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Reports US

US stock market, economy and companies update (February 27, 2014)

February 27, 2014, Thursday, 18:08 GMT | 13:08 EST | 22:38 IST | 01:08 SGT
Contributed by Trade The News

- The key 1850-1852 area continue to be a tough nut for the S&P500 to crack. US indices followed the S&P500 up to this level where things appear to be stalling out again this morning. As of writing, the DJIA is up 0.27%, the S&P500 is up 0.28% and the Nasdaq is up 0.35%.

- The January Durable Goods report were not too bad: headline orders were down slightly less than expected, while orders ex-transport and non-defense, ex-aircraft were positive and beat low expectations. Note that the back month data was all revised lower. Some modestly good German data helped strengthen the euro overnight, with EUR/USD testing below 1.3650 or nearly two-week lows. The dollar has firmed right up in increments during the US session as decent durables data contrasts with cloudy Germany Feb inflation figures, with EUR/USD moving back above 1.3750.

- Fed Chair Yellen is giving testimony before the Senate this morning (delayed from mid February). Much like Bernanke, she is taking the opportunity to emphasize that the fiscal policies pursued by Congress have been a drag on the economy, subtracting 1.5% from growth. Regarding the FOMC's key threshold, she said that 6.5% unemployment is not what the Fed considers full employment and the unemployment rate by itself is an insufficient measure of the labor market.

- Shares of three more retail names are gaining ground this morning despite tepid quarterly results. Kohl's barely met expectations in its fourth quarter and its initial FY14 EPS guidance missed expectations. Best Buy topped earnings expectations, reversing its big year-ago loss, and also boosted its projected corporate savings efforts. Sears Holdings continues to bleed, with huge quarterly losses and rapidly declining revenue. Comps were down more than 6%. Nevertheless, shares of all three are in the black, with SHLD and BBY both up 6% a piece and KSS up 1.5%.

- JC Penny is in a league of its own, with shares of JCP up nearly 23% in the early going, building on post-market strength from yesterday after the close. The firm is stemming its quarterly losses and managed to report its first positive sales comp since the second quarter of 2011. Gross margins expanded to 28.4% from 2.8% y/y.

- For-profit education name Career Education is up nearly 16% this morning. The firm cut its quarterly losses in half on a y/y basis, topping expectations. However total and new enrollment continued to fall about 16% on a annualized basis. Revenue declined nearly 20% y/y. Note that yesterday, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) filed suit against ITT Educational Services, alleging predatory lending practices. Shares of ESI fell 7% yesterday and are down another 7% this morning.

***Looking Ahead***
- 13:30 (EU) ECB's Draghi speaks in Frankfurt
- 15:15 (US) Fed members Lockhart and George speak on Banking Outlook in Atlanta
- 18:30 (JP) Japan Jan Jobless Rate: No est v 3.7% prior
- 18:30 (JP) Japan Jan National CPI Y/Y: No est v 1.6% prior; CPI Ex Fresh Food Y/Y: No est v 1.3% prior; CPI Ex Food, Energy Y/Y: No est v 0.7% prior
- 18:30 (JP) Japan Jan Preliminary Industrial Production M/M: no est v 0.9% prior; Y/Y: No et v 7.1% prior

***Economic Data***
- (BR) Brazil Feb FGV Inflation IGPM M/M: 0.4% v 0.3%e; Y/Y: 5.8% v 5.7%e
- (IL) Israel Jan Unemployment Rate: 5.9% v 5.9% prior
- (BR) Brazil Q4 GDP Q/Q: 0.7% v -0.3%e; Y/Y: 1.9% v 2.2%e
- (DE) Germany Feb Preliminary CPI M/M: 0.5% v 0.6%e; Y/Y: 1.2% v 1.3%e
- (DE) Germany Feb Preliminary CPI EU Harmonized M/M: 0.5% v 0.7%e; Y/Y: 1.0% v 1.1%e
- (CA) Canada Q4 Current Account Balance: -$16.0B v -$15.5B prior
- (US) Jan Durable Goods Orders: -1.0% v -1.7%e; Durables Ex Transportation: 1.1% v -0.3%e; Capital Goods Orders Non-defense Ex-Aircraft: +1.7% v -0.2%e; Capital Goods Shipments Non-defense Ex-Aircraft: -0.8% v -1.0%e; Durables Ex-Defense: -1.8% v -3.7% prior
- (US) Initial Jobless Claims: 348K v 335Ke; Continuing Claims: 2.964K v 2985Me
- (BR) Brazil Jan Total Outstanding Loans (BRL): 2.717T v 2.715T prior
- (US) Weekly EIA Natural Gas Inventories: -95 bcf v -102 bcf to -108 bcf expected
- (US) Feb Kansas City Fed Manufacturing Activity: +4 v 2e