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US stock market daily report (May 02, 2013, Thursday)
A widely expected cut in the European Central Banks benchmark interest rate was announced Thursday, a cut by 25 basis points to 0.50% and on marginal lending facility a cut by 50 basis points to 1.00%. Euro-zone annual inflation fell to 1.2% during April from 1.7% in March. European Central Bank President Mario Draghi suggests that the decision to reduce rates today was consistent with the medium-term inflationary outlook and cites the fact that the weak economic outlook has extended into the spring. ECB aims to keep inflation rates below but close to 2% over the medium term. Draghi said, "This is a measure that benefits all kinds of banks," and, the combination of this measure and the cut in the benchmark interest rate is "especially important" as the move represents "liquidity insurance for the banking system." ECB President also said that the ECB will continue conducting the main refinancing operations as fixed-rate-tender procedures with full allotment for as long as necessary" and at least until July 2014.
In its weekly report on Thursday, Freddie Mac said the average rate on the 15-year fixed-rate mortgage hit a record low of 2.56% in the week ending May 2, down from 2.61% in previous week. Average rate on the 5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage hit a record low in the latest week, declining to 2.56% from 2.58% in previous week. Also in the latest week, the 1-year Treasury-indexed ARM declined to 2.56%, down from 2.62% in previous week.
Yelp Inc. (YELP) on Thursday, reported fiscal Q1 revenue of $46.1 million with a loss of $4.8 million or 8 cents a share. Shares of YELP surged to a record high, up over 25% into early afternoon trading. Yelp’s mobile app was used on approximately 10 million unique mobile devices in the quarter, with 36% of its local ads shown on mobile devices. The number of active business accounts on YELP has risen by 63% to 45,000, while average monthly unique users rose to 102 million for a 43% increase over the same period in 2012. Forecast for Q2 - revenue in a range of $52.5 million to $53.5 million and YELP raised their full year forecast to sales between $216 million and $218 million.
"Warren is in the house," 82-year-old "Oracle of Omaha" Warren Buffett, Berkshire Hathaway Inc chief executive officer, said on Thursday, under his new Twitter handle "@WarrenBuffett." In just under 45 minutes, Buffet picked up over 45,000 followers. Fortune magazine, which hosted Buffett for a live webcast Thursday said it was billed as the first social media event for the notoriously technology-averse billionaire. Word has it that, if Twitter followers were dollars, the 'Oracle' is having more success on Twitter than he had with one of his best investments ever, his 2008 stake in Goldman Sachs Group Inc - a deal that gave him preferred stock that paid dividends at $900 a minute. Buffett has managed to gathere 1,000 followers a minute.
Facebook Inc. (FB), during aftermarket trading session on Wednesday, announced Q1 profit of $219 million or 9 cents a share, compared to 2012 period with a profit of 205 million or 9 cents a share. FB revenue rose to $1.46 billion from $1.06 billion, with mobile ad revenue now at 30% of total advertising revenue, full advertising revenue jumped 43% year-over-year to $1.25 billion. Total costs and expenses jumped by 60%. Facebook did not give a forecast in the report. Monthly active users on Facebook now totals 1.1 billion, up 23% from 2012 period and active monthly mobile users totals 751 million, up 54% year-over-year. Facebook Chief Financial Officer David Ebersman affirmed on the conference call that users under 25 “remain among the most active and engaged on Facebook. And then, in addition, younger users are extremely active users of Instagram.” Zuckerberg noted that the main trend is “people sharing more in different ways and people want to stay connected with their friends and family and all these different folks in their lives. And they’re going to use whatever technology they have to enable that, whether that’s desktop computers, or laptops, or tablets or glasses.” Plans by Facebook to invest more in the business, includes the launch of new services like Graph Search and Facebook Home. “These services are also big long term investments, so I want to be clear up front that we’re making these big investments because I think these are important areas for us to focus on,” CEO Mark Zuckerberg said on the company’s earnings call. Zuckerberg re-affirmed on the conference call that mobile is a major focus for the company, in driving its results and said, “We think the products like Home and Graph Search are big opportunities to deliver some unique and important services to the world that we’re positioned to do better than anyone else.” Zuckerberg added, “Whatever the form factor is going forward, we will be able to be able to deliver advertising content.”
Build-A-Bear Workshop Inc. (BBW) - the do-it-yourself stuffed animals store reported Q1 consolidated net retail sales at $102.9 million with 24 fewer stores; consolidated net income of $13,000 or $0.00 per diluted share; adjusted net income was $2.3 million or $0.14 per diluted share and consolidated e-commerce sales rose 7.0%, excluding foreign exchange impact. Shares of the company were higher by 29%, striking all time highs into late afternoon trading Thursday. During 1997, the build-a-bear concept faded and the company has been engineering a multi-year turnaround. During Q1, remodeled stores saw sales pick up on average 25%. The company shut down 18 stores during the quarter, ending it with 333 company owned shops in North America and Europe. Plans are to close down 60 stores by the end of 2014. Other moves being made in the turn around attempt, some stores have been relocated or downsized and, BBW increased its advertising as a percentage of total sales. In the fall, BBW opened six stores that allow kids to enter their name and age and other information right after they enter a store through an interactive game. As the kids go through the process of making and “cleaning” their stuffed animal, their personal information is then used to further customize the experience at each step of the process.
U.S. Commerce Department reported on Thursday that U.S. trade deficit narrowed unexpectedly by 11% in March to $38.3 billion. U.S. trade deficit with China narrowed to $17.9 billion in March compared with $21.7 billion in the same month of 2012.
U.S. Labor Department reported on Thursday, new unemployment claims for last week touched the lowest level since January 2008, falling by 18,000 to 324,000. Average of new unemployment claim over the past month dropped by 16,000 to 342,250. In the week ended April 20, continuing claims increased by 12,000 to a seasonally adjusted 3.02 million.
U.S. Labor Department announced in its preliminary assessment that during Q1, U.S. workers and businesses improved their productivity by an increase of 0.7%. For Q1, output of goods and services rose 2.5% and hours worked climbed a slower 1.8%, accounting for the increase in productivity. Unit-labor costs grew a mild 0.5%, down sharply from a 4.4% spike in Q4. Hourly wages of American workers rose 1.2% during Q1 however, after adjusting for inflation, they actually fell 0.3%. Productivity in manufacturing sector jumped 3.8% following a 2.2% increase in Q4.
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