Germany and France led the Eurozone's growth in GDP, however altogether the economic bloc saw GDP shrink by 0.2%. Shares in Asia and Europe are up nevertheless and US futures are also higher. Yields are going down for the Spanish and Italian bonds, but are still relatively high when compared to recent history.
We have our first set of economic news out today, and it is as follows (data set - consensus):
Retail Sales - 0.2%
Retail Sales ex Auto - 0.3%
PPI - 0.2%
Core PPI - 0.2%
Business Inventories - 0.2%
Looking at Asian markets we see markets are higher:
All Ordinaries - up 0.18%
Shanghai Composite - up 0.30%
Nikkei 225 - up 0.50%
NZSE 50 - up 0.39%
Seoul Composite - up 1.27%
In Europe markets are higher as well:
CAC 40 - up 0.69%
DAX - up 0.93%
FTSE 100 - up 0.57%
OSE - up 0.51%
We saw Sprint (S) set a new 52-week high in yesterday's trading session and manage to close above the $5/share level in a mixed market. The company has significant momentum carrying it forward and it appears that the business plan management put in place about a year ago is beginning to pay dividends. Between the iPhone and unlimited data plans, the company is putting a product out in the marketplace which their competitors are not matching and it is driving subscriber growth. We thought that the announcement that the company would raise another $1.5 billion via bonds might put some pressure upon the shares, but that thinking was obviously flawed. Shares closed higher by $0.13 (2.64%) to close at $5.05/share on volume of 77.4 million shares.
Shares in Ebay (EBAY) took off around 2 PM after a report surfaced which said that their sales for the month of July rose almost 30%. Shares closed at $45.32/share after having risen $1.33 (3.02%) on volume of 16.2 million shares. The company's growth is coming from the sale of goods that have a fixed price, not the company's traditional auction based sales. In fact the auction business action dipped to a loss according to ChannelAdvisor. Also in the news is that CNBC reported yesterday that their sources say that Ebay will not be separating PayPal out from the rest of their business. Ebay shares are quite close to their 52-week high, about 2% below that threshold, after the move in yesterday's session.
FSI International (FSII) saw shares rise $2.12 (52.48%) to close at $6.16/share on volume of 20.9 million shares after it was announced that Japan's Tokyo Electron would buy the company for $253 million in an all cash deal. Investors will get $6.20/share in cash for their holdings, and based upon the price action in the stock it is apparent that the market is indicating that this is the deal which will get done. The deal is good news for FSI International shareholders, as it supplies them with a profitable exit amid what the company stated would be a tough 2nd half of the year.
Earnings were quite disappointing at Groupon (GRPN) where Europe took a toll on the company and the new business lines that they have ventured into have not paid off as the company envisioned. In regular trading shares rose $0.11 (1.48%) to close at $7.55/share, but after the announcement they fell hard in after hours trading. We are not fans of the company, and never have been. We are thankful that the company was foolish enough to turn Google's offer down earlier and thus kept that business from being tainted by the issues currently plaguing Groupon today.
We wanted to point out for our readers who have been around for a while that Regions Financial (RF) shares closed just below the $7/share level yesterday and has held up relatively well as of late. We think that the company is still poised to deliver on all that we have stated over the past few months, although there may be a bit of lag as we have not gotten the economic conditions yet which we had envisioned for the second half of the year. It is apparent that the company will continue to mend the balance sheet and cut costs to drive bottom line growth, but true organic growth based on increased lending and mortgage origination are not that far off in the future and that is what excites us here.