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Market 360: A weekly wrap up of the US equity markets, commodities, currencies, and more

For the week ending Friday, March 14, 2008 the US Markets ended mixed. Market moving events include the Fed's $200B expansion of its securities lending program and the Bear Stearns bailout, amongst others leading to extreme market volatility. The Dow gained 417 points on Tuesday, only to lose the majority of its gains to close up only 0.48% for the week. The VIX crossed 30 for the first time since January.


Next week, the markets will watch for the the FOMC announcementon interest rates Tuesday, the Visa IPO on Wednesday, and a slew of brokerage earnings including Goldman Sachs , Lehman Brothers , Morgan Stanley and possibly Bear Stearns .
Highlights:
Markets:
- On Friday the CBOE Volatility Index crossed over the 30-value mark to hit a high of 32.89 signaling investor uncertainty and high volatility. The last time the VIX closed above 30 was on January 22, 2008.
- The Dow, S&P and Nasdaq all gained over 3.5% on Tuesday on the news of the Fed's liquidity injection
- Markets rallied back from big losses Thursday on news from S&P that the end of write-offs could be in sight
Economic Data:
- Consumer prices were unchanged in February for both the CPI and Core CPI, which excludes food and energy. The actual reading was nowhere near as hot as economists expected with a forecast of 0.3% for CPI and a 0.2% rise in the core.
- The Reuters/University of Michigan one-year inflation forecast in contrast to the soft CPI data jumped steeply to 4.5% in March compared to 3.6% the prior month.
- The Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index pointed to a slight drop to 70.5 in March compared to 70.8 in February, but sentiment was still at a 16-year low. Economists had expected a much lower reading of 68.5.
- Weekly jobless claims were better than expected coming in at 353,000 unchanged from the previous week.
- The Treasury Budget hit record levels with the Budget’s deficit for the month of February totaling $175.6 billion, making for a fiscal year-to-date deficit of $263.3 billion, up 62% from this time last year.
- Retail Sales were weak falling -0.6% in February compared to a prior month gain of 0.4%.
Housing and Mortgage Data:
- Foreclosure filings for February rose 60% on the year (223,651), with the state of California having the highest foreclosure total.
- Countrywide reported that its loan delinquencies nearly doubled from a year earlier from 4.48% to 7.44%, and the FBI started a probe into CFC for security fraud.
Sectors & Indexes:
Financials:

