Market 360: The Best and Worst of the Week for US Equities, Commodities, Currencies, and More

For the week ending Friday, August 1, 2008, the markets finished relatively flat after a turbulent week that saw 4 straight days of triple-digit moves on the Dow. An early rally was dampened by weak economic data including weaker-than-expected GDP and a rise in the unemployment rate. The Dow & Nasdaq Composite had 2-day gains of more than 450 points and 65 points, respectively on Tuesday and Wednesday before giving it back on Thursday and Friday. The current economic data supports the view that the Fed may hold interest rates steady at next week’s meeting.

Highlights: The markets will watch for major economic data including Personal Income and Outlays on Monday and a rate decision from the Fed on Tuesday. Earnings reports will include from Procter & Gamble, Freddie Mac, Time Warner, Cisco, AIG, and Berkshire Hathaway. Also, look to the opening of the Olympics Games which begins on Friday.

M&A, Deals, Corp Actions:

  • Bristol-Myers Squibb proposed a full acquisition of Imclone Systems for $4.5 billion, that would give the company greater ownership of the cancer drug Erbitux, becoming the second pharmaceutical company to buy its biotech partner in over a week. The offer comes after last week’s offer from Swiss drug maker Roche to buyout U.S. biotech Genentech . Shares of Imclone Systems gained 41% for the week on merger news.

  • China Distance Education, an online educational provider in China, had its IPO on the NYSE with an initial public offering of $7/share. Shares experienced a 5% drop on Wednesday. China Distant Education is the second Chinese company to go public in the US this year, followed by ATA Inc. in January. ATAI is up more than 57% from its initial price of $9.50/share.

  • Unilever N.V.'s ADR fell nearly 8% for the week on flat volume growth. This was after the consumer discretionary company publicized the sale of its North American laundry detergents unit, including brands like All, Snuggle, and Wisk, for ~$1.1 billion in cash to private equity firm Vestar Capital Partners. The company expects the sale to reduce costs related to market share loss and allow it to launch new products.

  • Sempra Energy announced plans to acquire EnergySouth for $510 million with the objective of extending its natural-gas business strategy. Shares of ENSI settled up 18.8% on Monday on merger news.

Other Market Moving News:

  • Shares of Elan Corp. and Wyeth plunged 70.5% and 11.5% for the week on safety issues with their clinical results for their Alzheimer’s drug, Bapineuzumab.

  • Ford , General Motors , and ChryslerLLC announced scale backs of their auto leasing businesses. On Tuesday, Ford announced to dealers, that the company is ending lease contracts on most trucks and sports utility vehicles (SUV’s). GMAC LLC, GM’s financing arm also stated that the company is terminating subsidized leases in Canada, and Chrysler last week said is ending all lease offers in the U.S.
    ** GM announced a loss of $6.3 billion, more than four times worse than analysts expected. With charges, the loss was more than $15 billion.
    **Automakers are incurring bigger losses due to the declining re-sale value in these types of gasoline-guzzling leased vehicles. Shares of F and GM have been struggling year to date, as they are both down, 31% and 59%, respectively.

  • Financials stocks rebounded this week leading the other S&P 500 Sectors, up nearly 4%. The news wasn't perfect for all companies, as Merrill Lynch, Fannie Mae , and Freddie Mac tested their lowest levels on Monday, each falling more than 7% after the International Monetary Fund (IMF) warned of increased risk due to ongoing financial crisis, and pressed for the U.S. Government to evaluate the business model of these firms. MER and FRE finished the week down 2.4% and 3.5% while FNM gained 2.3%.


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  • Crude Oil for September delivery rebounded 1.5% for the week, after crude hit its lowest mark in more than two months, reaching an intraday low of $120.42/barrel on Tuesday. However, crude jumped $4.58 on Wednesday on the EIA’s weekly report which showed a surprising 3.5 million barrels drawback in gasoline stocks, U.S. refinery problems at Valero (VLO), and Goldman Sach’s reassurance of crude hitting $149/barrel by year end.
    **The national average of regular gasoline prices fell ~22 cents on 8/1 from the latest record of $4.114/gallon set on 7/17, as per AAA fuel gauge report. Gasoline is up almost 36% from a year ago.
    **Diesel shaved 16 cents on 8/1 from its record peak of $4.845/gallon reached on 7/17 as per AAA. Diesel is up almost 58% from a year ago.

