Personal Income rose by just 0.2% in February with Spending up 0.8%. This brings the Savings Rate down to 3.7%, the lowest since August 2009. The year over year PCE Price Index was up 2.3%, above the Federal Reserve target for inflation. Chicago PMI came in slightly below expectations at 62.2 in March with an elevated prices paid index at 70.1. The Employment Component fell to 56.3 from 64.2 in February. The final reading of the Reuters/University of Michigan's consumer sentiment index hit 76.2 for March from a preliminary reading of 74.3. The Dow Jones Industrial Average traded up to 13,224.49 on Friday afternoon still shy of its 52-week high set at 13,289.08 on March 16th. The NASDAQ’s traded up to 3111.56 then fell to 3079.05 before consolidating. The NASDAQ stayed below its 52-week high at 3134.17 set on Tuesday.
Asian stocks declined again on Friday. The Nikkei 225 ended their session at 10,084 – down 0.31% on the day. The Hang Seng ended their session at 20,556 – down 0.26% on the day. European stocks rebounded on Friday. The FTSE 100 ended their session at 5,768 – up 0.46% on the day. The DAX ended their session at 6,947 – up 1.04% on the day. The CAC 40 ended their session at 3,424 – up 1.26% on the day. The yield on the 10-Year US Treasury declined from 2.177 percent to 2.139 then rose to 2.237 closing above its 200-day simple moving average at 2.183.
Gold rebounded from $1659.0 the Troy ounce to $1670.0 staying below its 200-day simple moving average at $1685.5. Crude oil rebounded from $102.95 per barrel to $103.69, fell to $102.82, then rose to $104.15 versus its 50-day simple moving average at $103.55. The euro versus the dollar rebounded from 1.3297 to 1.3375 staying above the 50-day simple moving average at 1.3206.
PetroChina (PTR), already the world's largest publicly-traded crude producer, plans to "buy assets on a large scale" to expand output. Lufkin Industries (LUFK) is launched with a Buy recommendation and $96 target at Dahlman Rose.
Energy Select Sector SPDR (XLE) was trading at $71.75 at 4:00 PM on Friday, up 0.81% on the day – up 3.79% year-to-date. The March 2012 change was -4.18%. The 2011 change was -1.29%.
Heavily Traded: (WMB) +1%, (VLO) -3.7%, (HAL) +1.7%.
BHP's (BHP) iron-ore chief, Ian Ashby, will unexpectedly step down on July 1. Pan American Silver (PAAS) is begun with a Buy and $31 target price at Deutsche Bank, which has a Hold on Hecla Mining (HL). AK Steel (AKS) is a new Neutral at Nomura, which begins Buys on rivals US Steel (X), and Steel Dynamics (STLD).
The Materials Select Sector SPDR (XLB) was trading at $36.97 at 4:00 PM on Friday, up 0.35% on the day – up 10.36% year-to-date. The March 2012 change was +0.00. The 2011 change was -12.78%.
Heavily Traded: (AA) +1.1%, (FCX) +0.6%.
CPI Aerostructures (CVU) is upgraded to Buy from Hold at Capstone. Raytheon (RTN) is reduced to Sector Perform from Outperform at RBC Capital.
The Industrial Select Sector SPDR (XLI) was trading at $37.415 at 4:00 PM on Friday, up 0.44% on the day – up 10.86% year-to-date. The March 2012 change was +0.50%. The 2011 change was -3.21%.
Big Movers: (AWI) -14.5%.
Heavily Traded: (GE) +0.8%, (JBLU) -0.9%.
Lululemon Athletica (LULU) is begun with a Buy at UBS. Buffalo Wild Wings (BWLD) is a new Equal Weight at Morgan Stanley, which begins BJ Restaurants (BJRI) at Overweight. Walt Disney (DIS) is upgraded to Buy from Neutral at Lazard. Discovery Communications (DISCA) is lifted to Buy from Neutral at Lazard. Gap Inc (GPS) is boosted to Buy from Neutral at Janney Scott with a $33 target. Wyndham Worldwide (WYN) is upgraded to Buy from Neutral at Goldman Sachs.
The Consumer Discretionary Select Sector SPDR (XLY) was trading at $45.09 at 4:00 PM on Friday, up 0.45% on the day – up 15.56% year-to-date. The March 2012 change was +4.40%. The 2011 change was +4.30%.
Big Movers: (FINL) -14.5%, (LIZ) +13%.
Beam Inc (BEAM) is initiated with a Buy at Suntrust. United Natural Foods (UNFI) is started with a Sell and $33 target at Cantor Fitzgerald.
The Consumer Staples Select Sector SPDR (XLP) was trading at $34.08 at 4:00 PM on Friday, up 0.61% on the day – up 4.89% year-to-date. The March 2012 change was +2.56%. The 2011 change was +10.85%.
Big Movers: (FEED) -12%.
Heavily Traded: (RAD) -0.6%, (KO) down slightly, (MO) +1.1%, (SVU) -2.1%.
