METALS-Copper ekes out gain ahead of holiday weekend
Import figures, which used to be seen as a barometer for demand, have become muddied over the past year because up to 80
* Consumer confidence expected to dip in Sept
* Goldman expects 2015 sales growth for S&P 500 cos to shrink
* Futures up: Dow 36 pts, S&P 7.25 pts, Nasdaq 16.5 pts (Adds quote, updates prices)
By Abhiram Nandakumar and Sweta Singh
Sept 29 (Reuters) – U.S. stocks looked set to open higher on Tuesday following a sharp selloff the previous day, offering some hope that the market may be stabilizing.
Wall Street closed sharply lower on Monday as waning demand from China pressured raw material prices and a selloff in biotech stocks rattled investors.
Commodity prices edged up on Tuesday but held to their multi-year lows, sending global stocks to their lowest in more than two years.
“There is a bit of a relief rally and there appears to be an anaemic bounce after yesterday’s heavy selloff,” said Adam Sarhan, chief executive of Sarhan Capital in New York.
The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq composite index have closed down for the past five sessions. The Nasdaq Biotechnology Index and the S&P 500 health care index fell for the seventh straight day.
“I think a lot of traders are hoping that this is the end of the pullback,” said Gordon Charlop, a managing director at Rosenblatt Securities in New York.
“We’ll have to see if this represents a session where things start to turn around a little bit.”
Investors are keeping an eye on data scheduled to be released this week, culminating in nonfarm payrolls numbers on Friday.
“There are a lot of balls juggling at the moment. When you have uncertainty, investors become less confident and less likely to make a stand and commit in a big way,” Charlop said.
Data being released on Tuesday includes consumer confidence for September, which is expected to have fallen to 96.1 from 101.5 last month. The data is expected at 10:00 a.m. ET (1400 GMT).
With third-quarter earnings season looming, Goldman Sachs said on Tuesday it expects sales growth for S&P 500 companies to shrink this year for the first time in five years.
At 9:13 a.m. ET (1313 GMT), S&P 500 e-minis were up 7.25 points, or 0.39 percent, with 383,089 contracts traded, while Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 16.5 points, or 0.4 percent, on volume of 67,562 contracts. Dow e-minis were up 36 points, or 0.23 percent, with 59,604 contracts changing hands.
U.S. companies reporting quarterly earnings on Tuesday include Costco and Diamond Foods.
Yahoo shares rose 3.4 percent to $27.60 premarket on Tuesday, a day after the Internet company’s board decided to proceed with spinning off Alibaba stake.
Republic Airways was up 6 percent at $5.29 premarket after Deutsche Bank raised the stock to “buy” and the airline reached agreement on new contract with its pilots.
Shares of Phoenix Cos soared 92 percent to $25.07 after the company agreed to be acquired by Nassau Reinsurance.
(Reporting by Abhiram Nandakumar and Sweta Singh in Bengaluru; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty)
* Dow jumps 421 points, biggest pct gain since Dec. 2011
* S&P 500 posts biggest daily pct gain since Jan. 2013
* Tech leads the gain; Oracle up after results
* Indexes up: Dow 2.4 pct, S&P 2.4 pct, Nasdaq 2.2 pct (Updates close with further comments, VIX close)
By Caroline Valetkevitch
NEW YORK, Dec 18 (Reuters) – U.S. stocks surged on Thursday, extending a Federal Reserve-fueled rally from the previous session and giving the S&P 500 its best two-day advance in three years.
The rally follows the Fed’s commitment on Wednesday to take a “patient” approach toward raising interest rates while signaling it was on track to raise rates in 2015, which analysts said provided clarity and relief to investors over the policy outlook.
The Dow jumped 421 points and recorded the best one-day percentage gain since December 2011. The S&P 500 posted its biggest daily percentage gain since January 2013 and is up 4.5 percent for the last two sessions, making for its biggest two-day rise since November 2011.
“The anxiety over the Fed meeting has abated for now, with the Fed using that word ‘patient’,” said Quincy Krosby, market strategist at Prudential Financial, which is based in Newark, New Jersey. “You had the beginning of the proverbial Santa Claus rally.”
