Monday December 19, 2016 – Friday December 23, 2016
On Monday, Fed Chair Janet Yellen gave a speech stating wage growth is picking up and job prospects are looking good for recent graduates. She noted, however, that productivity growth has been disappointing, and economic growth during this recovery has been slow. The December PMI flash for services was down 1.3 points to 53.4. Yields on 10-year Treasury notes ended at 2.53%.
On Tuesday, trading was light and there wasn’t much macroeconomic news, however, the Dow Industrials ended the day at a record high, up 91 points and just 25 points shy of 20,000.
On Wednesday, existing home sales for November rose .7% to an annualized 5.61 million units and the EIA petroleum status report for the week ending December 16th showed crude oil inventories increasing by 2.3 million barrels. U.S. crude settled 1.5% lower to $52.49 a barrel, and markets closed slightly lower.
On Thursday, new orders for durable goods for November fell 4.6% compared to the prior month’s 4.8% gain. The final revision for the third quarter GDP came in strong at 3.5%, and jobless claims for the week ending December 17th rose 21,000 to 275,000, higher than expected. Personal income for November remained unchanged, compared the prior month’s .6% gain, consumer spending grew by .2%, and the PCE price index stayed the same. Markets fell modestly on the news.
On Friday new home sales for November increased 5.2% to an annualized 592,000 units, its second highest level of the recovery. Markets opened mostly unchanged. Now let’s take a look at some stocks.
Shares of Finish Line, Inc. (NASDAQ: FINL) dropped over 13% after the company posted worse-than-expected earnings and cut its outlook for fiscal 2017. The footwear and apparel retailer said comparable-store sales rose just 0.7% in the third quarter, far below analysts’ estimates of 7.4% growth. Revenue rose 3% to $371 million and the company posted an earnings loss of $0.24 per share, greater than analysts’ expectations of an $0.18 per share loss.
FedEx Corp. (NYSE: FDX) posted fiscal second-quarter earnings that missed analysts’ estimates as the company spent more to expand its business. The package delivery giant said Tuesday that the company earned $700 million, or $2.59 a share, for the quarter ending November 30th. That missed Wall Street expectations of $2.91 a share. Shares fell 2% on the news.
General Mills, Inc. (NYSE: GIS) announced financial results for its fiscal second quarter of 2017, with sales and profit decreasing. In the statement, net sales dropped 7% to $4.1 billion partly due to the lower sales of organic products, which fell 4% in the second quarter. Profits reached $481 million, or $0.80 per share, decreasing 9% from $529 million, or $0.87 per share the same period last year. Shares dropped 3.6% after the report.
Praxair, Inc. (NYSE: PX), an industrial gas supplier, has announced the acquisition of Linde AG, in a deal valued at about $35 billion. The buyout will result in the creation of the world’s largest supplier of industrial gases and was successfully negotiated based on the combined company having its headquarters in Munich, Germany. Linde also guaranteed no forced layoffs until 2022. The merged company will have Linde’s name and the stock will be listed in New York and Frankfurt. Shares of Praxair declined over 3.8% on the news.