Monday February 26, 2018 – Friday March 2, 2018
On Monday new home sales for January declined 7.8% to a much lower than expected annualized 593,000 units. The decline was blamed on a shortage of homes as well as higher mortgage rates. However, markets rose strongly with the Dow Industrials closing up 399 points.
On Tuesday, the Case-Shiller Home Price Index for December increased .6% and durable goods orders for January declined 3.7%. Consumer confidence for February jumped 6.5 points to 130.8, stronger than expected. In testimony before Congress, Fed Chair Jerome Powell mentioned that he thinks the economy is growing stronger than his initial estimates, leading investors to believe that more than three rate hikes may occur this year. Ten year Treasury notes rose sharply after Powell’s comments, however, they came back down and ended the day just below 2.9%. Markets fell sharply with the Dow Industrials dropping 299 points.
On Wednesday the second estimate of the fourth quarter GDP came out and it was revised .1% lower to 2.5%. The pending home sales index for January fell 4.7%, a much sharper decline than expected, and the EIA petroleum status report for the week ending February 23rd showed crude oil inventory rising 3.0 million barrels. U.S. crude jumped 2.4% to $61.48 a barrel and markets continued their slide with the Dow Industrials losing 380 points.
On Thursday, jobless claims for the week ending February 24th fell 10,000 to 210,000, and the ISM manufacturing index for February increased 1.7 points to 60.8. Personal income for January increased .4%, consumer spending rose .2%, and the PCE price index jumped by .4%. Early in the day, markets rose, however, President Trump said the U.S. will impose tariffs on steel and aluminum imports next week. Markets then sold off, with the Dow Industrials closing 420 points lower.
On Friday markets opened sharply lower on continued worries about new tariffs starting a trade war. Now let’s take a look at some stocks.
Nutrisystem, Inc. (NASDAQ: NTRI) on Monday, reported financial results for its fourth quarter and full year ending December 31. The weight loss company beat both revenue and earnings but shares still plummeted by 27% due to a weak full-year guidance. New Year’s resolutions typically create a surge in business, but this year was disappointing. Nutrisystem reached a new low of $28.50 per share this week.
Palo Alto Networks (NYSE: PANW) reported its fiscal second quarter results and beat analysts’ estimates for both revenue and earnings. The company’s product business reported revenue of $202 million, up from $168 million a year ago. Subscription and support revenue was $340 million, up from $253 million. Palo Alto Networks reached a new 52 week high of $179.15 per share on Tuesday.
Macy’s, Inc. (NYSE: M) on Tuesday reported fourth quarter earnings per diluted share of $4.31 compared to $1.54 a year ago. Full year fiscal 2017 earnings per diluted share were $5.04 compared to $1.99 in fiscal 2016. Macy’s reached a high of $30.94 per share Tuesday morning post announcement.
Booking Holdings Inc. (NASDAQ: BKNG), previously known as Priceline Group, announced Tuesday better-than-expected fourth quarter earnings, sending shares to a new 52-week high of $2,087.34. The travel giant said gross travel bookings rose 19% to $18 billion in the fourth quarter, compared with $15 billion a year earlier. The company earned $836 million, or $16.86 per share.
Weight Watchers International, Inc. (NYSE: WTW) reported that it saw its fourth quarter subscriber numbers increase by 22.6% compared to a year ago. Fourth quarter revenue was $312 million and net income was $63 million compared to $13 million a year ago. The company’s stock reached $77.00 per share on Wednesday.