  • Natural Gas for September delivery inched up 2.9% for the week, on a late crude run-up, settling at $9.389/million BTU’s on 8/1 and off 39% from its record close of $15.378 set on 12/13/05.
    **A new study released on 7/30 by the American Clean Skies Foundation and Navigant Consulting Inc. (NCI) showed a significant amount of U.S. Natural Gas Reserves (2,247 trillion cubic feet), which could last for more than 100 years. The study challenges the underestimation of domestic natural gas by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA).

  • Central Appalachian Coal for December delivery was the top performer amongst commodities, as it’s currently trading at $120.5/ton and rallied 20.2% for the week. With the oil prices skyrocketing for the year, some have turned to this more attractive and cheaper fossil fuel alternative.
    **Coal stocks are reaping the benefits, with companies such as Massey Energy (MEE), International Coal Group (ICO), Arch Coal (ACI), up 110%, 88%, and 21%, respectively for the year.
    **Coal is up more than 110% year to date, but off ~16% from its record close $143.38/ton reached on 7/1/08.

  • Raw Sugar for October delivery had a 4 day winning streak, as it rallied 12.3% for the week touching an intraday high of 14.69 cents/pound on 8/1, highest level since 3/05. Continued demand for sugar cane and the use of ethanol as an alternate fuel, has sugar up 29% year to date.

Currencies: Friday, the US dollar gained momentum against most major currencies after better-than-expected data from non-farm payrolls helped investors regain hopes on the health of the US market. A slight decrease in the ISM Manufacturing Index in July also helped lift the greenback.

  • The dollar index hit an intraday high of 73.53 on Friday, slightly below its highest level since June 24. Friday afternoon, the dollar index was at 73.36, up 0.70% for the week.
  • The euro hit an intraday low of $1.5517 versus the greenback, falling to a five-week low. Friday afternoon, the euro traded at $1.5557 per euro, from $1.5601 late Thursday. The euro declined against the US dollar, after factory activity in the euro zone contracted at its fastest pace in five years.
  • The pound sterling remained lower against the greenback, following a key UK manufacturing survey showing its fastest decrease since December 1998. The pound sterling traded at $1.9747 per pound on Friday, or its lowest level since July 10, down 0.87% for the week.
  • Against the yen, the US dollar traded at 107.64 yen on Friday, from 107.90 yen late Thursday, while the New Zealand dollar was at $0.7273 on Friday, a ten-month low against the greenback.
  • The Australian dollar fell to $0.9302 on Friday, from $0.9419 late Thursday, depreciating to its lowest level since May 15, down 2.81% for the week. Manufacturing activity in Australia declined to its lowest level since November 2005, raising investors' expectations that the Australian Central Bank might cut interest rates from the current 7.25%.
  • Highlights: South Korea - The Korean won has appreciated 8.1% year-to-date against the US dollar, helped by strong growth in its GDP, expanding 4.8% from a year earlier, as reports showed last week. The Bank of Korea has kept interest rates at 5.00% since August 9, 2007. However, many economists expect the BOK to raise its key interest rate during its next meeting, August 7, in an effort to offset inflation. The US dollar was at 1012.0 won per US dollar on Friday, from 1011.0 won late Thursday, according to Thompson Reuters data.

Market Stats:

  • DOW
    • The Dow ended down -44.37 or -0.39% for the week
    • Friday, the Dow closed at 11,326.32, down -51.70 or -0.45%
    • The Dow is Negative YTD down -14.61%
    • The Dow is off by -2,838.21 or -20.04% from the market peak on October 9th of 14,164.53
    • The NASDAQ ended up 0.43 or 0.02% for the week
    • Friday, the NASDAQ Composite closed at 2,310.96, down -14.59 or -0.63%
    • The NASDAQ is Negative YTD down -12.87%
    • The NASDAQ is off by -548.16 or -19.17% from the market peak on October 31 of 2,859.12
  • S&P 500
    • The S&P 500 ended up 2.55 or 0.20% for the week
    • Friday the S&P 500 closed at 1,260.31, down -7.07 or -0.56%
    • The S&P is Negative YTD down -14.17%
    • The S&P is off by -304.84 or -19.48% from the market peak on October 9th of 1,565.15