Amerigroup (AGP), Molina Healthcare (MOH), and Centene (CNC) are all begun with Buys at Jefferies. Incyte (INCY) is initiated with a Buy at ThinkEquity. Vivus Inc (VVUS) is upgraded to Buy from Hold at Brean Murray. Accretive Health (AH) is now Neutral from Outperform with a new lower target of $21 at Robert W. Baird. Kindred Healthcare (KND) is cut to Market Perform from Outperform with Wells Fargo. Select Medical (SEM) is moved to Market Perform from Outperform with Wells.
The Health Care Select Sector SPDR (XLV) was trading at $37.61 at 4:00 PM on Friday, up 0.75% on the day – up 8.42% year-to-date. The March 2012 change was +3.95%. The 2011 change was +10.32%.
Big Movers: (SNSS) +19.5%, (STEM) +11%, (OREX) -9.5%.
Morgan Stanley (MS) is making preparations for a major downgrade from Moody's, which is due to decide in May whether to cut ratings for 17 global institutions. BATS (BATS) is thinking about suspending its efforts to recruit corporate listings after last Friday's trading glitch and IPO fiasco, The Wall Street Journal reports. The move would be a major defeat for the company, which has viewed such listings as critical in its efforts to compete with larger rivals NYSE Euronext (NYX) and Nasdaq (NDAQ). Peoples Bancorp (PEBO) is a new Outperform and $21 price objective at Keefe Bruyette. Kilroy Realty (KRC) is resumed with a Sell at Cantor Fitzgerald amid an uncompelling current valuation. By contrast, the broker begins Buy rated coverage on Boston Properties (BXP), Brandywine Realty (BDN), and SL Green Realty (SLG). U.S. Bancorp (USB) is downgraded to Market Perform from Outperform at BMO Capital.
The Financial Select Sector SPDR (XLF) was trading at $15.795 at 4:00 PM on Friday, up 0.54% on the day – up 21.50% year-to-date (the strongest performing sector). The March 2012 change was +7.01%. The 2011 change was -18.50%; the weakest performing sector for the year.
Big Movers: (XIN) +9.25%.
Research In Motion (RIMM) would consider selling itself if a strategic review found that this was its best option, CEO Thorsten Heins said yesterday after the BlackBerry maker once again missed earnings forecasts. RIM's FQ4 adjusted EPS almost halved on year to $0.80 as revenue slumped 25% to $4.19, while the company said it would discontinue "providing specific quantitative guidance." Apple (AAPL) and Foxconn have forged an agreement in which the latter will hire tens of thousands of workers, halt illegal overtime, improve safety and upgrade workers' housing. Websense (WBSN) is initiated with a Market Perform at JMP Securities. LinkedIn (LNKD) is lifted to Positive from Neutral at Susquehanna. InvenSense (INVN) is cut to Perform from Outperform with a $15 objective at Oppenheimer.
The Technology Select Sector SPDR (XLK) was trading at $30.15 at 4:00 PM on Friday, down 0.33% on the day – up 18.47% year-to-date. The March 2012 change was +4.16%. The 2011 change was +1.03%.
Big Movers: (FFN) -17%, (SIHI) -12.5%, (INVN) -10%.
Vodafone (VOD) is urgently reviewing its options in India and overseas as the country moves toward a law that would retroactively apply a tax of over $2B on Vodafone's 2007 purchase of Hutchison Whampoa's Indian telecom venture. France Telecom (FTE) is taken to Sell from Neutral at Citigroup.
The NASDAQ Telecommunications Index (IXTC) was trading at $221.24 at 4:00 PM on Friday, up 0.43% on the day – up 12.34% year-to-date. The March 2012 change was +3.64%. The 2011 change was -12.62%.
Big Movers: (TWER) +14%, (TSTRQ) -9%.
Heavily Traded: (S) -2.2%, (T) up slightly, (FTR) +1.1%, (CLWR) -2.9%, (VZ) +0.2%.
The Utilities Select Sector SPDR (XLU) was trading at $35.045 at 3:30 PM on Friday, up 0.55% on the day – down 2.60% year-to-date (the weakest performing sector / the only negative sector). The March 2012 change was +0.44%. The 2011 change was +14.81%; the strongest performing sector for the year.
Heavily Traded: (DUK) +0.2%, (GEN) flat, (CNP) +1.5%, (EXC) -0.2%, (AES) +0.2%, (SO) flat, (AEP) +0.5%, (PPL) +0.6%.
STOCKS: PTR, LUFK, WMB, VLO, HAL, BHP, PAAS, HL, AKS, X, STLD, AA, FCX, CVU, RTN, AWI, GE, JBLU, LULU, BWLD, BJRI, DIS, DISCA, GPS, WYN, FINL, LIZ, BEAM, UNFI, FEED, RAD, KO, MO, SVU, AGP, CNC, INCY, VVUS, AH, KND, SEM, SNSS, STEM, OREX, MS, BATS, NYX, NDAQ, PEBO, KRC, BXP, BDN, SLG, USB, XIN, RIMM, AAPL, WBSN, LNKD, INVN, FFN, SIHI, VOD, FTE, TWER, TSTRQ, S, T, FTR, CLWR, VZ, DUK, GEN, CNP, EXC, AES, SO, AEP, PPL
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