Intraday Market Update
In the pre-market this morning disappointing US May retail sales numbers sent the S&P 500 futures about -10 points lower as consumers paused their spending spree in May. Retail sales have been healthy in recent months but May provided the first negative reading in eight months, providing bears more reasons to believe that US consumers are tightening their belts on spending once again. Consensus estimates were for a +0.4% advance, however the overall sales in May fell -1.2%. Traders seemed to ignore the numbers at the open as dip buyers stepped in helping to keep the market afloat. Then the markets got a lift from the preliminary June reading of the University of Michigan consumer sentiment data, which beat expectations at 75.5 versus consensus estimates of 74.0 and a reading of 73.6 at the end of May. The nearly +2 point gain is sizable and puts the index at its best level of the year. But all of the major equity indexes are off of their highs and trading at about break-even. The Russell 2000 is the best performing index as it up +0.4%.
Leaders at the Federal Reserve are making headlines again as Fed Governor Plosser questioned the rationale behind ultra low interest rates. Plosser said the FOMC needs to raise rates sooner not later, and stated that a Fed funds rate of 1% would still be accommodative. In addition, Plosser admitted he has been uncomfortable with the "extended period" language for some time now. The euro has backed off of its highs which helped strengthen the dollar which has put a lid on the buying in equities for the time being.
In the Gulf oil spill, the US Coast Guard upped its estimates for the leaking well prior to June 3 to 25K to 30K barrels per day, and that it could be all the way up to 50K barrels per day now. BP said the containment system collected 15.4K barrels on yesterday. Shares of BP are up +3% today and have just about erased the -15% decline on Wednesday. UK politicians have begun pushing back against President Obama's hard line stance against BP. UK Chancellor George Osborne defended BP against attacks by the US as some estimates indicate that BP's dividends provide up to 15% to 20% of the dividends received by UK pension funds.
In equities, National Semiconductor beat earnings expectations and offered strong guidance next quarter. NSM is up +3.2%. MOT is up +3% after they settled a litigation dispute with RIMM and signed a cross-licensing agreement for various patents.
Front month crude and silver are taking a breather while natural gas and copper are gaining. Gold is marginally higher while and the US dollar is tacking on some gains and trading in the upper half of its daily range.
International markets followed the suit with the US rally on Thursday. Notable winners in the Asia-Pacific markets were Japan (+1.70%), Hong Kong (+1.22%), Australia (+1.58%), Korea (+1.43%), and China (+0.29%). Winners in the European region included Spain (+3.95%), France (+1.11%), and London (+0.61%). Germany was marginally lower by -0.14%.
Core Sector List:
Overall reading: 8 sectors advancing, 8 sectors declining.
Strongest Sectors: Biotechnology, Semiconductors, Software
Weakest Sectors: Home Construction, Retail, Utilities
S&P 500 - Daily and 30-minute Intraday Charts:
Dow Jones - Daily and 30-minute Intraday Charts:
NASDAQ - Daily and 30-minute Intraday Charts:
Russell 2000 - Daily and 30-minute Intraday Charts: