Intraday Market Update
US equities are near breakeven on the heels of better, and worse, than expected economic data. In the pre-market futures got a lift when the weekly initial jobless claims fell for the first time in a month. But after the bell the August Kansas City Fed Manufacturing survey posted a reading of zero vs. 14 in July, which is the lowest reading since August 2009 and signals an absence of growth in the region. Normally this is not a market moving data point but it quickly erased all of the gains seen in the indexes in early trading. Gold is slightly lower while crude oil has gained +1.25%, continuing the bounce from yesterday's lows which were also near the commodity's July lows. Copper has also gained +3% which erases losses seen earlier this week. Overseas, Asia-Pacific markets were mixed to slightly higher, while European markets posted solid gains across the board.
Weekly initial jobless claims fell -31,000 to 473,000 this week compared to last week's 504,000, which was upwardly revised by +4,000. Estimates called for claims to decrease to 490,000 so the number was a surprise. The 4-week moving average still increased by +3,250 to 486,750. Despite the fact that initial claims fell for the first time in a month and both initial and continuing claims were lower than expected, the numbers remain well above levels that suggest a healthy economic recovery.
In other economic news, Nouriel Roubini followed up on his call from yesterday that chances of a double dip recession were approaching 50%, citing that he expects a big downward revision in Friday's GDP data. There was also an analyst at Standard & Poor's that said the chances of a double dip recession were low but he also warned that US lawmakers need to take measures to protect its AAA rating.
Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke speaks in Jackson Hole tomorrow morning after the likely downward revision to GDP in the pre-market. Chatter has it that he will use the speech to re-instill confidence in the Fed's broken monetary policy by insisting they are not out of ammunition to fight the slowing economy. Regardless, his speech is highly anticipated and the markets are likely to react.
In equities, Dell topped Hewlett-Packard's $24 per share offer for 3Par (PAR) with a $24.30 per share offer. Shares of PAR are trading near $24 and are down -2.5% on the news. Clearly the market thinks 3Par will get a better offer but news reports indicate that 3Par has accepted Dell's offer. Earnings reports from retailers continue to trickle in. Guess (GES) and Rue 21 (RUE) both beat earnings, however, shares of both retailers are off more than -10% after the firm's guidance was below estimates. On the flip side Jo-Ann Stores crushed earnings and is up +13%.
Finally, Shares of Royal Bank of Canada (RY) are off -2% after the firm's quarterly profit fell considerably and missed estimates. The bank blamed its poor showing on weaker trading revenue, citing 20 days of net trading losses in Q3 due to extreme volatility in markets and that May was particularly difficult. On the conference call executives said that in the US and Canada trading was strong in the quarter, while the outlier was its European business.
Core Sector List:
Overall reading: 9 sectors advancing, 11 sectors declining
Strongest Sectors: Gold Miners, Transportation, Banks
Weakest Sectors: Coal, Home Construction, Broker Dealers
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