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Russia Rocks on Natural Gas Deal


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

The S&P 500 (INDEXSP:.INX) rallied 0.8% to 1,888.08 today as the Fed released the minutes from its late April meeting.

Federal Open Market Committee members indicated that the economic slowdown in the first quarter was largely transitory due to the weather, and saw no need to change their long-term growth forecasts.

The FOMC also discussed the steps that would need to be taken to normalize policy that would require the further testing of its reverse repo, excess reserves, and term deposit facilities. Lastly, committee members noted that low system volatility represented increased investor risk appetite.

The markets did not react to the release as stocks just continued their upward ascent off the morning low.

Russia's Gazprom (OTCMKTS:OGZPY) and China National Petroleum announced a 30-year natural gas supply deal reportedly worth $400 billion. Gazprom will supply 38 billion cubic meters of natural gas annually, accounting for a quarter of China's current annual consumption.

Russian stocks reacted very positively to the news, with the Market Vector Russia ETF Trust (NYSEARCA:RSX) rising 1.1% to $25.50.

Closely watched Internet security name FireEye (NASDAQ:FEYE) managed to rally 2.6% despite the expiration of its IPO lockup period today.

Cloud software name (NYSE:CRM) had a rough day; it dropped 5.10% to $50.19 despite beating analysts' first-quarter estimates and raising guidance, and a positive overall day for technology stocks. Salesforce was likely hit by a sell-the-news reaction as the stock had rallied a quick 10% off its late April low into earnings.

On the flip side, retailer Target (NYSE:TGT) missed Wall Street's earnings expectations and guided down, but the stock actually rallied 1.0%. Retail competitors including Walmart (NYSE:WMT) and Kohl's (NYSE:KSS) reported poor results last week, lowering expectations by a significant margin.

Tomorrow's Financial Outlook

Tomorrow morning, we will see last week's jobless claims numbers, April existing home sales numbers, and April Leading Economic Indicators.

The housing numbers should come into play in tomorrow's trading as market observers continue to look for signs of economic life following the winter slowdown.

On the earnings front, we'll see numbers from Best Buy (NYSE:BBY), Dollar Tree (NASDAQ:DLTR), Sears Holding (NASDAQ:SHLD), Royal Bank of Canada (NYSE:RBC), and Hewlett-Packard (NYSE:HPQ), among others.

The retail names should be the prime focus of traders since weakness in the sector has been a major theme this earnings season. However, given Target's bounce on bad news today, these names may be washed out.

Twitter: @Minyanville

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No positions in stocks mentioned.

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