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Market Enters Holding Pattern Ahead of Super Tuesday


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

The S&P 500 digested recent gains today ahead of Tuesday's cornucopia of central bank, economics, and earnings news.

The index traded within a 7-point range today before finishing at 2109.66, down less than one point.

Economic data was on the weak side, with the Chicago Fed National Activity, Dallas Fed Manufacturing Activity, and  Existing Home Sales reports all coming in below expectations.

Apple (AAPL) had a very strong day, hitting a new all-time high at $132.02 before closing at $133 on the dot. Apple is now up 20.5% year-to-date.

Biotechnology stocks also impressed, with the SPDR S&P Biotech ETF (XBI) rising 0.8%.

Internet security stocks, which have exhibited strong momentum as of late, took a major hit today. JP Morgan downgraded sector leader Cyber-Ark Software (CYBR) to an Underweight rating, sending the stock down 17.0% to $58.42. Related names like Palo Alto Networks (PANW) and FireEye (FEYE) dropped in sympathy, and the PureFunds ISE Cyber Security ETF (HACK) fell 2.3%.

In the afternoon, crude oil saw a short-term spike on a Financial Times report suggesting that OPEC could hold an emergency meeting in reaction to weak crude oil prices. OPEC later came out and denied that an emergency meeting was on the table, and oil sold off back below $60.

Greece and Ukraine remained sources of uncertainty.

Greece was expected to deliver its list of proposed reforms to Eurogroup in order to secure a four-month extension to its bailout program, but the release was delayed from Monday to Tuesday.

And Ukraine said it could not pull weapons off the frontlines due to ongoing fighting with Russian separatists, even in the face of a recent ceasefire agreement.

However, Greek and Russian stocks were only down fractionally, while most European markets were up.

Tomorrow's Financial Outlook

Tuesday will be a very busy day, even aside from Greece.

Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen will testify before the Senate Banking Committee and traders will be watching closely for clues on the timing of interest rate hikes. Many market participants had been expecting a June rate increase, but in last week's minutes from the January meeting, the Fed sounded quite cautious.

In Europe, ECB President Mario Draghi will deliver a speech to the European Parliament, and will likely comment on Greece.

On the US data front, we'll receive S&P Case-Shiller Home Prices, the Markit US PMI, Consumer Confidence, and Richmond Fed Manufacturing numbers.

We'll even have some big earnings reports, with Comcast (CMCSA), Home Depot (HD), Macy's (M), and Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) reporting.

Twitter: @Minyanville

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No positions in stocks mentioned.

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