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Barchart Morning Call -- 2/16

 Barchart Morning Call

Barchart.com - 1 hr 59 mins ago
Overnight Developments
  • Global stocks are trading higher with the European Euro Stoxx 50 index up +0.41% at a 2-1/3 year high and March S&Ps up +4.30 points at a new contract high. The dollar is lower while crude oil is higher as reports that civil unrest has spread to Libya, the holder of Africa's largest oil reserves. Increased M&A activity along with strong earnings results continue to propel stock prices higher. Sanofi-Aventis SA climbed 3.8% after France's biggest drug maker agreed to buy Genzyme for at least $20.1 billion, while Dell is up over 6% in European trading after the company reported profit, excluding some costs, of 53 cents a share in the quarter that ended Jan 28, well ahead of analysts' estimates of 37 cents. Bunds, Gilts and Treasuries rallied after BOE Governor King said risks to UK inflation are "equally balanced" and that inflation will fall back toward the central bank's 2.0% target by 2012 and below it within 2 years, along with saying he has not laid the groundwork for an interest rate increase. Jan UK jobless claims unexpectedly increased by 2,400 while Jan UK nationwide consumer confidence fell a bigger-than-expected 7 points to 47 as rising taxes and inflation put pressure on household budgets.
  • The Asian stock markets today closed mixed with Japan up +0.57%, Hong Kong +1.12%, China +0.96%, Taiwan -0.10%, Australia -0.02%, Singapore +0.46%, South Korea -1.07%, India +0.15%. Japan's Nikkei 225 Stock Index soared to a 9-1/4 month high after Nomura Research Institute predicted that Japan will "break out of its current lull" in the first half of 2011, instead of its earlier prediction of the second half. Asian technology stocks closed led by a 3.6% gain in Elpida Memory, Japan's number one maker of computer memory chips, after Dell reported stellar earnings. Australian stocks finished lower after Moody's Investors Service warned that Australia's four biggest banks and their New Zealand unit may have their ratings cut on concern that access to overseas markets for funding will be "significantly restrained." Moody's said that funds from capital markets account on average for 43% of the lenders' liabilities, making them vulnerable to shifts in investor confidence.
Overnight U.S. Stock News
  • March S&Ps this morning are trading up +4.30 points and posted a fresh contract high in overnight trade. The US stock market yesterday closed lower after retail sales rose less than forecast and import prices increased more than expected: Dow -0.34%, S&P 500 -0.32%, Nasdaq Composite -0.46%. Bearish factors included (1) the weaker-than-expected Jan US retail sales (+0.3% and +0.3% less autos versus expectations of +0.5% and +0.5% less autos), (2) the larger-than-expected increase in Jan import prices (+1.5% m/m and +5.3% y/y versus expectations of +0.8% m/m and 4.4% y/y), with the +5.3% y/y gain the highest in 9 months, and (3) the stagnant US housing market after the Feb NAHB housing market index remained unchanged for the fourth consecutive month at 16.
  • Bullish factors for stocks included (1) carry-over support from a rally in foreign stock markets after German investor confidence advanced for a fourth month, Jan China consumer prices rose less than expected and the BOJ raised its economic assessment for the first time in 9 months, (2) the stronger-than-expected Feb Empire manufacturing index which expanded at its best level in 8 months (+3.5 to 15.4 versus expectations of +3.1 to 15.0), and (3) continued strong earnings results with 73% of the 359 companies in the S&P 500 that have reported results since Jan 10 beating estimates.
  • Dell (DELL) climbed 6.2% in European trading after the company reported profit, excluding some costs, of 53 cents a share in the quarter that ended Jan 28, well ahead of analysts' estimates of 37 cents.
  • Aaron's (NYSE:AAN) rallied 10% in pre-market trading after the furniture manufacturer and retailer forecast Q1 profit excluding some items of as much as 52 cents a share, stronger than analysts' estimates of 49 cents.
  • Family Dollar Stores (NYSE:FDO) surged 24% in European trading after Trian Group offered to acquire the second-biggest US dollar-store chain for $55 to $60 a share.
Today's Market Focus
  • March 10-year T-notes this morning are trading up +4 ticks. T-note prices yesterday moved higher after mid-morning as weak US retail sales and housing data offset strong import prices and growth in New York manufacturing: TYH11 +0.5, FVH11 +2.2, EDM11 unchanged. Bullish factors included (1) the weaker-than-expected Jan US retail sales (+0.3% and +0.3% less autos versus expectations of +0.5% and +0.5% less autos), (2) the stagnant US housing market after the Feb NAHB housing market index remained unchanged for the fourth consecutive month, (3) the Fed's purchase of $6.689 billion of Treasuries as part of its QE2 asset-purchase program, and (4) the prediction from BNP Paribas Asset Management that the US yield curve will flatten as yields on longer-dated Treasuries rise less than on shorter-maturity notes as the Fed continues to buy longer-term Treasuries to keep rates down. Bearish factors included (1) the larger-than-expected increase in Jan import prices (+1.5% m/m and +5.3% y/y versus expectations of +0.8% m/m and 4.4% y/y), as the +5.3% y/y gain is the highest in 9 months, (2) the stronger-than-expected Feb Empire manufacturing index which expanded at its best level in 8 months (+3.5 to 15.4 versus expectations of +3.1 to 15.0).
  • The dollar index this morning is trading lower with the dollar/yen +0.03 yen and the euro/dollar +0.17 cents. The dollar index yesterday closed slightly lower as weaker-than-expected US retail sales and an increase in German investor confidence undercut support for the dollar: Dollar Index -0.041, USDJPY +0.446, EURUSD -0.00014. Bearish factors for the dollar included (1) the increase in the Feb German ZEW investor confidence to a 7-month high, which is euro supportive, and (2) the weaker-than-expected Jan US retail sales, which is dollar negative. Bullish factors included (1) the weaker-than-expected Q3 Euro-Zone GDP, which is euro negative, and (2) the larger than expected increase in the Dec net long-term TIC flows, which shows continued strong foreign demand for US dollar assets.
  • March crude oil prices this morning are trading up +24 cents a barrel and March gasoline is +1.57 cents per gallon. Crude oil and gasoline prices yesterday fluctuated on both sides of unchanged and finally settled lower as concerns over increasing crude supplies offset fears of escalating civil unrest in the Middle East: CLH11 -$0.49, RBH11 -2.86. Mar crude sank to a 2-1/2 month low. Bearish factors included (1) the weaker-than-expected Q4 Euro-Zone GDP, which signals slower than expected energy consumption in Europe, (2) weaker than expected US Jan retail sales, signaling reduced fuel demand, and (3) the outlook for US crude supplies to increase for a fifth straight week when the DOE reports weekly crude inventories on Wed. Bullish factors included (1) the weaker dollar, which boosts investment demand for commodities, (2) concerns that crude supplies may be disrupted after civil unrest spread to Bahrain, Yemen and Iran, the second-largest OPEC producer, and (3) the larger-than-expected increase in the Feb Empire manufacturing index to an 8-month high, which indicates economic expansion and increased fuel consumption. Expectations for Wednesday's weekly DOE inventory report are for crude supplies to increase +2.0 million bbl, gasoline stockpiles to climb +1.65 million bbl, distillate inventories to fall -400,000 bbl and the refinery utilization rate to slip -0.1 to 84.6%.
Today's U.S. Earnings Reports

