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Friday February 14, 2014 - 16:50:31 GMT
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| | Email US Market Update: Creep Toward YTD Highs US Market Update: Creep Toward YTD Highs
Fri, 14 Feb 2014 11:25 AM EST

***Economic Data***
- (BR) Brazil Dec Economic Activity M/M: -1.4% v -1.2%e; Y/Y: 0.7% v 1.1%e
- (PT) Portugal Q4 Labour Costs Y/Y: -0.4% v +0.3% prior
- (IE) Ireland Dec Trade Balance: 3.4B v 2.6B prior
- (IN) India Forex Reserves w/e Feb 9th: $292.3B v $291.1B prior
- (IL) Israel Jan CPI M/M: -0.6% v -0.3%e; Y/Y: 1.4% v 1.8%e
- (IS) Iceland Jan Unemployment Rate: 4.5% v 4.2% prior
- (PL) Poland Jan M3 Money Supply M/M: -1.6% v -0.8%e; Y/Y: 5.5% v 6.1%e
- (PL) Poland Jan CPI M/M: 0.1% v 0.3%e; Y/Y: 0.7% v 0.9%e
- (CA) Canada Dec Manufacturing Sales M/M: -0.9% v 0.0%e
- (US) Jan Import Price Index M/M: +0.1-0.1%e; Y/Y: -1.5% v -1.8%e
- (BE) Belgium Dec Trade Balance: -1.2B v -0.3B prior
- (CA) Canada Jan Existing Home Sales M/M: -3.3% v -1.8% prior
- (US) Jan Industrial Production M/M: -0.3% v +0.2%e; Capacity Utilization: 78.5% v 79.3%e ; Manufacturing Production: -0.8% v +0.1%
- (US) Feb Preliminary University of Michigan Confidence: 81.2 v 80.2e

- The S&P500 is within striking distance of YTD highs this morning as equities float higher on another reduced volume storm day. As of writing, the DJIA is up 0.38%, the S&P500 is up 0.18% and the Nasdaq is down 0.16%.

- The greenback is heading into the weekend on the defensive following a run of weaker than expected US data which contrasts unfavorably some improvements in Q4 GDP out of many European nations. Overnight EUR/USD was testing above 1.37000 for the fifth time this year, however the pair dropped lower in the US session. Markets are applauding Italy PD party chief Renzi's successful move to push PM Letta out office. Current analysis suggests that Renzi had grown fearful electoral reforms were getting mired in political paralysis and felt compelled to push Letta out. The 10-year yield on Italy government debt is around 3.67% v 3.72% earlier today.

- The 3% move higher in gold prices over the last week continued this morning, with spot gold crossing above its 200-day moving average for first time in a year. Analysts suggest it will take more than short-term dollar weakness to propel the yellow metal over the $1,300 level. Traders continue to debate the possible catalysts behind the move this week, citing delayed reactions to emerging market turmoil, the breakdown of bitcoin, among other theories.

- Share of AIG are actually losing ground this morning, down 2% despite the EPS beat, the new stock buyback and the dividend hike. On a y/y basis, the firm swung to a decent profit from a huge loss, beating expectations. New premiums were up 5% y/y, although the combined ratio is still above 100, but getting much better.

- Occidental Petroleum is up 3% this morning after a series of announcements. The firm is selling its Hugoton Field assets in the midwest to an undisclosed buyer for pre-tax proceeds of $1.4 billion. In addition, Oxy said it would split its operations in California into a separate publicly traded company, as the final act of its ongoing transformation process. Finally, the firm hiked its dividend and added to the stock buyback.

- Tech services and distributer Ingram Micro reported solid profit and sales growth in its fourth quarter, exceeding consensus views. The firm's guidance for its first quarter was not great, with a slight decline in revenue and margins expected, although the company still sees firm FY revenue growth. IM is up more than 12% on the session.

- The Jos. A. Bank/Men's Warehouse merger story has a new twist this morning. Jos. A. Banks rolled out a plan to acquire Eddie Bauer for $825M in cash and stock, in a deal valued at $56/shr. The equity component of the deal includes 4.7M shares; the deal is structured whereby Jos. A. Bank would promptly commence a tender for 4.6 million of its own shares for $65/shr after completing the Eddie Bauer acquisition. Recall the last offer from Men's Warehouse rejected by Jos. A. Bank was $57.50/shr, although MW hinted it might boost its offer.

- Shares of Weight Watchers are shedding value this morning after the firm's fourth-quarter EPS missed expectations and the initial FY14 guidance came in way below par. Weight Watchers confirmed that later in this quarter it would finalize its corporate downsizing, although costs of this weight loss plan were not included in the terrible FY14 guidance. Shares of WTW are down 25%.

***Looking Ahead***
- 12:00 (DE) ECB's Weidmann in Bremen
- 14:00 (AR) Argentina Jan Wholesale Price Index M/M: No est v 1.4% prior (revised from 1.5%); Y/Y: No est v 14.7% -prior
- 16:00 (CO) Colombia Dec Exports FOB: $5.0Be v $4.9B prior
- (PE) Peru Dec Economic Activity Y/Y: 5.1%e v 4.8% prior
- (PE) Peru Unemployment Rate: 6.2%e v 5.7% prior
- (CO) Colombia Central Bank Minutes




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