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Groupon CEO Is Ousted, Stocks Falter at the Close as Sequester Vote Fails

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Today's financial recap and tomorrow's financial outlook.

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Today was notably quieter than the prior two days with bullish action meandering back near the prior 52-week highs. The economic data in the morning was better and brought the 4Q GDP reading back into positive territory. 4Q annualized GDP rose to 0.1%, up from the prior estimate of -0.1%, largely due to the uptick in exports during December. The average economist estimate expected a rise to 0.5%. On the manufacturing front, the Chicago PMI rose to 56.8 in February from last month's 55.6, a good bit ahead of the 54.0 consensus. Internally, the new orders subindex showed a nominal increase while the employment subindex showed a large tick down.

Overnight, Japanese industrial production and housing starts declined, but the Japanese Nikkei rallied 2.71% on the day due to the finalized nomination of the new Bank of Japan governor.

In the closing minutes of the trading day, the sequester bill appeared as if it would not gain enough votes in the Senate, and the market plunged on a large spike in volume. This left most of the major indices in the negative and jostled a number of stocks. Regardless, the S&P 500 closed the month of February up 1.11%.

After the close, Groupon (GRPN) fired its CEO Andrew Mason for letting the company fall into such a deep decline. The company nominated two interim CEOs while it seeks a

Tomorrow's Financial Outlook

Tomorrow is the last day of the economic data spree we've seen this week. In the morning, January personal income and spending data will be released. The income data is expected to have declined sharply in January as the personal dividend erection that culminated in December gets taken from the market. The personal spending data is of course most interesting because it would reflect the first month of increased taxes due to the payroll tax cut rolling off. Also on the schedule is the second estimate of the University of Michigan consumer confidence index, which is expected to remain unchanged at 76.3. Lastly, the ISM Manufacturing Index is expected to decline marginally to 52.5 from 53.1.

Globally, China will release two manufacturing indexes in the morning: the HSBC flash index and its own manufacturing index for February. Both are expected to decline modestly. In Europe, the eurozone will release the second estimate of its February manufacturing PMI, and the UK will also release its manufacturing PMI.

The sole notable earnings report tomorrow comes from Vanguard Natural Resources (VNR).

Twitter: @Minyanville

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