Monday March 19, 2018 – Friday March 23, 2018
On Monday, there wasn’t much economic news as investors waited for the Federal Reserve meeting to conclude on Wednesday. Tweets from President Trump over last weekend as well as a sharp decline in Facebook pressured markets, with the Nasdaq composite falling 1.8% and the Dow Industrials falling 335 points.
On Tuesday, markets made a slight comeback led by energy companies as crude oil rose as OPEC took measures to attempt to decrease the supply glut. West Texas Intermediate crude settled at $63.40 a barrel.
On Wednesday, existing home sales for February rose 3% to an annualized 5.54 million units, and the EIA petroleum status report for the week ending March 16th saw crude oil inventory decline 2.6 million barrels. The Federal Reserve finished their meeting and announced another rate hike, which was widely expected. The federal funds rate increased 25 basis points to a range of 1.5 to 1.75%. The Fed’s forecast still has an end-of-year projection of rates increasing to 2.1%. The description of the economy was downgraded slightly to moderate and inflation risks still appear minimal. An additional rate hike was added in 2019 and this year’s GDP was increased slightly by .2% to 2.7%. Ten-year Treasuries rose on the news, but ended the day down slightly yielding 2.88%. U.S. crude rose again to finish at $65.50 a barrel.
On Thursday, jobless claims for the week ending March 17th rose 3,000 to 229,000 and the PMI composite flash for March declined 1.6 points to 54.3. President Trump signed an executive memorandum imposing tariffs on up to $60 billion in Chinese imports and worries over a trade war resurfaced again with the Dow Industrials dropping 724 points.
On Friday durable goods orders for February rose 3.1%, compared to the prior month’s 3.5% loss. China’s commerce ministry proposed a list of 128 U.S. products for potential tariff retaliation, however, markets opened modestly higher. Now let’s take a look at some stocks.
Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ: FB) shares plummeted to under $162 this week after a report that Cambridge Analytica, a political firm hired by U.S. President Donald Trump for his 2016 presidential campaign, gained access to private and sensitive information of over 50 million Facebook users. Aleksandr Kogan, a researcher at Cambridge University, gained consent to obtain users’ information through his app called ““thisisyourdigitallife.” Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg spoke out after almost a week and apologized for the “breach of trust,” he said in an interview with CNN.
Oracle Corporation (NYSE: ORCL) announced on Monday their fiscal 3rd quarter results. Total revenues were up 6% to $9.8 billion, compared to a year ago. Cloud and On-Premise Software Revenues were up 8% to $8.0 billion. Cloud Software as a Service revenue was up 33% to $1.2 billion. Oracle fell to as low as $45.73 per share on Thursday.
FedEx Corp. (NYSE: FDX) reported on Tuesday revenue for the third quarter was $5.2 billion, an 11% increase from a year ago. Operating income was $634 million, a 22% increase from the year prior. Operating margin increased 1.1 pts to 12.1%. FedEx sold off, falling below $236 a share on Thursday.
Darden Restaurants, Inc. (NYSE: DRI), reported on Thursday morning that third quarter total sales increased 13.3% to $2.1 billion, including 11.3% growth from the addition of 154 Cheddar's Scratch Kitchen restaurants and 34 other new restaurants. Reported diluted net earnings per share from continuing operations increased 31.8% to $1.74. Shares reached a low of $85.88 on Thursday, post announcement.
NIKE, Inc. (NYSE: NKE) reported on Thursday, financial results for its fiscal third quarter. Revenues increased 7% to $9.0 billion, up 3% on a currency-neutral basis. Nike reached a high of $69.30 per share after the announcement on Thursday.