The Week In Review

2/27/12 to 3/2/12

March 2, 2012
U.S. stocks struggled for gains Friday after a slightly lower start, with energy companies leading the slide as the price of oil fell. "Overall the economic and market climate is continuing to improve, but markets don't move in a straight line, and obviously there's a risk of a pullback here," said David Kelly, chief market strategist at J.P. Morgan Funds. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 10 points to 12,969. The S&P 500 declined almost a point to 1,373. The Nasdaq Composite turned half a point higher to 2,989. Another quiet start to the day. On the earnings front retailer, Genesco is jumping 5% after beating estimates. AnnTaylor is jumping 5% on an upgrade ahead of earnings next week. Sara Lee is jumping 5% after announcing a $3 one time dividend and the spin off of their coffee and tea business. Foot Locker and Big Lots are quiet following earnings. Anheuser Busch is lower on an upgrade. The tech and financial sectors have been stand outs to start the year although both sectors are quiet to start the day. Apple is quiet this morning following a phenomenal rally. Fusion-io is higher on an upgrade. IPO, Yelp is jumping 60% this morning. It's like the good old days. Through the first hour the Dow remained in the red, but not by much. The Nasdaq is modestly higher. Through the morning the averages remained quiet with the Dow in the red and the Nasdaq modestly higher. In the afternoon the averages moved sideways recovering a little in the last hour. The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished down 2 points at 12,977, losing 0.04% for the week, only its third weekly loss this year. Midweek, the blue-chip index closed above 13,000 for its first time since 2008. The S&P 500 ended down 4 points to 1,369, up 0.3% for the week. On Wednesday, the index wrapped up its best two-month start to the year since 1987. The Nasdaq Composite ended down 12 points at 2,976, up 0.4% for the week. The index this week passed the 3,000 mark, a first since 2000.

March 1, 2012
U.S. stocks opened modestly higher, with finance firms leading the rise, after mixed economic reports illustrated ongoing improvement in the labor market and lackluster consumer spending in January. The Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 52 points to 13,004. The S&P 500 rose 5 points to 1,371. The Nasdaq Composite gained 11 points to 2,978. Quiet day for news one again, but the averages keep pushing higher. The retail sector is in focus thanks to better than expected same store sales. Gap is jumping 9% to a new high for the year. Kroger is up 4% on earnings. Liz Claiborne and Lululemon are higher on upgrades. Walmart is up after raising their dividend. Martha Stewart and Wendys are modestly lower on earnings. The financials keep humming along. Blackrock, Invesco, and T. Rowe Price were all upgraded. Toronto Dominion is up 2% following earnings. JP Morgan is higher on an upgrade. The techs continue to shine. Apple is at an all time high. Microsoft is at another new high. IBM, Google, and Intel look good as well. In fact all the sectors look good as the market pushes higher. Only the consumer staples are under selling pressure. At 10 o'clock a weaker than expected manufacturing number hit the averages for a 50 point decline, but the sell off didn't last. Resilient market. Through the morning the averages held up. The financials and materials are performing the best. The consumer staples remain the weakest sector. In the afternoon the averages held up well, but below the highs of the day. The financials are the best performing sector. Heading into the last hour the Dow pulled back a little as crude oil rebounded due to rumors of a pipeline explosion in Saudi Arabia. The Dow fell into the red in the last hour only to rebound into the close as the rumors on the pipeline explosion were denied. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 28 points to end at 12,980. The S&P 500 rose 8 points to 1,374. The Nasdaq Composite advanced 22 points to 2,988.

