OVERNIGHT MARKETS AND NEWS
June E-mini S&Ps (ESM15 -0.10%) this morning are down -0.16% ahead of revised U.S. Q4 GDP and final Mar University of Michigan consumer sentiment that may provide a clue to the timing of a Fed interest rate increase. European stocks are up +0.23% on optimism that the ECB's QE program will achieve its goals and stave off deflation after ECB President Draghi said the ECB will have no problem meeting its debt-purchase targets. Asian stocks closed mixed: Japan -0.95%, Hong Kong -0.04%, China +0.55%, Taiwan -1.20%, Australia +0.70%, Singapore +0.54%, South Korea -0.18%, India unchanged. Japan's Nikkei Stock Index tumbled to a 2-week low as slower-than-expected increases in Japan Feb retail sales and consumer prices signal waning momentum in the Japanese economy. Commodity prices are mostly lower. May crude oil (CLK15 -1.69%) is down -1.54% on optimism that air strikes in Yemen by Saudi Arabia, which continued for a second day, won't pose a threat to crude supplies. May gasoline (RBK15 -1.15%) is down -0.94%. Apr gold (GCJ15 -0.43%) is down -0.53%. May copper (HGK15 -0.73%) is down -0.48% after weekly Shanghai copper inventories rose +4,243 MT to 243,592 MT, a 23-month high. Agriculture prices are mixed. The dollar index (DXY00 +0.09%) is up +0.28%. EUR/USD (^EURUSD) is down 0.45%. USD/JPY (^USDJPY) is up +0.15% as the yen weakened on speculation the BOJ may need to expand stimulus after Japanese consumer prices last month rose at the slowest pace in 11 months. Jun T-note prices (ZNM15 +0.09%) are up +1.5 ticks.
Japan Feb national CPI rose +2.2% y/y, weaker than expectations of +2.3% y/y and the slowest pace of increase in 11 months. Feb national CPI ex-fresh food rose +2.0% y/y, less than expectations of +2.1% y/y. Feb national CPI ex food & energy rose +2.0% y/y, less than expectations of +2.1% y/y.
The Japan Feb jobless rate fell -0.1 to 3.5%, right on expectations. The Feb job-to-applicant ratio rose +0.01 to 1.15, right on expectations and the highest since Mar 1992.
Japan Feb retail sales rose +0.7% m/m and fell -1.8% y/y, weaker than expectations of +0.9% m/m and -1.5% y/y.
Japan Feb overall household spending fell -2.9% y/y, a smaller decrease than expectations of -3.2% y/y, but still the 11th consecutive month that spending has declined.
The German Feb import price index rose +1.4% m/m and fell -3.0% y/y, stronger than expectations of +0.5% m/m and -3.9% y/y.
UK Mar nationwide house prices rose +0.1% m/m and +5.1% y/y, weaker than expectations of +0.2% m/m and +5.3% y/y.
U.S. STOCK PREVIEW
Key news today includes (1) the U.S. Q4 GDP revision (expected revised to 2.4% from +2.2%), (2) final-March U.S. consumer sentiment from the University of Michigan (expected +0.8 to 92.0), and (3) comments by Fed Chair Janet Yellen on monetary policy at a San Francisco Fed conference entitled “The New Normal for Monetary Policy.”
There are 2 of the Russell 1000 companies that report earnings today: Carnival (consensus $0.09), Ocwen Financial (0.26).
U.S. IPOs that price today include: Applied DNA Sciences (APDN). There are no U.S. IPOs that are scheduled to start trading today.
There are no equity conferences today.
OVERNIGHT U.S. STOCK MOVERS
American Eagle (AEO +1.01%) was downgraded to 'Sell' from 'Neutral' at Goldman Sachs.
Finish Line (FINL +2.18%) reported Q4 adjusted EPS of 88 cents, better than consensus of 85 cents.
Conn's (CONN -0.56%) was upgraded to 'Overweight' from 'Neutral' at Piper Jaffray.
