March retail same store sales were weak, outside of discounters. Remember companies and analysts have been aggressively taking down first quarter estimates for over a month (as well as same store sales), but companies like JC Penney, Target, Gap, Abercrombie, and Kohls were all notably below expectations on same store sales.
The dollar is weak again; Band of England lowered rates, but Europe has been weak right from the open and that weakness has spilled over into our futures. Elsewhere: 1) March retail sales were again fairly sluggish...
Like an early warning system, retailers Thursday could reveal how much pain the consumer has been feeling from rising energy costs and the slowing economy.
Huh, what happened to our rally last week? Same thing that happened to the rallies in November, January, and March. It's not the point moves that're troublesome, it's the news flow and the direction of trading. The only good news is the very light volume on the down days. Want the rationale I am hearing from the trading community?
Citigroup close to selling $12 b of leveraged loans and bonds to a wide group of private equity firms. What will they sell the leveraged loans for? Not clear, but it could be as low as 90 cents on the dollar. Also, note that these are bridge loans for deals; short-term loans. They are not supreme or problem loans.
Niche companies, such as alternative energy or unconventional products, are becoming more attractive as stock markets volatility continues, Alexis Dawance, fund manager at Global-Cap, told CNBC Europe.
Was he pushed? Was he tired? Was he running out of ideas? Was he the wrong man to steer the ship through an economic slowdown? Some analysts say more cost cutting needs to be done, and the BT CEO has not been aggressive enough.
Stocks are trudging along and have held up fairly well in the face of some not so good news and ahead of the barrage of next week's earnings reports.
The news was not particularly good today, and so a modest drop was certainly a decent performance. Consider: 1) semis weak on AMD's poor guidance 2) materials mixed on Alcoa below estimates 3) Fed minutes full of concern about economic slowdown
Investors need to decide whether or not we are experiencing a full-blown recession or another mid-cycle slowdown to decide on the best strategies to make money in these turbulent markets, Peter Toogood, CIO of Forsyth Partners told CNBC Europe.
There's plenty of hand wringing around first quarter earnings, and Alcoa didn't help by kicking off the reporting season with a miss.
Washington Mutual did it, raising $7 b in capital ($2 b more than had been discussed yesterday). TPG will purchase $2 b in newly issued securities. They also sold 176 m shares of common at $8.75 a share (closed at $13.15 yesterday), and issued $5.5 b in convertible preferred securities, along with warrants. Slashing quarterly dividend to $0.01 a share.
Futures are down slightly, but have been stable throughout the morning, despite rather downbeat commentary from Alcoa and AMD. Metals a bit weaker (the IMF sold 12 percent of its gold stake, so gold is down 1 percent), dollar fairly stable, Europe down about 1 percent on average.
A rally in commodities and financials was halted midday as Arch Coal gave guidance for the full year that disappointed investors. It was a reminder that the upcoming earnings season was likely to provide a fair share of disappointments. This was confirmed after the close, when aluminum giant Alcoa also reported earnings that were below expectations;
Stocks came off their highs on a surprising announcement from Arch Coal midday that their earnings would be below expectations at $2.00-$2.50 a share (ests. $2.42). It was a reminder that earnings are coming.
Two big stories today: commodities and Washington Mutual. What's up with commodity prices? Copper, gold, oil all moving up again. Goldman Sachs raises aluminum price estimates on strong Chinese demand during 2008 (somewhat offset by a contraction in aluminum consumption in the US, Japan and Europe, they say), combined with supply constraints in China...
.Three big financial stocks are the top volume movers this morning--Washington Mutual, UBS, and Citigroup. Washington Mutual up 16 percent pre-open on a Journal story that private equity firm TPG and others may invest $5 b in the company, which would provide it with much-needed capital.
There's a watchfulness in the stock market that's likely to translate into tentative and choppy trading as the corporate earnings season gets underway.
Don't let the light-volume, low volatility day lull you into thinking nothing happened today. The disappointing jobs report (including downward revisions in January and February) failed to significantly drop the markets.
The March jobs report (and the downward revisions in February) was a bit worse than expected, which is a disappointment for stock traders. Let's be clear: stock traders want signs of stability and bottoming in economic statistics. They DO NOT want weak numbers on the theory that the Fed will continue to cut rates. They will gladly trade less rate cuts for an improving economy.