Markets are moving higher with the S&P 500 hitting a new
four-year high as investors look toward the European Union where
leaders said that they would take steps this week to contain the
debt crisis. While no action was outlined specifically, the news
was welcome as it might prompt other regions - includin United
States - to also stimulate their economies. Investors hope this
will lead to increased demand say for commodities and exports,
which translates back into corporate profits and improving earnings
outlooks. For every stock that declined this morning, three
The gains came in spite of less than encouraging domestic
economic reports. The International Council of Shopping Centers
(ICSC) and Goldman reported a sharp 1.5% decline in sales for the
August 18 week, adding to last week's decline of 0.3%. The decrease
pushed year over year store sales to 3.1%, down from 3.6%.
ICSC-Goldman is a weekly measure of comparable store sales at major
retail chains and accounts for roughly 10% of the market. The idea
behind it is that by tracking what consumers are up to, it may be
easier to see where the economy is headed given that two-thirds of
the economy stems from consumer spending.
Redbook was slightly more encouraging, posting a year over year
store sales change of 1.9%, up from 1.8%. It is a soft rate but
still represents an increase over the four-week average of 1.7%.
Redbook is a weekly measure of sales at chain stores. It is less
consistent than the weekly ICSC index but it is highly-correlated
with the general merchandise portion of retail sales, which covers
about 10% of total retail sales.
Atlanta Federal Reserve Bank President Dennis Lockhart also
spoke this morning. He said that the introduction of monetary
easing is currently in an "iffy" column. He explained that while it
is appropriate to keep fed fund rates low through 2014 it is not
appropriate to use monetary policy too aggressively without
introducing some fiscal reform. Lockhart continued by saying that
any additional stimulus would have to be weighed carefully in terms
of costs and benefits.
Crude oil is up $1.22 to $97.47 per barrel. Natural gas is up
$0.03 to $3.02 per 1 million BTU. Gold is up $18.20 to $1,641.20 an
ounce, while silver is up $0.67 to $29.35 an ounce. Copper is up
$0.08 to $3.46 per pound.
Among energy ETFs, the United States Oil Fund is up 1.24% to
$36.27 with the United States Natural Gas Fund is up 1.16% to
$19.16. Amongst precious-metal funds, the Market Vectors Gold
Miners ETF is up 2.98% to $46.99 while SPDR Gold Shares are up
1.09% to $158.98. The iShares Silver Trust is up 1.74% to
Here's where the markets stood at mid-day:
NYSE Composite Index up 38.92 (+0.48%) to 8133.25
Dow Jones Industrial Index up 11.55 (+0.09%) to 13283.27
Nasdaq Composite Index up 6.97 (+0.21%) to 3082.77
S&P 500 up 2.90 (+0.20%) to 1420.82
FTSE 100 up 42.78 (+0.73%) to 5866.65
DAX up 57.15 (+0.81%) to 7090.42
CAC 40 up 36.29 (+1.04%) to 3516.66
Nikkei 225 down 14.24 (-0.16%) to 9156.92
Hang Seng Index down 4.18 (-0.02%) to 20100.09
Shanghai China Composite Index up 11.31 (+0.54%) to 2118.27
NYSE SECTOR INDICES
NYSE Energy Sector Index up 44.93 (+0.35%) to 12764.46
NYSE Financial Sector Index up 37.79 (+0.82%) to 4635.47
NYSE Healthcare Sector Index up 8.11 (+0.11%) to 7646.30
DEXO (+37%) Will combine with SuperMedia Inc. (
) in a stock-for-stock merger of equals, creating a national
provider of social, local and mobile marketing solutions through
direct relationships with local businesses.
URBN (+17.5%, hit year highs) Upgraded to Hold from Sell at
NDSN (+11.7%, hit year highs) Reported late Monday that Q3
adjusted earnings were $1.06 a share, beating expectations of $0.99
per share. It also raised its Q4 guidance. Revenue grew 22% to $380
million, topping the analyst consensus of $357 million, according
to Capital IQ.
BBY (-1.7%, hit year lows) Reported Q2 adjusted EPS of $0.20 per
share, under analyst estimates of $0.31. The company reported Q2
revenues of $10.55 bln, falling short of consensus expectations of
$10.63 bln and last year's $10.86 bln. The company also suspended
CIS (-10.3%) Post yesterday second quarter 2012 adjusted net
income of $3.5 million, as compared to $8 million in the year-ago
quarter, exceeding guidance of $3.2 million. Revenues totaled $62.1
million, beating the $62 million analysts' estimate. In the same
period last year, revenues were $59.4 million.
CHRM (-10.5%) Reported in Monday's evening session Q2 revenue of
35.98 mln, in line with the analyst estimates of $36.00 mln and
well under last year's $67.28 mln. The company also reported Q2
earnings of $0.01 per share, falling short of consensus
expectations of $0.05 and under last year's $0.26.