Market Happenings for Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Let’s celebrate leap day with a push higher. Pre-market, futures are up after the European Central Bank said it well lend €529.5 billion ($721.4 billion) to European banks to hopefully prevent a credit crunch. Gainers this morning include XRX, MU, WDC, KLAC and WYNN while losers include NEE, FSLR, GPS, PCS and MRO.

The Market

Trade might be choppy today, it being the last day of the month.

Globally speaking, stocks are generally higher this morning.

European stocks were mixed in afternoon trading and Asian markets also ended mixed.

Investors (like me) will keep a close eye on oil and rising gas prices. Today, gas prices rose for the 22nd straight day. Gas prices were up +8% in February.

According to the government, the U.S. economy grew at an annual rate of 3% during the fourth quarter, up from its initial estimate of 2.8%.

The dollar was up against the euro, but fell versus the Japanese yen and British pound.

Oil for April delivery was up 53 cents to $107.08 a barrel.

Gold futures for April delivery was down $1.20 to $1,787.20 an ounce.

The price on the benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury was up slightly, with the yield around 1.95%.

Earnings Reports

Earnings reports (confirmed releases): COST-Costco Wholesale (earnings consensus $0.87), EIX-Edison International (0.46), SPLS-Staples (0.41), JOY-Joy Global (1.36), CNP-CenterPoint Energy (0.19), PETM-PetSmart (0.90), MDR-McDermott International (0.19), BWC-Babcock & Wilcox (0.41), EVEP-EV Energy Partner LP (0.58), BID-Sotheby’s (1.25), TIE-Titanium Metals (0.16), CRI-Carter’s (0.44), AH-Accretive Health (0.16), GEF-Greif (0.59), MDVN-Medivation (-0.30).

Financial Calendar

0700 ET Weekly MBA mortgage applications, previous -4.5% with purchase mortgage sub-index -2.9% and refinancing sub-index -4.8%
0830 ET Revised Q4 U.S. GDP expected +2.8% annualized, previous +2.8% annualized. Q4 personal consumption, previous +2.0%. Q4 GDP price index, previous +0.4%. Q4 core PCE, previous +1.1% q/q
0930 ET Dallas Fed President Richard Fisher speaks at the Mexican Stock Exchange on the U.S. economy
0945 ET Feb Chicago PMI expected +0.8 to 61.0, Jan -2.0 to 60.2
1000 ET Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke delivers semi-annual monetary policy report to the House Financial Services Committee
1025 ET Dallas Fed President Richard Fisher speaks on fiscal reforms at an event in Mexico City
1300 ET Philadelphia Fed President Charles Plosser speaks to economists at the Cornell Club in New York
1400 ET Fed’s Beige Book.

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