Stocks Fall After Budget Released
STOCKS FALL AFTER BUDGET RELEASED
The Dow fell in volatile trade on Thursday with Merck being one of the biggest drags on the blue chip index, as investors worried that President Obama's budget proposal could strangle profits.
The plan to expand healthcare coverage and curb costs calls for cutting Medicare payments to private insurers, letting consumers buy cheaper medicines and preventing drug companies from making deals that block generic competition.
Also, a batch of sour economic data added to the gloom, spurring investors to sell shares in big consumer companies such as McDonald's and Coca-Cola .
Meanwhile in the financial sector, bank shares trimmed gains after a report showed the number of troubled U.S. banks soared in the fourth quarter, tempering optimism about the prospect of another government bailout for the sector.
Still it appears banks are handling the stress of the impending stress test reasonably well. The KBW Bank index finished in positive territory, marking its fourth straight day of gains, the longest winning streak for the index since November.
Strategy Session with the Fast Money Traders
Healthcare was just blasted by the budget, says Karen Finerman. The Street appears to be concerned about it.
If you're trying to trade right now the thing that works for me is trading without an opinion, counsels Joe Terranova. I follow the momentum and I don't get married to a trade.
741 is the breakdown point in the S&P , muses Jeff Macke. Abandon hope all ye who enter here if we go below that.
OIL JUMPS ANOTHER 6.4%
U.S. oil prices jumped more than 6 percent to above $45 a barrel on Thursday on expectations OPEC will cut output again and on signs of a rebound in gasoline demand.
I think we’re beginning to see the ‘back of the board’ having a bullish affect on oil, says Joe Terranova.
People are driving more, counters Jeff Macke. That’s what’s driving oil.
I think you can take a long position in oil going forward, adds Tim Seymour. And I like commodities here.
AFTER HOURS ACTION: DELL
After the bell Dell reported steep declines in quarterly sales and profit. The world's No. 2 personal computer maker said net profit in its fiscal fourth quarter ended January 30 fell to $351 million, or 18 cents a share, from $679 million, or 31 cents a share, in the year-ago period.
The numbers don’t seem great but the P/E is very cheap, explains Karen Finerman. But I can’t pull the trigger because I don’t think the fundamental story is one of growth. Hard times probably lie ahead for Dell.
HMOS SLIDE AS OBAMA CUTS SUBSIDIES
President Barack Obama's 2010 budget proposal takes direct aim at drugmakers and health insurers to help fund an overhaul of the U.S. healthcare system.
His plan, outlined Thursday, calls for lowering Medicare payments to private insurers, allowing consumers to buy cheaper medicines from overseas and preventing drug companies from making deals that block generic competition.
As a result shares of health insurers suffered, with Humana Aetna and UnitedHealth all down.
It seems like an extreme reaction in the HMOs, says Karen Finerman. I think Aetna, UnitedHealth and WellPoint are all cheap on the news.
It seems to me like the health guys were just minding their own business and then a safe fell on their head, says Jeff Macke. It’s straight out of a cartoon.
TREASURIES FALLING FOR 2ND DAY
U.S. Treasury debt prices fell on Thursday as supply outweighed demand and stock market gains curbed the safe-haven bid for government securities.
The Treasury sold two- and five-year notes this week and will sell $22 billion in seven-year notes later on Thursday, for a total of $94 billion in new supply this week.
I’m long the TBT , explains Karen Finerman. I think long term Treasuries will move materially.
BREAKING NEWS: YANKEES END TALKS WITH BANK OF AMERICA
Darren Rovell reports that The New York Yankees and Bank of America have ended talks on pursuing a major sponsorship deal. The deal was being termed as a "pseudo stadium naming rights deal" because the two parties had discussed giving the bank premium branding in the new Yankee Stadium.
On Thursday afternoon, Bank of America confirmed to Newsday that talks were suspended last month. A Yankees official told CNBC on Thursday that the two mutually agreed to part ways after seeing the heat that Citigroup was getting for putting its name on the new Mets stadium.
New York Yankees spokesperson Alice McGillion released this statement Thursday afternoon.
"During our discussions with Bank of America, we discussed a special relationship, not a naming rights relationship, with the bank at the new stadium. In light of recent events, with the downturn in the economy and the effect on financial institutions including government support of those institutions, we have determined that it is better to enter into a traditional business arrangement with a financial institution."
Both Bank of America and Citigroup received $45 billion in TARP funds.
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Trader disclosure: On Feb. 26th, 2008, the following stocks and commodities mentioned or intended to be mentioned on CNBC’s Fast Money were owned by the Fast Money traders; Seymour Owns (AAPL), (EEM), (MON), (BAC), (FXI), (VIP); Seymour's Firm Owns (COP), (FCX), (RIO); Terranova Owns (OTS), (FXC), (XBI), (BRCM), (WYNN), (INTC), (DELL), (JOYG); Terranova Owns (IBM) Call Spread; Terranova Owns (AMGN) & (AMGN) Puts; Macke Owns (MS), (TM), (SDS), (AAPL); Finerman's Firm Owns (DNA), (MSFT), (RIG); Finerman's Firm Is Short (IYR), (IJR), (IWM), (MDY), (SPY), (USO), (VNO), (BBT); Finerman's Firm Owns (WFC) Preferred, (BAC) Preferred