New Home Sales for October slipped 0.3% to an annual rate of 368,000 units, way below expectations. The average selling price was $237,700 up 5.7% year over year. The inventory of new homes rose to 147,000, the highest since January, but still extremely low by longer term standards. The Dow Jones Industrial Average declined to 12,765.32 then rebounded to 12,981.44 still below its 200-day simple moving average at 12,993.05. The Nasdaq traded down to 2935.88 then rebounded to 2990.46, on the cusp of its 200-day SMA at to 2986.02. So far, 103 companies said that they will pay a special dividend before the end of the year, when a steep tax hike to over 40% from 15% would result if Congress does not prevent the Fiscal Cliff. If taxes do rise, companies will likely favor stock buybacks over dividends next year, as the related tax increase may only be to 20% from 15%.
Asian stocks were lower on Wednesday. The Nikkei 225 closed at 9308 – down 1.22%. The Hang Seng closed at 21,709 – down 0.62%. European exchanges closed higher on Wednesday. The FTSE 100 ended the day at 5,803 – up 0.06%. The DAX ended the day at 7,350 – up 0.24%. The CAC 40 ended the day at 3,515 – up 0.37%. The yield on the 10-Year US Treasury declined from 1.642% to 1.598% staying below the 50-day and 200-day simple moving averages at 1.687% and 1.765%.
Comex gold slumped from $1743.1 the Troy ounce to $1705.5 back below the 50-day simple moving average at $1740.7 with the 200-day SMA at $1665.6. Nymex crude oil declined from $87.34 per barrel to $85.36 still below its 50-day and 200-day simple moving averages at $88.75 and $93.95. The euro versus the dollar declined from 1.2944 to 1.2884 between its 50-day and 200-day simple moving averages at 1.2901 and 1.2797.
BP (BP) rig supervisors Robert Kaluza and Donald Vidrine will be arraigned in court today on manslaughter charges over their role in the Deepwater Horizon rig explosion that killed 11 workers in 2010. Former BP executive David Rainey will appear in court on charges of concealing information from Congress about the size of the oil spill. BP (BP) agreed to sell a number of North Sea oil and gas interests to Abu Dhabi National Energy Company for about $1.1 billion, raising the value of the assets the company has sold following the Gulf of Mexico oil spill to $37 billion, so they are close to their goal is to divest $38 billion in assets by 2013. Suburban Propane Partners (SPH) missed FQ4 EPS estimates by $0.54 with a miss on the revenue line. Yingli Green Energy (YGE) beat Q3 EPS estimates by $0.23 with better than expected revenue. JA Solar (JASO) missed Q3 EPS estimates by a dime with better than expected revenue. Deutsche Banks upgraded these three to Buy from Hold - Hercules Offshore (HERO), Patterson-UTI (PTEN), and Pioneer Energy (PES). Nabors Industries (NBR) - The oil services firm has been upgraded to Buy from Hold at Deutsche Bank with a price target raised to $28. Catalysts include an upbeat secular outlook for natural gas demand. Ensco (ESV) and Rowan (RDC) have been downgraded to Hold from Buy at Deutsche Bank. Dow components – Chevron (CVX) is up about 0.6%. Exxon Mobil (XOM) is down about 0.2%. Energy Select Sector SPDR (XLE) was trading at $70.82 at 3:30 PM on Wednesday, up 0.71% on the day – up 2.44% year-to-date.
The steel industry is experiencing chronic overcapacity, with production ability of 1.8 billion tons but expecting 2012 orders of just 1.5 billion tons. The industry is not cutting back, by building more mills, often supported by governments. Problems include the fragmentation in the industry and political difficulties in closing plants. AK Steel (AKS) has been upgraded to Hold from Sell at Dahlman Rose. IAMGOLD (IAG) - HSBC Securities upgraded the commodity company to Overweight from Neutral. Dow Components – Alcoa (AA) is up about 0.25%. DuPont (DD) is down about 0.7%. The Materials Select Sector SPDR (XLB) was trading at $36.33 at 3:30 PM on Wednesday, up 0.19% on the day – up 8.45% year-to-date.
