Market Wrap For March 25: Markets Snap Two-Day Losing Steak On Confidence Data
U.S. stocks rebounded from a two-day losing streak as investors found plenty of positives in consumer confidence data which hit a six-year high in March.
According to the Fed's Philadelphia chief Charles Plosser the Fed sees its bond purchasing program ending in October or November with rate hikes due in the beginning of 2015. Plosser sees rates being at “two-something” by the conclusion of 2015 and three percent by the end of 2016.
- The Dow gained 0.56 percent, closing at 16,367.88.
- The S&P 500 gained 0.44 percent, closing at 1,865.62.
- The Nasdaq gained 0.19 percent, closing at 4,234.27.
- Gold gained 0.06 percent, trading at $1,312.00.
- Oil lost 0.33 percent, trading at $99.27 a barrel.
- Silver lost 0.38 percent, trading at $19.99 an ounce.
News of Note
ICSC Retail Store Sales declined 1.5 percent week over week compared to a 0.7 percent gain last week.
Redbook Chain Store Sales rose 3.1 percent year over year compared to a 2.8 percent gain last week.
January FHFA Housing Price Index rose 0.5 percent, above the consensus of 0.4 percent growth.
S&P Case-Shiller Home Price Index rose 0.8 percent month over month, above the consensus of 0.7 percent growth.
February New Home Sales slipped to 440,000 from 455,000 in January. Expectations were for 445,000 new home sales in February.
March Consumer Confidence rose to 82.3 from 78.3 in February, topping the consensus of 78.4.
March Richmond Fed Manufacturing Survey came in at -7, below the consensus of +3.
Inflation in the U.K fell to 1.7 percent on year in February from 1.9 percent in March.
Analyst Upgrades and Downgrades of Note
Analysts at Raymond James maintained an Outperform rating on CONSOL Energy (NYSE: CNX) with a price target lowered to $46.50 from a previous $50. Shares gained 1.31 percent, closing at $41.06.
Analysts at Barclays maintained an Overweight rating on D.R. Horton (NYSE: DHI) with a price target raised to $27 from a previous $25. Shares gained 0.89 percent, trading at $21.45.
Analysts at Deutsche Bank maintained a Hold rating on Darden Restaurants (NYSE: DRI) with a price target raised to $49 from a previous $47. Shares gained 0.06 percent, closing at $50.71.
Analysts at Raymond James maintained an Outperform rating on EOG Resources (NYSE: EOG) with a price target raised to $220 from a previous $200. Shares gained 1.01 percent, closing at $191.52.
Analysts at Imperial Capital initiated coverage of FireEye (NASDAQ: FEYE) with an In-line rating and $68 price target. Shares lost 1.23 percent, closing at $62.72.
Analysts at Barclays maintained an Underweight rating on KB Home (NYSE: KBH) with a price target raised to $18 from a previous $16. Shares lost 1.35 percent, closing at $16.75.
Analysts at Wunderlich maintained a Buy rating on Liberty Global (NASDAQ: LBTYA) with a price target raised to $55 from a previous $48. Shares lost 0.73 percent, closing at $41.06.
Analysts at Deutsche Bank maintained a Hold rating on Lululemon Athletica (NASDAQ: LULU) with a price target lowered to $55 from a previous $65. Separately, analysts at Macquarie maintained a Neutral rating on Lululemon with a price target lowered to $47 from a previous $56. Shares lost 2.70 percent, closing a $47.99.
Analysts at Citigroup maintained a Buy rating on Mondelez International (NASDAQ: MDLZ) with a Buy rating and a price target raised to $40 from a previous $39. Shares gained 1.33 percent, closing at $34.29.
Analysts at FBR Capital upgraded Palo Alto Networks (NASDAQ: PANW) to Outperform from Market Perform with a price target raised to $90 from a previous $80. Shares lost 0.77 percent, closing at $72.57.
Analysts at Morgan Stanley upgraded Rackspace Hostings (NYSE: RAX) to Overweight from Equal-weight with a price target of $45. Shares gained 3.45 percent, closing at $33.85.
Analysts at HSBC downgraded AT&T (NYSE: T) to Neutral from Overweight. Shares gained 0.78 percent, closing at $34.73.
Analysts at Goldman Sachs upgraded Domtar (NYSE: UFS) to Buy from Neutral with a price target raised to $138 from a previous $100. Shares hit new 52 week highs of $113.75 before closing the day at $112.98, up 6.33 percent.