- Bear Stearns received emergency financing help from JP Morgan Chase and the Federal Reserve Bank of NY to overcome its liquidity problems.
*Bear Stearns suffered its biggest one-day drop in history on Friday, is 83% off its record close of $171.51 set on January 12, 2007, and has lost roughly 6.8B in market capitalization in 2008, or 66% of its value (WSJ)
- Lehman Brothers announced that it will lay-off about 5% of its work force due to difficult market conditions.
- The Carlyle Fund, a mortgage fund ran by Carlyle Group, collapsed after being loaded with bad mortgage debt.
*Standard and Poor’s estimated that subprime write-downs could total $285 billion, or $20 billion more than what it was estimated six months ago. They believe the end of subprime write-downs is in sight.
Technology:
- Google won unconditional approval from the European Commission to buy rival Web advertiser DoubleClick for $3.1billion.
- Microsoft and Yahoo sat down to discuss the hostile bid launched by Microsoft.
- Electronic Arts began a $2 billion hostile bid for Take-Two Interactive, after the rival videogame company rejected the unsolicited bid last month.
Healthcare: Humana, Wellpoint and UnitedHealth shares tumble on profit warnings dragging down HMOs.
Commodities Rally:
- Crude Oil for April delivery continued to hit record highs with 4 consecutive days of record closes beginning 3/10. Pit session closes were $107.90, $108.75, $109.92, and $110.33. Oil reached an all time high of $111 a barrel on Thursday.
*Next week the April contract rolls to May and with the anticipation of the summer driving season, traders believe oil could spike to $115 or $120 per barrel
*Gas prices set a new record with the national average price hitting $3.28 per gallon, with the possibility of $4.00 per gallon average, according to AAA and the Oil Price Information Services.
*Soaring oil prices are taking their toll on jet fuel and the consumer causing United Airlines and Continental Airlines to raise round-trip fares by up to $50 depending on the length of the trip.
**According to IATA and Platts, jet fuel is up over 68% from a year ago
- Natural Gas for April delivery hit a new record intraday high of $10.294 and settled at $9.868, gaining 1.01% for week.
- Heating Oil for April delivery hit an intraday high of $3.222, and new record close of $3.1465, gaining 6.77% for week
- Gold for April delivery continued its record setting pace. After hitting an intraday high of $1009, it settled at $999.50, as investors look to gold as a defensive play in a weakening economy.
- Platinum closed down $21.50 at $2076 an ounce, but it is up 1.68% for the week
- Wheat for May delivery closed down at $11.91 1/2 per bushel, but it is up 7.83% for the week.
Dollar Woes:The Dollar continues to hit lows against major currencies, with record lows against the euro more than 12-year lows against the yen. Over the last twelve months, the US dollar has fallen against every major Asian currency except for the Pakistani rupee.
- The US dollar sank to new lows against the Euro, Yen, New Zealand Dollar, and Swiss franc; though it rallied off its lows by Friday afternoon
- Today one euro cost as much as $1.5687 setting a new record, and the euro is now up 7.1% against the dollar year-to-date.
- The dollar/yen fell below 99 yen per dollar at more than 12-year lows. The purchasing power of one dollar hit lows of 98.88 yen on Friday. The Japanese Yen has appreciated 11.34% against the US dollar in 2008.
- The struggling greenback is at an all-time low against the New Zealand dollar with one dollar purchasing .8137 New Zealand dollars. The New Zealand dollar has gained 6.31% YTD against the US dollar.
- The British pound rose modestly for the week to $2.0256 per pound on Friday with a 1.99% gain against the US dollar in 2008.
- The US dollar has lost 11.67% year-to-date against the Swiss Franc, with the US dollar only purchasing .9969 Swiss Francs at its lowest point on Friday.
Market Stats:The Dow ended up 57.40 or 0.48% for the week and negative on Friday
-The Dow is Negative YTD down - 9.90%
-The Dow is off by -2,213.44 or -15.63% from the market peak on October 9th of 14,164.53
The NASDAQ ended unchanged for the week and negative on Friday
-The NASDAQ is Negative YTD down -16.58%
-The NASDAQ is off by -646.63 or -22.62% from the market peak on October 31 of 2,859.12
The S&P 500 ended down -5.23 or -0.40% for the week
-The S&P is Negative YTD down -12.27%
-The S&P is off by -277.01 or -17.70% from the market peak on October 9th of 1,565.15