Numerous CEOs of major companies are off to Washington for talks with President Obama and / or John Boehner about averting the fiscal cliff. Those meeting Obama include the leaders of Merck (MRK), Coca-Cola (KO) and Caterpillar (CAT) Those meeting Boehner include the CEOs of Honeywell (HON) and Aetna (AET). Company bosses have been urging Washington to reach a deal. Dow components – Boeing Co (BA) is down about 0.8%. Caterpillar (CAT) is about flat. General Electric (GE) is up about 0.6%. 3M Company (MMM) is up about 0.4%. United Technologies (UTX) is up about 0.9. The Industrial Select Sector SPDR (XLI) was trading at $36.94 at 3:30 PM on Wednesday, up 0.68% on the day – up 9.45% year-to-date.
Green Mountain's (GMCR) reported better than expected quarterly results as FQ4 net profit jumped 22% to $91.9 million, EPS of $0.64 was well above estimates, and revenues climbed 33% to $946.7 million. Sales of single serve packs grew 59% to $2.71 billion and brewer revenue jumped 45%. The firm provided FQ1 guidance that was above consensus and reiterated FY13 sales growth at 15%-20%. American Eagle Outfitters (AEO) beat Q3 EPS estimates by two cents with better than expected revenue. Comparable store sales were up 10% and the retailer raised forward guidance slightly. Ann (ANN) beat Q3 EPS estimates by a penny with better than expected revenue. Ann Taylor and Loft brands both saw positive same store sales growth during the quarter at 4.3% and 6.2% respectively. Movado Group (MOV) beat Q3 EPS estimates by six cents with better than expected revenue. The watch maker saw good response to new assortments of watches introduced late in the quarter setting up for the holiday shopping season. Phillips-Van Heusen (PVH) beat Q3 EPS estimate by four cents with in-line revenue. Net earnings climbed 47% as the apparel maker reported sales gains and improved margins in its Tommy Hilfiger and Calvin Klein brands. The company raised its full-year earnings guidance. Dow Components – Disney (DIS) is about flat. Home Depot (HD) is down about 0.1%. McDonalds (MCD) is up about 0.4%. The Consumer Discretionary Select Sector SPDR (XLY) was trading at $47.26 at 3:30 PM on Wednesday, up 1.09% on the day – up 21.12% year-to-date.
Several Groupon (GRPN) directors have been considering replacing CEO Andrew Mason with a more experienced CEO. Directors are expected to discuss management issues at a meeting tomorrow. Numerous CEOs of major companies are off to Washington for talks with President Obama and / or John Boehner about averting the fiscal cliff. Those meeting Obama include the leaders of Merck (MRK), Coca-Cola (KO) and Caterpillar (CAT) Those meeting Boehner include the CEOs of Honeywell (HON) and Aetna (AET). Company bosses have been urging Washington to reach a deal. The Fresh Market (TFM) missed Q3 EPS estimates by three cents with better than expected revenue. Comparable store sales rose 5.6% Y/Y on strong transaction growth. The Fresh Market (TFM) has been downgraded to Hold from Buy at Deutsche Bank, which cites the surprise resignation of CFO Lisa Klinger. Its new price target is $54, down from $64. Sherwin-Williams (SHW) - The painting and coating company has been downgraded to Neutral from Buy at Nomura. Dow components – Coca Cola (KO) is down about 0.25%. Procter & Gamble (PG) is up about 0.6%. Wal-Mart (WMT) is up about 1.0%. The Consumer Staples Select Sector SPDR (XLP) was trading at $35.64 at 3:30 PM on Wednesday, up 0.73% on the day – up 9.70% year-to-date.
Numerous CEOs of major companies are off to Washington for talks with President Obama and / or John Boehner about averting the fiscal cliff. Those meeting Obama include the leaders of Merck (MRK), Coca-Cola (KO) and Caterpillar (CAT) Those meeting Boehner include the CEOs of Honeywell (HON) and Aetna (AET). Company bosses have been urging Washington to reach a deal. Galena Biopharma (GALE) has been initiated with a Buy rating at Aegis. Idenix Pharmaceuticals (IDIX) has been initiated with a Buy rating at Deutsche. Meridian Bioscience (VIVO) has been downgraded to Underperform from Perform with Wedbush. Dow Components – Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) is up about 0.35%. Merck (MRK) is up about 0.5%. Pfizer (PFE) is up about 0.9%. United Health Group (UNH) is up above 0.85%. The Health Care Select Sector SPDR (XLV) was trading at $39.86 at 3:30 PM on Wednesday, up 0.50% on the day – up 14.90% year-to-date.
