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After Erratic Day, US Stocks Close Below Record High


End of Day Roundup 02/25: Today's financial recap and tomorrow's financial outlook.

Chinese stocks were under pressure for the second day in a row. The Chinese yuan had its worst loss in six years, declining 0.42% vs the US dollar, and marking the sixth straight day of weakness. Reportedly, the People's Bank of China was intervening in the country's foreign-exchange market to increase volatility, which would be the precursor to further liberalization in the yuan. The yuan traded weaker than the official fixing for the first time in two years, the prior occurrence coming during a period of capital outflows in the country.

Chinese real estate stocks also lost ground, capping a 9% drop over the last four sessions. Yesterday, China's largest lender announced that it was halting mezzanine financing to real estate companies, which accounts for about 2% of the country's real estate activity.

US stocks had a somewhat erratic session; they opened the day down, only to see the S&P 500 (INDEXSP:.INX) rally back above the prior day's close and previous record high of 1848.64. Ultimately, the benchmark index experienced weakness in the afternoon to close near the lows of the day. Materials and consumer discretionary stocks were the leaders for the day while financials and industrials lagged.

December 2013 S&P/Case Shiller home prices rose 0.76% month-over-month and 13.42% year-over-year for the 20-city composite. Both were ahead of economists estimates. Nationwide home prices rose 11.30% year-over-year. The Conference Board's February consumer confidence declined to 78.1 from 79.4 in the month prior, below the 80.0 that was expected.

Shares of Tesla Motors (NASDAQ:TSLA) rose 14.47% after Morgan Stanley raised its target price on the electric car maker to $320 from $153. Morgan Stanley expects Tesla to raise production capacity by a significant margin in the coming years, with the possibility of commercializing its battery-pack technology.

Tomorrow's Financial Outlook

The major economic report scheduled for tomorrow morning is January new home sales. Sales are expected to decline to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 400,000 from 414,000 in December. Given the housing data we have received for January to date, it is likely that new home sales will disappoint. The weekly MBA mortgage applications data is also scheduled for release.

Preliminary fourth-quarter UK GDP is scheduled for release in the early morning. The forward-looking March German GfK consumer confidence index is also scheduled for release.

Twenty-nine major US companies are scheduled to report earnings tomorrow. Notable reports include Target (NYSE:TGT), Lowe's (NYSE:LOW), Cablevision (NYSE:CVC), Barnes & Noble (NYSE:BKS), Abercrombie & Fitch (NYSE:ANF), JC Penney (NYSE:JCP), L Brands (NYSE:LB), Workday (NYSE:WDAY), and Dollar Tree (NASDAQ:DLTR).

Twitter: @Minyanville

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