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Monday March 2, 2015 - 17:08:39 GMT
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| | Email US Mid-Session Update: Nasdaq Back at Dot-Bomb Highs

Mon, 02 Mar 2015 11:48 AM EST

***Economic Data***
- (PT) Portugal Jan Retail Sales M/M: +6.8% v -3.2% prior; Y/Y: 2.2% v 1.5% prior
- (PT) Portugal Jan Industrial Production M/M: +0.8% v -3.2% prior; Y/Y: -2.1% v -2.1% prior
- (BR) Brazil Feb Manufacturing PMI: 49.6 v 50.7 prior (first contraction in 3 months)
- (US) Jan Personal Income: 0.3% v 0.4%e; Personal Spending: -0.2% v -0.1%e
- (US) Jan PCE Deflator M/M: -0.5% v -0.5%e; Y/Y: 0.2% v 0.2%e
- (US) Jan PCE Core M/M: 0.1% v 0.1%e; Y/Y: 1.3% v 1.3%e
- (BE) Belgium Q4 Final GDP Q/Q: 0.2% v 0.1% prelim; Y/Y: 1.0 v 0.9% prelim
- (CA) Canada Feb RBC Manufacturing PMI: 48.7 v 51.0 prior
- (US) Feb Final Markit Manufacturing PMI: 55.1 v 54.3e
- (US) Jan Construction Spending M/M: -1.1% v 0.3%e
- (US) Feb ISM Manufacturing: 52.9 v 53.0e; ISM Prices Paid: 35.0 v 37.0e

US equities are have an up day after a weak couple of sessions late last week. The Nasdaq Composite has climbed above 5,000 today for the first time since the dot-com bust of 2000-01, while the S&P500 is within points of hitting a new intraday high. As of writing, the DJIA is up 0.68%, the S&P500 is up 0.43% and the Nasdaq is up 0.72%.

The January personal income and spending data were just about flat with the prior December reading. core PCE prices, the Federal Reserve's preferred inflation measure, did not budge from the prior month's reading. The ISM manufacturing index fell to 52.9 in February from 53.5 the month before, and most components also slipped lower, although they also remain in expansion territory.

WTI crude prices climbed back above $50 this morning on circulation of a Genscape weekly inventory report that said the build in Cushing's stocks was softer than expected. On Friday, the Baker Hughes rig report said the number of rigs at work fell by 33 last week to 986, the smallest drop this year. At the same time, Brent crude fell more than 2% to around $61 after Iran said a deal on its nuclear program could be agreed upon this week if the West lifts sanctions.

Despite the bailout extension, things are looking dire in Greece. With tax collection lagging badly, the nation could run out of money in mid to late March. Athens is lashing out at other peripheral nations, accusing Spain and Portugal of conspiring to topple the Syriza government because they feared the rise of the left in their own countries. The Portuguese government said it was perplexed by the remarks, while Spain called on Greek PM Tsipras to get serious about conditions in Greece. Meanwhile, there is talk about a third bailout plan, something Syriza has repeatedly said it will never need. But inside Syriza, a split is already developing over just the four-month bailout extension, with the left wing already objecting to the mostly symbolic concessions. EUR/USD made a run above 1.1200 during the European session, but is headed back toward 1.1170 mid-morning.

Shares of Lumber Liquidators fell 25% in the premarket and were halted on the open of cash trading this morning. Last night, CBS news magazine 60 Minutes reported that Lumber Liquidators laminate flooring made in China does not meet California health and safety standards and contains unsafe levels of formaldehyde. LL responded by saying that its flooring was indeed in compliance.

There are two notable deals in the tech industry. Chip maker NXP Semi has agreed to buy Freescale Semiconductor for $6.25 in cash and 0.3521 of an NXP share, valuing it at $11.8 billion. The combination of NXP and Freescale will result in a semi powerhouse valued at over $40 billion. Separately, Hewlett-Packard reached a deal to acquire Aruba Networks for $3 billion in cash. Aruba makes network access solutions for mobile businesses, making it a smart fit for HP's flight to the cloud.

***Looking Ahead***
- 13:00 (MX) Mexico Feb IMEF Manufacturing Index (Seasonally Adj): 51.6e v 50.9 prior; Non-Manufacturing Index (Seasonally Adj): 50.2e v 49.2 prior
- 13:00 (BR) Brazil Feb Trade Balance Monthly: -$2.4Be v -$3.2B prior
- 18:00 (KR) South Korea Feb CPI M/M: 0.2%e v 0.5% prior; Y/Y: 0.7%e v 0.8% prior; CPI Core Y/Y: 2.4%e v 2.4% prior
- 18:50 (JP) Japan Feb Monetary Base: No est v 278.6T prior; Y/Y: No est v 37.4% prior
- 22:30 (AU) RBA Interest Rate Decisions: Expected to cut Cash Rate Target by 25bps to 2.00%


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