March 10, 2014 – March 14, 2014
It was a rough week starting from Monday when China’s CSI 300 Index dropped to a five-year low when customs data showed Chinese exports fell 18.1% in February year-to-year.
Analysts were expecting about a 7% increase. Since the U.S. is China’s largest export market, stocks fell sharply based on fears that retail sales have slowed. For the rest of the week, concerns over Ukraine added more drag on the markets.
On Thursday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 231 points, upon reports of new Russian military operations near the Ukrainian border and reports pointing out additional weakness in the Chinese economy.
Also on Thursday, jobless claims for the week ending March 8 showed a decrease of 9,000 to 315,000, below analysts’ expectations of 330,000. Also released was February retail sales, slightly better than expected at .3%.
However, the January retail sales number was revised downward .2% to -.6%. On Friday the Producer Price Index was released showing a decrease in February of .1%. Analysts expected an increase of .2%.
Now let’s take a look at some stocks.
Following the announcement of a bipartisan US Senate plan to replace the two US-owned mortgage companies, Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae(FNMA), with government bond insurance, FNMA dropped 31% by the end of Tuesday’s trading day and lost another 17% by midday Wednesday. FNMA shares did however look bullish as the stock rebounded on Thursday.
J. C. Penney Company (NYSE: JCP) traded as high as $9.20 on Thursday after closing Wednesday at $8.93. JC Penny stores re-launched their home goods division in an effort to continue the company’s recent bullish movement. JC Penny was once the leader in home goods sales but in 2006-2013 experienced a major decline in revenue.
McDonald’s (NYSE: MCD) announced that workers in three different states filed seven law suits this week claiming the company has been taking wages away from workers by means of off-the-clock forced labor, lack of rest breaks and removing overtime pay. McDonald’s stock showed a gradual, but constant, decline on Thursday as the lawsuits were announced.
Chiquita Brands International (NYSE:CQB) announced Monday that the company will be combining with Fyffes, another major player in the fruit distribution business based in Dublin, Ireland. The agreement has been approved by the boards of both companies and under the terms, in a stock-for-stock transaction, Chiquita shareholders will end up owning approximately 50.7% of ChiquitaFyffes while Fyffes shareholders will own approximately 49.3%. Once the transaction is finalized, the combination will be the world’s largest banana-producing company.