Global Tensions Keep US Markets as Flat as a Board
Today's financial recap and tomorrow's financial outlook.
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Markets traded sideways as investors continued to weigh the ramifications of Greece and Ukraine.
Eurozone finance ministers began meeting in Brussels today to discuss financial plans for Greece, though a clear resolution in the near-term remains doubtful.
Greek Prime Minister Tsipras won a confidence vote to cancel the existing bailout plan and pursue some type of bridge financing program, though Germany remains adamantly against such measures.
Greece's deadline to apply for a bailout extension is February 16, but in the meantime, the uncertainty is keeping the market from making a sustained move in either direction.
Fighting continued to escalate in Ukraine as world leaders met in Minks, Belarus to explore a ceasefire.
And President Obama sent a letter to Congress seeking authorization for a three-year military campaign against ISIS that would not include large-scale operations by US ground troops.
The S&P 500 closed at 2068.52, almost exactly flat on the day, keeping it at the upper end of the trading range that has engulfed it throughout 2015.
The NASDAQ Composite outperformed with a 0.3% gain courtesy of yet another new record high in Apple (AAPL).
Apple was boosted late in the day by a Carl Icahn report claiming the stock could be worth $216 per share.
Crude oil tumbled over 1% today in volatile trading on a bigger-than-expected inventories build. That sent energy stocks tumbling as the second worst-performing major sector behind utilities.
In earnings news, PepsiCo (PEP) rose 2.5% after reporting fourth-quarter profits that beat analysts' expectations.
And after the close, communications equipment giant Cisco Systems (CSCO) rose after beating analysts' forecasts and raising its dividend.
European stocks gave back some of yesterday's gains, with Spain's IBEX 35 falling 1.3%.
Tomorrow's Financial Outlook
The market should get moving early tomorrow as we may have a fresh set of headlines from the Eurogroup meeting on Greece as well as some important economic data.
In the US, we'll receive the January advance retail sales report as well as jobless claims at 8:30 a.m. ET. December Business Inventories will be released at 10:00 a.m. ET, followed by Natural Gas Inventories at 10:30.
We'll see plenty of international data, including Australia's January employment report, German CPI, the Bank of England's Inflation report, and euro-zone industrial production.
Ukraine could also serve as a catalyst depending upon what comes out of the peace talks in Minsk. Ukraine will also be discussed at tomorrow's EU summit in Brussels. It is possible that Russia could face more aggressive sanctions.
Though the market has been stuck in a trading range, volatility has clearly picked up in 2015 and by all indications, it will continue near-term based on the heavy news flow and unpredictable action.
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