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Wednesday February 18, 2015 - 17:18:59 GMT
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| | Email US Mid-Session Update: S&P500 Backs Away from All-Time Highs

Wed, 18 Feb 2015 12:01 PM EST

***Economic Data***
- (PT) Portugal Jan PPI M/M: -0.7% v -1.8% prior; Y/Y: -4.0% v -3.4% prior
- (ZA) South Africa Dec Retail Sales M/M: -0.2% v +1.0%e; Y/Y: 3.4% v 2.5%e
- (US) MBA Mortgage Applications w/e Feb 13th: -13.2% v -9.0% prior
- (US) Goldman Economist: Chain Store Sales w/e Feb 13th w/w: +2.3%; y/y: +1.8%
- (PL) Poland Jan Sold Industrial Output M/M: -3.1% v -2.8%e; Y/Y: 1.7% v 2.4%e
- (PL) Poland Jan PPI M/M: -0.2% v -0.4%e; Y/Y: -2.9% v -2.9%e
- (PL) Poland Jan Retail Sales M/M: -22.6% v -22.2%e; Y/Y: 0.1% v 0.9%e
- (RU) Russia Jan PPI M/M: 1.3% v 0.9%e; Y/Y: 7.1% v 6.2%e
- (US) Jan Housing Starts: 1.065M v 1.070Me; Building Permits: 1.053M v 1.067Me
- (US) Jan PPI Final Demand M/M: -0.8% v -0.4%e; Y/Y: 0.0% v 0.3%e
- (US) Jan PPI Ex Food and Energy M/M: -0.1% v +0.1%e; Y/Y: 1.6% v 2.0%e
- (US) Jan PPI Ex Food, Energy, Trade M/M: -0.3% v +0.1%e; Y/Y: 0.9% v 1.3%e
- (CA) Canada Dec Wholesale Trade Sales M/M: 2.5% v 0.3%e
- (US) Redbook Retail Sales w/e Feb 13th: +3.2% y/y, Feb MTD: +0.8% m/m; Feb MTD +2.7% y/y
- (US) Jan Industrial Production M/M: 0.2% v 0.3%e; Capacity Utilization: 79.4 v 79.9%e; Manufacturing Production Y/Y: 0.2% v 0.4%e

US equities are a bit lower today after the S&P500 notched all-time intraday and closing highs, and the DJIA came within points of the same during yesterday's trading. Few analysts expect any earthshaking revelations from the release of the FOMC minutes this afternoon. As of writing, the DJIA is down 0.19%, the S&P500 is down 0.21% and the Nasdaq is down 0.05%

Commodities are seeing slippage again this morning. Spot gold is dipping below $1,200 after yesterday's 1.5% slide. WTI crude fell to $51 yesterday morning in heavy volume but quickly tested back above $53 in the afternoon, while today the contract is down to $52.

The January PPI prices report was softer than expected, with all components undershooting expectations. Core PPI contracted and the alternative core measure that includes trade fell by 0.3%, the first negative monthly reading in the brief 17-month history of the series. January housing starts and building permits narrowly missed expectations, driving some softness in housing names.

Greece is running out of cash and the nation's EU partners are running out of time to reach a deal with Athens. It remains somewhat unclear where the two sides are, but reports suggest Greece will today formally request a six-month extension of the current program and offer to commit to a set of broad principles while abandoning all conditions. The EU wants Greece to agree on specific measures to be implemented in order to get an extension, conditions Greece has repeatedly rejected. The Eurogroup has set a soft deadline of Friday, February 20th to get Athens to agree to a deal, and in the meantime deposit outflows are accelerating. Reports out this morning suggests Greece will run out of cash in mid March.

Shares of Boston Scientific are up 10% this morning after reaching a deal with Johnson & Johnson to resolve litigation stemming from Boston Scientific's acquisition of heart-device maker Guidant nearly a decade ago. J&J had originally sued for $7 billion in damages, and today it settled for $600 million.

Two retail names are getting slammed after earnings out yesterday. Shares of Fossil Group are sinking even further in cash trading this morning, down almost 18% missing expectations in its fourth quarter and offering very weak first quarter and FY guidance. Meanwhile apparel name Perry Ellis is off 5.5% after trimming its fourth quarter outlook due to the impact of the West Coast port strike.

***Looking Ahead***
- 14:00 (US) FOMC minutes
- 14:00 (AR) Argentina Q4 Unemployment Rate: 7.4%e v 7.5% prior
- 16:00 (US) Dec Total Net TIC Flows: No est v -$6.3B prior; Net Long-term TIC Flows: No est v $33.5B prior
- 16:00 (NZ) New Zealand Jan ANZ Job Advertisements M/M: No est v 0.8% prior
- 16:30 (US) Weekly API Oil Inventories
- 16:45 (NZ) New Zealand Q4 PPI Output Q/Q: No est v -1.1% prior; PPI Input Q/Q: No est v -1.5% prior
- 17:00 (US) Fed's Powell (Voter) on regulation in NY
- 18:50 (JP) Japan Jan Trade Balance: -1.681Te v -0.7T prior; Adj Trade Balance: -0.6Te v -0.7T prior; Exports Y/Y: 13.5%e v 12.9% prior; Imports Y/Y: -4.9%e v +1.9% prior


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