 2.25%.

On a related note, the Dollar Index (95.50, +0.23) endured a whipsaw afternoon after holding a modest intraday gain. The index surged to its session high following the minutes and then slumped to its low, but still ended the day with a slim gain of 0.2%.

Five sectors ended in the green with three countercyclical groups showing relative strength throughout the day. Rate-sensitive telecom services (+0.5%) and utilities (+0.2%) benefitted from lower rates while the health care sector (+0.1%) was underpinned by biotechnology. The iShares Nasdaq Biotechnology ETF (IBB 363.59, +3.11) gained 0.9% with the industry group contributing to the outperformance of the Nasdaq.

Similarly, high-beta chipmakers also gave a boost to the tech-heavy index. The PHLX Semiconductor Index added 0.2% with the move paced by a 4.3% gain in Analog Devices (ADI 66.18, +2.73) after the company reported a one-cent beat. For its part, the broader technology sector displayed afternoon strength, but returned to its flat line by the close.

Elsewhere among cyclical sectors, consumer discretionary (-0.2%), industrials (-0.4%), and financials (-0.4%) lagged throughout the day. Notably, the industrial sector suffered from losses among transport stocks that sent the Dow Jones Transportation Average lower by 2.0%. Airlines paced the slide with Delta Air Lines (DAL 43.62, -2.59), Southwest Airlines (LUV 37.19, -3.72), and United Continental (UAL 54.54, -6.27) losing between 5.6% and 10.3% after Southwest lowered its guidance. In addition, investors showed concern over potential pricing pressures that could result from the entry of three subsidized Arabian Gulf carriers into the U.S. market.

Lastly, the financial sector (-0.4%) spent the day among the laggards. The long-awaited settlement between the Department of Justice and five large banks was announced today with fines against Citigroup (C 54.89, -0.44), JPMorgan Chase (JPM 66.48, -0.53), Barclays (BCS 16.86, +0.56), UBS (UBS 21.96, +0.83), and Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS 11.05, +0.21) totaling $5.80 billion.

Today's participation was comparable to totals observed earlier in the week with fewer than 700 million shares changing hands at the NYSE floor.

Economic data was limited to the weekly MBA Mortgage Index, which fell 1.5% to follow last week's 3.5% decline.

Tomorrow, weekly Initial Claims (Briefing.com consensus 270K) will be released at 8:30 ET while April Existing Home Sales (consensus 5.24 million), April Leading Indicators (expected 0.3%), and May Philadelphia Fed Survey (expected 8.0) will cross the wires at 10:00 ET.
  • Nasdaq Composite +7.1% YTD 
  • Russell 2000 +4.5% YTD 
  • S&P 500 +3.3% YTD 
  • Dow Jones Industrial Average +2.6% YTD
Dow: -26.99… | Nasdaq: +1.71… | S&P: -1.98…
NASDAQ Adv/Dec 1421/1446. …NYSE Adv/Dec 1579/1445.

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