Morning Call

S&P 500 Hits All-Time High

S&P 500 broke the 1,850 barrier in intraday trading based on strong macro data and a short squeeze in the S&P 500 index

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US Indices closed higher yesterday, as investors put the lackluster jobs report behind them to focus on better retail sales data. The S&P 500 hit an all-time high of 1850.84 in intraday trading after stops above 1840 were hit, resulting in a short squeeze. The S&P 500 has recovered all the losses it had incurred since the start of the year. Short interest ratio in the SPDR S&P 500 ETF (SPY) has declined by more than 25% over the last one month to just under two days.

Better macro data from the US helped the dollar rally across the board. The NY Empire State Manufacturing Index improved to 12.51 beating expectations of an increase of 3.75. MBA Mortgage Applications increased by 11.9% compared to the decline of 4.2% last week. WTI Crude increased by 1.87% yesterday, on lower-than-expected oil inventories data and rose to $94.32 per barrel. The Beige Book was moderate for the first time since April 2013, reflecting an improvement in the economy.           

Major Indices

Nikkei closed down 0.39% to 15,747.2

Shanghai Composite Index was flat at 2023.7

CSI 300 Index closed up +0.1%

Asian Stocks were higher today on better than expected US data but the Nikkei reversed its gains on profit-taking. The Shanghai Composite index remained flat on concerns that an IPO glut could lead to a liquidity crunch.

European Markets at Open

FTSE flat

DAX +0.1%

CAC 40 flat

IBEX 35 +0.1%

FTSE MIB +0.1%

Commodities

Gold +0.25%

Silver +0.18

Copper -0.48%

Crude Oil WTI -0.2%

Natural Gas +1.46%

Currencies

Dollar Index -0.11%

USD/JPY +0.15%

EUR/USD +0.15%

GBP/USD -0.11%

USD/CHF -0.25%

Market Movers

Gainers

The S&P 500 Telecommunication Services sector rose 1.47% after a US federal appeals court ruled that network carriers can charge content developers to stream or deliver content over their networks. Verizon Communications (VZ), which has the largest wireless subscriber base in the US reacted the most with its shares moving up 2.53%.

NetApp Inc. (NTAP) was up 8.26% after Macquarie gave a “neutral” rating to the stock.

CONSOL Energy (CNX) increased 5% after a positive report in Barron’s on thermal coal. The report cited Serne Agee and their top coal picks that were Consol Energy (CNX), Newmont mining (NEM), and Peabody Energy (BTU).

Citrix Systems (CTXS) was up 4.86% as cloud companies and VMware companies continue to trend up with the increasing use of cloud computing.

Losers

The S&P 500 Energy sector was the worst performer yesterday, dropping 0.32%. Energy stocks declined after a report from Petroleum Listing Services saying that M&A deal counts in the US upstream Oil & Gas industry had declined by 17% in 2013. It also reported that foreign direct investment in the industry had fallen.

Fastenal (FAST) was down 4.46% after the company missed EPS estimates for 4QFY13 by two cents and also missed margins estimates of 51-53%.

Regeneron Pharmaceuticals’ (REGN) stock declined 4.27% after a downgrade by BMO. BMO has downgraded the stock to Market Perform from Outperform.

Intercontinental Exchange (ICE) declined 4.06% after the formulation of new EU rules which proposed increasing competition among derivative exchanges. The new proposals include provisions which will make it easier for investors to close down an account at one exchange and open it at another.

Earnings Announcement

Pre Market

              Company

    Quarter   

    Revenue Forecast   

    Adjusted EPS Forecast   

BB&T Corporation (BBT)

    4QFY13

      $2.37 billion

           72 cents

BlackRock Inc (BLK)

    4QFY13

      $2.68 billion

           $4.33

Citigroup Inc (C)

    4QFY13

      $18.31 billion

           95 cents

First Republic Bank (FRC)

    4QFY13

      $394.29 million

          65 cents

Goldman Sachs (GS)

    4QFY13

      $7.75 billion

          $4.18

Huntington Bancshares (HBAN)

    4QFY13

      $685 million

          17 cents

iGATE Corp (IGTE)

    4QFY13

      $296 million

          48 cents

PNC Financial Services Group (PNC)

    4QFY13

      $3.84 billion

          $1.64

PPG Industries (PPG)

    4QFY13

      $3.74 billion

          $1.73

PrivateBancorp (PVTB)

    4QFY13

      $134.7 million

          41 cents

UnitedHealth Group (UNH)

    4QFY13

      $31.22 billion

          $1.41

After Market

                 Company              

 Quarter

     Revenue Forecast     

    Adjusted EPS Forecast

Associated Banc Corp (ASBC)

4QFY13

        $236.92 million

            27 cents

American Express Company (AMX)

4QFY13

        $8.55 billion

            $1.25

Capital One Financial Corporation (COF)   

4QFY13

        $5.46 billion

            $1.55

Intel Corporation (INTC)

4QFY13

        $13.73 billion

            54 cents

Bank of Ozarks (OZRK)

4QFY13

        $72.7 million

            65 cents

People's United Financial (PBCT)

4QFY13

         $310.56 million

            20 cents

SLM Corporation (SLM)

4QFY13

         $945 million

            73 cents

Skyworks Solution (SWKS)

1QFY14

         $500 million

            66 cents

Macro Data

Pre Market

The US CPI number will be watched closely after concerns over deflationary pressures have increased. US CPI is expected to increase 0.3% month-over-month (MoM) and 1.5% year-over-year (YoY). CPI excluding Food & Energy is expected to increase 0.1% MoM and 1.7% YoY.

US Jobless Claims data will also be released today at 8:30 am (ET). Analysts expect jobless claims to be about 328,000.

During Market Hours

NAHB Housing Market Index data will be released today, and analysts expect the index to remain stable at 58.

Fed Chairman Bernanke will also make a speech at 1:10 pm (ET) later today and report on the economic activity in the country. Investors will also look for tapering related news and its schedule.

European

European CPI data was released today. CPI was up 0.3% month-over-month (MoM), and up 0.8% year-over year, in line with expectations.

Australia

Australian labor data was released today, and came in well below expectations of job additions of 7,500. Seasonally adjusted employment change in December was -22,600.


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