US markets attempted to bounce back today following stronger earnings from Citigroup
(NYSE:C) and a pickup in retail sales growth in March. Citigroup's EPS of $1.30 beat the highest estimate of $1.20, which pushed the stock up 4.62% in today's session. Retail sales in March rose 1.1% from the prior month, and February's monthly growth was revised up to +0.7% from the earlier estimate of +0.3%. Although the strong auto sales in the month were a significant driver in the monthly gains, the "core" groups of food and beverage, merchandise, and building materials all showed solid growth.
The S&P 500
(INDEXSP:.INX) rose as much as 18.50 points by noon today, which was a gain of 24.75 points from the overnight futures low. However, all of the rally was erased late in the afternoon as selling intensified in small-cap stocks, only to see a sharp bounce in the last 30 minutes of the session erase the earlier selling. The S&P 500 finished the day up 0.82%, led by energy and materials stocks. Biotech, which has been under particular pressure recently, failed to close the session in the green, though it did hold important technical support near 213.
European indices started the day lower as investors remained cautious over new developments between Russia and the West over Ukraine. The Italian FTSEMIB
(INDEXBIT:FTSEMIB) was the strongest performer, which has typically been the most closely correlated to investors' thoughts on potential easing from the ECB. Over the weekend, ECB President Mario Draghi said at a press conference in Washington that the increase in the EURUSD exchange rate posed a risk to price stability in the eurozone, which may require unconventional measures in response.
Tomorrow's Financial Outlook
Earnings should be the dominant force in tomorrow's trading as household names such as Coca-Cola
(NYSE:KO), Johnson & Johnson
(NYSE:JNJ), and the first large-cap tech companies such as Intel
(NASDAQ:INTC) and Yahoo
(NASDAQ:YHOO) report. There are two reports due out tomorrow that will be the first preliminary pieces of economic data for the month of April: New York's regional manufacturing index and the NAHB survey of real-estate brokers and builders. Investors will be looking for more signs that the pent-up demand from the winter months continues in April.
The other economic report of significance is March's consumer price index.
The Atlanta Fed will be holding a conference tomorrow in Stone Mountain, Georgia. Chairwoman Janet Yellen is scheduled to give the opening remarks via video at 8:45 a.m. EDT.
The UK will release its consumer and producer price index early tomorrow morning. Also, the German ZEW survey of market professionals' thoughts on the current economic situation and expectations will be reported.
No positions in stocks mentioned.
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