Market Overview

Market Wrap For March 18: Markets Positive Despite Crimea Concerns

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U.S. stocks extended Monday's gains despite lingering concerns over Crimea. Russian President Vladimir Putin has authorized a draft treaty for Crimea to join Russia.

U.S. economic data showed that housing starts in February remain healthy with modest gains.

  • The Dow gained 0.55 percent, closing at 16,336.19.
  • The S&P 500 gained 0.76 percent, closing at 1,872.89.
  • The Nasdaq gained 1.23 percent, closing at 4,332.60.
  • Gold lost 1.25 percent, trading at $1,355.80 an ounce.
  • Oil gained 1.7 percent, trading at $99.70 a barrel.
  • Silver lost 2.12 percent, trading at $20.83 an ounce.

News of Note

ICSC Retail Store Sales rose 0.7 percent week over week and rose 1.5 percent year over year.

February Consumer Price Index rose 0.1 percent, in-line with expectations. Core CPI also rose 0.1 percent, in-line with expectations.

February Housing Starts totaled 907,000, below the 910,000 expected.

Redbook Chain Store Sales rose 2.8 percent year over year compared to a 2.5 percent rise recorded last week.

Average new home prices in 70 major Chinese cities rose 8.2 percent year over year in February, following January's 9 percent year over year rise.

Analyst Upgrades and Downgrades of Note

Analysts at Citigroup maintained a Buy rating on Amgen (NASDAQ: AMGN) with a price target raised to $155 from a previous $139. Shares hit new 52 week highs of $127.48 before closing the day at $127.47, up 2.91 percent.

Analysts at Deutsche Bank maintained a Buy rating on Anadarko Petroleum (NYSE: APC) with a price target raised to $112 from a previous $110. Shares gained 1.29 percent, closing at $83.28.

Analysts at Jefferies maintained a Hold rating on Citigroup (NYSE: C) with a price target lowered to $56 from a previous $60. Shares gained 0.84 percent, closing at $48.13.

Analysts at Barclays initiated coverage of Coach (NYSE: COH) with an Equal-weight rating and a price target of $52. Shares gained 1.60 percent, closing at $50.23.

Analysts at Barclays downgraded Cisco Systems (NASDAQ: CSCO) to Equal-weight from Overweight with a price target lowered to $23 from a previous $25. Shares gained 0.56 percent, closing at $21.63.

Analysts at CRT Capital maintained a Buy rating on Electronic Arts (NYSE: EA) with a price target raised to $35 from a previous $29. Shares gained 0.43 percent, closing at $30.23.

Analysts at Barclays upgraded Hewlett-Packard (NYSE: HPQ) to Overweight from Equalweight with a price target raised to $38 from a previous $33. Shares gained 3.80 percent, closing at $30.57.

Analysts at Barclays initiated coverage of Nordstrom (NYSE: JWN) with a price target of $65. Shares gained 0.52 percent, closing at $62.41.

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Analysts at Barclays maintained an Underweight rating of KB Home (NYSE: KBH) with a price target lowered to $16 from a previous $18. Shares gained 2.32 percent, closing at $17.67.

Analysts at Barclays initiated coverage of Michael Kors Holdings (NASDAQ: KORS) with an Underweight rating and a price target of $85. Shares lost 1.82 percent, closing at $96.77.

Analysts at Barclays maintained an Overweight rating of Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) with a price target raised to $44 from a previous $43. Shares hit new 52 week highs of $39.90 before closing the day at $39.56, up 3.97 percent.

Analysts at Barclays initiated coverage of PVH Corp (NYSE: PVH) with a price target of $140. Shares gained 2.35 percent, closing at $119.03.

Analysts at Barclays initiated coverage of Ralph Lauren (NYSE: RL) with an Overweight rating and a price target of $180. Shares gained 1.40 percent, closing at $163.71.

Analysts at Maxim Group downgraded Sina (NASDAQ: SINA) to Hold from Buy with a price target of $90. Shares lost 2.18 percent, closing at $67.33.

Analysts at Goldman Sachs maintained a Neutral rating on Tesla Motors (NASDAQ: TSLA) with a price target raised to $200 from a previous $170. Shares hit new 52 week highs of $241.50 before closing the day at $240.04, up 2.59 percent.

Equities-Specific News of Note

Caesars Entertainment (NYSE: CZR) received a preliminary casino license in South Korea. The company intends to partner with a Hong Kong partner Lippo and built a $2.15 billion resort on Yeongjong island. Shares gained 3.18 percent, closing at $24.67.

Hertz Global (NYSE: HTZ) will spin-off its construction rental business. Hertz on Tuesday put an end to speculation and confirmed its intentions to spin-off its equipment rental business for $2.5 billion. Shares lost 0.51 percent, closing at $27.08.

Related: Hertz Confirms Monday's Market Chatter, Announces Spin-Off Plans

Tom Conrad, Pandora's (NYSE: P) CTO/EVP of product will step down in three months following a ten year run with the company. Conrad said that the move was planned 18 months ago and he will transition to an adviser role. Shares lost 0.37 percent, closing at $34.98.

