Courtney Raio is a Managing Director for NYSE Euronext (NYSE: NYX).
Markets ended the day mixed as investors continued to feel the impact of waning hopes for domestic QE3 plans and on continued fears over the recovery in the Euro zone on the back of a disappointing bond auction in Spain yesterday. Investors tend to exit their positions in advance of a long weekend, especially as we anticipate the important government jobs results coming tomorrow – despite the markets being closed.
Jobless Claims for last week were down 6,000 to 357k, falling to the lowest level in nearly four years. We continue to see that companies are laying off fewer workers and there is a general strengthening of the labor market.
Did you know that Easter weekend is only the second holiday behind Halloween for chocolate indulgence? Happy Holiday Weekend!
Companies in the News:
Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE, -$1.58/-5.7% to $27.71) reportedly will move its primary options trading platform from Chicago to New Jersey in the fourth quarter. The move of the matching engine to the Equinix NY4 IBX data center in Secaucus, N.J., will make the exchange the last major stock or options exchange to locate in a data center in the New York metropolitan area. CBOE already houses its all-electronic C2 options exchange and its stock exchange at the facility in Secaucus.
Many retailers were in positive territory today after announcing better than expected same store sales, benefitting from an unseasonably warmer winter season than usual; however, they all closed slightly negative as sellers stepped in before the long weekend. Target (TGT, -$0.10/-0.2% to $57.72) announced a 7.3% gain in same store sales, above expectations of 5.7%; Macy's (M, -$0.03/-0.1% to $40.87) beat expectations of +4.8% coming in at +7.3%; Limited (LTD, -$0.44/-1.0% to $48.25) reported an 8% increase in same store sales, above expectations of 4.6%; and Gap (GPS, -$0.20/-1.0% to $26.45) reported an 8% increase in same store sales, better than the 4.6% estimate.
Bed Bath & Beyond (BBBY, +$5.55 to 8.4% to $71.85) reported Q4 EPS of $1.48 vs. expectations of $1.32; revenue was $2.73 billion, 9% higher than the $2.505 billion reported in the year ago period. Several analysts raised their price targets and ratings on the company.
Constellation Brands Inc. (STX, -$3.08/-12.5% to $21.61) reported Q4 EPS of $0.69, handily beating expectations of $0.39 per share. However, forecasts for the fiscal year disappointed wall street as the company plans on spending more to market new wines. Outlook for FYE 2013 are now $1.93-$2.03 vs. expectations of $2.23.
Economic Reports: Nonfarm Payrolls (205k expected), Unemployment Rate (unch at 8.3% expected) at 8:30 a.m.; Feb. Consumer Credit ($12.0 billion expected) at 3:00 p.m.