The Fed is considering forcing foreign banks to combine their US operations into American holding companies requiring them to meet minimum capital standards regardless of the resources of the parent firms. The move could increase costs, force foreign banks to inject billions into their US operations, which could limit the flow of capital and even hurt lending. Numerous CEOs of major companies are off to Washington for talks with President Obama and / or John Boehner about averting the fiscal cliff. Those meeting Obama include the leaders of Merck (MRK), Coca-Cola (KO) and Caterpillar (CAT) Those meeting Boehner include the CEOs of Honeywell (HON) and Aetna (AET). Company bosses have been urging Washington to reach a deal. Hartford Financial (HIH) has been initiated with a Buy rating at brokerage boutique Drexel Hamilton. Dow Components – American Express (AXP) is up about 0.95%. Bank of America (BAC) is down about 0.7%. JP Morgan Chase (JPM) is down about 1.1%. The Travelers Companies (TRV) is down about 0.7%. The Financial Select Sector SPDR (XLF) was trading at $15.69 at 3:30 PM on Wednesday, up 0.32% on the day – up 20.69% year-to-date.
American Superconductor (AMSC) announced that it will miss FQ3 earnings expectations, blaming financing and cash flow constraints among wind farm builders and turbine manufacturers. The company announced that it has cut its workforce by 25%. Analog Devices (ADI) beat FQ4 EPS estimates by a penny but missed on the revenue line. Orders fell during FQ4 due to inventory adjustments and thus the chipmaker slashed production. Check Point Software (CHKP) has been initiated with a Market Perform at BMO Capital with a $48 price target. Cowen initiated Outperform ratings on Amazon (AMZN) and Google (GOOG), and new Neutral ratings on eBay Inc. (EBAY), LinkedIn (LNKD), Netflix (NFLX), Pandora (P) IAC/InterActive (IACI), and Yahoo (YHOO). Akamai Technologies (AKAM) has been upgraded to Overweight from Equal Weight at Piper Jaffray. Dow Components – Cisco Systems (CSCO) is down about 1.0%. Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) is up about 1.75%. IBM (IBM) is down about 0.25%. Intel Corp (INTC) is about flat. Microsoft (MSFT) is up about 0.1%. The Technology Select Sector SPDR (XLK) was trading at $28.97 at 3:30 PM on Wednesday, up 0.42% the day – up 13.83% year-to-date.
Nokia (NOK) is seeking to stop the sale of RIM's (RIMM) products in the US, Canada and UK by attempting to enforce the ruling of an arbitrator, which is in favor of the Finnish company in a patent dispute related to its wireless local access network technology. The arbitrator ruled that RIM is "not entitled to manufacture or sell WLAN products without first agreeing royalties with Nokia." Vodafone (VOD) has been initiated with an Outperform rating at Robert W. Baird with a $30 price target saying that the stock is attractively exposed to growing emerging markets and mobile data. Windstream (WIN) has been downgraded to Underweight from Neutral at Piper Jaffray on dividend sustainability. Its price targets was reduced to $6.50 from $8.00. Dow Components – AT&T (T) is down about 0.75%. Verizon (VZ) is about flat. The NASDAQ Telecommunications Index (IXTC) was trading at $192.48 at 3:30 PM on Wednesday, up 0.09% on the day – down 2.26% year-to-date.
Veolia Environnement (VE) has been upgraded to Overweight from Neutral at HSBC Securities. The Big Names – Dominion Resources (D) is down about 0.6%. Edison International (EIX) is down about 0.35%. First Energy (FE) is up about 0.25%. PG&E Corp (PCG) is down about 0.45%. Southern Company (SO) is down about 0.25%. The Utilities Select Sector SPDR (XLU) was trading at $34.74 at 3:30 PM on Wednesday, up 0.38% on the day – down 3.45% year-to-date.
STOCKS: CVX, XOM, AA, DD, BA, CAT, GE, MMM, UTX, DIS, HD, MCD, KO, PG, WMT, JNJ, MRK, PFE, UNH, AXP, BAC, JPM, TRV, CSCO, HPQ, IBM, INTC, MSFT, T, VZ, D, EIX, FE, PCG, SO, BP, SPH, YGE, JASO, HERO, PTEN, NBR, ESV, RDC, AKS, IAG, HON, AET, GMCR, AEO, ANN, MOV, PVH, TFM, SHW, GALE, INIX, VIVO, HIH, NOK, RIMM, AMSC, ADI, CHKP, AMZN, GOOG, EBAY, LN, KD, NFLX, P, IACI, YHOO, AKAM, VOD, WIN, VE
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