The FDA extended its decision to approve Biogen's (NYSE: BIIB) Plegridy treatment for relapsing forms of multiple sclerosis by three months. Shares hit new 52 week highs of $354.07 before closing the day at $351.94, up 1.83 percent.

Exxon Mobil (NYSE: XOM) is preparing to invest $20 billion in a gas-fired power project in Vietnam. Shares gained 0.41 percent, closing at $94.71.

Consolidated Edison (NYSE: ED) may be investigated following last week's gas explosion in Manhattan to determine if the company's negligence caused the explosion. Shares lost 1.16 percent, closing at $54.41.

3M (NYSE: MMM) is forecasting its revenue from China to grow 15 percent over the next five years. Shares gained 0.36 percent, closing at $132.74.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Amazon.com (NASDAQ: AMZN) is set to begin delivering its video streaming device in early April. Shares gained 0.99 percent, closing at $378.77.

Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) released an 8GB iPhone 5C for European markets and the company announced that it will discontinue the iPad 2 and begin offering the 4th generation iPad at the iPad 2's old price. Shares gained 0.88 percent, closing at $531.40.

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Novartis (NYSE: NVS) is in talks to acquire Israeli stem-cell treatments developer Gamida-Cell with a price tag as high as $600 million. Shares gained 0.60 percent, closing at $82.64.

According to Bloomberg, General Motors (NYSE: GM) notified dealers as far back as 2005 that ignition switches in several models could turn a car engine off.

FMC Corp (NYSE: FMC) said that harsh winter weather has resulted in a later than usual demand pattern for its crop protection products. As a result the company's first quarter operating profit could decline in the mid-20 percent range year over year. Shares lost 0.84 percent, closing at $79.11.

Wal-Mart (NYSE: WMT) on Tuesday announced that it will launch a used video game exchange program. Customers will be able to trade in old video games in exchange for store credit beginning on March 26. Wal-Mart's move into the used game space places tremendous pressure on GameStop (NYSE: GME) whose trade-in program is the company's bread and butter. Shares of Wal-Mart gained 0.12 percent, closing at $74.77 while GameStop lost 3.42 percent, closing at $38.39.

Related: Wal-Mart Entering Used Game Space; GameStop Under Pressure?

Winners of Note

According to Marbridge Consulting, New Oriental (NYSE: EDU) is planning a joint-venture with Tencent to create an online education company. Shares gained 8.58 percent, closing at $29.35.

Yandex (NASDAQ: YNDX) has acquired KitLocate, an Israeli developer of geo-fencing and motion detection technology that can be used in mobile apps. Yandex intends to combine KitLocate's products with its already existing services and apps. Shares gained 6.73 percent, closing at $32.03.

Soros Fund Management disclosed a 9.18 percent active stake in Penn Virginia (NYSE: PVA) and noted that the company should seek strategic alternatives to maximize shareholder value. Shares hit new 52 week highs of $16.00 before closing the day at $15.73, up 15.58 percent.

Decliners of Note

This morning, Yingli Green Energy Holding (NYSE: YGE) reported its fourth quarter results. The company announced an EPS of -$0.31, missing the consensus estimate of -$0.17. Revenue of $613 million missed the consensus estimate of $651.55 million. Gross profit for the quarter fell to RMB 451.7 million ($74.6 million) from RMB 498.8 million in the third quarter of 2013 but up from RMB 247.8 million in the same quarter last year. Gross margin also fell from the previous quarter from 13.7 percent to 12.2 percent, but compares favorably to a gross margin of negative 8.5 percent in the same quarter last year. Shares lost 8.31 percent, closing at $5.41.

Earnings of Note

This morning Hertz Global (NYSE: HTZ) reported its fourth quarter results on Tuesday morning. The company announced an EPS of $0.26, missing the consensus estimate of $0.31. Revenue of $2.55 billion missed the consensus estimate of $2.62 billion. Net income fell to $121.1 million in the quarter from $139.1 million in the same quarter last year, partially due to higher expenses related to carrying extra fleet. Shares lost 0.51 percent, closing at $27.08.

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Adobe Systems (NASDAQ: ADBE) reported its first quarter results shortly before the markets closed. The company announced an EPS of $0.30, beating the consensus estimate of $0.25. Revenue of $1 billion beat the consensus estimate of $0.973 billion. Shares gained 0.51 percent, closing the day at $68.52.

After the market closed, SolarCity (NASDAQ: SCTY) reported its fourth quarter results. The company announced an EPS of -$0.46, beating the consensus estimate of -$0.56. Revenue of $47.3 million beat the consensus estimate of $45.27 million. Shares were trading lower by 1.04 percent at $76.30 following the earnings release.

Quote of the Day

“It isn't easy to defeat Icahn”- Carl Icahn referencing himself in a new letter written to eBay stockholders today.

Posted-In: 3M China Amazon Streaming Device amgen anadarko petroleum Apple 5C BiogenNews After-Hours Center Best of Benzinga

 

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