Markets Mixed, Closing News 3/21/12

Markets finished the day mixed and are not reflective of Goldman Sachs’ recommendation that this is “once in a lifetime opportunity to buy stocks”, after sales of previously owned homes unexpectedly fell in February.

Federal Reserve Chairman, Ben Bernanke testifying before Congress, said market conditions have improved, as was evident in the health of US banks from the results of the recent stress test.  The US banking system has limited exposure to Euro Zone debt.  European banking still needs strengthening and remains a difficult situation.  The Greek economy remains in deep recession.  Bernanke added that leaders in the Euro Zone must increase economic growth and competitiveness in the EU.

Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, also testifying before Congress, said the Federal Housing Finance Authority (“FHFA”) is evaluating the Treasury’s proposal for mortgage principal write downs, but the does not have the authority to compel the FHFA to take action.  However, there is a strong economic case for a mortgage pricing reduction.

Existing home sales unexpectedly fell in February, as the real estate market continues to bump along the bottom.  According to the National Association of Realtors, purchases dropped 0.9% to a 4.59 million annual rate from a revised 4.63 million pace in January.

Market Indices/Statistics:

  • Dow closed down 45.57 pts/-0.35% to 13,124.62

  • S&P closed down 2.63 pts/-0.19% to 1,402.89

  • Nasdaq closed up 1.17 pts/+0.04% to 3,075.32

  • 8 of the 30 Dow stocks closed higher

  • 7 of the 10 S&P 500 sectors closed up

  • Energy was the worst performing sector

  • The VIX was down 0.58 to 15.00

  • Oil is up $0.98 to $107.05

  • Nat Gas is up $0.010 to $2.442

  • Gold is up $4.80 to $1,651.60

  • Euro vs. Dollar is down $0.0022 to $1.3208

  • Dollar vs. Yen is up $0.2315 to $83.915

Companies in the News:

Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) announced it will combine its printer and personal computer units as part of an organizational realignment to improve performance and drive growth across the company. HP closed at $23.46, down $0.52.

Green Mountain Coffee Roasters (GMCR) shares rose more 7% after the company announced plans to expand its partnership with Starbucks.  Green Mountain closed at $55.79, up $5.16.

LinkedIn was raised to buy from neutral at Goldman Sachs citing growth in the core hiring solutions and marketing services businesses is likely to be higher than market expectations.  Linkedin closed at $97.78, up $5.94.


General Mills (GIS) reported Q3 EPS 55c, vs. Est 56c and Q3 revenue $4.12B, vs. Est $4.07B.  The company also reaffirmed FY12 adjusted EPS view $2.53-$2.55.  General Mills closed at $38.58, down $0.18.

Oracle (ORCL) reported better-than-expected earnings.  The company reported Q3 EPS 62c, vs. Est  56c and revenue $9.1B, vs. Est $$9.02B.  Oracle closed at $29.41, up $0.75.

Coming Thursday:

Economic Reports:   Jobless Claims at 8:30 a.m., FHFA House Price Index and Leading Indicators at 10:00 a.m.



Paras Madho

NYSE Euronext

Market Watch & Corporate Aciotns

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