ArcelorMittal (MT -2.72%) was downgraded to 'Sell' from 'Neutral' at Citigroup.
Carnival Cruise Lines (CCL +0.05%) rose over 1% in after-hours trading after it said it will add nine new cruise ships to its fleet over a four-year period from 2019-2022.
Charles Schwab (SCHW +1.95%) was initiated with an 'Outperform' at RBC Capital with a price target of $38.
UBS has a 'Buy' rating and $110 price target on McDonald's (MCD -0.51%) and says it sees the new direction of McDonald's management creating significant cost reduction potential.
SanDisk (SNDK -18.45%) was downgraded to 'Hold' from 'Buy' at Evercore ISI.
Corvex Management reported a 7.2% stake in Signet Jewelers (SIG +6.02%) .
F5 Networks (FFIV -0.59%) was initiated with a 'Buy' at Guggenheim with a price target of $130.
Yahoo! (YHOO +0.61%) rose nearly 2% in pre-market trading after it was initiated with an 'Overweight' at Morgan Stanley with a price target of $55.
Restoration Hardware (RH +1.01%) reported Q4 EPS of $1.02, better than consensus of $1.01.
GameStop (GME -2.56%) fell nearly 6% in after-hours trading after it reported Q4 adjusted EPS of $2.15, less than consensus of $2.17, and then lowered guidance on fiscal 2015 EPS to $3.60-$3.80, below consensus of $4.04.
Jun E-mini S&Ps (ESM15 -0.10%) this morning are down -3.25 points (-0.16%). Thursday's closes: S&P 500 -0.24%, Dow Jones -0.23%, Nasdaq -0.32%. The U.S. stock market on Thursday closed lower as Saudi Arabia launched air strikes against rebel targets in Yemen, sparking a rally in oil prices and causing worries about possible disruptions of oil flows in the Middle East. In addition, Atlanta Fed President Lockhart hurt the stock market by saying that he still favors raising interest rates despite some softer readings in growth. Stocks received some support from the unexpected -9,000 drop in initial unemployment claims to 282,000.
Jun 10-year T-notes (ZNM15 +0.09%) this morning are up +1.5 ticks. Thursday's Closes: TYM5 -18.50, FVM5 -8.00. T-note prices closed with fairly sharp losses on Thursday as initial unemployment claims unexpectedly fell by -9,000 to a 5-week low of 282,000. In addition, demand was weak for the Treasury's $29 billion 7-year T-note auction, which carried a bid cover ratio of only 2.32, below the 12-auction average of 2.51 and the weakest since May 2009.
The dollar index (DXY00 +0.09%) this morning is up +0.269 (+0.28%). EUR/USD (^EURUSD) is down -0.0049 (-0.45%). USD/JPY (^USDJPY) is up +0.18 (+0.15%). Thursday's Closes: Dollar index +0.457 (+0.47%), EUR/USD -0.00857 (-0.78%), USD/JPY -0.304 (-0.25%). The dollar index on Thursday closed higher on some flight-to-quality with the Saudi air attack on rebels in Yemen and on Atlanta Fed President Lockhart's hawkish comment that the U.S. economy can handle moving to a higher interest-rate environment.
May WTI crude oil (CLK15 -1.69%) this morning is down -79 cents (-1.54%) and May gasoline (RBK15 -1.15%) is down -0.0177 (-0.94%). Thursday's Closes: CLK5 +2.22 (+4.51), RBK5 +0.0336 (+1.83%). May crude oil and gasoline prices on Thursday rallied to new 3-week highs and closed higher. Oil prices were mainly boosted by Saudi Arabia's air strikes against Shiite Houthi rebels in Yemen, which raised worries about a disruption of Middle East oil supplies and even about whether the conflict could spread into Saudi Arabia itself. Crude oil prices were undercut by the higher close in the dollar.
GLOBAL EVENT CALENDAR03/27/2015
U.S. STOCK CALENDAR03/27/2015