Markets Mixed, Closing News 3/14/12

Markets were mixed today following yesterday’s late day run-up after JP Morgan released news of its capital plan in response to the Federal Reserve’s bank stress test.

All the focus today was on the Fed’s report which was released last night at 4:30.  All but four of the of the nation’s 19 biggest banks passed the measures required in the stress test.  Noted analyst, Dick Bove, believes that with the stress test behind them, bank stocks will likely increase by 25% in 2012.  The stress test put in focus the strength of the industry that has only been boosted by the European debt crisis as clients have sought the solidity of the US banks.

Gold saw its biggest drop since December on a stronger U.S. dollar boosted by yesterday’s upbeat assessment for U.S. economy

Light Sweet Crude was up today after Saudi Arabia pledged again to fill any supply gaps

Market Indices/Statistics:

  • Dow closed up 16.42 pts/+0.12% to 13,194.10

  • S&P closed down 1.67 pts/-0.12% to 1,394.28

  • Nasdaq closed up 0.85 pts/+0.03% to 3,040.73

  • 18 of the 30 Dow stocks closed higher

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

  • IT was the most positive sector (+0.63%);  Energy was the biggest laggard (-1.00%)

  • The VIX was up 0.51 to 15.31

  • Oil is down $1.11 to $106.13

  • Nat Gas is up $0.008 to $2.416

  • Gold is down $50.00 to $1,644.10

  • Euro vs. Dollar is down $0.0049 to $1.3027

  • Dollar vs. Yen is up $0.76 to $83.65

Companies in the News:

Disney (DIS, -$0.53/-1.2% to $43.48) was under pressure again today after the debut of its latest film, “John Carter,”  met with disappointing weekend sales of only $30 million.  The film cost $250 million to create.

Zions Bancorp (ZION, +$1.91/+9.8% to $21.58) was one of the biggest S&P movers today after announcing that its capital plan had been accepted by the Fed.  A few points of the plan include the company redeeming the entire $1.4 billion in preferred equity issued to the U.S. Treasury under TARP and maintaining its $0.01 per share quarterly dividend.

LSI Corp (LSI, +$0.60/+7.0% to $9.14) updated its Q1 outlook citing stronger than expected hard disk drive market recovery and ramp of flash-based products.  Revenues expectations were raised from $550-$590 million to $585-$615 million on non-GAAP EPS of $0.12-$0.16.  Analysts estimates were $571.7 million in revenue with EPS of $0.12.

Cliffs Natural Resources Inc. (CLF, +$4.59/+7.1% to $69.50) was another S&P mover today after the company reported that, as part of a new plan to drive shareholder return, they will be raising the quarterly dividend by 123% to $0.625.

Regions Financial Corp (RF, +$0.40/+6.9% to $6.17) announced its capital plan yesterday which included a $900 million common stock offering.  The stock was up today thanks to the offering being priced at a 2.3% premium over Tuesday’s closing price.  Regions also announced that part of the offering would be used to repurchase $3.5 billion in preferred stock that was issued to the U.S. Treasury under the TARP and CPP plans.


Guess Inc. (GES, -$0.02/-0.1% to $36.70) reported EPS of $1.05, in line with expectations; revenue was $775.8 million, slightly lower than the $778.5 million expected by analysts.  Guess Inc. shares were down on a weak first quarter profit in the face of worldwide economic challenges, particularly in Europe.   GES is trading down 11% in after-market hours.

Coming Thursday:

Economic Reports:   March Empire Manufacturing (17.5 expected), Feb. Producer Price Index (+0.5% expected), Jobless Claims (357k expected) at 8:30 a.m.; Jan. Total Net TIC Flows ($40.0 billion expected) at 9:00 a.m.; March Philadelphia Fed (12.0 expected)   Earnings:  Winnebago Indus Inc. (est: $0.02), Dole Food Co. Inc. (est: -$0.12)

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