A 3-percent jump in the technology sector also helped Thursday’s advance. Oracle Corp climbed 10.2 percent to $45.35, a day after quarterly results topped Wall Street expectations. Shares of Apple rose 3 percent to $112.65.
Before the rally of the last two days, a selloff in oil and energy shares helped pushed the S&P500 down nearly 5 percent from its most recent record high on Dec. 5.
“What happened this week was a game-changer. That easy money trade came to the forefront, and it’s so powerful it wipes out all of these concerns that exist,” said Adam Sarhan, chief executive of Sarhan Capital in New York.
The Dow Jones industrial average rose 421.28 points, or 2.43 percent, to 17,778.15, the S&P 500 gained 48.34 points, or 2.4 percent, to 2,061.23 and the Nasdaq Composite added 104.08 points, or 2.24 percent, to 4,748.40.
The S&P energy sector gained 2.1 percent even as U.S. crude extended its selloff since June, ending down 4.2 percent. The S&P energy sector is still down 11.2 percent for the year so far.
Investors may still be trying to recover from those losses.
“Some of those who were caught in the meat grinder of what happened with energy … may be wanting to make up for performance now,” Krosby said.
The CBOE Volatility Index dropped to 16.81 on Thursday from 19.44 on Wednesday, the second largest drop in December.
The upcoming quadruple-witch expiration of index futures and options on Friday also could have been behind the late-day trading rally, BGC Partners Inc equity derivatives strategist Jared Woodard said.
If options expire when the market is on the move, traders who are short out-of-the money options have to close or hedge their exposure, he said, which tends to exaggerate gains or losses.
Volume this week has been well above the month’s average. On Thursday, about 8.7 billion shares changed hands on U.S. exchanges compared with the 7.5 billion average this month, according to BATS Global Markets.
NYSE advancers outnumbered decliners 2,522 to 589, for a 4.28-to-1 ratio; on the Nasdaq, 2,093 issues rose and 655 fell, for a 3.20-to-1 ratio favoring advancers.
Among the day’s gainers, Rite Aid shares surged 11.9 percent to $6.78 after the drugstore chain’s quarterly results topped expectations and it boosted its 2015 outlook.
* Shutdown enters fourth day, investors watch debt ceiling
* Dow, S&P 500 on track for second straight week of losses
* Adobe Systems down; hackers stole source code, client data
* Futures up: Dow 6 pts, S&P 500 2.7 pts, Nasdaq 4.75 pts
By Ryan Vlastelica
NEW YORK, Oct 4 (Reuters) – U.S. stock index futures pointed to a slightly higher open on Friday, though the uncertain outcome of a partial U.S. government shutdown continued to worry investors.
The S&P 500 has fallen for nine of the past 11 sessions, with the losses driven by a budget stalemate in Congress that has closed the government since midnight Monday.
The shutdown, which is now in its fourth day, appeared likely to drag on for another week or more, with little sign of progress towards a solution. Investors are also watching the situation for how the upcoming debate over the debt ceiling might play out.
While a short-term closure was expected to have a modest economic impact, the effect is expected to become more pronounced the longer it lasts.
Dennis Lockhart, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, said the shutdown would hurt growth in the last quarter of this year, while the Bank of Japan warned that a prolonged budget standoff would have a severe global impact.
“We’re oversold, but is this a bounce with some muscle, or just a feeble move? This isn’t a sign of health; a resolution would give us a strong bounce,” said Adam Sarhan, chief executive of Sarhan Capital in New York. “Every day the shutdown continues, it reduces the chances of a strong fourth-quarter earningsseason.”
The debt ceiling issue is considered more severe, as it could result in a default on U.S. debt if no resolution is reached to increase it. On Thursday, the New York Times reported that House Speaker John Boehner told colleagues he would not let the United States default on its debt.
S&P 500 futures rose 2.7 points and were slightly above fair value, a formula that evaluates pricing by taking into account interest rates, dividends and time to expiration on the contract. Dow Jones industrial average futures added 6 points and Nasdaq 100 futures rose 4.75 points.
