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Reports US

US stock market, economy and companies update (April 30, 2014)

April 30, 2014, Wednesday, 18:08 GMT | 13:08 EST | 21:38 IST | 00:08 SGT
Contributed by Trade The News


- Global markets are reacting calmly to the miss in the first reading of US Q1 GDP. As of writing, the DJIA is up +0.12%, the S&P500 is up 0.15% and the Nasdaq is down 0.09%.

- Most analysts are shrugging off the +0.1% advance Q1 GDP reading, citing the well-worn excuse of unusually severe winter weather. The focus has been on the consumption component of the first reading of Q1 GDP, which was +3.0%, roundly beating expectations, bolstered by a 4.4% jump in spending on services. The latter was due to the expansion of healthcare under Obamacare. Note that domestic investment (both residential and nonresidential), trade and government spending subtracted much more from growth than anticipated.

- The April ADP employment change survey of private employers hit its highest level since last fall with a +220K figure, slightly ahead of expectations and well above the 12-month average. ADP said the job market is gaining strength after a tough winter and employers are expanding payrolls across nearly all industries and company sizes. The recent pickup in job growth at mid-sized companies may signal better business confidence.

- The Fed is meeting today and will publish its monetary policy decision at 14:00ET. There is no reason to expect much from the meeting, with FOMC on track to taper bond purchases by another $10 billion to $45 billion a month, reducing monthly QE to just shy of half of the original $85 billion a month in purchases. Last month the Fed dropped the 6.5% unemployment threshold and reformulated forward guidance, and this month many observers expect the committee to fiddle further with the exact wording of forward guidance. Markets will also watch to see whether anyone joins Kocherlakota in dissent.

- The eagerly awaited Eurozone April annualized CPI was slightly lower than expected, at +0.7% versus +0.8%e, while core was in-line at +1.0%. Recall that the March figure that really lit the fire under QE talk was a mere +0.5%, so today's slight increase lends some credibility to ECB assertions that the Eurozone will avoid deflation. EUR/USD gained after the data, rising as high as 1.3871 but remains capped by recent two-week highs around 1.3875, the point where various European officials have provided verbal intervention. GBP/USD pushed out to fresh five-year highs above 1.6860.

- Shares of Twitter tanked in the post market after the firm missed or just barely met consensus expectations for growth in monthly active users and timeline views, despite the +15% and +25% y/y growth in the key measures. Also note that the firm is facing a big lockup expiration soon, adding to reasons to sell. Multiple analysts cut price targets on the stock overnight and reiterated underperform calls. TWTR is down more than 10%, dragging down other big social media names in its wake.

- Healthcare giant Wellpoint is up more than 6% despite a 20% y/y decline in net income. The drop was less than expected, and the company optimistically raised its 2014 outlook. The firm gained 121K Medicaid members in the quarter and said it expects the gains to continue thanks to the continuing impact of the health care reform.

- Network manager Level 3 Communications posted its second net profit in its history, widely beating expectations and building on last quarter's successes. The firm crushed earnings expectations and did well on the top line, allowing it to raise its adj EBITDA and free cash outlook for the year. LVLT is up more than 10% this morning.

- Hess Corp is the latest energy firm to disappoint this earnings season. The company has been selling off assets left and right to narrow its focus on a few big projects, slashing its quarterly profits by two-thirds in the quarter, while revenue fell by $1 billion. Daily production fell 18% y/y.

- Iron ore miner Vale SA's revenue and net profits missed consensus expectations and the firm saw big declines in both measures on a y/y basis. Profits and revenue are following iron ore prices lower, which in turn is following Chinese growth lower. Iron ore makes up more than 75% of Vale's revenue. Gold miner Barrick Gold met diminished expectations in the quarter and reaffirmed its outlook, although its profit is merely 20% of of the year-ago figure. Note that earlier this week, merger talks between Barrick and Newmont Mining collapsed and turned into a spat over who was to blame. Both VALE and ABX are down about 1.5% a piece.

- Exelon announced a deal to acquire Pepco Holdings for $27.25 a share in cash, roughly a 20% premium to is prior close. The total deal is valued around $6.83B in total. Exelon said the acquisition would be significantly accretive in the first full year after closing. The deal will combine Exelon Corp.'s electric and gas utilities BGE, ComEd and PECO with Pepco's Atlantic City Electric, Delmarva Power and its namesake utility.

