Market Overview

Market Wrap For March 27: Markets Lower Following Mixed Economic Data

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U.S. stocks were slightly lower as positive labor market data clashed with fourth quarter GDP estimates that showed the economic expanded less than economists had expected.

Major indices finished slightly lower as the Nasdaq index continues to see its losses fall sharper compared to the Dow and S&P 500.

  • The Dow lost 0.03 percent, closing at 16,264.23.
  • The S&P 500 lost 0.19 percent, closing at 1,849.04.
  • The Nasdaq lost 0.54 percent, closing at 4,151.23.
  • Gold lost 0.76 percent, trading at $1,293.50 an ounce.
  • Oil gained 1.05 percent, trading at $101.32 a barrel.
  • Silver lost 0.20 percent, trading at $19.74 an ounce.

News of Note

Initial Jobless Claims fell 10,000 to 311,000 below the consensus of 323,000 and a previous reading of 321,000. Continuing claims fell 53,000 to 2.82 million.

Fourth Quarter GDP (third estimate) rose 2.6 percent, missing the consensus of 2.7 percent growth but ahead of prior estimates of 2.4 percent growth.

Fourth Quarter Corporate Profits rose $47.1 billion, compared to a previous growth of $39.2 billion.

The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index slipped to a seven-week low at -31.5 for the week ended March 23.

The Average rate for a 30-year fixed mortgage rose to 4.40 percent from 4.32 percent last week according to the weekly survey from Freddie Mac

February Pending Home Sales fell 0.8 percent to 93.9, in-line with the consensus estimates.

EIA Natural Gas Inventory declined 57 bcf, more than the consensus of 54 bcf decline.

The IMF has agreed to provide Ukraine with up to $18 billion as part of an economic-reform program to “restore macroeconomic stability and put the country on the path of sound governance and sustainable economic growth.” The aid package should help the country to better manage a total of $27 billion of international support over the next two years.

Analyst Upgrades and Downgrades of Note

Analysts at Morgan Stanley initiated coverage of Amgen (NASDAQ: AMGN) with an Overweight rating and $140 price target. Shares gained 1.82 percent, closing at $122.29.

Analysts at Societe Generale downgraded BlackBerry (NASDAQ: BBRY) to Sell from Hold with a $6 price target. Shares lost 1.31 percent, closing at $9.04.

Analysts at Morgan Stanley initiated covered of Biogen Idec (NASDAQ: BIIB) with an Overweight rating and a price target of $395. Shares gained 1.41 percent, closing at $310.23.

Analysts at Keefe Bruyette & Wodds downgraded Citigroup (NYSE: C) to Market Perform from Outperform with a price target lowered to $52 from a previous $58. Shares lost 5.38 percent, closing at $47.46.

Analysts at Morgan Stanley initiated coverage of Celgene (NASDAQ: CELG) with an Equal-weight rating and a price target of $150. Shares lost 0.27 percent, closing at $142.22.

Analysts at Barclays maintained an Overweight rating on Five Below (NASDAQ: FIVE) with a price target raised to $48 from a previous $45. Shares gained 2.10 percent, closing at $43.23.

Analysts at Morgan Stanley initiated coverage of Gilead Sciences (NASDAQ: GILD) with an Equal-weight rating and a price target of $75. Shares lost 1.88 percent, closing at $71.41.

Analysts at Sterne Agee initiated coverage of King Digital Entertainment (NASDAQ: KING) with a Neutral rating. Shares lost 2.68 percent, closing at $18.49.

Related: King Digital CEO Confident In Future Following Rough IPO

Analysts at Goldman Sachs upgraded PVH (NYSE: PVH) to Conviction Buy from Buy. Shares gained 1.32 percent, closing at $123.03.

Analysts at Morgan Stanley initiated coverage of Regeneron Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: REGN) with an Equal-weight rating and a price target of $320. Shares gained 1.11 percent, closing at $311.86.

Analysts at Bank of America upgraded Exxon Mobil (NYSE: XOM) to Buy from Neutral. Shares gained 1.63 percent, closing at $96.24.

Analysts at Wunderlich maintained a Buy rating on Yelp (NASDAQ: YELP) with a price target raised to $105 from a previous $90. Shares gained 1.05 percent, closing at $78.11.

Equities-Specific News of Note

Yum Brands (NYSE: YUM) will overhaul its KFC business in China to re-establish itself following food scandals that plagued the company. The company will introduce new store design, packaging and introduce digital initiatives to help marketing and sales. In terms of food offerings, the restaurant will include three rice dishes. On the home-front, Yum Brand's Taco Bell rolled out its breakfast menu to 5,500 restaurants today. Shares lost 1.31 percent, closing at $73.20.

Related: Taco Bell Introduces New Breakfast Menu, Takes Aim At McDonald's

Baxter International (NYSE: BAX) announced it will split into two companies, with one focused on biopharmaceuticals and the other with a focus on medical products. The company will make a tax-free distribution of shares in the biopharmaceuticals entity to shareholders with an estimated time-frame of mid-2015. Shares hit new 52 week highs of $75.68 before closing the day at $72.80, up 3.88 percent.

Marriott International (NYSE: MAR) announced plans to build more than 200 more hotels around the world with a focus on China, India and the Middle East. Shares lost 1.48 percent, closing at $54.76.

Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) officially released an Office version for the iPad which is now available to download on the App store. A read-only version will be free, but full version will require a paid subscription to Office 365 which run from $150 to $264 a year for a business user and $70 to $100 for a home user. Shares lost 1.08 percent, closing at $39.36.

Analysts at OTR Global reported that Broadcom's (NASDAQ: BRCM) sales of its 3G baseband processor to Samsung have fallen 50 percent year over year. Shares lost 2.65 percent, closing at $30.86.

Novartis' (NYSE: NVS) Certinib drug reduced the size of tumors in 58 percent of patients in a Phase I study involving 114 subjects. The company will use the results to file for FDA approval based on the drug's “breakthrough therapy designation.” Shares gained 0.32 percent, closing at $81.37.

Freeport McMoRan (NYSE: FCX) received export certification in Indonesia which brings the company closer to resuming exports from its Grasberg mine. The company still requires a recommendation letter from the mining industry to resume exports. Shares gained 2.27 percent, closing at $32.41.

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Eni (NYSE: E) is reportedly close to hiring advisers to sell up to 15 percent of its Mamba gas field in Mozambique, which could fetch as much as $5 billion. Shares gained 0.82 percent, closing at $49.42.

According to Re/code, Amazon.com (NASDAQ: AMZN) will unveil a set-top video box on April 2. Shares lost 1.44 percent, closing at $338.47.

Yahoo! Japan has agreed to purchase eAccess, a mobile and broadband provider for 324 billion yen, or $3.17 billion from Softbank. Yahoo! (NASDAQ: YHOO) owns a 35 percent stake in Yahoo! Japan. Shares of Yahoo! gained 0.39 percent, closing at $35.59.

Winners of Note

This morning, Lululemon (NASDAQ: LULU) reported its fourth quarter results. The company announced an EPS of $0.75, beating the consensus estimate of $0.72. Revenue of $521 million beat the consensus estimate of $516.8 million. Gross profit for the quarter rose to $278.8 million from $274.5 million in the same quarter last year as comparable store sales fell two percent as direct to consumer revenue rose 25 percent to $97.8 million. Gross profit rate fell 300 bps to 53.3 percent in the quarter. The company issued downside guidance and sees its first quarter EPS to be $0.31 to $0.33, below the consensus estimate of $0.38. During conference call, management hinted that it Asia and Europe is responding well as there are signs of demand for its products in these regions. Shares gained 6.16 percent, closing at $51.20.

This morning, Signet Jewelers (NYSE: SIG) reported its fourth quarter results. The company announced an EPS of $2.18, beating the consensus estimate of $2.15. Revenue of $1.56 billion beat the consensus estimate of $1.55 billion. Net income for the quarter rose to $175.2 million from $171.8 million in the same quarter last year as same-store sales rose 4.3 percent in the quarter. E-commerce sales were up 23.6 percent to $79 million. Operating margin slipped 60 bps to 17.7 percent in the U.S. The company said that it expects same-store sales to grow three percent to four percent in the first quarter. Shares hit new 52 week highs of $107.38 before closing the day at $105.03, up 6.79 percent.

Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU) entered a one-year agreement worth up to 750 million euros to provide China Mobile with technology to move to an all-IP ultra-broadband network. Shares gained 5.15 percent, closing at $3.88.

Decliners of Note

This morning, Accenture (NYSE: ACN) reported its second quarter results. The company announced an EPS of $1.03, missing the consensus estimate of $1.04. Revenue of $7.13 billion missed the consensus estimate of $7.21 billion. Operating income for the quarter fell to $951 million from $1.16 billion in the same quarter last year as the company continues to struggle in Asia-Pacific where sales fell seven percent year over year after falling six percent in the first quarter. Gross margin declined 30 bps year over year to 31.3 percent. The company is expecting its full year fiscal 2014 EPS to be $4.50 to $4.62, up from previous guidance of $4.44 to $4.56 but at the same time the company lowered its free cash flow guidance range by $300 million to $2.9 billion to $3.2 billion. Shares lost 5.03 percent, closing at $78.80.

Earnings of Note

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This morning, GameStop (NYSE: GME) reported its fourth quarter results. The company announced an EPS of $1.90, missing the consensus estimate of $1.93. Revenue of $3.68 billion missed the consensus estimate of $3.79 billion. Net earnings fell to $220.5 million from $261.1 million in the same quarter last year despite comparable-store sales rising 7.8 percent in the quarter. New video games as a percentage of sales fell from 45.1 percent in the same quarter last year to 33.0 percent at $1.21 billion while pre-owned and value video game products as a percentage of sales from 21.1 percent last year to 20.1 percent at $741.9 million. The company issued guidance and sees its full year 2014 EPS to be $3.40 to $3.70, below the consensus estimate of $3.76. Shares lost 4.04 percent, closing at $37.33.

After the market closed, Red Hat (NYSE: RHT) reported its fourth quarter results. The company announced an EPS of $0.39, beating the consensus estimate of $0.37. Revenue of $400 million beat the consensus estimate of $398.92 million.

Quote of the Day

“Since becoming CEO, I have spoken with many of you about the need to hold ourselves accountable for what takes place at our firm. I am accountable for getting this right.” - Citi's CEO Michael Corbart in a memo to employees today following Citi failing the Fed's stress test meaning the company can not proceed with a $6.4 billion share repurchase program and increase its dividend to $0.05.

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