February 24, 2014 – February 28, 2014
The markets continued their upward march, with the S&P 500 briefly hitting a record high Monday. Continued optimism that the U.S. economy is in fact healthy and growing helped.
On Tuesday, the Case-Shiller Home Price Index rose .8% month to month and 13.4% year to year for the 20 cities tracked in November. The Conference Board’s Consumer Confidence report for February also came out, falling to 78.1 and below analysts’ expectations.
On Wednesday, new home sales spiked 9.6% in January, reaching a 5 ½ year high, to 468,000 units, far exceeding analysts’ expectations. This was an interesting contrast to a report issued by the Mortgage Bankers Association showing home mortgage applications fell last week to their lowest levels in nearly 20 years.
On Thursday, Fed Chair Janet Yellen testified that bad weather may have had an impact on recent economic data, but it’s hard to tell how much. She reiterated that the Fed expects to continue winding down bond purchases, however, the Fed would reconsider if there was a significant change to the economy. Stocks rallied modestly on the news, with the S&P 500 closing at record high.
On Friday, Gross Domestic Product for the fourth quarter was reported at 2.4%, revised significantly downward from the initial 3.2% estimate. However, the market didn’t have much reaction to the news.
Now let’s take a look at some stocks.
Tesla Motors (NASDAQ: TSLA) surged earlier this week after Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS) bumped Tesla’s price target more than 100%, from $153 to $320. Also announced earlier this week, the company plans on boosting their battery production capability by building a new facility that CEO, Elon Musk, has dubbed a “gigafactory.” The new facility is expected to do more than just advance the current electric car market; there is the potential that cheap battery technology might have the capability to change the entire power industry.
Best Buy (NYSE: BBY) shares jumped over 6 points after the company released their fourth quarter earnings. Best Buy reported that revenue decreased from $14.9 billion to $14.5 billion, year-over-year, while earnings per share dropped from $1.47 to $1.24. Even though the numbers were lower, the company’s EPS was still able to beat analysts’ forecast of $1.01 per share.
J. C. Penney Company (NYSE: JCP) was one of the major retailer gainers on Thursday, up over 20 points after the company released better than expected fourth quarter earnings. J.C. Penny reported net sales decreased to $3.78 billion from $3.88 billion, year-over-year. Even though the company still sustained losses of $0.68 per share, the losses were well below analysts’ projections of $0.81 per share. The company also provided a very positive outlook for their upcoming year with CEO Myron Ullman stating that “the most challenging and expensive parts of the company’s turnaround is behind them.”