US equities ended the day up slightly after early morning volatility. The S&P 500 (INDEXSP:.INX) gained as much as eight points in the opening minutes, only to fall a swift 14 points in the following hour as news headlines of further Russian aggression. Strong tech earnings from Texas Instruments (NASDAQ:TXN), Citrix (NASDAQ:CTXS), and Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) all helped the sector lead the broader market.
Copper futures extended their rally from yesterday, helped by strong earnings from miner Freeport-McMoRan (NYSE:FCX). Copper has now recovered 7.22% of its losses since China released its February trade data back in early March.
Durable goods orders rose 2.6% in March from the month prior, better than the 2.0% expected. The more closely watched figure, which removes large aircraft orders, rose a very strong 2.0% month-on-month, well ahead of the +0.6% expected. For the first quarter, durable goods shipments rose 1.38% quarter-on-quarter, which is faster than the 0.14% rate in the fourth quarter of 2013. Jobless claims rose to 329,000 in the past week from 305,000 in the week prior. The jump can most likely be attributed to the later Easter holiday.
Homebuilder DR Horton (NYSE:DHI) reported earnings this morning. Notably, the company indicated it saw increased credit availability for its customers, as well as opportunities in entry-level homes. In tech, Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) and Apple both reported enormously positive first-quarter earnings surprises on Wednesday after the close. Apple finished up 8.17%, while Facebook rose just -0.80%.
Tomorrow's Financial Outlook
The only US economic report scheduled for tomorrow is the University of Michigan/Reuters consumer confidence index. The final estimate for April is expected to rise slightly to 83.0 from the initial estimate of 82.6. Last month the index was at 80.0.
The most important economic report overnight for risk assets is Japan's March consumer price index. The report will strongly influence market participants' perception on the Bank of Japan's future plans for the country's monetary policy and, by extension, Japanese stocks and the yen. At the beginning of this month, the Japanese government announced a 3% sales tax increase, which brought forward a number of purchases of basic goods into March. This could have caused a short-term burst in prices during March as a result. Also scheduled to be reported are the UK's retail sales and new home loans.
There are only a small number of earnings reports scheduled for tomorrow, the last day of the week. Notable companies include Weyerhaeuser (NYSE:WY), State Street (NYSE:STT), Moody's (NYSE:MCO), AbbVie (NYSE:ABBV), Whirlpool (NYSE:WHR), and Ford (NYSE:F).
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