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  Friday, 29 Feb 2008 | 8:40 AM ET

Leap Day and the Markets

Posted By: Ariel Nelson

Since the start of the Dow in 1896, there have only been 19 Leap Years with February 29 falling on a weekday including today. The last occurrence was eight years ago in 2000. Leap Day has been a down day more than up; only the Nasdaq has had more up Leap Days than down. Today's futures are pointing to an open that would follow this pattern.

February 29 and the Markets
Dow :

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  Wednesday, 27 Feb 2008 | 12:42 PM ET

US Dollar at All-time Lows

Posted By: Gina Francolla

The US Dollar continues to lose ground against major currencies with the Dollar index at multi-year lows, and the Euro hitting new highs against the dollar. Are there ways to profit from the weak dollar? CurrencyShares ETFs might provide a few options.
The Euro is currently trading at over $1.51 per euro, at all-time highs.


The US Dollar Index which measures the performance of the dollar against a basket of six currencies, the euro, yen, British pound, Canadian dollar, Swiss franc and the Swedish Krona, is trading at multiple year lows.

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  Wednesday, 27 Feb 2008 | 10:20 AM ET

Intrade Political Futures Market Reaction to the Democratic Debate

Posted By: Gina Francolla

As we move towards the critical Texas and Ohio primaries on March 4th, public opinion polls are showing that Clinton is losing ground against Obama in Ohio and Texas, and Obama is on a roll with 11 straight primary victories.
Clinton went on the attack last night, early and often in the debate at Cleveland State University in Ohio. Did her aggressive behavior help her with the Intrade prediction markets\(www.intrade.com\)?
-The Intrade markets are showing little to no change from yesterday after the debate, with the contract for Hillary Clinton to receive the Democratic nomination at a probability of 16.50% and unchanged from yesterday. However, it is worth noting that this contract has fallen almost 75% in the last 30 days.
-Intrade's Obama contract for the Democratic nomination is also showing little impact after last night's debate, maintaining more than an 83% probability that Obama will receive the nod. Obama's contract is up almost 160% over the last 30 days.

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  Wednesday, 27 Feb 2008 | 9:21 AM ET

Railroads that are Steaming Forward

Posted By: Giovanny Moreano

What had started in US history as the means to link the east with the west, the Railroad Industry has become a critical aspect of the United States’ economy, and is one of its global competitive advantages. That trend continues as more investment is pouring into the railroad infrastructure. A recent Wall Street Journal report pointed out that railroads have spent $10 billion in upgrading and extending tracks since 2002, and will continue to invest another $12 billion.

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  Tuesday, 26 Feb 2008 | 5:21 PM ET

Oil at Record Levels

Posted By: Gina Francolla

Oil closes at a new record of $100.88 per barrel, and is climbing higher in the electronic session, hitting levels of $101.28 and higher. How does that impact your prices at the pump?


The Department of Energy EIA Weekly Retail Gas National Average is now $3.13 per gallon as of February 25th, up almost $0.09 from last week.
The Lundberg Survey of about 7,000 gas stations across the country computed a national average of $3.1011 per gallon as of February 22nd, up 15.88 cents from two weeks earlier.

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  Tuesday, 26 Feb 2008 | 2:12 PM ET

Do the grim economic reports point the U.S. economy towards stagflation?  The markets seem to be shaking them off...

Posted By: Gina Francolla

Do the grim economic reports point the U.S. economy towards stagflation? The markets seem to be shaking them off...
Today the producer price index \(PPI\) monthly report showed that producer price inflation surging in January to 1.0%, and that the core rate, also firmed at 0.4%.
The year-over-year PPI is at 7.7%, up from 6.5% in December, and is at the highest rate since September 1981.
-However, the Core CPI and PPI which exclude volatile food and energy costs, are still relatively tame in comparison to the highs seen in the late 70s and early 80s

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  Tuesday, 26 Feb 2008 | 8:51 AM ET

Airline Stocks Losing Altitude?

Posted By: Yolaiki Gonzalez

Are airline stocks losing altitude as crude oil futures take off again, moving into the $100 a barrel territory? The AMEX Airline Index , an airline sector tracker has dropped more than 24% in the past six months, weighed by a surge in oil but is actually up 3% YTD.

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  Monday, 25 Feb 2008 | 2:41 PM ET

Industrial Winners and Losers

Posted By: Ariel Nelson

As Matt Nesto reported , there is a new Industrial Revolution underway, particularly in areas affected by global demand. When compared to its peers, the overall S&P 500 Industrials Sector, down about 6% year-to-date, is right in the middle of the pack with about half the other sectors outperforming Industrials and half underperforming.

However, looking at the industries within the Sector, you begin to see some strong performers. Today, Matt reported on some of the metal and mining stocks. Other winners are railroads, truckers and aviation companies. Ryder leads the pack, up 27% YTD. It also has the third best performance YTD of the entire S&P 500.

Here are the top 10 performers within the S&P 500 Industrials Index:

Among the laggards are Industrial Conglomerate, Textron down 20% YTD and Truck Manufacturer PACCAR Inc. , down 19% YTD.