***Looking Ahead***
- 11:00 (BR) Brazil to sell 2014, 2016 and 2018 Bills
- 11:00 (BR) Brazil to sell Fixed-rate 2021 and 2025 bonds
- 12:00 (CA) Canada to sell 2-Year Bonds
- 12:00 (CO) Colombia Mar National Unemployment Rate: No est v 10.7% prior; Urban Unemployment Rate: 10.6%e v 11.2% prior
- 14:00 (US) FOMC Rate Decision
- 15:00 (AR) Argentina Mar Construction Activity M/M: No est v -3.4% prior; Y/Y: no est v -5.5% prior
- 15:30 (US) Former Fed Chairman Bernanke at Brookings Institute in Washington DC
- 19:00 (KR) South Korea Apr CPI M/M: 0.1%e v 0.2% prior; Y/Y: 1.5%e v 1.3% prior; Core CPI Y/Y: No est v 2.1% prior
- 20:00 (KR) South Korea Apr Trade Balance: $4.3Be v $4.2B prior; Exports Y/Y: 5.5%e v 5.2% prior (revised from 5.2%); Imports Y/Y: 3.4%e v 3.6% prior
- 21:00 (CN) China Apr Manufacturing PMI: 50.5e v 50.3 prior


***Economic Data***
- (IE) Ireland Apr Unemployment Rate: 11.7% (4-year low)v 11.8% prior
- (IE) Ireland Mar Property Prices M/M: -0.7% v 0.1%e; Y/Y: 7.8% v 8.1% prior
- (PT) Portugal Mar Industrial Production M/M: -4.0% v -0.8% prior; Y/Y: -1.3% v +3.1% prior
- (PT) Portugal Mar Retail Sales M/M: -1.8% v -1.3% prior; Y/Y: 1.3% v 1.7% prior
- (IT) Italy Mar PPI M/M: -0.2% v 0.0% prior; Y/Y: -1.9% v -1.7% prior
- (MY) Malaysia Apr M3 Money Supply Y/Y: 5.9% v 5.9% prior
- (HK) Hong Kong Mar Budget Balance (HKD): -10.0BB v -38.0B prior
- (US) MBA Mortgage Applications w/e Apr 25th: -5.9% v -3.3% prior
- (PL) Poland Central Bank (NBP) Inflation Expectations: 0.5% v 0.5%e
- (ZA) South Africa Mar Trade Balance (ZAR): -11.4B v -1.5Be
- (ZA) South Africa Mar Budget Balance (ZAR): -23.4BB v -15.0Be
- (US) Apr ADP Employment Change: +220K (highest since Nov) v +210Ke
- (ZA) South Africa Mar Electricity Production Y/Y: -1.2% v -0.6% prior; Electricity Consumption Y/Y: 0.7% v 2.2% prior
- (US) Q1 Advance GDP Annualized Q/Q: 0.1% v 1.2%e; Personal Consumption: 3.0% v 2.0%e
- (US) Q1 Advance GDP Price Index: 1.3% v 1.6%e; Core PCE Q/Q: 1.3% v 1.2%e
- (US) Q1 Employment Cost Index: 0.3% v 0.5%e
- (CA) Canada Feb GDP M/M: 0.2% v 0.2%e; Y/Y: 2.5% v 2.5%e
- (CA) Canada Mar Industrial Product Price 0.4% v 0.5%e; Raw Materials Price Index M/M: 0.6% v 1.0%e
- (US) Apr ISM Milwaukee: 47.26 v 56.0e
- (BE) Belgium Q1 Preliminary GDP Q/Q: 0.4% v 0.3% prior; Y/Y: 1.2% v 0.8% prior
- (CL) Chile Mar Total Copper Production: 485.6K v 452.5K tons prior
- (BR) Brazil Mar Central Govt Budget Balance (BRL): +3.2B v +1.1Be
- (US) Apr Chicago Purchasing Manager: 63.0 v 57.0e
- (US) DOE Crude: +1.7M v +2Me; Gasoline: +1.56M v -0.5Me; Distillate: +1.94M v +0.5Me