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Window Dressing On The Way?

Daily State of the Markets 
Wednesday Morning - March 30, 2011

Publishing Note: Dave is traveling with his family this week but we've got you covered on the important news, happenings, and market-drivers in his absence.

Although many analysts are expecting to see stocks remain tied to a trading range in front of the upcoming earnings season, the bulls appear to have something altogether different in mind. After diving into the close on Monday and resuming the decline at the open on Tuesday, the dip-buyers emerged fresh and ready to go after a few minutes, pushing stocks higher yesterday.

Much to the chagrin of the bear camp, who appear to be insisting that stocks must retest the recent lows, the major indices appear to be poised to break out to the upside this morning. Traders were able to shake off another flurry of largely cautious-leaning macro headlines yesterday surrounding the nuclear disaster in Japan, MENA contagion (Syria is getting a lot more attention lately) and the fiscal crisis on the Eurozone.

As has been the case for much of the last two weeks, the tape action was constructive again Tuesday. After a brief sloppy period Monday, which lasted into early-Tuesday morning, the "state of the tape" appears to be largely positive. Thus, with the end-of-quarter window dressing period upon us, we might see some additional buying in the near-term.

Turning to this morning... Screens are adorned in green in the early going as NATO chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen urged all parties to seek a political solution as soon as possible in Lybia. In addition, there seems to be some relief that the rumors circulating about another rate hike in rates, which, so far at least, has not come to pass.

On the Economic front... Challenger reported that Planned Job Cuts fell by 18% during March and that the first quarter totals were the lowest since 1995.

Next up, ADP reported that the private sector job market expanded again during the month of March. The report shows that private sector jobs rose by 201K jobs during the month, which was just below the consensus expectations for a gain of about 204K.

Pre-Game Indicators

Here are the Pre-Market indicators we review each morning before the opening bell...

 

  • Major Foreign Markets:
    • Australia: +1.27%
       
    • Shanghai: -0.07%
       
    • Hong Kong: +1.70%
       
    • Japan: +2.64%
       
    • France: +1.02%
       
    • Germany: +1.61%
       
    • London: +0.54%

     
  • Crude Oil Futures: -$0.41 (May contract) to $104.28
     
  • Gold: +$9.30 to $1426.80
     
  • Dollar: lower against the Yen and Pound, higher versus Euro
     
  • 10-Year Bond Yield: Currently trading at 3.48%
     
  • Stocks Futures Ahead of Open in U.S. (relative to fair value):
    • S&P 500: +7.71
       
    • Dow Jones Industrial Average: +56
       
    • NASDAQ Composite: +14.55

 

Wall Street Research Summary

Upgrades:

  • Tibco Software (NASDAQ:TIBX) - BAC/ML
     
  • Apollo Group (NASDAQ:APOL) - BMO
     
  • Cliffs Natural (NYSE:CLF) - Estimates increased at Citi
     
  • Arkansas Best (ABFS) - Citi
     
  • ManPower (NYSE:MAN) - Deutsche Bank
     
  • Peet's Coffee (NASDAQ:PEET) - Janney
     
  • Cephalon (NASDAQ:CEPH) - Morgan Stanley
     
  • Micros (NASDAQ:MCRS) - Target and estimate increased at Oppenheimer
     
  • Watsco (NYSE:WSO) - Target and estimate increased at Oppenheimer
     
  • MetroPCS Comm (PCS) - Target and estimate increased at UBS
     
  • Biogen Idec (BII) - Target increased at UBS

 

Downgrades:

  • Phillips Electronics (NYSE:PHG) - BAC/ML
     
  • Illinois Tool (NYSE:ITW) - BAC/ML
     
  • Gannett (NYSE:GCI) - Citi
     
  • Kohl's (NYSE:KSS) - Goldman
     
  • Phillips-Van Heusen (NYSE:PVH) - Removed from conviction buy at Goldman
     
  • Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) - Estimates reduced at Jefferies
     
  • Starbucks (NASDAQ:SBUX) - Target and estimate reduced at UBS

 

Long positions in stocks mentioned: Apple

For more "top stock" portfolios and research, visit TopStockPortfolios.com

 


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