Barchart.com Morning Call for Wednesday, March 14, 2012
• Global stocks this morning are mostly higher with the Euro Stoxx 50 up +0.83% and Jun S&Ps up +2.20 points. The dollar index rose to a 1-3/4 month high, the 10-year T-note yield climbed to a 4-1/4 month high and most commodities retreated with gold falling to a 1-1/2 month low after the Fed bolstered confidence in the U.S. banking system and raised its economic assessment. Late yesterday after the markets closed, the Fed released its stress tests that said 15 of the nation's 19 largest banks could maintain adequate capital levels even in a recession. This helped lift European banking shares with Barclays Plc and Credit Suisse Group Ag up more than 3.5%. Another boost to European shares was the action by Fitch Ratings to raise Greece's credit rating 4 levels to B- from restricted default with a stable outlook on optimism that a debt swap will reduce the risk that it reneges on its debt obligations. A slight negative for stocks was the Jan Euro-Zone industrial production which rose +0.2% m/m and fell -1.2% y/y, weaker than expectations of +0.6% m/m and -0.8% y/y.
• Asian stocks today closed mostly higher with Japan up +1.53%, China -2.83%, Australia +0.93%, South Korea +1.11%, India +0.59%. Asian stocks rose after U.S. retail sales jumped and the Fed raised its economic assessment, which boosted the earnings prospects of exporters. Japan's Nikkei 225 Stock Index climbed to a 7-1/2 month high as exporters rallied when the yen tumbled to a fresh 11-month low against the dollar. China's Shanghai Stock Index bucked the trend and closed lower as property developers plunged after Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao said home prices are still too high and that loosening property controls risks "chaos in China's housing sector." The Feb India wholesale-price index climbed 6.95% y/y, its first increase in 5 months and stronger than expectations of a +6.7% y/y gain, which dampens expectations of a rate cut by the RBI at its policy meeting on Thursday.
Overnight U.S. Stock News
• June S&Ps this morning are trading up +2.20 points. The U.S. stock market Tuesday moved higher right from the opening and continued higher throughout the day after German investor confidence rose more than forecast and after Feb U.S. retail sales grew at the fastest pace in 5 months: Dow Jones +1.68%, S&P 500 +1.81%, Nasdaq Composite +1.88%. The S&P 500 posted a 3-3/4 year high, the Dow rose to a 4-year high and the Nasdaq climbed to an 11-year high. Bullish factors Tuesday included (1) carry-over support from a rally in European stocks after the Mar German ZEW economic sentiment rose more than expected to a 21-month high, (2) increased optimism in the U.S. economic outlook after the larger-than-expected increase in Feb U.S. retail sales along with an upward revision to Jan (Feb +1.1% and +0.9% less autos versus expectations of +1.1% and +0.7% less autos and Jan revised up to +0.6% and +1.1% less autos from the originally reported +0.4% and +0.7% less autos), and (3) the action by the Fed to raise their assessment of the economy in its post-FOMC statement that said "labor market conditions have improved further; the unemployment rate has declined notably in recent months but remains elevated," and that "strains in global financial markets have eased, though they continue to pose significant downside risks to the economic outlook."
• Bearish factors Tuesday included (1) ongoing European sovereign-debt concerns after European Commissioner Barroso said the situation in Europe "remains fragile as we are not yet out of the crisis," and (2) insider selling of stocks after data from TrimTabs Investment Research showed U.S. companies and their executives are selling stocks at 2.2 times the pace of buying, the most in over 2 years, as about $15.3 billion of shares have been sold by companies and insiders this month compared with $7.1 billion of purchases.
• Citigroup (C) fell 2.7% in pre-market trading after it failed to meet some standards of the Fed's stress tests and said it will submit a revised capital plan to the Fed later this year.