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Colder Weather Forecasts Boost Natural Gas Prices

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

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The Japanese Nikkei (INDEXNIKKEI:NI225) rallied overnight, catching up to the gains seen in US markets on Friday and the weakness in the yen. The Nikkei rallied 2.3% and other Asian emerging markets also performed strongly. The Thai government was dissolved by the Prime Minister following continued demonstrations within the country.

US equities drifted higher today, digesting Friday's large gains. Notably, the small-cap Russell 2000 (INDEXRUSSELL:RUT) underperformed the large-cap S&P 500 (INDEXSP:.INX) by 0.35%. Tech, led by strong gains from social media stock Twitter (NYSE:TWTR), was the top-performing sector. Utilities was the worst-performing sector today.

Comments from lawmakers indicated that the Democratic and Republican parties were getting closer to a budget deal for next year. The proposed deal would reduce the planned $100 - $200 billion in automatic spending cuts to about $90 billion. However, the cuts would not reduce fiscal deficits in 2014 and 2015.

McDonalds (NYSE:MCD) announced same-store sales for the month of November this morning. Global sales rose 0.5% vs. estimates of a 0.6% increase. Most disappointing was the 0.8% decline in the US market vs. +0.3% estimates. McDonalds attributed the weakness to flat consumer traffic and increasing competition.

Natural gas rose strongly today. Prices for January 2014 delivery rose almost 3% in floor trading on forecasts for increasingly colder weather across the Midwest and Northeast. Up to six inches of snowfall could be seen tomorrow in New York according to weather forecasting services AccuWeather and the National Weather Service, with temperatures around 20 degrees Fahrenheit. The service is also predicting snow as far south as Virginia and Maryland.

Tomorrow's Financial Outlook

The one notable economic report due out tomorrow will be the government's September Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS). Economists look to this survey to get a true sense of the strength in the labor market. Another report is the October wholesale inventories, a key component in GDP. Economists are expecting a 0.3% rise in inventories from the prior month.

A vote will be held tomorrow morning on the implementation of the Volcker Rule. A ruling should be expected by 10:00 a.m. EST. Some of the major regulatory agencies scheduled to vote include the SEC, CFTC, FTC, and Federal Reserve.

The UK will release manufacturing and industrial production tomorrow morning. Additionally, China will release its November retail sales and industrial production. Lastly, ECB President Mario Draghi will give a speech in Rome at 7:00 a.m. EST.

Autozone (NYSE:AZO), Toll Brothers (NYSE:TOL), Burlington Stores (NYSE:BURL), H&R Block (NYSE:HRB), and Smith & Wesson (NASDAQ:SWHC) will report earnings tomorrow.

Twitter: @Minyanville

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No positions in stocks mentioned.

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