Markets Higher, Closing News 2/3/12

Markets ended higher, with the Dow logging its first triple digit gain in a month thanks to a jobs report that far exceeded analysts’ expectations.

The economy created 243,000 new positions in January, the largest increase since April 2011, analysts had expected an increase of 150,000.  The big move drove the unemployment rate down to a 3-year low of 8.3%

The pace of growth in the services sector posted a surprising acceleration, rising to 56.8 in January, its highest level in almost a year, according to the Institute for Supply Management. Economists had expected the index to hold steady at 53.0

The Dow closed at a 3.5 year high today

Happy Super Bowl Sunday - I still think Monday should be a holiday.  A prediction (largely poached from those around me and favoring the Giants so as to keep the peace in NY!)...Giants 28 - Pats 25.

Market Indices/Statistics:

  • Dow closed up 156.82 pts/+1.23% to 12,862.23

  • S&P closed up 19.36 pts/+1.46% to 1,344.90

  • Nasdaq closed up 45.98 pts/+1.61% to 2,905.66

  • 28 of the 30 Dow stocks closed higher

  • All 10 S&P 500 sectors closed up

  • Financials was the most positive sector (+2.68%);  Consumer Staples were the least positive (+0.38%)

  • The VIX was down 0.88 to 17.10

  • Oil is up $1.43 to $97.79

  • Nat Gas is down $0.047 to $2.507

  • Gold is down $31.10 to $1,728.20

  • Euro vs. Dollar up $0.0003 to $1.3148

  • Dollar vs. Yen is up $0.02 at $76.55

Companies in the News:

Micron Tech Inc. shares were down on news that Steven Appleton, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer died in a plane crash; he was piloting an experimental plane and was the only person on board.  The stock was halted before the release ran and never resumed trading.

New York state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman accused JPMorgan Chase (JPM, +$0.73/+1.9% to $38.28) Bank of America (BAC, +$0.39/+5.2% to $7.84) and Wells Fargo (WFC, +$0.73/+2.4% to $30.63) of 'deceptive' and 'fraudulent' foreclosure filings. Shares of the financial giants were little fazed thanks to overall market strength and optimism on the economy.

Super Bowl winners:  several casual restaurant chains and ready-made food and beverage companies traded higher ahead of the game this Sunday…hope you’re doing something fun!   Anheuser-Busch Inbev (BUD, +$1.55/+2.5% to $64.56), Buffalo Wild Wings (BWLD, +$1.52/+2.2% to $70.30), Boston Beer (SAM, +$3.45/+3.4% to $105.66), Domino’s Pizza Inc. (DPZ, +$0.94/+2.9% to $33.87), Brinker Int’l (EAT, +$0.90/+3.4% to $27.56) were up near 3 percent each.

Urban Outfitters Inc. (URBN, +$0.69/+2.6% to $27.68) rose today boosted by analyst upgrades citing management changes.

Gilead Science Inc. (GILD, +$4.88/+9.9% to $54.69) rose a day after releasing earnings after several analyst firms raised their ratings and price targets on the company citing positive data on its experimental hepatitis C drug that analysts warned could outperform Idenix's competing drug candidate.


AON Corp. (AON, -$1.31/-2.7% to $48.06) reported Q4 adjusted EPS of $0.97 vs. expectations of $0.96; revenue rose 3% to $3.0 billion. Although meeting expectations, shares were under pressure due to concerns over margin pressures the company is facing as a result of its acquisition of Hewitt Associates.

Beam Inc (BEAM, +$1.32/+2.5% to $54.32) returned Q4 EPS of $0.69 vs. expectations of $0.67. Net sales rose to $637.5 million from $629.8 million a year earlier; earnings were boosted by strong sales of well known, established brands like Maker’s Mark and Skinnygirl.  The company is forecasting FYE earnings growth in the high singled digit range.

Clorox Co. (CLX, +$1.13/+1.6% to $69.86) announced Q2 adjusted EPS of $0.82 vs. expectations of $0.68; revenue was $1.22 billion vs. expectations of $1.20 billion.  Results were higher on the back of improved sales as consumers paid more for existing products and showed enthusiasm over new ones.  The company sees FY 2012 earnings per share $4.00 to $4.10 with sales growth of 2 to 4%.  Analyst expectations are for FYE 2012 earnings per share of $4.07 on revenues of $5.35 billion.

Tyson Foods Inc. (TSN, +$0.76/+4.1% to $19.38) reported net income of $156 million on EPS of $0.42 vs. expectations of $0.33 per share.  Sales rose 9.4% to $8.33 billion which was in line with analysts’ expectations.   The company stated that its results were attributable to price increases offsetting growing costs for corn feed.  Shares were up as the company said it expects beef margins to recover in the second half of the year. The company affirmed its 2012 forecast calling for sales to exceed $34 billion, helped by price increases related to tighter meat supplies and higher raw materials costs.

Estee Lauder Cos. (EL, -$1.37/-2.3% to $57.48) announced earnings were up 15% to $396.7 million or $1.00 per share vs. $343.9 million or $0.86 from the year ago period.  Revenue was up 10% to $2.74 from $2.49 billion.  Analysts had expected $1.01 on revenue of $2.74 billion.  However, shares were down on outlook.  The company said it expects to earn $0.28 to $0.32 cents per share excluding restructuring charges vs. analyst expectations of $0.41 cents per share; they cited sowing sales in Europe, Japan and Australia due to economic uncertainty and pressure on the financial markets. 

Coming Friday:

Economic Reports:  None  Earnings:  Humana Inc. (est: $1.20), Loews Corp. (est: $0.91), Nielsen Hldgs (est: $0.49), Sysco Corp. (est: $0.44), Anadarko Petroleum (est: $0.62), Pioneer Natural Resources Co. (est: $1.02), Yum! Brands Inc. (est: $0.74)