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Reports US

US stock market, economy and companies update (May 22, 2014)

May 22, 2014, Thursday, 15:48 GMT | 11:48 EST | 20:18 IST | 22:48 SGT
Contributed by Trade The News

- US equities are extending yesterday's modest uptrend and helping to pull European indices out of the ditch. Another good housing number and a strong May Markit PMI reading are giving traders reasons to buy. As of writing, the DJIA is up 0.12%, the S&P500 is up 0.27% and the Nasdaq is up 0.65%.

- April existing home sales rose modestly from March levels, for the first m/m gain this year, and more or less met expectations. The headline figure was the best reading in four months. The NAR chief economist cautioned that some growth was inevitable after sub-par housing activity in the first quarter, and said he believed improved inventory is expanding choices and sales should generally trend upward from this point. Major US homebuilders are up 2% or more a piece on the news.

- Preliminary European May manufacturing PMI data out of France and Germany missed expectations while Germany's services PMI numbers were strong even as France's was very disappointing. The data helped push European indices lower ahead of the US morning, however they picked up and closed at their highs as the pretty strong May Markit US manufacturing PMI data topped expectations. EUR/USD dipped below 1.3650 for one-month lows.

- Two days after declaring martial law the Thai Army seized full control of the country in a coup, the second time in a decade the army has overthrown an elected government. The move came just a day after talks between the 'red shirt' backers of the current government and their opponents failed, following months of sometimes violent street protests. The Thai constitution has been suspended by the Senate, independent organizations and the courts to remain in place. In other geopolitical news, there was more violence in eastern Ukraine today, however there are also initial signs that Russian troops are preparing to withdraw from the Ukraine border.

- Best Buy turned in a mixed first-quarter report, with earnings topping expectations but revenue falling a bit short. Comps declined 1.3%, pretty much in line with the -1.1% decline see a year ago. While overall sales declined 3.3% y/y, it beats the 29% decline seen just last quarter. The CFO warned that ongoing industry-wide sales declines in many consumer electronics categories would continue through the middle of the year. Shares were up 8% in the first minutes of trading, but have given up gains mid morning.

- Sears Holding continues to see a slow-motion crash, with the firm's first quarter losses deepening and sales sliding lower. Comps declined and Kmart comps declined even more. Interestingly, the company engaged BofA/Merrill Lynch to assist in exploring strategic alternatives for its 51% interest in Sears Canada Inc., including a potential sale of Sears Canada as a whole. SHLD is down about 2%.

- Shares of Canadian banks TD Bank and Royal Bank of Canada are up about 2% a piece this morning. Both firms saw very solid y/y profit gains, modestly exceeding analysts' expectations. TD warned that loan growth would likely slow, partly due to lower levels of mortgage refinancing.

***Looking Ahead***
- 13:00 (US) Treasury to sell $13B in 10-Year TIPS Reopening
- 15:00 (US) API Monthly Statistical Report
- 16:00 (US) Fed's Williams in San Francisco
- (PT) Portugal Year-to-Date Budget Report
- (AR) Argentina May Consumer Confidence Index: No est v 36.69 prior

***Economic Data***
- (IL) Israel Mar Manufacturing Production M/M: -5.0% v +2.7% prior
- (UK) May CBI Industrial Trends Total Orders: 0 v +3e; Selling Prices: 4 v 10e
- (IE) Ireland Apr PPI M/M: +0.5% v -0.6% prior; Y/Y: -2.7 v -3.1% prior
- (PT) Portugal Mar Current Account: -€187.1M v -€279.3M prior
- (TR) Turkey Central Bank (CBRT) cut Benchmark Repurchase Rate by 50bps to 9.50% (not expected), left Overnight Lending Rate and Overnight Borrowing Rate unchanged at 12.00% and 8.00%, respectively
- (RU) Russia Apr Unemployment Rate: 5.4% v 5.4%e
- (RU) Russia Apr Real Retail Sales M/M: -1.3% v 0.0%e; Y/Y: 2.6% v 3.7%e
- (BR) Brazil Apr Unemployment Rate: 4.9% v 5.2%e
- (US) Initial Jobless Claims: 326K v 310Ke; Continuing Claims: 2.653M v 2.68Me
- (US) Apr Chicago Fed National Activity Index: -0.32 v 0.00e
- (CA) Canada Mar Retail Sales M/M: -0.1% v +0.3%e; Retail Sales Ex Auto M/M: 0.1% v 0.3%e
- (MX) Mexico Apr Unemployment Rate NSA: 4.8% v 4.8%e; Unemployment Rate (Seasonally Adj): 4.9% v 4.9%e
- (ZA) South Africa Central Bank (SARB) left Interest Rates unchanged at 5.50%, as expected
- (US) May Preliminary Markit US Manufacturing PMI: 56.2 v 55.5e
- (US) Apr Existing Home Sales: 4.65M v 4.69Me
- (US) Apr Leading Index: 0.4% v 0.4%e
- (US) Weekly EIA Natural Gas Inventories: +106 bcf vs. +101-105 bcf expected range
- (US) May Kansas City Fed Manufacturing Activity: 10 v 7e