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  Monday, 25 Feb 2008 | 9:05 AM ET

S&P 500 Earnings Leaderboard: Biggest Surprises Season to Date

Posted By: Ariel Nelson

As of this past Friday, 441 of the S&P 500 companies (just under 90%) have reported earnings.

Here's how things stand:

  • Companies Exceeding Estimates: 279 or 63%
  • Companies Matching Estimates: 51 or 12%
  • Companies Falling Below Estimates: 111 or 25%

So far, the tech sector has had the biggest surprises to the upside, with Lexmark reporting EPS that was 122% above expectations. In absolute dollars, Exxon still leads with its $982 million surprise. Microsoft and GM follow with $380 million and $352 million respectively.

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  Monday, 25 Feb 2008 | 9:31 AM ET

Friday's stunning late day rally brings the Dow and S&P 500 into positive territory for the week

Posted By: Gina Francolla

For the short week ending Friday, February 22, 2008, it was hard not to get whiplash. The Dow and the S&P managed to turn in a positive performance for the week with a stunning late-day reversal on Friday, led by news of a bail out for Ambac Financial \(ABK\).


The NASDAQ approached October 2006 lows, but ended Friday positive for the day, and down only slightly for the week.
The markets began the week with a rally on Wal-Mart's \(WMT\) and H-P's \(HPQ\) better than expected earnings but gains were quickly erased as oil surged above $100 per barrel, and settled above $100 for the first time. The FOMC minutes provided some positive momentum indicating that the Fed may continue cutting rates, but the higher than expected CPI, a weak Philly Fed report providing the lowest reading since the 2001 recession, and a downgrade of Fannie \(FNM\) and Freddie \(FRE\) applied the negative pressure.
Highlights:
- Geopolitical Unrest: The week started off with Fidel Castro's resignation after almost 50 years of rule in Cuba. Unrest in Serbia and a Turkish invasion into northern Iraq added uncertainty to the markets, especially oil.
- Volatility continues to rule, with an almost 243 point swing for the Dow on Friday to end closing up almost 100 points, Tuesday the Dow erased a 157 point gain to close in negative territory. On Wednesday the Dow traded within a ~240 point range, starting the day down over triple digits but rallying to close up 90 for the day.
*The VIX hit highs of almost 27 this week, coming within range of the key 30 threshold indicating high market volatility
- Merger News: Microsoft \(MSFT\) considers a proxy battle for Yahoo \(YHOO\), and the CME \(CME\) continues to pursue the NYMEX \(NMX\). Reed Elsevier announced a $4.1 billion acquisition of Choicepoint \(CPS\) which jumped 43% on the news. The Bain Capital $2.2 billion deal with 3Com \(COMS\) fell through and the Delta Airlines \(DAL\) and Northwest Airlines \(NWA\) talks continue.
- Housing starts showed a modest increase of 1.012 above the expected 1.01 M, but remain badly depressed, down 28% from this time last year. The markets will look towards Existing Home Sales on Monday, and New Home Sales and Toll Brothers \(TOL\) earnings on Wednesday, for an update on the housing climate.
- Retail Earnings: Many key retailers report next week including Target \(TGT\), Home Depot \(HD\), Lowe's \(LOW\), Nordstrom \(JWN\), Macy's \(M\), Limited \(LTD\), Sears \(SHLD\), Kohl's \(KSS\)
Commodity Rally:
-Oil for April delivery hit a record close of $100.74 and hit a record high of $101.32 on Wed. Prices pulled back on Thurs as US stockpiles grew by 4.2M barrels.
- Natural Gas for March delivery closed at over a 2-year high to $9.146 and is up 22.77% in 2008
- Gold for April delivery hit a new record $958.4, and a closing high of $949.2
- Platinum is up almost 42% year-to-date with a new intraday high of 2214.5 and a new closing high of 2188.2 in the April contract.
- Palladium which can be used as a substitute for platinum, is up 36.41% year-to-date
- Appalachian Coal futures on the NYMEX are up over 50% year-to-date.
- Soybeans are up almost 19% year-to-date and hit a new closing high of 1439 per bushel and new intraday high of 1440 in the May contract.
- Soy Meal is up over 7% in 2008, and hit a new intraday high of 367 and a new closing high of 361.7 in the March contract.
Currencies:
