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Reports US

US stock market, economy and companies update (February 21, 2014)

February 21, 2014, Friday, 16:50 GMT | 11:50 EST | 21:20 IST | 23:50 SGT
Contributed by Trade The News

- Markets are extending the uptrend that began yesterday morning in heavy volume on options expiration. The Ukraine situation seems to have been resolved for now and analysts are pouring through the full transcripts from the 2008 FOMC meetings that were released earlier this morning. As of writing, the DJIA is up 0.24%, the S&P500 is up 0.27% and the Nasdaq is up 0.30%.

- There were no surprises in the January existing home sales report out this morning. The 18-month low in the series was accurately predicted by consensus expectations. The report shows prices falling, supplies building and all-cash and distressed sales increasing. The NAR chief economist said disruptive and prolonged winter weather patterns across the country are impacting a wide range of economic activity, and housing is no exception. Shares of major homebuilders gained 2% or so a piece after the data.

- Natural gas prices seem to have stabilized around $6 while WTI crude is back below $103 this morning. The dollar weakened notably from the open in the lead-up to 10:00ET, and has strengthened just as quickly since then. EUR/USD topped out just below 1.3760 and is nearly back to where it was all night, around 1.3720. Cable was choppy all morning around 1.6670 then spiked up to 1.6725 and has headed right back to its lows below 1.6630. It remains unclear what's driving the trade.

- Shares of Hewlett-Packard had gained 3% yesterday heading into the company's first-quarter earnings and gained a bit more after the company topped expectations. HP tweaked the lower end of its FY14 guidance and the second quarter outlook was ok. PC shipments fell for a seventh straight quarter, although CEO Whitman said the rate of decline is slowing. Sales in the enterprise businesses were flat to down. HPQ is down 1.5% as of writing.

- Express Scripts met expectations in its fourth quarter but warned first-quarter earnings would fall short. Profits fell slightly on a y/y basis, while revenue fell 5.8% y/y. Echoing a familiar refrain, the company said its first quarter would be impacted by lower prescription volume due to the severe winter weather. Shares of ESRX are down 3.6%.

- Groupon is among the biggest decliners this morning, down nearly 17%. The firm's fourth quarter results were ok, topping expectations, however one-time charges to be booked in Q1 dented the firm's outlook for the quarter. Investors were not impressed with the firm's forecast for only a slight y/y gain in EBITDA margins in 2014.

***Looking Ahead***
- (US) 13:10ET Fed's Bullard gives presentation on US Economy and Monetary Policy
- (US) 13:45ET Fed's Fisher speaks on US and Regional Economic Outlook

***Economic Data***
- (BR) Brazil Feb IBGE Inflation IPCA-15 M/M: 0.7% v 0.7%e; Y/Y: 5.7% v 5.6%e
- (BR) Brazil Jan Current Account Balance: -$11.6B v -$11.7Be; FDI: $5.1B v $4.0Be
- (CA) Canada Dec Retail Sales: -1.8% v -0.4%e; Retail Sales Ex-Auto: -1.4% v -0.1%e
- (CA) Canada Jan CPI: 0.3% v 0.1%e; Y/Y: 1.5% v 1.3%e; CPI Core M/M: 0.2% v 0.1%e; Y/Y: 1.4% v 1.3%e; Consumer Price Index: 123.1 v 122.7 prior
- (MX) Mexico Dec Economic Activity: 1.1% v 1.1%e
- (MX) Mexico Q4 GDP Q/Q: 0.2% V 0.6%e; Y/Y: 0.7% v 1.0%e Nominal GDP Y/Y: 3.3% v 4.0%e; GDP Full Year Y/Y: 1.1%
- (US) US Jan Existing Home Sales: 4.62M v 4.67Me