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Wild Day of Trading Leaves the S&P 500 Slightly Up


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

Early this morning, the mayor of Ukraine's second-largest city, Kharkiv, was shot by gunmen and remains in critical condition. Tensions continued to increase in Eastern Europe as news reports indicated that the US was preparing sanctions against 17 Russian companies and seven individuals (the sanctions will reportedly be implemented when President Obama returns from Asia tomorrow). Additionally, the EU announced it was imposing a travel ban and asset freeze on 15 individuals. The Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement that the new sanctions would not go unanswered.

From its high of the day, the S&P 500 (INDEXSP:.INX) traded in a 27-point range -- such volatility has become increasingly commonplace lately. The benchmark index closed up 0.32% after a wild day of trading. Shortly after the European markets closed, an ECB official stated that President Draghi had said in a meeting with German lawmakers that though quantitative easing is a policy option, it was very unlikely at this stage. A number of cloud-based tech companies such as Workday (NYSE:WDAY) experienced sharp intraday reversals. As a result, the tech Nasdaq 100 (INDEXNASDAQ:NDX) experienced a technical "hammer candle," which represents indecision.

Bank of America (NYSE:BAC) announced that it was suspending its dividend and stock buyback after it adjusted its first-quarter capital ratios, which now requires its capital plan to be resubmitted to the Federal Reserve.

Pending home sales contracts rose 3.4% month-on-month in March, the largest single month increase since August 2011. The sizable one-month jump is likely attributable to the dropoff in new home sales seen last week, when average home prices had their largest single month increase on record. Speculators likely attempted to anticipate the impending demand for homes once the extreme winter weather had passed by buying a large number of homes, thus driving up prices, but could not find buyers at those prices. As such, the "correct" housing activity in March is the average of the new and pending home sales reports.

Tomorrow's Financial Outlook

Tomorrow morning the S&P/Case-Shiller home price index from February will be released. Economists are expecting the first slowdown in the annual rate of increases in recent months, to +13.00% from 13.24% in the month prior. The Conference Board's consumer confidence index for April is also scheduled to be released. The index is expected to increase to 83.0 from 82.3 last month.

The UK will report its advance estimate of first-quarter GDP early tomorrow morning. The island nation is expected to grow 3.2% from a year ago, up from its 2.7% annual increase last quarter. The other reports of note are the German GfK consumer confidence index and preliminary consumer price index for April. The CPI data will preview Wednesday's broader eurozone inflation gauge, which will be key to determining next week's ECB policy action.

Forty-eight major US companies are scheduled to report earnings tomorrow. Notable reports include Bristol-Myers Squibb (NYSE:BMY), Archer Daniels Midland (NYSE:ADM), Merck (NYSE:MRK), HCA Holdings (NYSE:HCA), Sprint (NYSE:S), US Steel (NYSE:X), Panera Bread (NASDAQ:PNRA), eBay (NASDAQ:EBAY), Twitter (NYSE:TWTR), 3D Systems (NYSE:DDD), and Coach (NYSE:COH).

Twitter: @Minyanville

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No positions in stocks mentioned.

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