S&P Sector Performance for the week ending Friday, March 14, 2008:
S&P 500 Materials Sector (.GSPM) Up 7.94 or 3.23%
S&P 500 Energy Sector (.GSPE) Up 8.26 or 1.49%
S&P 500 Industrials Sector (.GSPI) Up 4.07 or 1.27%
S&P 500 Utilities Sector (.GSPU) Up 0.78 or 0.41%
S&P 500 Information Technology Sector (.GSPT) Up 0.18 or 0.05%
S&P 500 Consumer Staples Sector (.GSPS) Down -1.59 or -0.57%
S&P 500 Consumer Discretionary Sector (.GSPD) Down -1.63 or -0.69%
S&P 500 Financials Sector (.GSPF) Down -6.10 or -1.88%
S&P 500 Telecomm Services Sector (.GSPTS) Down -2.68 or -1.98%
S&P 500 Health Care Sector (.GSPHC) Down -11.98 or -3.26%
S&P Top 10 Performers for the week ending Friday, March 14, 2008:
Gamestop Corp (GME) Up 6.37 or 14.93%
Apollo Group Inc (APOL) Up 6.10 or 11.40%
Capital One Financial Corp (COF) Up 4.50 or 10.38%
Limited Brands Inc (LTD) Up 1.50 or 10.34%
MEMC Electronic Materials Inc (WFR) Up 6.94 or 9.36%
Discover Financial Services (DFS) Up 1.32 or 9.33%
Dynegy Inc (DYN) Up 0.66 or 8.86%
Cameron International Corp (CAM) Up 3.47 or 8.84%
EOG Resources Inc (EOG) Up 9.64 or 8.28%
Newmont Mining Corp (NEM) Up 4.06 or 8.19%
S&P 10 Worst Performers for the week ending Friday, March 14, 2008:
The Bear Stearns Companies Inc (BSC) Down -40.08 or -57.19%
Ambac Financial Group Inc (ABK) Down -3.28 or -34.53%
Humana Inc (HUM) Down -19.54 or -30.76%
Wellpoint Inc (WLP) Down -20.03 or -29.84%
UnitedHealth Group Inc (UNH) Down -8.02 or -17.74%
Titanium Metals Corp (TIE) Down -2.91 or -16.22%
Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc (LEH) Down -7.10 or -15.31%
Sprint Nextel Corp (S) Down -0.99 or -14.12%
KLA-Tencor Corp (KLAC) Down -5.60 or -13.40%
Coventry Health Care Inc (CVH) Down -6.50 or -13.20%
Dow Top Performers for the week ending Friday, March 14, 2008:
Caterpillar Inc (CAT) Up 4.95 or 7.09%
General Electric Co (GE) Up 1.59 or 4.93%
ALCOA Inc (AA) Up 1.79 or 4.89%
McDonald's Corporation (MCD) Up 2.51 or 4.80%
E I du Pont de Nemours and Co (DD) Up 1.98 or 4.41%
Exxon Mobil Corp (XOM) Up 3.42 or 4.15%
Intel Corp (INTC) Up 0.59 or 2.94%
Johnson and Johnson (JNJ) Up 1.14 or 1.85%
Procter & Gamble Co (PG) Up 0.94 or 1.43%
3M Company (MMM) Up 1.02 or 1.33%
Dow Worst Performers for the week ending Friday, March 14, 2008:
General Motors Corp (GM) Down -2.74 or -12.48%
Citigroup Inc (C) Down -1.13 or -5.40%
American International Group Inc (AIG) Down -1.70 or -3.96%
Verizon Communications (VZ) Down -1.26 or -3.59%
Pfizer Inc (PFE) Down -0.71 or -3.33%
Hewlett-Packard Co (HPQ) Down -1.39 or -2.94%
Bank of America (BAC) Down -1.05 or -2.86%
JPMorgan Chase and Co (JPM) Down -1.02 or -2.72%
The Coca Cola Co (KO) Down -1.32 or -2.24%
Merck & Co Inc (MRK) Down -0.78 or -1.87%
Key Earnings next week:
Monday: Bear Stearns (BSC), Conseco(CNO), PMI Group (PMI)
Tuesday: Goldman Sachs (GS), Lehman Brothers (LEH), Adobe Systems (ADBE)
Wednesday: General Mills (GIS), Morgan Stanley (MS), NIKE (NKE)
Thursday: Barnes & Noble (BKS), FedEx (FDX),Palm (PALM)
Economic Data next week:
Monday: Industrial Production, Net Foreign Purchases, Capacity Utilization
Tuesday: Housing Starts, Building Permits, PPI, Core PPI, FOMC Announcement
Wednesday: EIA Crude Inventories
Thursday: Leading Indicators, Jobless Claims (Initial), Philadelphia Fed

Symbol
Price
 
Change
%Change
DJIA
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S&P 500
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CPT
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NASDAQ
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GS
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HUM
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MS
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MSFT
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TTWO
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UNH
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VIX
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WLP
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YHOO
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GOOGL
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