Monday March 20, 2017 – Friday March 24, 2017
On Monday, there wasn’t much economic news, however, the president of the Chicago Federal Reserve, Charles Evans, said he could support two or three rate increases in 2017. However, the Minneapolis Federal Reserve president, Neel Kashkari gave an interview stating interest rates shouldn’t be going up at all because inflation is still too low and the labor market is still recovering and can use higher wages.
On Tuesday, retail stocks took a hit when a Congressmen said that a border adjustment tax will probably appear in the final tax reform bill. Markets also sold off after a report that North Korea would accelerate its nuclear program. The S&P 500 closed down 1.2%, the first time it fell more than 1% in 109 days.
On Wednesday, existing home sales for February were down 3.7% to an annualized 5.48 million units, and the EIA petroleum status report for the week ending March 17th showed inventories rising 5 million barrels. U.S. crude oil fell on the news to settle at $48.04 per barrel, while ten year Treasury yields fell to 2.4%.
On Thursday, jobless claims for the week ending March 18th rose 15,000 to 258,000, and new home sales for February increased 6.1% to an annualized 592,000 units, which is a seven month high. A key vote regarding Congress’s attempt to repeal Obamacare was delayed due to uncertainty over a replacement bill. Markets ended the day without moving much.
On Friday, durable goods orders for February rose 1.7% on top of the prior month’s 1.8% gain, and markets opened modestly higher. Now let’s take a look at some stocks.
Apple, Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) on Tuesday introduced a limited edition iPad and iPhone 7, boasting a red aluminum finish and is a result of a long-standing partnership with the RED anti-AIDS program. The new iPad will feature a 9.7-inch Retina display screen and A9 processing chip. The limited edition iPhone 7 with will be available to order online and in stores on Friday, March 24th. Apple shares reached $142.80 a share, a new 52-week high.
American multinational courier delivery services company, FedEx Corp. (NYSE: FDX) reported quarterly earnings on Tuesday that were lower than analyst estimates. During after-hours trading on Tuesday, FedEx fell to a low of $183.60 per share, however, prices bounced back as the earnings report revealed a positive outlook for margins that reassured investors.
Athletic apparel retailer, Nike, Inc. (NYSE: NKE) reported weak quarterly revenue. Gross margins contracted 1.4% to 44.5%, hindered by a strong dollar and more discounted merchandise. Nike shares closed down over 7% on Wednesday.
Integrated retailer, Sears Holdings Corp. (NASDAQ: SHLD) fell 13% on early trading on Wednesday as bondholders and investors expressed nervousness over how long the company can remain in business. The previous day, Sears released a surprise disclosure stating that the company may not survive. Sears has over $13 billion in liabilities which may lead to difficulties in obtaining future merchandise from vendors.
American discount retailer, Five Below, Inc. (NASDAQ: FIVE) announced fourth quarter and fiscal 2016 financial results Wednesday after-market. The company earned $49 million, or $0.90 per share, exceeding analysts’ expectations. Five Below was up as much as 12% Thursday on the news.