Equities Climb as East Coast Readies for Nemo
08-Feb-13 16:25 ET
[BRIEFING.COM] The S&P 500 punctuated a somewhat volatile week by adding 0.6%. Though the benchmark index ended firmly in the black, the bulk of its advance took place during the initial minutes. After notching a session high in the 1518 area, the index spent the remainder of the day in a two point range. While the S&P held its levels, the Dow Jones followed its morning rally with a partial retreat which was halted near the middle of its range.
Quiet trade unfolded as snowstorm Nemo envelops the East Coast. With forecasts calling for up to a foot of snow in New York, and more than 25 inches in Boston, today's volume paced well below average. The final tally indicated less than 600 million shares changed hands on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.
Storm preparation was also reflected in individual stocks as Briggs & Stratton (BGG 24.37, +0.57) and Generac (GNRC 40.54, +0.80) settled with respective gains of 2.4% and 2.0%. The two manufacturers of power generators saw some buying interest as the Northeast prepares for the possibility of interruptions to power delivery.
Meanwhile, the broader market was powered by the technology sector. The SPDR Technology Select Sector ETF (XLK 29.93, +0.26) ended higher by 0.9% with outperformance largely due to relative strength of top components. Apple (AAPL 474.98, +6.76), Google (GOOG 785.37, +11.42), and International Business Machines (IBM 201.68, +1.94) all climbed between 1.0% and 1.5% with Google settling at a fresh all-time high.
Remaining in the tech sector, LinkedIn (LNKD 150.48, +26.39) soared 21.3% after the company's earnings and revenue eclipsed the Capital IQ consensus estimates. Note that today's surge sent LinkedIn to a fresh all-time high of its own.
Energy stocks outperformed as well, but the strength came despite no change in the price of oil. The energy component settled at $95.79.
On the downside, utilities weighed, but lifted off their lows during the afternoon session. Sector component Entergy (ETR 64.47, -0.49) shed 0.8% after reporting its revenue below analyst estimates.
This morning, the market received two economic data points. The January trade deficit narrowed to $38.5 billion thanks in part to a $3.8 billion increase in industrial supply and material exports. This occurred as imports suffered a $4.2 billion decline in industrial supplies and materials. It should be noted the brief worker strike at the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach likely contributed to the lower deficit.
Elsewhere, December wholesale inventories decreased 0.1%, which was worse than the increase of 0.3% expected by the Briefing.com consensus. This report carries negative implications for the upcoming revision to fourth quarter GDP growth as the Bureau of Economic Analysis had estimated an inventory growth of 0.7% in the preliminary reading.
On Tuesday, the January Treasury Budget will be reported at 14:00 ET. While there is no economic data on Monday's docket, earnings reports will continue pouring in. CNA Financial (CNA 31.80, +0.08) and Loews (L 43.85, +0.11) are scheduled to report their quarterly earnings ahead of the opening bell.
Week in Review: S&P 500 Chops Around 1,500
On Monday, the S&P 500 ended lower by 1.2% after European concerns returned to the forefront. Equities began the day with a broad sell-off as a downbeat European trade weighed. Italian and Spanish indices were the source of continent-wide weakness as controversy continued to plague the troubled sovereigns. In Italy the MIB lost 4.5% as authorities continue to investigate several financials, including the world's oldest bank, Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena. Meanwhile, Spain's IBEX fell 3.8% as 34 of 35 listings ended in the red. The markets were rattled as Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy and other members of the People's Party find themselves in the middle of an alleged kickback scheme uncovered by Spain's largest daily newspaper, El Pais. Recent days have seen Mr. Rajoy face resignation calls from opposition leaders as well as Spanish citizens. European financials saw notable selling pressure with the weakness spilling over to their U.S. counterparts. The SPDR Financial Select Sector ETF (XLF 17.60, +0.04) slipped 1.1%.
Tuesday's session brought resilience to the markets as the key averages recovered the majority of their losses from Monday. The S&P 500 settled higher by 1.0% after spending the duration of the day in a steady climb. The morning sentiment was aided by upbeat European trade where Italian and Spanish markets recovered from Monday's plunge. Domestically, seven of ten S&P 500 sectors registered gains in the neighborhood of 1.0%. Tech shares led the way after the sector felt the brunt of Monday's selling. The largest tech stock, Apple, outperformed the broader market and ended higher by 3.5%.
Wednesday brought little change to the S&P 500 after spending the vast majority of the session in the red. The major averages began the day on a cautious note as European indices retreated in anticipation of an update from Monte dei Paschi regarding the size of its derivative-related losses. This caused selling of the Italian 10-yr as its yield climbed 13 basis points to 4.58%, its worst level since mid-December 2012. Reliance Steel (RS 71.44, +1.38) surged 5.9% following an agreement to acquire all outstanding shares of Metals USA (MUSA 20.78, +0.09) for $20.65 per share. The purchase price represents a 12.8% premium to Metals USA's Tuesday closing price, and the total transaction value is estimated at $1.2 billion.
On Thursday, equities ended the day with slim losses causing the S&P 500 to slip 0.2%. Though stocks saw little change at the outset of the session, sellers were able to take control within the first 30 minutes, and drive the major averages to their respective lows. The early broad-based weakness came about as the dollar index spiked to its highs in the 80.20 area. The sharp move took place after European Central Bank President Mario Draghi voiced concerns over the strength of the euro. The common currency weakened immediately following his remarks, falling to its session low near 1.3400 against the greenback. Phillip Morris (PM 90.45, +0.63), rose 2.4% after beating on earnings.