While shutdown concerns have pressured equities over the past two weeks, the S&P 500 index has frequently found support at its 50-day moving average of 1,679.84, though it closed slightly below that level on Thursday.
For the week, the Dow is down 1.7 percent and the S&P has slipped 0.8 percent for a second week of losses for both indexes, while the Nasdaq has shed 0.2 percent.
The CBOE Volatility Index, a measure of investor anxiety, jumped as high as 18.71 on Thursday, its highest since late June. The VIX had jumped 160 percent to 42.96 in the third quarter of 2011 as the S&P 500 index fell 14 percent, the biggest retreat since 2008.
Government economic data has been delayed because of the shutdown, and the September payroll report was not released as scheduled. About 180,000 jobs were expected to have been added in September, up from 169,000 added in the previous month.
“Not getting key economic data really disrupts a normal investment process. When you remove a key piece of data, it becomes very difficult to navigate an already difficult environment,” Sarhan said.
Adobe Systems Inc shares fell 2.1 percent to $49.79 in premarket trading. On Thursday, the company said hackers had stolen source code to some of its most popular software as well as the confidential information of millions of its customers.
Twitter Inc gave potential investors their first glance at its financials on Thursday when it publicly filed documents for an initial public offering. The information showed that revenue at the social networking company almost tripled in 2012, though it posted a loss in the first half of 2013.
Potbelly Corp said late Thursday its initial public offering of 7.5 million shares had priced at $14 each.
Union Pacific Corp gave a third-quarter earnings outlook late Thursday that was below expectations, as flooding in Colorado weighed on coal shipments.
* Obama to seek congressional authorization forSyria action
* Verizon falls in premarket, agrees to a deal with Vodafone
* Nokia ADRs soar in premarket on deal with Microsoft
* Futures up: Dow 105 pts, S&P 13 pts, Nasdaq 22.75 pts
By Ryan Vlastelica
NEW YORK, Sept 3 (Reuters) – U.S. stock index futures jumped on Tuesday after U.S. President Barack Obama opted to seek congressional authorization for military action against Syria, a move that was likely to delay any strike for at least several days.
Equities have recently been pressured by the prospect of a Western strike against Syria after chemical weapons were used to kill civilians. The geopolitical uncertainty contributed to steep losses in August, which marked the worst month for the S&P 500 since May 2012.
Congress returns from its summer recess on Sept. 9, and any vote to authorize a strike will come after that. While Obama has been pushing Congress to back his plan, passage is by no means certain, further easing concerns over an imminent strike.
“There was tremendous fear going into the weekend that the worst-case scenario, some kind of military action, would occur. Now the market is breathing a sigh of relief,” said Adam Sarhan, chief executive of Sarhan Capital in New York.
U.S. crude futures dipped 0.4 percent. Oil spiked 2.5 percent in August, with the increase largely driven by concerns that military action in the Middle East would impact crude supplies.
“It isn’t as though the threat has gone away, but the fall in oil prices is helping to alleviate pressure,” Sarhan said.
Verizon Communications agreed on Monday to pay $130 billion to buy Vodafone Group out of its U.S. wireless business, bringing an end to an often tense 14-year marriage.
Shares of Verizon, a Dow component, fell 4.8 percent to $45.10 in premarket trading while U.S. shares of Vodafone lost 1.5 percent to $31.87.
Also in deal news, Nokia Corp agreed to sell its handset business to Microsoft Corp for $7.2 billion, sending its U.S. shares up 42 percent to $5.54 before the bell. Microsoft fell 4 percent to $32.08.
S&P 500 futures rose 13 points and were above fair value, a formula that evaluates pricing by taking into account interest rates, dividends and time to expiration on the contract. Dow Jones industrial average futures added 105 points and Nasdaq 100 futures rose 22.75 points.
The U.S. stock market was closed on Monday for Labor Day and trading volume could continue its recent trend of being light with many traders away for the holiday.
In the S&P, investors will be watching the 100-day moving average at 1,639.42, which the index has been unable to close above since Aug. 26. Holding over that level would be a positive sign of near-term momentum.
While the uncertainty related to Syria has been the market’s primary driver in recent sessions, investors will also pay close attention to the latest economic data, which could provide some insight into when the U.S. Federal Reserve will begin to slow its monetary stimulus program.