February 29, 2012
U.S. stocks started modestly ahead Wednesday after the U.S. economy grew more than expected and worry about Europe's financial troubles ebbed. "It's a move in the right direction," said Art Hogan, strategist at Lazard Capital Markets, of the Commerce Department's upward GDP revision from an initial reading of 2.8%. Up 3.2% for the nearly ended month, the Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 25 points to 13,031. The S&P 500 Index rose 2 points to 1,375. The Nadaq Composite added 7 points to 2,994. A quiet day for news ahead of the Federal Reserves's speech to Congress. The techs remain on fire. Google and Apple keep pushing higher. Apple is now trading at another new high with a market cap of $500 billion. Wow. Microsoft also made a new high ahead of their debut in Spain of Windows 8. The chips are quiet after a nice run up. The financials look good this morning. JP Morgan almost hit $40 a share for the first time since July. Blackrock CEO made positive comments on equities once again. His timing has not been great. Through the first half an hour the averages pushed higher with the Dow rising 50 points and the Nasdaq rising 11 points to 3000, for the first time in over 10 years. Yikes. After the first half an hour, the Fed Chairman released his prepared speech. No comment of QE 3 or any other aid to the economy caused bonds to sell off and the US dollar to rise. The rise in the dollar hit the commodity and energy space. Joy Global is down 4%. First Solar is down 11%. After the first hour the selling accelerated with the averages giving up most of their gains. In the retail space Liz Claiborne is down 6% and SodaStream is down 15% following earnings. Big 5 Sports is down 6% on earnings. Kids clothing maker, Carter's is jumping 8% on earnings. Through the morning the averages drifted lower, but no heavy selling. During the lunch hour the averages fought their way back to the unchanged level. The commodity and energy space are leading the decline. Gold is down 3.5% while Silver is down 5%. Natural gas company, Kodiak Oil & Gas is down 5% following earnings. In the afternoon the averages tried to hold up over to sell off in the last hour. The Dow shed 53 points to close at 12,952. The Dow finished February up 2.5% and up 6% year to date. The S&P 500 Index declined 6 points to 1,365, a February rise of 4.1% and its third consecutive monthly gain, leaving it 8.6% higher from the end of 2011. The Nasdaq Composite Index declined 19 points to 2,966. The technology-laden Nasdaq rose 5.4% in February, its second straight monthly advance, which has it nearly 14% higher for 2012 so far.

February 28, 2012
U.S. stocks tallied tepid gains on Tuesday ahead of a report on consumer confidence. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 2 points to 12,978. The S&P 500 Index added nearly a point to 1,368. The Nasdaq Composite rose 6 points to 2,972. A weak durable goods number out premarket is adding to the tepid rally. On the earnings front, Dominos Pizza is jumping 10% on earnings. Priceline is up 7% to an all time high after easily beating estimates. Autozone is higher by 2% on earnings. In the financial space Bank of Montreal is higher on earnings. Morgan Stanley is lower on concerns the company will have to raise capital on a debt downgrade. The rest of the financials are quiet. JP Morgan is modestly higher ahead of analyst day. After the first half an hour the averages rebounded on a better than expected consumer confidence number. The techs look good. Apple is at an all time high. Google is up 1.5%. The chips are perking up. Memory chip company, Micron has performed well of late. Intel is just under its 52 week high. At the end of the first hour the Dow hit 13,000 once again. The major averages keep testing the yearly highs, but haven't broken through yet. Oil has been one of the biggest sticking points keeping the averages from breaking out. Rowan is down 3% following earnings. ESV is low on a downgrade. Hess is lower after announcing a shelf offering that will dilute the stock in the short term. Transocean and Diamond Offshore are higher on upgrades. Through the morning the averages remained in the green just under the highs of the year. The utilities, healthcare, and transports are the weakest sectors. Something has to give, oil or the stock market. In the afternoon the averages gave up most of their gains, but didn't fall into the red. The market doesn't want to rally or sell off. In the last hour the Dow rebounded to close above 13,000 for the first time since May 2008. About time. The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished up 23 points at 13,005. The S&P 500 gained 4 points to 1,372, its fourth straight session of gains. The Nasdaq Composite added 20 points to 2,986, also its fourth day of gains.

February 27, 2012
U.S. stocks opened in the negative on Monday, following European equities after the Group of 20 finance ministers held off on boosting funding for the International Monetary Fund until the euro zone does more on its own. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index fell 10 points to 1,356. The Dow Jones Industrial Average declined 84 points to 12,898. The Nasdaq Composite Index lost 23 points to 2,940. Very few buyers to start the week. On the earnings front Cooper Tires, Transocean, El Paso, and Lowes are higher following better than expected results. Cooper is up 9% while Transocean is up 3%. The energy space is one of the few bright spots this morning. Sandridge Energy is higher on an upgrade. A couple commodities like Alpha Natural Resources and Molycorp are lower on downgrades. Mosaic raised their dividend 150% yet the stock is modestly lower. The tech space is under pressure. Broadcom is lower following an SEC update. Qualcomm was upgraded, but the stock is lower. Even Apple and Google are lower. The financials are lower except for Mastercard. HSBC and Berkshire Hathaway are lower following earnings. Through the first hour the averages improved led by the energy space and better than expected housing numbers. Through the morning the averages moved into the green back to the highs for the year, but the rally is lackluster and volume is light. In the afternoon the Dow moved to new highs for the year only to sell back off in the last hour. Not a lot of conviction in this market. The Dow Jones finished down a point at 12,981. The Nasdaq Composite ended up 2 points at 2,966 while the S&P 500 ended up a point at 1,367.