Equities-Specific News of Note
King Digital Entertainment is offering 22.2 million shares priced at $21 to $24 giving the developer of Candy Crush a valuation as high as $7.6 billion.
The FDA has recommended not to approve Novartis' (NYSE: NVS) Serelaxin heart treatment. The FDA said that there is insufficient evidence to support the proposed indication: to "improve the symptoms of acute heart failure through reduction of the rate of worsening of heart failure." Shares gained 0.73 percent, closing at $81.89.
Royal Dutch Shell (NYSE: RDS/A) said that it will focus on larger projects for its global gas division while cutting some holdings and unprofitable ventures as part of its plan to cut capital spending by around 20 percent in 2014 to $37 billion. Shares gained 0.92 percent, closing at $72.04.
General Motors' (NYSE: GM) CEO Mary Barra will appear before the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee on April 1 and then in front of a Senate panel in the following day. Shares lost 1.82 percent, closing at $34.50.
CommonWealth REIT (NYSE: CWH) confirmed the removal of its entire board with a special meeting to be held no later than May 23 to elect new Trustees. Shares lost 0.67 percent, closing at $26.57.
Sanofi (NYSE: SNY) began production of its dengue fever vaccine despite disappointing early trial results so far. The company will begin a Phase 3 data involving 30,000 children in Latin America and Southeast Asia by mid-year. If positive, the company will begin sales of its fever vaccine in 2015. Shares gained 1.82 percent, closing at $52.03.
SolarCity (NASDAQ: SCTY) obtained a $250 million credit facility to finance over 200MW of solar installations for homes and business. The company will back the loan issued by Bank of America with customer receivables. Shares gained 1.09 percent, closing at $63.26.
BlackBerry (NASDAQ: BBRY) is experimenting with a money transfer service through its BBM messaging service in Indonesia. The company expects to add additional services to other countries throughout 2014. Shares lost 0.16 percent, closing at $9.36.
Starbucks (NASDAQ: SBUX) said that it has a new coffee sources in the Kona region of Hawaii which is of “extremely high quality.” Shares lost 1.53 percent, closing at $74.61.
J.C. Penney's (NYSE: JCP) CEO Mike Ullman will earn $1.5 million in salary and be eligible for a $3 million bonus in addition to $5.5 million in stock awards. Shares gained 0.47 percent, closing at $8.64.
Michael Cavanagh will be leaving his role as co-chief of JPMorgan's (NYSE: JPM) investment bank to join Carlyle as co-president. Cavanagh was assumed to be a potential successor to Jamie Dimon. Shares of JPMorgan lost 0.23 percent, closing at $60.93.
Winners of Note
Plug Power's (NASDAQ: PLUG) CEO Andy Marsh told MarketWatch that his firm will announce a new major deal with a “global automaker” in the next two to three weeks. Shares surged 49.03 percent, closing at $8.48.
Decliners of Note
Tenneco (NYSE: TEN) disclosed that it has received subpoenas from the U.S. Justice Department as well as the European Commission to investigate price-fixing allegations. Shares lost 6.37 percent, closing at $55.24.
American Apparel (NYSE: APP) will sell $30.5 million of common stock so the company could make payments on its senior notes. Shares lost 21.83 percent, closing at $0.59.
Earnings of Note
This morning, Walgreen (NYSE: WAG) reported its second quarter results. The company announced an EPS of $0.91, missing the consensus estimate of $0.92. Revenue of $19.61 billion was in-line with the consensus estimate. Comparable-store sales rose 4.3 percent in the quarter while customer traffic fell 1.4 percent due to weather issues. Net earnings for the quarter fell to $880 million from $915 million in the same quarter last year. Walgreen saw its total prescription sales rise seven percent for the period, boosting its market share by 20 bps to 19.0 percent. The combined synergies for Walgreen and Alliance Boots was $236 million for the first half and the company is projecting the joint synergy program will deliver second-year combined synergies of $375 million to $425 million, an increase from the previous second-year estimate of $350 to $400 million. Shares gained 3.25 percent, closing at $66.40.
After the market closed, PVH Corp (NYSE: PVH) reported its fourth quarter results. The company announced an EPS of $1.43, beating the consensus estimate of $1.42. Revenue of $2.05 billion missed the consensus estimate of $2.07 billion.
Quote of the Day
"It slightly worries me that when people find a problem, they rush to judgment of what to do." - Janet Yellen, comments made in 2002.
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