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Reports US

US stock market, economy and companies update (February 26, 2014)

February 26, 2014, Wednesday, 18:22 GMT | 13:22 EST | 22:52 IST | 01:22 SGT
Contributed by Trade The News

- The S&P500 continues to lunge for and then shy away from all-time highs. As of writing, the DJIA is up 0.30%, the S&P500 is up 0.24% and the Nasdaq is up 0.60%.

- The situation in Ukraine and Russia is heating up this morning, with plenty of rhetoric and saber rattling. Russia announced military drills on Ukraine's borders, and NATO responded by pledging to support Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity. The main beneficiary of all the hot talk has been the dollar. EUR/USD has plummeted toward 1.3660, while the collapse of the Ukrainian Hryvna is dragging down the Russian Ruble with it. Front month crude has stabilized in the mid-$102 handle while the slide in natural gas futures has slowed, putting the April contract around $4.50.

- After a raft of poor US housing data, the January new home sales data came in better than expected and saw home buys rise 9.6% y/y to their highest level in more than five years. Sales rose in the Northeast and South, but fell in the Midwest and West. On the other hand, the MBA mortgage applications data for the week ending Feb 21st fell 8.5%, to the lowest level seen in the series since late 2000.

- Retail stocks are in the spotlight this morning. Target, TJX Companies and Dollar Tree all barely met or missed consensus expectations in quarterly reports, and Abercrombie & Fitch may have widely topped EPS expectations, but its profits sank nearly 60% y/y. Guidance out of all these firms widely missed expectations. Nevertheless, Abercrombie's beat looks like a catalyst for the beaten-down retail names to move higher, with shares of ANF up 8%, leading the sector higher. TGT and DLTR are up 4.5% or so a piece, while TJX is up only about 1%.

- Shares of Barnes & Noble gained in the premarket and then surged to +8% in cash trading after the firm's third quarter profits crushed expectations. Comps were negative and revenues fell on a y/y basis, but like ANF traders were looking for excuses to buy. Shares gave up much of these gains after executive dismissed the G Asset Management takeout offer from a few days ago as "not worthy of further discussion."

- Lows met expectations in its fourth quarter numbers and guidance. Revenue climbed slightly more than 5% and comps were solidly positive. Lowes executive said that they believe US homeowners are still seeing the value of their homes increase and are less likely to lower spending levels. LOW is up 6% and HD has gained another 2% after yesterday's gains post-HD's report.

***Looking Ahead***
- 12:00 (FR) France Jan Net Change Jobseekers: No est v +10.2K prior; Total Jobseekers: No est v 3.303M prior
- 14:00 (AR) Argentina Jan Shop Center Sales Y/Y: No est v 19.9% prior; Supermarket Sales Y/Y: No est v 35.5% prior
- 16:45 (NZ) New Zealand Jan Trade Balance: No est v 523M prior; Exports: No est v 4.76B prior; Imports: No est v 4.2B prior
- 19:30 (US) Fed's Pianalto speaks on career

***Economic Data***
- (US) MBA Mortgage Applications w/e Feb 21st: -8.5% v -4.1% pror
- (MX) Mexico Jan Preliminary Trade Balance: -$3.2B v $1.7B prior
- (US) Jan New Home Sales: 468K v 400Ke
- (US) Weekly DOE Crude Oil Inventories: Crude +68K v +1Me; Gasoline: -2.8M v -1Me; Distillate: +340K v -1Me