Market Happenings for Thursday, February 16, 2012

Pre-market futures are down as investors continue to question whether Greece will secure a second bailout. Gainers this morning include NTAP, DISCA, DTV, VMC and APA while losers include SJM, NVDA, A, CBS and AMZN. Light crude is down -0.69% at 101.10 and gold is down -0.63% at 1,717.20.

The Market

Moody’s is at work again, putting 17 global banks and 114 European financial institutions on review for possible downgrades. Moody’s also noted that Swiss banks Credit Suisse (CS) and UBS (UBS), as well as New York-based Morgan Stanley (MS), could see their long-term ratings slashed by up to 3 notches. Citigroup (C), Goldman Sachs (GS), JPMorgan Chase (JPM), and Bank of America (JPM) were also put on watch.

In Greece, the Eurogroup meets again on Monday and indicated it would likely give its approval for the latest economic reform proposal, which Greece needs in order to secure bailout funds and avoid defaulting on a €14.5 billion bond redemption in March.

European stocks were lower in morning trade while Asian markets ended lower.

Initial unemployment claims for the week ended February 11 fell to 348,000, down 13,000 from the prior week. Economists were expecting 365,000 claims.

Home Depot (HD) reports earnings on 2/21/2012 before the market open.

Kraft Foods (KFT) reports earnings on 2/21/2012 after the market close.

Wal-Mart (WMT) reports earnings on 2/21/2012 before the market open.

Hewlett Packard (HPQ) reports earnings on 2/22/2012 after the market close.

Earnings Reports

Earnings reports (confirmed releases): BIDU-Baidu (earnings consensus $0.90), APA-Apache (2.87), GM-General Motors (0.41), DTV-DirecTV (0.91), EOG-EOG Resources (0.87), DUK-Duke Energy (0.22), DISCA-Discovery Communications (0.69), PCG-PG&E Corp. (0.85), AMAT-Applied Materials (0.12), WM-Waste Management (0.60), PGN-Progress Energy (0.53), VFC-VF Corp. (2.31), HCN-Health Care REIT (0.26), JWN-Nordstrom (1.10), DTE-DTE Energy (0.80), SJM-JM Smucker (1.41), TAP-Molson Coors Brewing (0.70), DVA-Davita (1.49).

Financial Calendar

0830 ET Weekly initial unemployment claims expected +7,000 to 365,000, previous-15,000 to 358,000. Weekly continuing claims expected -25,000 to 3.490 million, previous +64,000 to 3.515 million.

0830 ET Jan PPI expected +0.4% m/m and +4.1% y/y, Dec -0.1% m/m and +4.8% y/y, Jan PPI ex food & energy expected +0.2% m/m and +2.7% y/y, Dec +0.3% m/m and +3.0% y/y.

0830 ET Jan housing starts expected +2.7% to 675,000, Dec -4.1% to 657,000. Jan building permits expected +1.3% to 680,000, Dec -1.3% to 671,000.

0900 ET Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke speaks on community banking at the FDIC conference on the Future of Community Banking in Arlington, VA.

1000 ET Q4 mortgage delinquencies, Q3 +7.99%. Q4 mortgage foreclosures, Q3 +4.43%.

1000 ET Feb Philadelphia Fed manufacturing index expected +1.7 to 9.0, Jan +0.5 to 7.3.

1100 ET Treasury announces amount of 2-year T-notes (previous $35 billion), 5-year T-notes (previous $35 billion) and 7-year T-notes (previous $29 billion) to be auctioned Feb 21-23.

1300 ET Treasury auctions $9 billion 30-year TIPS.

1630 ET Weekly money supply report and Fed balance sheet.

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