Monday, May 4, 2015 – Friday, May 8, 2015
On Monday, factory orders for March showed a gain of 2.1% for the first time after 7 straight months of declines. Manufacturing has been hard hit by weak exports due to the strong dollar.
On Tuesday, the trade deficit for March was much larger than expected, coming in at $51.4 billion, the largest since October 2008, and was partially blamed on surging imports caused by the resolution of the West Coast port strike. The large deficit also means the U.S. economy contracted in the first quarter, instead of the small .2% gain reported last week. However, the ISM non-manufacturing index continued its strong showing of 57.8 for April, higher than expectations, and beating the prior month’s level of 56.5. In addition long term bonds continued rallying and more fears over Greece’s debt repayment issues led to markets closing down sharply.
On Wednesday, the ADP employment report for April was released, showing lackluster job growth of 169,000, and down 6,000 from the prior month. Non farm productivity was down 1.9% for the first quarter, while unit labor costs were up 5%. In addition, Fed Chair Janet Yellen mentioned that equity valuations are quite high. This was too much for the markets and even though they opened strong, they ended the day moderately down.
On Thursday, jobless claims for the week ending May 2nd were up 3,000 to 265,000, but remained below expectations. Markets rallied, but traders anxiously awaited for the soon to be released jobs report.
On Friday, non farm payrolls were 223,000 for April, in line with expectations and, and the unemployment rate dropped slightly to 5.4%. Stock rallied strongly on the news.
Now let’s take a look at some stocks.
Facebook, Inc. made headlines at the start of the week after they announced that they have made their internet.org platform more compatible with additional websites and applications. Internet.org will help bring low-income people from emerging markets online. The platform is now open to all developers that meet specific guidelines for producing content that is compatible with basic mobile phones.
JetBlue Airways and Amazon announced a new partnership whereby JetBlue customers will be able to stream Amazon Prime’s music, TV, and movie content on board JetBlue’s aircraft. Amazon will now have access to potential customers for their Prime service if flyers are not already Prime subscribers.
The Walt Disney Company’s stock hit a new 52-week high this week following the release of their second quarter financials that beat forecasts, helped by an increase in revenue from their theme parks, and continued positive performance from their TV division. Disney’s total revenue increased by 7% to almost $12.5 billion.
Alexion Pharmaceutical Inc. announced the acquisition of Synageva Biopharma for a staggering $8.4 billion. Alexion is looking to boost their rare disease treatment pipeline and this acquisition will give access to Synageva’s drug, Kanuma, a treatment for LAL deficiency, a disease which causes buildup of fatty material in a patient’s blood and liver.
May 8, 2015 Weekly Stock Market Wrap-up:
Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ:FB)
JetBlue Airways Corporation (NASDAQ:JBLU)
Walt Disney Co. (NYSE:DIS)
Alexion Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ:ALXN)