Dow -89 S&P -8.3 NASDAQ -19 - Markets declined before the bell this morning and are having a tough time rebounding. The weekly jobless claims were somewhat higher than expected for the second consecutive week, helping dull the recent improving employment theme that was furthered by yesterday's FOMC statement.. The regional Philly Fed manufacturing survey hit its highest level since April 2005, balancing out the sour jobs news and Tuesday's decline in the Empire manufacturing survey. The Senate Banking Committee voted to move the nomination of Fed Chairman Bernanke to a full Senate vote this morning. Front month crude is off a bit, trading around the $72 handle after reaching its highest levels in roughly a week yesterday. Gold prices are also dipping below $1115, not far off their lowest levels of December as commodities in general feel the effects of a resurgent Greenback. US Treasury markets have seen bids as well, sending the benchmark yield back towards 3.5% and the long bond below 4.5%.
- Shares of Citigroup are down 7% this morning after pricing its 5.4B share offering at $3.15/shr. Note that the US Treasury has said it does not plan to sell any shares in conjunction with the offering. Meredith Whitney weighed in on Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley this morning, cutting her EPS targets on both firms, although her new estimates are more or less in line with consensus views. Both names are down 2% or so in mid morning trading.
- In earnings, FedEx's Q2 results were slightly better than expected and guided well below expectations for its Q3. Shares of FDX are down 5% in mid morning trade. Management blamed the guidance call on costs from increased maintenance due to higher than expected volumes. The firm's 2010 outlook is above par. Discover Financial crushed expectations on the continuing contributions from the Visa/Master Card settlement. However, shares of DFS are down 8% on guidance for higher charge offs in its Q4. General Mills beat earnings expectations and raised its 2010 outlook by a hair. GIS are up a few percent. Rite Aid's quarterly loss was smaller than expected and its guidance for the full year was slightly improved from last quarter. RAD is up 10% in early trading.
- Homebuilder Hovnanian fell 9% before the open after reporting a much larger than expected loss yesterday. However, the firm maintained last quarter's decline in the cancellation rate and grew margins, despite continued sequential declines in new contracts and the backlog. Shares of HOV recouped some losses in early trading. Note that Moody's changed its outlook on the US homebuilding industry to Stable from Negative and suggested that the bottom has been reached for the sector as housing starts, new home sales and existing home sales are all showing positive trends.
- In other equity news, First Solar is in negative territory after offering a very broad range for 2010, although its revenue outlook was ahead of the consensus. The firm said it would expand capacity by nearly 50% by 2011. Amusement park operator Cedar Fair is up 24% after agreeing to be acquired by private equity firm Apollo Global Management.
- In currencies, the greenback pared some of its earlier gains throughout the New York morning as European names covered some intra-day dollar long positions. Nonetheless, the greenback maintained its strong position as fiscal turbulence in some Euro Zone countries picked up in the wake of the second credit downgrade of Greece. The US initial jobs claims data continues to remain elevated but Philly Fed and leading indicators continued their constructive tones. EUR/USD is trading the mid 1.43 handle while GBP/USD retraced some 50+ pips off its session low of 1.6080.
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Mon 26 Feb 2018 A 15:00 US- New Homes Sales Tue 27 Feb 2018 A 08:55 DE- Jobless B 13:30 US- Durable Goods A 15:00 US- CB Consumer Confidence A 15:00 US- Pending Homes Sales AA 15:00 US- Powell House Testimony Wed 28 Feb 2018 A 10:00 EZ- flash HICP AA 13:30 US- GDP A 15:30 US- EIA Crude Thu 1 Mar 2018 A All Day final Mfg PMIs A 13:30 US- Weekly Jobless AA 13:30 US- Core PCE Deflator AA 15:00 US- Powell Senate Testimony A 15:30 US- EIA Crude Fri 2 Mar 2018 AA 15:00 US- final Univ of Mich
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