US equities got off to a strong start after options expiration last Friday. The S&P 500 (INDEXSP:.INX) burst to new all-time highs at the start of the day and continued higher in early trading. However, oddly, US stocks met selling pressure at the end of the session, retracing most of the day's intraday gains. Energy stocks were the top performers while telecom-sector stocks fared poorly.
Natural gas futures suffered a 11.93% drubbing today as increasing European gas supplies were viewed as a sufficient cushion for the potential pipeline shutdowns in the Ukraine. Natural gas futures remain in backwardation as supply issues continued to be a general concern for the market.
BlackBerry (NASDAQ:BBRY) announced today that it will supply technology and engineering services to Ford (NYSE:F) cars with its QNX system. The system would replace Microsoft's (NASDAQ:MSFT) system and should improve flexibility and speed in Ford's Sync system. BlackBerry shares traded up 7.66% in today's session.
Tomorrow's Financial Outlook
Tomorrow morning the S&P/Case Shiller home price index will be released for December 2013. The index is largely backward-looking because a fair amount of January home-sales data has already been released. Economists expect prices to rise 13.38% from a year ago. The other important data point is the Conference Board's February consumer confidence index. The index is expected to decline marginally to 80.0 from 80.7 in January. For reference, the preliminary estimate of the February University of Michigan/Reuters consumer confidence index rose marginally to 81.2 from 80.4 in the month prior.
Globally, the final estimate of Germany's fourth-quarter GDP will be released tomorrow morning in addition to Japan's small-business confidence index.
Twenty-nine major US companies are scheduled to report earnings tomorrow. Notable reports include Home Depot (NYSE:HD), Toll Brothers (NYSE:TOL), HollyFrontier (NYSE:HFC), T-Mobile (NASDAQ:TMUS), First Solar (NASDAQ:FSLR), Office Depot (NYSE:ODP), and Macy's (NYSE:M).
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