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Friday May 16, 2014 - 15:07:28 GMT
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| | Email US Market Update: Equities Close Out the Week on a Choppy Note

Fri, 16 May 2014 10:57 AM EST

***Economic Data***
- (MY) Malaysia Q1 GDP Y/Y: 6.2% v 5.7%e
- (MY) Malaysia Q1 Current Account Balance (MYR): 19.8B v 16.6e
- (EU) ECB: 5 Banks to repay total 6.2B in 3-Year LTRO Funds vs. 3.0Be
- (BR) Brazil Mar Economic Activity Index M/M: -0.1% v -0.1%e; Y/Y: -0.1% v +0.1%e
- (IN) India Forex Reserves w/e May 9th: $313.8B v $311.9B prior
- (IS) Iceland Apr Unemployment Rate: 4.1% v 4.5% prior
- (US) Apr Housing Starts: 1.072M v 980Me; Building Permits: 1.080M v 1.010Me
- (CA) Canada Mar Int'l Securities Transactions: -C$1.2B v +C$7.0Be
- (BE) Belgium Mar Trade Balance: -0.7B v -0.4B prior
- (US) May Preliminary University of Michigan Confidence: 81.8 v 84.5e

- Trading has been very choppy this morning, with the DJIA flat, the S&P500 down 0.12% and the Nasdaq down 0.33%.

- The housing data over recent months has not been encouraging, inspiring lots of talk that the bounce back in the industry was over. This morning's April housing starts report paints a different picture: starts surged 13.2% m/m to 1.1 million units, widely beating expectations, led by a big +39.6% m/m gain in multi-family units. Permits surged 8% m/m to their highest level since June 2008. Housing starts grew m/m in every region of the US, although it's worth noting that single-family unit starts were up just 0.8% m/m.

- The New York Fed published its May staff forecast, which foresees 3% annualized GDP growth over the remainder of 2014 and 3% annualized GDP growth in 2015. Staff see stronger employment growth, with monthly NFPs averaging around 225K for the remainder of 2014.

- Shares of General Motors opened down 2.0% or so on reports out just before the open that the company has entered a consent decree with US Department of Transportation over the recent recalls. Under the agreement, GM will pay a "substantial" fine, scaled to the seriousness of the delay in the switch recall. Separately, GM said it was working with Delphi to step up production of parts for the recalls.

- Investors don't like Darden's arrangement to spin off Red Lobster to Golden Gate Capital and shares of the casual dining name are down nearly 5%. Darden is getting $2.1 billion for Red Lobster, netting $1.6 billion on the deal, using $1.0 billion of the proceeds to retire debt and adding the balance to its share buyback program. Darden said the transaction would be dilutive to FY15 EPS and accretive to long-term earnings.

- Retailers JC Penny and Nordstrom are off their post-market highs in cash trading this morning, up 16% and 12%, respectively. Analysts have raised ratings and price targets on both names overnight. JC Penny's turnaround is clearly taking hold, as the company reported its second consecutive quarter of comp growth after nine straight quarters of decline.

- The pharma industry dealmaking just won't stop: today Abbot said it would acquire Latin American company CFR Pharmaceuticals for $2.9 billion. The deal will more than double Abbott's Latin American branded generics presence, and the company says the deal will add about $900 million to its sales in the first full year.

***Looking Ahead***
- 11:50 (US) Fed's Bullard speaks on Monetary Policy in Little Rock, Ark.
- 15:00 (AR) Argentina mar Economic Activity Index M/M: No est v 0.0% prior; Y/Y: 0.8%e v 1.3% prior
- 15:00 (AR) Argentina Apr Wholesale Price Index M/M: % v 2.4% prior; Y/Y: % v 25.8% prior
- Ireland Sovereign Debt Rating might be published by Moody's

- (PT) Portugal formally exits its EU bailout program




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