The Institute for Supply Management’s August manufacturing sector data is due at 10 a.m. (1400 GMT) with analysts expecting the main index to fall to 54 from 55.4 last month. July construction spending is also scheduled for release at 10 a.m., and is seen rising 0.3 percent.
Shares of J.C. Penney Co rose 2.6 percent to $12.80 in premarket trading after Hayman Capital reported a 5.2 percent passive stake in the retailer.
CBS Corp on Monday reached an agreement with Time Warner Cable Inc to end a month-long blackout of its stations in New York, Los Angeles and Dallas. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
H&R Block is the only S&P 500 company scheduled to report quarterly results on Tuesday.
Wall Street stocks have been coming off an extended period of weakness, with all three major indexes falling more than 1 percent last week and notching steep losses in August.
* June payroll report comes in above forecasts
* Markets may be volatile with light post-holiday volume
* Investors watching situation in Egypt for oil impact
* Futures up: Dow 165 points, S&P 18.6 points, Nasdaq 29 points
By Ryan Vlastelica
NEW YORK, July 5 (Reuters) – U.S. stock index futures pointed to gains of more than 1 percent at the open on Friday as June payrolls data was much stronger than expected.
About 195,000 jobs were added in the month, above expectations for 165,000. There were also positive revisions to previous months, though the unemployment rate ticked up to 7.6 percent from 7.5 percent.
“Markets were braced for an upside surprise, and I think this exceeded even that optimism,” said Scott Brown, chief economist at Raymond James in St. Petersburg, Florida.
Analysts had been looking to the report for insight into when the Federal Reserve might begin to slow its bond-buying stimulus program, which it has said it would do if economic growth and employment data meet its targets.
Over the past few weeks, markets have sold off on bullish data on the theory that it would mean a quicker end to stimulus. However, recent comments from Fed officials have assuaged concerns that a slowing in the Fed’s $85 billion monthly bond buying was imminent.
“The initial reaction in the markets does look like good news is good news,” said Brown.
S&P 500 futures rose 18.6 points and were above fair value, a formula that evaluates pricing by taking into account interest rates, dividends and time to expiration on the contract. Dow Jones industrial average futures added 165 points and Nasdaq 100 futures rose 29 points.
Futures added to gains after the payroll report, but had been sharply higher throughout the pre-market session, taking a cue from overseas trading.
On Thursday, when U.S. markets were closed for the Fourth of July holiday, European shares jumped more than 2 percent after central banksin Britain and the euro zone signaled that they were holding steady with their stimulus.
“The payroll report is the most important data we’ve had in a month for what the Fed will do, but that Europe is keeping its easy money stance makes for a hugely bullish fundamental backdrop no matter what,” said Adam Sarhan, chief executive of Sarhan Capital in New York.
Trading volume could be light on Friday with many traders still away from the office after the July 4 holiday, and the low participation could lead to more volatile markets.
Cyclical shares, which are tied to the pace of economic growth, are likely to show the biggest reaction to the data. Bank of America and Citigroup Inc rose in premarket trading.
The S&P 500 is down 3.2 percent from its May 21 record closing high of 1,669.16. The benchmark index has been unable to close above its 50-day moving average since June 20, a level which is now at 1,624.68.
“If we get above the 50-day, that would probably result in even more gains as technical-based buying comes into the market,” Sarhan said.
U.S. crude futures rose 0.8 percent, hovering at 14-month highs. While the jobs report could give a clue on demand prospects for oil, investors are also watching unrest in Egypt, which could cause a further price spike on supply concerns.
Prices jumped early Friday after Egypt’s army said its troops were ‘on alert’ in the provinces of Suez and South Sinai.
In company news, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has filed a lawsuit accusing unnamed defendants of insider trading in Onyx Pharmaceuticals Inc call options before the drugmaker publicly rejected a takeover bid by larger rival Amgen Inc and put itself up for sale.
(Reuters) – Consumer prices rose in September as the cost of gasoline surged, posing a threat to consumers’ spending power although inflation pressures look unlikely to derail the Federal Reserve’s ultra-easy policy path.
