On Monday investors digested the news that special counsel Robert Mueller found no collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia with respect to influencing the 2016 Presidential election. Oil surged 1.9% to $59.94 a barrel when Russia reiterated its commitment to cutting output and ten-year Treasuries finished at 2.42%. Energy stocks did well but broader markets didn’t move much.
On Tuesday housing starts for February fell 8.7% to an annualized 1.162 million units and the Case-Shiller home price index for January rose .1%. Consumer confidence for March fell unexpectedly by 7.3 points to 124.1. Markets rallied with the Dow Industrials finishing up 140 points.
On Wednesday the EIA petroleum status report for the week ending March 22nd saw crude oil inventory increase 2.8 million barrels and the trade deficit for January was lower than expected at $51.1 billion. Traders bought bonds on concerns over a slowdown in global growth, pushing ten-year Treasuries’ yield down to 2.37%, and markets fell with the S&P 500 finishing .5% lower.
On Thursday the final revision of the fourth quarter GDP came in at 2.2%, meeting expectations, and jobless claims for the week ending March 23rd fell 5,000 to 211,000. The pending home sales index for February fell 1% compared to the prior month’s 4.3% gain. Markets gained modestly as trade talks with China continued, however, markets were also skittish as the yield curve for 10 year and 3 month Treasuries remained inverted. An inverted yield curve is traditionally considered a strong indicator that a recession is about to happen.
On Friday partial data for personal income and consumer spending for January and February was released as the government tries to catch up after the recent shutdown. Personal income in February rose .2%, while for January, consumer spending rose .1% while the PCE price index declined .1%. Markets opened higher on renewed trade optimism amid reports that China is offering fresh new concessions. Now let’s take a look at some stocks.
Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) announced a series of new products and service offerings on Monday at its Keynote event, notably introducing its new Apple Card, Apple News+, and Apple TV+. Apple Card is a credit card that is built into the Apple Pay app, charging users less fees and interest. Apple News+ and AppleTV+ are both subscription based services that offer customers a variety of content, including The Wall Street Journal, Bon Appétit, GQ, National Geographic, Sports Illustrated, Time, HBO, Showtime and Starz. Apple shares gained 1.5% leading into the event.
Cronos Group Inc. (NASDAQ: CRON) reported its fourth quarter financial results before market open on Tuesday with shares falling as much as 7.4% on weaker than expected results. The cannabis company saw an earnings loss of CAD 6 cents per share on revenue of CAD 5.6 million. Both top and bottom lines were lower than analysts’ expectations. However, Cronos did experience net revenue growth of 284% year-over-year.
Carnival Corporation (NYSE: CCL) reported its first quarter financial results on Tuesday’s pre-market hours and beat estimates. However, the company provided a weaker guidance, which sent shares lower by 9.2% throughout the day. The Carnival earned 49 cents per share on revenue of $4.6 billion.
WellCare Health Plans, Inc. (NYSE: WCG) shares shot up 12.8% on Wednesday after the company reached an agreement to be acquired by Centene Corporation (NYSE: CNC) in a cash-and-stock transaction valued at approximately $17.3 billion or $305 per share. The combined company will serve a total of 22 million members across the U.S.
Lululemon Athletica Inc. (NASDAQ: LULU) announced its fourth quarter results during extended trading hours on Thursday and surpassed estimates, sending shares 15.6% higher on Friday morning. The company earned $1.85 per share on revenue of $1.17 billion. Analysts had projected earnings of $1.74 per share, on revenue of $1.15 billion. Comparable sales rose by 16%, which fell in-line with estimates.