Market Wrap For March 20: Investors Showing No Post-Fed Decision Hangover
U.S. stocks recovered most of Wednesday's losses after Fed Chief Janet Yellen spooked the markets a bit by hinting a rate hike could occur as soon as six months after the central bank terminates its quantitative-easing program.
Investors found positives in several economic reports released today including a head count of Americans filing for jobless benefits coming in less than expected. Reports on leading indicators and regional manufacturing helped support a positive day of gains.
- The Dow gained 0.67 percent, closing at 16,331.05.
- The S&P 500 gained 0.60 percent, closing at 1,872.01.
- The Nasdaq gained 0.27 percent, closing at 4,319.29.
- Gold lost 1.01 percent, trading at $1,327.80 an ounce.
- Oil lost 0.47 percent, trading at $98.70 a barrel.
- Silver lost 2.57 percent, trading at $20.29.
News of Note
Initial Jobless Claims rose 5,000 to 320,000, below the consensus of 325,000. Continuing claims rose 41,000 to 2.88 million.
Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index fell to -29 from -27.6 last week.
February Leading Index rose 0.5 percent to 99.8, above expectations of a 0.3 percent rise. February Coincident Index rose 0.2 percent and Lagging Index rose 0.3 percent.
March Philly Fed Business Outlook improved to expansion territory at +9.0 from a previous reading of -6.3.
February Existing Home Sales came in at 4.60 million, in-line with consensus.
The Fed said that 29 out of 30 banks meet its stress test capital requirements
The average 30-year fixed-rate mortgage fell to 4.32 percent in the week ending March 20 from a previous 4.37 percent, according to the weekly Freddie Mac report.
Ukraine will remove its troops from Crimea in what can be seen as an acceptance of Russia's annexation.
Analyst Upgrades and Downgrades of Note
Analysts at Deutsche Bank maintained a Buy rating on Alliance Data Systems (NYSE: ADS) with a price target raised to $330 from a previous $265. Shares hit new 52 week highs of $294.47 before closing the day at $294.24, up 3.46 percent.
Analysts at Bank of America maintained an Underperform rating on Cliffs Natural Resources (NYSE: CLF) with a price target lowered to $16 from a previous $20. Shares lost 2.13 percent, closing at $18.60.
Analysts at B.Riley & Co. initiated coverage of Tableau Software (NASDAQ: DATA) with a price target of $110. Shares gained 0.68 percent, closing at $89.83.
Analysts at Deutsche Bank maintained a Hold rating on Dow Chemical (NYSE: DOW) with a price target raised to $50 from a previous $48. Shares gained 1.27 percent, closing at $50.24.
Analysts at Deutsche Bank maintained a Buy rating on FedEx (NYSE: FDX) with a price target slightly lowered to $180 from a previous $181. Meanwhile, analysts at Avondale Partners upgraded shares to Market Outperform from Market Perform with a price target raised to $165 from a previous $140. Shares lost 1.36 percent, closing at $136.50.
Analysts at Pacific Crest initiated coverage of FireEye (NASDAQ: FEYE) with a Sector Perform rating. Shares lost 6.01 percent, closing at $67.20.
Analysts at Deutsche Bank maintained a Hold rating on First Solar (NASDAQ: FSLR) with a price target raised to $70 from a previous $50. Meanwhile, analysts at Bank of America maintained an Underperform rating with a price target raised to $48 from a previous $40. Shares hit new 52 week highs of $73.74 before closing the day at $70.48, up 1.56 percent.
Analysts at Citigroup maintained a Buy rating on General Mills (NYSE: GIS) with a price target raised to $58 from a previous $53. Shares gained 0.61 percent, closing at $51.05.
Analysts at Citigroup maintained a Sell rating on Jabil Circuit (NYSE: JBL) with a price target raised to $15 from a previous $14. Shares lost 2.85 percent, closing at $17.74.
Analysts at Argus Research downgraded Oracle (NYSE: ORCL) to Hold from Buy. Shares lost 0.44 percent, closing at $38.38.
Analysts at Oppenheimer downgraded Signature Bank (NASDAQ: SBNY) to Perform from Outperform. Shares gained 0.44 percent, closing at $130.26.
Analysts at Sterne Agee downgraded Under Armour (NYSE: UA) to Neutral from Buy with a price target of $170. Shares lost 0.08 percent, closing at $121.91.
Analysts at First Global upgraded Yum! Brands (NYSE: YUM) to Outperform from Market Perform. Shares gained 1.39 percent, closing at $75.23.
Equities-Specific News of Note
Starbucks (NASDAQ: SBUX) plans to begin serving alcohol in the evening at thousands of its locations following a successful testing of the concept at several stores. Shares gained 1.38 percent, closing at $76.96.
