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Bulls in a Panic, S&P 500 Close to All-Time Highs


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

The Cyprus tug-of-war continued today. Between warnings over the biggest Cyprus bank, Cyprus Popular, being hours away from failing and this fact being refuted 15 minutes later by the country's central bank, it made for quite a lot of back and forth. This morning, the ECB restated that unless Cyprus accepted the EU bailout in order to keep its banks in solvency, the ECB would cut off all its emergency liquidity measures. Later, the Cyprus central bank proposed a bill that would raise the necessary funds to avert a banking collapse after the Russians weren't interested in ponying up any additional loans.

In the US, weekly jobless claims rose to 336,000 from last week's 334,000, slightly below the expectation of 340,000. The Philadelphia Fed regional manufacturing survey increased to a reading of 2.0, up from last month's -12.5 and better than the -3.0 expectation. Existing home sales increased to 4.98 million from 4.94 million in January, modestly below the expectation of 5 million. Global economic data showed that Japanese exports are continuing to decline as Japan recorded a trade deficit of $8 billion in February. The dollar fell $1.09 against the yen to $94.92 at the close of equity trading.

Hewlett-Packard (NASDAQ:HPQ) raised its quarterly dividend by 10% to 14.52 cents per share from 13.2 cents per share. The stock fell 2.75% today.

Natural gas inventories saw a draw of 62 billion cubic feet (or BCF), worse than the -69 BCF expected. Natural gas fell sharply as a result, but quickly recovered to its prior price before finishing the day down 3.2 cents to $3.953. Recently, natural gas prices have risen sharply as the result of seasonally cold weather in the US.

Tomorrow's Financial Outlook

Tomorrow will be on the quiet side in terms of economic releases. There will be no reports from the US and the only global release on the calendar will be the Ifo Institute's German business expectations. This index is expected to rise slightly to 105.0 from 104.6 last month.

Undoubtedly, most of the market action will be driven by Cyprus-related events as the country attempts to wrangle a bailout from the EU or Russia. While none of this has a very direct effect on the US, it will still drive some of the intraday action.

The lone earnings reports will come from Darden Restaurants (NYSE:DRI) and Tiffany (NYSE:TIF).

Twitter: @Minyanville

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