Monday March 6, 2017 - Friday March 10, 2017
On Monday, factory orders for January rose 1.2% on top of the prior month’s 1.3% gain. Traders placed expectations of a March rate hike at 86%, while reports of North Korea firing ballistic missiles, some of which landed in Japan’s exclusive economic zone, caused investors to take pause. The Dow Industrials closed down 51 points.
On Tuesday, the trade deficit for January rose over 9% to $48.5 billion, due to strong imports of consumer goods, vehicles, and petroleum. Biotech fell after President Trump tweeted his intention to increase competition in the drug industry.
On Wednesday, the ADP employment report for February surprised observers with an unexpectedly strong 298,000 jobs added. Nonfarm productivity for the second estimate of the fourth quarter held steady at 1.3% and unit labor costs also remained at 1.7%, while the EIA petroleum status report for the week ending March 3rd showed crude oil inventories gaining 8.2 million barrels, its 9th straight week of gains. In response U.S. crude plunged over 5% to a three month low of $50.28 a barrel, and the Dow Industrials closed down 69 points.
On Thursday, jobless claims for the week ending March 4th rose 20,000 to 243,000 and import prices for February rose .2% while export prices rose .3%.
On Friday, nonfarm payrolls for February came in at a very strong 235,000, unemployment rate fell slightly to 4.7%, and average hourly earnings rose .2%. Markets opened slightly higher on the news.
Clothing retailer Express, Inc. (NYSE: EXPR) released its fourth quarter results, showing net sales dropping 11% to $678 million and net income decreasing to $22 million from $56 million a year ago. Comparable store sales fell 13%. In addition the company also warned of continuing pressure on results for its latest quarter. Shares fell 12% on the news.
Recreational vehicle manufacturer Thor Industries, Inc. (NYSE: THO) announced second quarter earnings of $64 million, or $1.23 per diluted share, on record revenues of $1.6 billion, beating analysts’ estimates. Gross profit increased 42% percent to $211 million, though gross profit margins decreased to 13.3% in the second quarter compared to 15.3% in the prior-year period, due primarily to acquisition-related dilution.
Hewlett Packard Enterprise Company (NYSE: HPE) announced plans to buy Nimble Storage, the memory device maker, in a $1 billion deal. HP Enterprise planned to pay $12.50 per share in cash for Nimble, which represents a 45% premium over Nimble’s closing price on Monday. In addition, HP Enterprise will pay out Nimble’s unvested equity awards of $200 million.
Chinese mobile social networking platform, Momo Inc. (NASDAQ: MOMO) set new 52-week highs after announcing better than expected earnings for the fourth quarter. The company reported earnings per share of $0.41, topping consensus estimates by $0.11. The company’s revenues increased 524% year over year to $246 million, beating analysts’ expectations of $195 million. Net income increased to $83 million in the fourth quarter from $6 million in the same period last year.