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US Markets Flat, China Booms on Economic Reform Plans


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

Markets were roughly flat today despite a rare batch of better-than-expected US economic data.

The S&P 500 and DJIA finished roughly flat after hitting new all-time highs of 2,133.02 and 18,351.36 respectively.

The NASDAQ fell 0.2%, as Apple (AAPL) gave up a small rally.

Carl Icahn appeared on CNBC to follow up on his report about Apple yesterday. Icahn believes Apple's ecosystem allows the company to dominate, and that the company should buy back more stock. The stock rallied in the afternoon, but drifted lower into the close.

Financials, particularly regional banks, outperformed today as US Treasury yields ticked higher.

The market-leading biotech sector finished slightly higher with the S&P Biotech ETF (XBI) gaining 0.2%. The NASDAQ Biotechnology Index ETF (IBB) rose 0.1%.

Oil prices fell again today on worries that supplies from the US and Saudia Arabia will increae, hurting energy stocks. The Energy Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLE) finished down 1.4%

Chatter that Intel (INTC) would be acquiring Altera (ALTR) surfaced again. However, the market didn't buy in and both stocks fell.
Today's pre-market major earnings announcers didn't fair too well.

Wal-Mart (WMT) took a big hit after reporting disappointing earnings. Shares closed down 4.4%

Dick'/s Sporting Goods (DKS) didn't fare well either, despite in-line earnings and a slightly revenue beat. The stock fell 5.1%

European stocks and bonds surged on word that the European Central Bank would be accelerate its asset purchase program in May and June. Germany's DAX gained 2.23%, while France's CAC finished up 2.09%. The 10-year bund fell 5.4 bps to 0.595%.

Asian markets finished higher. The Hong Kong Hang Seng Index finished up 0.4% and the Shanghai Composite soared 3.4% after the Chinese government unveiled plans for economic reform later in the year that will include further opening up economic markets. 

Japan's Nikkei gained 0.7% today, closing above 20,000.

Wednesday's Financial Outlook

In US economic news, the Fed's Evans will speak on the economy and monetary policy in Munich.

On the data front, we'll see MBA Mortgage Applications, DOE Cushing OK Crude Inventory, DOE US Crude Oil Inventories, DOE US Distillate Inventory, DOE US Gasoline Inventories, and Fed Minutes from April 28-29 FOMC Meeting

Overseas, we will receive Bank of England Minutes, Swiss ZEW Survey (Expectations), Japan Buying Foreign bonds and stocks, Australian Consumer Inflation Expectation, Markit/JMMA Japan Manufacturing PMI, HSBC China Manufacturing PMI, and New Zealand Credit Card Spending data.
In earnings, Hormel Foods (HRL), Lowe's (LOW), Staples (SPLS), and Target (TGT) report before the open. After the close, we'll be hearing from L Brands (LB), NetApp (NTAP), (CRM), and Williams-Sonoma (WSM).
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