- The U.S. dollar lost ground against the yen, euro and pound, and is negative against all three in 2008. The dollar index ended the week down -0.80% on strong euro zone economic data and continued risk aversion.
*The Euro came close to its all-time high against the dollar of $1.4968 touching $1.4863
Market Stats
:
The Dow ended up 32.81 points or 0.27% for the week, and positive on Friday
-The Dow is Negative YTD down -6.66%
-The Dow is off by -1,783.51 or -12.59% market peak on October 9th of 14,164.53
The NASDAQ ended down -18.45 or -0.79% for the week but positive on Friday
-The NASDAQ is Negative YTD down -13.16%
-The NASDAQ is off by -555.77 or -19.44% from the market peak on October 31 of 2,859.12
The S&P 500 ended up 3.12 or 0.23% for the week and positive on Friday
-The S&P 500 is Negative YTD down -7.85%
-The S&P 500 is off by -212.04 or -13.55% from the market peak on October 9th of 1,565.15
S&P Sector Performance for the week ending Friday, February 22, 2008:
S&P 500 Energy Sector \(.GSPE\) Up 14.68 or 2.67%
S&P 500 Materials Sector \(.GSPM\) Up 5.16 or 2.05%
S&P 500 Financials Sector \(.GSPF\) Up 3.64 or 1.01%
S&P 500 Consumer Staples Sector \(.GSPS\) Up 0.97 or 0.34%
S&P 500 Information Technology Sector \(.GSPT\) Down -0.14 or -0.04%
S&P 500 Consumer Discretionary Sector \(.GSPD\) Down -0.59 or -0.23%
S&P 500 Industrials Sector \(.GSPI\) Down -1.29 or -0.39%
S&P 500 Health Care Sector \(.GSPHC\) Down -2.57 or -0.66%
S&P 500 Utilities Sector \(.GSPU\) Down -1.61 or -0.80%
S&P 500 Telecomm Services Sector \(.GSPTS\) Down -9.17 or -6.17%
S&P Top 10 Performers for the week ending Friday, February 22, 2008:
Terex Corp \(TEX \) Up 7.84 or 13.11%
DR Horton Inc \(DHI\) Up 1.40 or 10.13%
MGIC Investment Corp \(MTG\) Up 1.32 or 9.79%
Fluor Corp \(FLR\) Up 11.06 or 9.16%
Range Resources Corp \(RRC\) Up 5.12 or 8.89%
Pulte Homes \(PHM\) Up 1.13 or 8.32%
CB Richard Ellis Group Inc \(CBG\) Up 1.59 or 8.19%
TJX Companies Inc \(TJX\) Up 2.43 or 8.09%
Hewlett-Packard Co \(HPQ\) Up 3.53 or 8.05%
QLogic Corp \(QLGC\) Up 1.20 or 7.98%
S&P 10 Worst Performers for the week ending Friday, February 22, 2008:
Intuit Inc \(INTU\) Down -3.33 or -10.96%
Apollo Group Inc \(APOL\) Down -6.64 or -9.56%
Quest Diagnostics Inc \(DGX\) Down -4.65 or -9.09%
Embarq Corp \(EQ\) Down -4.26 or -8.94%
General Motors Corp \(GM\) Down -2.05 or -7.85%
Sovereign Bancorp Inc \(SOV\) Down -0.98 or -7.78%
Dillards Inc \(DDS\) Down -1.34 or -7.68%
AT&T Inc \(T\) Down -2.90 or -7.66%
CenturyTel Inc \(CTL\) Down -2.88 or -7.28%
Safeway Inc \(SWY\) Down -2.24 or -7.00%
Dow Top Performers for the week ending Friday, February 22, 2008:
Hewlett-Packard Co \(HPQ\) Up 3.53 or 8.05%
American International Group Inc \(AIG\) Up 2.77 or 6.01%
ALCOA Inc \(AA\) Up 0.83 or 2.32%
Chevron Corp \(CVX\) Up 1.82 or 2.18%
Exxon Mobil Corp \(XOM\) Up 1.80 or 2.11%
International Business Machines Corp \(IBM\) Up 1.91 or 1.80%
Caterpillar Inc \(CAT\) Up 1.23 or 1.76%
JPMorgan Chase and Co \(JPM\) Up 0.68 or 1.57%
Wal-Mart Stores Inc \(WMT\) Up 0.53 or 1.07%
E I du Pont de Nemours and Co \(DD\) Up 0.47 or 1.03%
Dow Worst Performers for the week ending Friday, February 22, 2008:
General Motors Corp \(GM\) Down -2.05 or -7.85%
AT&T Inc \(T\) Down -2.90 or -7.66%
Verizon Communications \(VZ\) Down -1.63 or -4.31%
Merck & Co Inc \(MRK\) Down -1.46 or -3.07%
Microsoft Corp \(MSFT\) Down -0.74 or -2.60%
The Boeing Co \(BA\) Down -2.14 or -2.51%
General Electric Co \(GE\) Down -0.82 or -2.39%
Intel Corp \(INTC\) Down -0.29 or -1.44%
Citigroup Inc \(C\) Down -0.36 or -1.41%
The Coca Cola Co \(KO\) Down -0.50 or -0.85%
Next week:
Economic News:
- PPI on Tues
- Durable Goods and New Home Sales on Wed
- GDP on Thurs
- Personal Income and Outlays on Fri
Earnings:
- Home Depot and Target on Tues
- Toll Brothers on Wed
- Sprint, AIG, Dell on Thurs
- Berkshire Hathaway on Fri

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About By the Numbers

  • Our market specialists dig deep into Wall Street’s daily metrics, crunching the numbers to help you become smarter about the market so that you can make better investment decisions. By The Numbers details the daily drama, the winners and losers, how the day stacks up historically, and how the numbers can offer a glimpse of the future.

 

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