A separate report on Tuesday showed U.S. factory output rose only modestly in September, a sign the cooling global economy is weighing on American manufacturers.
The Consumer Price Index increased 0.6 percent last month, in line with analysts’ expectations and matching August’s reading, data from the Labor Department showed.
Most of the increase in consumer prices was due to a sharp rise in gasoline prices, which jumped 7 percent in September after climbing 9 percent the prior month. Higher costs at the pump force many American consumers to cut back on other spending.
A measure of underlying inflation, however, was relatively muted. The core CPI, which excludes food and energy prices, increased just 0.1 percent for a third month in a row.
“This confirms that inflation remains in check,” said Adam Sarhan, chief executive of Sarhan Capital in New York.
In the 12 months to September overall consumer prices increased 2 percent, the fastest pace since April and up from 1.7 percent in August. Core prices also rose 2 percent in the year through September, up a tenth of a point from August’s reading.
Stocks were trading higher after the data as strong earnings from key companies soothed fears about the global economy, while yields on Treasury debt rose.
Crude oil and gasoline prices rose over the summer as the United States and its allies raised pressure on Iran over its nuclear program. They have increased sanctions aimed at Tehran’s oil industry, helping to keep world oil prices high.
On Tuesday, European Union governments imposed sanctions against major Iranian state companies in the oil and gas industry, and strengthened restrictions on the central bank.
While most economists don’t see inflation threatening the U.S. economy, some believe the Fed would tolerate prices rising faster than the central bank’s 2 percent target over the shorter term to allow faster economic growth as the country recovers from the 2007-09 recession.
Allowing this view to blossom, the Fed said in September it would keep interest rates low for a long time even after the economy strengthens.
“Core inflation was low and unthreatening (in September), but in truth neither matters to a Fed monetary policy committed to lowering unemployment,” said Joseph Trevisani, a market strategist at Worldwide Markets in Woodcliff Lake, New Jersey.
The Fed targets a separate measure of inflation calculated by the Commerce Department which tends to run cooler than the consumer price index. That measure, called the personal consumption expenditures index, rose 1.5 percent in the 12 months through August, according to a September 28 report.
In a separate report, the Fed said U.S. industrial production rose 0.4 percent in September, beating expectations. Manufacturing output rose by a more modest 0.2 percent, which was not enough to make up for the 0.9 percent fall a month earlier.
The European debt crisis has been weighing on the global economy, denting demand for goods produced by manufacturers from China to the United States.
“There are still a lot of global headwinds,” said Jonathan Basile, an economist at Credit Suisse in New York. (Additional reporting by Alister Bull in Washington and by Ryan Vlastelica and Richard Leong in New York; Editing by Andrea Ricci)
(Reuters) – The U.S. manufacturing sector expanded in September, shaking off three months of weakness as new orders and employment picked up, an industry report showed on Monday.
PETER JANKOVSKIS, CO-CHIEF INVESTMENT OFFICER AT OAKBROOK INVESTMENTS LLC IN LISLE, ILLINOIS
“Numerically that is a pretty small amount but in terms of looking at the number it’s the difference between seeing contraction and seeing growth. So psychologically that’s pretty important.”
DAVID SLOAN, ECONOMIST, 4CAST LTD, NEW YORK
“It seems like a reasonably good number. It is quite an encouraging breakdown because you had quite a bounce in new orders. Employment was also improved which was a little surprising. We have seen mixed regional surveys — it seems like the Chicago one was a bit of an aberration.
“It seems that on balance the evidence is getting slightly better although it has still gone from a minor contraction to small growth. I wouldn’t get overly excited about it but it is still slightly positive, suggesting things are getting a little better rather than a little worse.”
JOSEPH TREVISANI, CHIEF MARKET STRATEGIST, WORLDWIDE MARKETS, WOODCLIFF LAKE, NEW JERSEY
“We have a slightly better number, new orders in particular will help to allay some of the recent concern that manufacturing was leading the U.S. into recession. This will help support the euro as it relieves overall concern on the U.S. somewhat. But it won’t last because the world economy and the U.S. are still facing a drastic slowdown.”