Earnings reports (confirmed releases, sorted by mkt cap) CMCSA-Comcast (BEST earnings consensus $0.32), DE-Deere & Co. (0.96), DVN-Devon Energy (1.38), ESRX-Express Scripts (0.70), NTAP-NetApp (0.50), GENZ-Genzyme (0.87), CBS-CBS Corp. (0.44), NVDA-Nvidia (0.20), CLF-Cliffs Natural Resources (2.22), FE-FirstEnergy (0.79), CVC-Cablevision Systems (0.40), ETP-Energy Transfer Partners LP (0.63), XEC-Cimarex Energy (1.54), ETE-Energy Transfer Equity LP (0.47), ORLY-O'Reilly Automotive (0.64), HCN-Health Care REIT (0.37).

Global Financial Calendar

Wednesday 2/16/11
United States
0700 ET Weekly MBA mortgage applications, last market index ?5.5% with purchase mortgage sub-index ?1.4% and refinancing sub-index ?7.7%.
0830 ET Jan housing starts expected +2.1% to 540,000, Dec ?4.3% to 529,000. Jan building permits expected ?10.7% to 560,000, Dec +15.3% to 627,000.
0830 ET Jan PPI expected +0.8% m/m and +3.5% y/y, Dec +1.1% m/m and +4.0% y/y. Jan PPI ex food & energy expected +0.2% m/m and +1.2% y/y, Dec +0.2% m/m and +1.3% y/y.
0915 ET Jan industrial production expected +0.5%, Dec +0.8%. Jan capacity utilization expected +0.3 to 76.3%, Dec +0.6 to 76.0%.
1400 ET Fed releases minutes of the Jan 25-26 FOMC meeting.
Euro-Zone
0315 ET ECB Council member Yves Mersch speaks at an event in Luxembourg.
United Kingdom
0430 ET Jan UK jobless claims change expected ?4,000, Dec ?4,100. Jan claimant count rate expected 4.5%, Dec 4.5%.
0430 ET Dec UK avg weekly earnings expected +2.0% 3-mo/year-over-year, Nov +2.1% 3-mo/year-over-year.
0430 ET Dec UK avg weekly earnings ex bonus expected +2.3% 3-mo/year-over-year, Nov +2.3% 3-mo/year-over-year.
0430 ET Dec UK ILO unemployment rate expected 7.9% 3-months, Nov 7.9% 3-months.
0530 ET BOE releases its quarterly inflation report.
Canada
0830 ET Jan Canada leading indicators, Dec +0.5% m/m.
0830 ET De Canada manufacturing sales expected +2.1% m/m, Nov ?0.8% m/m.
CHI
2100 ET Jan China foreign direct investment expected +17.2% y/y, Dec +15.6% y/y.

 

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Jim Van Meerten is a professional investor with over 40 year experience in investing in stocks, mutual funds and ETFs.  He shares his knowledge on Barchart in his daily blogs -- Barchart Portfolio Blogs.