Today was another day that saw some minor weakness in the morning only to have buyers show up in the afternoon to finish the day flat to slightly higher. In the morning, US durable goods orders showed a 4.6% increase month-to-month in December, better than the 2.0% economist estimate. The large move was due to a substantial increase in aircraft orders, while the rest of the report showed minor improvement.
The pending home sales index was released later in the morning, showing a large decline in December from November. The average economist estimate forecast no change month-to-month, but the index of home sales saw a decline of 4.3% and the annual rate slowing to 4.9% from 8.9%. The slowdown was not centralized to the Northeast, so any ancillary effects from Hurricane Sandy can be dismissed. Lastly, the regional manufacturing survey from the Dallas Fed ticked up to 5.5 in January, up from the lower revised 2.5 in December. Economists were expecting a reading of 4.0. The gain was led by a pickup in new orders, but the employment sub index declined.
The FTC announced today that it was taking direct seller Fortune Hi-Tech Marketing into receivership after allegations of an illegal pyramid scheme have manifested over the past six months. Because other direct sellers like Herbalife
(HLF) and Nu Skin
(NUS) have similar business models, both of these stocks saw losses of more than 6% in today's trading.
(CAT) reported earnings for the full year 2012 and released its forecast for 2013. For the current quarter, Caterpillar missed EPS at $1.46 after one-time items versus $1.70 estimates; revenues were relatively inline at $16.08 billion versus $16.06 billion estimates. Forward guidance was also on the negative side; the company forecast 2013 EPS of $8.00 versus $8.54 estimates and revenues of $64 billion versus $65.22 billion estimates. Nonetheless, the stock was up 2% in today's trading.
Tomorrow's Financial Outlook
Tomorrow morning, the S&P will release its joint home price index with Case-Shiller with economists forecasting a 0.70% monthly gain in November, up from 0.66% the prior month. Later in the morning, the Conference Board will release its Consumer Confidence Index for January, which is expected to continue to tick down to 64.0 this month from 65.1 in December. It's worth noting that the Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index has shown three straight weeks of declines, so it is more likely that Conference Board's index will miss to the downside.
Globally, the GfK Institute will release its forward consumer confidence index for Germany in February, which is expected to tick up slightly to 5.7 from 5.6.
On the earnings front, Corning
(PFE), DR Horton
(DHI), AK Steel
(BRCM), US Steel
(X), and JetBlue
(JBLU) are all set to report tomorrow.
No positions in stocks mentioned.
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