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Volatility Reigns Supreme as US Stocks Reverse And Finish Lower

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

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A major driver of the late day selling was a news report from German newspaper Merkur that the head of the German banking association is opposed to larger scale bond asset purchases by the ECB. Additionally, earlier in the day, KB Homes (KBH) reported earnings, but it was the conference call that shook markets the most. KB Homes' management said on the call that they see it unlikely they'll reach their 20% gross margin target in 2015, a sequential decline in home prices in the first quarter, and subsequently downgraded its EPS estimate for that quarter to break-even compared to analyst estimates of $0.17. They also noted that they had not seen any negative economic impacts from lower oil prices, but that being said, they had pulled out of a number of land contracts in Houston recently. The stock was down 16.6% today and the sector 2.4% as a whole.

Copper was down 4.55% in today's trading. This came even after imports for China in the month of December were a new record. Similarly, crude oil imports reached a new record of 7 million barrels per day in December, but crude oil futures fell for the seventh day this year.

S&P 500 (SPX) futures rose more than 15 points in the pre-market and that accelerated to a gain of 30 in the opening moments of the trading session. However, following the report from KB Home, the SPX began to deteriorate swiftly. The declines of greater than 1% in crude oil did not help matters, either. Ultimately, the S&P retraced all of its gains for the day and ended up trading down as much as 20 points by the early afternoon, before recovering some of its losses by the closing bell. Materials stocks were the worst performing sector today due to the drop in raw material prices like copper.

Tomorrow's Financial Outlook

The major event tomorrow is the European Court of Justice's decision regarding the legality of the ECB's OMT bond purchase program. The decision is due at 3:00am ET. Two years ago the German High Courts declined to make a judgement on the program. Market participants believe that if the program is voted down it would be extremely negative for the market, due to the movements by the ECB over the last eight months.

The significant economic data due out in the US tomorrow is December retail sales. Sales are expected to decline by 0.1% from the prior month, mostly because of the perceived pulling forward of holiday sales into November. Also scheduled to be released is the Fed's Beige Book and import price index for November.

JPMorgan (JPM) and Wells Fargo (WFC) will kick off earnings from the financial sector tomorrow morning.

Twitter: @Minyanville

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No positions in stocks mentioned.

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