CRAIG DISMUKE, CHIEF ECONOMIC STRATEGIST, VINING SPARKS, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
“This is surprisingly strong given the new orders we have seen in recent months. This is most likely going to be temporary. The manufacturing sector is not as bad as previously thought.”
ADAM SARHAN, CHIEF EXECUTIVE OF SARHAN CAPITAL IN NEW YORK
“Despite a recent spate of weaker-than-expected data from across the world, markets are looking forward. There is a lot of hope that the worst-case scenario is off the table not only for now, but for good. Long-term expectations for the economy are bright.
“The U.S. economy is growing at a slow pace, but it is still growing. The ISM number suggests that things are not that bad. We’re not quite at the point where things are good, but this indicates strongly that things are not so bad.”
STOCKS: U.S. stocks added to their earlier gains.
BONDS: U.S. Treasury debt prices erased their previous gains and turned negative.
FOREX: The dollar extended its gains versus the Japanese yen.
(Americas Economics and Markets Desk; +1-646 223-6300)
* US crude ends below $78 amid doubts about EU summit
* Copper down too, heads for worst quarter since Q3 2011
* Gold slips 1.6 pct on day on signs of no Europe stimulus
By Barani Krishnan
NEW YORK, June 28 (Reuters) – Oil prices fell by up to 3 percent on Thursday and copper and gold prices slumped too as traders and investors expect an ongoing summit of European leaders to do little to resolve the region’s debt crisis.
A sell off in Wall Street shares after a U.S. Supreme Court decision to uphold key elements of President Barack Obama’s healthcare reform law also pressured oil. The dollar’s strength against the euro added to the weight on commodities.
Corn, wheat and soybeans were among the markets relatively unscathed by the selling as investors and traders continued to pin hopes of a sharp drop in production of such crops from the heat wave searing the U.S. Midwest grain belt.
The Thomson Reuters-Jefferies CRB index, a global benchmark for commodities, fell 1.3 percent, pulled down by the slide in energy markets, including natural gas, and most metals.
Percentage-wise, it was the sharpest drop in a week for the 19-commodity CRB, coming after four straight sessions of gains for the index that had indicated to some that commodities may have bottomed out after a recent round of aggressive selling.
U.S. crude oil, which makes up nearly a quarter of the CRB’s weighting, fell its most in a week, settling down $2.52 at $77.69 a barrel.
In London, the benchmark Brent crude oil fell more than $2 to a session low of $90.88.
Traders blamed the drop in oil prices largely on pessimism that the European Union summit in Brussels would find a cure to the festering debt problems of Spain and Italy, let alone the rest of Europe.
“Nobody in the world has a solution to Europe, and if they did, they would have stepped forward by now,” said Adam Sarhan, chief executive at Sarhan Capital, a New York-based financial advisory that regularly comments on commodity markets.
“Until we find a unified solution to this … a solution that can be implemented across the board, we’re going to see a continued threat to the global economy,” Sarhan said.
Copper fell for the first time in four days as EU leaders opened their two-day summit divided as ever on how to solve the crisis, with Germany showing little willingness to back other countries’ debts as finance officials work on short-term ways to stabilize Spanish and Italian borrowing costs.
The London Metal Exchange’s benchmark three month copper fell $20 to end at $7,385 a tonne, surrendering an earlier rally in Asian trade to $7,449.50.
In New York, the most-active U.S. copper futures contract, September, shed 2.50 cents to settle at $3.3315 per lb.
Copper is on track for its worst quarterly performance since the third quarter of 2011, down nearly 13 percent in the past three months.
Gold fell as the stronger dollar weighed on the precious metal. Investors in bullion were also frustrated by the unlikeliness that the EU summit would produce additional stimulus for Europe that will boost inflation and gold prices.
The spot price of gold, which tracks trades in bullion , was down 1.6 percent at $1,549.30 an ounce by 1:23 p.m. EDT (1723 GMT), having earlier hit a four-week low at $1,547.39.
U.S. gold futures for August delivery were down $28.50 at $1,549.90, with trading volume sharply below the 30-day average, preliminary Reuters data showed. (Editing by David Gregorio and Bob Burgdorfer)