March 31, 2017 Weekly Wrap up LIVE from the floor of the NYSE

 

Monday March 27, 2017 – Friday March 31, 2017

On Monday the Dow Industrials closed down 45 points, its eighth straight loss and its longest losing streak since 2011, as markets continued in a downward trend since last week after Congress had to cancel voting on a health-care bill. 

On Tuesday, the trade deficit for February fell almost 6% to $64.8 billion, and the Case-Shiller home price index for January rose .9%.  Consumer confidence for March rose 9.5 points to 125.6, much higher than expectations, and ten year Treasuries yielded 2.41%.  The Dow Industrials closed up 150 points. 

On Wednesday, the pending home sales index for February rose 5.5% to 112.3, much higher than expectations, and the EIA petroleum status report for the week ending March 24th showed crude oil inventories rose 900,000 barrels.  This was smaller than expected and the energy sector rallied on the news, and U.S. crude rose 2.3% to settle at $49.51 per barrel.  Markets, however, ended the day mixed. 

On Thursday, the third estimate of the fourth quarter GDP was revised up .2% to 2.1%, while jobless claims for the week ending March 25th fell 3,000 to 258,000.  Two Federal Reserve Bank Presidents gave warnings that the economy might be strong enough to require a faster pace of interest rate increases than currently anticipated.  Markets finished higher, with the Nasdaq composite closing at a record high. 

On Friday personal income for February rose .4%, consumer spending rose .1%, and the PCE price index also rose .1%.  Markets opened mixed on the news.  Now let’s take a look at some stocks.

On Tuesday China Southern Airlines Co. Ltd. (NYSE: ZNH) announced the sale of a 2.68% stake to American Airlines Group in a $200 million deal that will provide the carriers better access to the world’s two largest travel markets.  American Airlines is the second U.S. carrier to own a piece of a Chinese airline as Delta Airlines has previously purchased a stake in China Eastern Airlines Corp for $450 million in 2015.

U.S. e-commerce giant Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN) announced on Tuesday the acquisition of Dubai-based online retailer Souq.com, a move that shows its ambitions to expand its business in the Middle East.  As one of the biggest acquisitions Amazon has made in the past few years, the deal will boost Amazon’s oversea expansion to help compete with rivals such as China’s Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.  Amazon reached a new all-time high on Thursday of $877.06.

Vertex Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ: VRTX), a biotechnology company, saw its share value soar to a new 52-week high of $111.88 on Wednesday following an announcement about its Kalydeco cystic fibrosis treatment that boasted enhanced lung function in a pair of late-stage trials.  The company plans to seek approval for the combination therapy.

Lululemon Athletica Inc. (NASDAQ: LULU) posted fourth-quarter earnings on Wednesday that fell short of analysts’ estimates, sending the stock spiraling down over 20%.  The athletic wear maker announced net income was $136 million, or 99 cents per share for the quarter ending Jan. 29th. Revenue was $789 million, up from $704 million a year ago.

Actionable intelligence solutions company, Verint Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ: VRNT) announced fourth quarter earnings that beat wall-street estimates.  The company reported earnings per share of $0.90 beating average estimates of $0.86.  Verint Systems began trading higher following the earnings announcement on Tuesday after-hours.

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