Portugal Sells Debt, but at Steep Price

Portugal successfully sold 2-year debt, but at a high price: 5.99 percent. This is for 2-year paper, mind you. The previous cost for 2-year paper was 4.08 percent last September. Longer-dated paper (2014) was sold at a yield of 5.39 percent in January. You wouldn't know there was concern by looking at the Portugese stock market — it's not far from a 52-week high.


1) Groundhog Day for stock historians. On Monday, we noted that it was the two-year anniversary when the S&P 500 hit bottom on an intraday basis (666.79). Today is the two-year anniversary when the S&P 500 hit bottom on a closing basis (676.53). Got that?

Getting back to the present, it's looking very toppy for the S&P 500 — it topped out at 1,344 on February 18, and has churned since oil began moving up about February 21. Same with key metals like copper.

Bulls argue that we are only 2 percentage points below the old highs, and despite all the risks there is not a lot of signs of stress. The Volatility Index (VIX) remains below 20, not far from three year lows. Bears argue that is the point: complacency is way too high. "It's very difficult to run a full book in this environment," one veteran trader told me on Monday.

Some fairly conservative guidance today across a variety of sectors:

2) Honeywell now sees Q1 earnings and sales at the high end of its prior forecast. However, its forecast for $0.80 still falls below the Street's consensus of $0.82. The diversified manufacturer also reaffirms full-year guidance of $3.60-$3.80 (vs. $3.84 consensus) on sales of $35-$36 billion (vs. $35.93 billion consensus). The company also announced at $3 billion stock buyback plan.

3) Texas Instruments narrowed its forecast for the quarter, but the new range of $0.56-$0.60 underwhelmed the Street, which is expecting $0.59. Despite being impacted by weaker PC chip demand as a result of last month's supply disruption from Intel , the chipmaker's sales in the quarter remains inline with current estimates ($3.34 billion-$3.48 billion vs. $3.41 billion).

4) American Eagle rises 3 percent after topping estimates by a penny. The beat came despite same-store sales dropping 7 percent in the latest quarter and gross margins shrinking. The saving grace: greater cost cuts reduced general expenses by 15 percent.

The current quarter looks to be challenging too. Earnings of $0.13-$0.17 falls mostly below $0.17 consensus as comps are seen down 3 percent to flat.

The teen apparel retailer's CEO also announced his intention to retire as soon as a successor is found.

5) Suntech Power up 2 percent pre open. The world's biggest solar panel maker posted higher than expected earnings and reaffirmed 2011 revenue and guidance.

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