The state of Arizona passed a bill allowing Tesla Motors (NASDAQ: TSLA) to sell its cars in the state directly to consumers. Shares lost 0.39 percent, closing at $234.91.
Sony (NYSE: SNE) will develop original TV content that can be watched on its PlayStation device with a supernatural drama series called The Powers. Shares gained 2.68 percent, closing at $17.61.
Burger King Worldwide (NYSE: BKW) will introduce a mobile payment option at all of its U.S. restaurants within a few months. Shares lost 0.04 percent, closing at $26.46.
According to China Mobile's (NYSE: CHL) CEO Li Yue, the company added 1.34 million 4G subscribers in February with “most of them” were iPhone devices. Gene Munster of Piper Jaffray said that Apple's (NASDAQ: AAPL) sales were a “disappointment” and didn't show “acceleration” in sales at China Mobil. Shares of China Mobil lost 3.85 percent, while shares of Apple lost 0.48 percent, closing at $528.70.
GlaxoSmithKline's (NYSE: GSK) MAGE-A3 lung-cancer immunotherapeutic has failed to reach two primary goals in a Phase III trial. Shares lost 1.26 percent, closing at $54.02.
IMAX (NASDAQ: IMAX) finalized a deal with Disney (NYSE: DIS) to see several upcoming films (including Star Wars: Episode VII) supported in the IMAX format. Shares of IMAX lost 0.11 percent, closing at $27.76 while shares of Disney gained 0.36 percent, closing at $80.81.
Comcast (NASDAQ: CMCSA) filed a new SEC document in which the company provided further details of its proposed merger with Time Warner Cable. (NYSE: TWC) Interestingly, inside the SEC report, Time Warner's CEO could receive an $80 million “golden parachute” from the deal, according to Deadline. Shares of Comcast gained 1.45 percent, closing at $50.60 while Time Warner gained 1.41 percent, closing at $138.38.
Men's Wearhouse (NYSE: MW) extended the expiration date of its offer to acquire Jos. A. Bank (NASDAQ: JOSB) until April 9. Shares of Men's Wearhouse lost 0.84 percent, closing at $51.90 while shares of Jos. A. Bank lost 0.09 percent, closing at $64.29.
Hewlett-Packard (NYSE: HPQ) will be “making a big technology announcement in June around how we are going to approach” its 3D printing business. According to the company's CEO, Meg Whitman, H-P's devices has solved speed and quality issues that plague other devices from competing companies. Shares hit new 52 week highs of $32.36 before closing the day at $31.48, down 0.44 percent.
Winners of Note
After pricing its IPO at $13, Q2 (NASDAQ: QTWO) opened at $16.50 and traded as high as $17.38 before closing the day at $15.17, up 16.69 percent.
Decliners of Note
Last night, ExOne (NASDAQ: XONE) reported disappointing earnings which includes an EPS loss of $0.22 and revenue of $10.70 million. Analysts were expecting an EPS of $0.01 and revenue of $12.13. The company sold only 12 devices of which only three were a high-end S-Max printer. ExOne is guided its 2014 revenue to be $55 million to $60 million, below the consensus estimate of $61.6 million. Shares lost 9.94 percent, closing at $39.40.
In an industry-wide note, analysts at Bank of America said that supply and demand for coal will be “depressed” for the next few years. Metallurgical coal traded at $143 a ton in the first quarter, the lowest price since 2010 and will trade in a range of $130 to $150 a ton according to the analysts. Shares of Walter Energy were hard hit, sinking to new 52 week lows of $7.07 before closing the day at $7.27, down 20.02 percent.
Earnings of Note
This morning, Lennar (NYSE: LEN) reported its first quarter results. The company announced an EPS of $0.35, beating the consensus estimate of $0.28. Revenue of $1.36 billion beat the consensus estimate of $1.28 billion. Net profit for the quarter rose to $78.1 million from $57.5 million in the same quarter last year as the company benefited from a $45.9 million tax provision. New orders rose ten percent to 4,465 homes while average selling price of homes delivered rose 18 percent to $316,000. Shares lost 2.47 percent, closing at $40.32.
After the market closed, Nike (NYSE: NKE) reported its third quarter results. The company announced an EPS of $0.76, beating the consensus estimate of $0.72. Revenue of $6.97 billion beat the consensus estimate of $6.69 billion. Shares were trading higher by 2.18 percent at $80.96 following the earnings release.
Quote of the Day
“The outlook revision reflects our view of the material and unanticipated economic and financial consequences that EU and U.S. sanctions could have on Russia's creditworthiness following Russia's incorporation of Crimea… We expect that the EU and U.S. will impose further sanctions.” – S&P, reiterating its BBB/A-2 rating on Russia but revising its outlook to negative from stable.
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