S&P Sector Performance for the week ending Friday, August 1, 2008:
S&P 500 Financials Sector (.GSPF) Up 11.09 or 3.96%
S&P 500 Consumer Staples Sector (.GSPS) Up 2.47 or 0.88%
S&P 500 Energy Sector (.GSPE) Up 1.76 or 0.32%
S&P 500 Materials Sector (.GSPM) Up 0.49 or 0.20%
S&P 500 Consumer Discretionary Sector (.GSPD) Down -0.81 or -0.36%
S&P 500 Information Technology Sector (.GSPT) Down -2.75 or -0.78%
S&P 500 Industrials Sector (.GSPI) Down -2.43 or -0.79%
S&P 500 Health Care Sector (.GSPHC) Down -3.70 or -0.99%
S&P 500 Utilities Sector (.GSPU) Down -4.19 or -2.19%
S&P 500 Telecomm Services Sector (.GSPTS) Down -3.18 or -2.46%

S&P Top 10 Performers for the week ending Friday, August 1, 2008:
MBIA Inc (MBI) Up 2.80 or 57.49%
Washington Mutual Inc ( WM) Up 1.48 or 38.54%
Wachovia Corp (WB) Up 4.48 or 30.90%
MGIC Investment Corp (MTG) Up 1.60 or 29.36%
AK Steel Holding Corp (AKS) Up 11.36 or 23.33%
International Paper Co (IP) Up 5.11 or 21.83%
Motorola Inc (MOT) Up 1.56 or 21.52%
Avon Products Inc (AVP) Up 6.23 or 17.13%
Sunoco Inc (SUN) Up 5.80 or 16.73%
Amgen Inc (AMGN) Up 8.86 or 16.43%

S&P 10 Worst Performers for the week ending Friday, August 1, 2008:
Biogen Idec Inc (BIIB) Down -19.49 or -28.04%
Akamai Technologies Inc (AKAM) Down -8.58 or -26.75%
CB Richard Ellis Group Inc (CBG) Down -4.81 or -26.34%
CONSOL Energy Inc (CNX) Down -14.65 or -17.76%
General Motors Corp (GM) Down -1.67 or -14.03%
Total System Services Inc (TSS) Down -3.06 or -13.73%
NYSE Euronext (NYX) Down -6.05 or -12.82%
The Manitowoc Company Inc (MTW) Down -3.38 or -11.63%
WYETH (WYE) Down -5.21 or -11.46%
Sun Microsystems Inc (JAVA) Down -1.11 or -10.64%

Dow Top Performers for the week ending Friday, August 1, 2008:
Bank Of America Corp ( BAC) Up 3.75 or 12.68%
JPMorgan Chase and Co (JPM) Up 1.24 or 3.14%
Chevron Corp (CVX) Up 1.75 or 2.12%
The Coca Cola Co (KO) Up 1.08 or 2.07%
McDonald's Corporation (MCD) Up 1.12 or 1.91%
Merck & Co Inc (MRK) Up 0.58 or 1.77%
Wal-Mart Stores Inc (WMT) Up 0.92 or 1.62%
American Express Co (AXP) Up 0.57 or 1.56%
Intel Corp (INTC) Up 0.34 or 1.54%
ALCOA Inc (AA) Up 0.33 or 1.04%

Dow Worst Performers for the week ending Friday, August 1, 2008:
General Motors Corp (GM) Down -1.67 or -14.03%
Caterpillar Inc (CAT) Down -2.34 or -3.32%
The Walt Disney Co (DIS) Down -1.02 or -3.28%
AT&T Inc (T) Down -0.96 or -3.06%
The Boeing Co (BA) Down -1.82 or -2.85%
Microsoft Corp (MSFT) Down -0.72 or -2.75%
United Technologies Corp (UTX) Down -1.67 or -2.56%
Exxon Mobil Corp (XOM) Down -1.98 or -2.42%
General Electric Co (GE) Down -0.50 or -1.74%
American International Group Inc (AIG) Down -0.45 or -1.65%

Key Earnings next week:
Monday: DISH Network (DISH), Humana Inc. (HUM), Anadarko Petroleum (APC)
Tuesday: Procter & Gamble (PG), Cisco (CSCO), News Corp (NWS)
Wednesday: Freddie Mac (FRE), Time Warner (TMX), American International Group (AIG)
Thursday: Barr Pharmaceuticals (BRL), Hertz Global (HTZ), Toyota Motors (TM)
Friday: Berkshire Hathaway (BRK), Edison International (EIX)

Economic Data next week:
Monday: Personal Income, Personal Spending, Factory Orders
Tuesday: ISM Non-Manufacturing Services
Wednesday: Crude Inventories (weekly)
Thursday: Consumer Credit, Jobless Claims (weekly), Pending Home Sales
Friday: Productivity, Wholesale Inventories