Market Happenings for Thursday, March 01, 2012

Pre-market, futures are up today. Gainers this morning include GPS, PAYX, KR, CCL and MU while losers include ZION, WAG, JDSU, CME and NFLX. Light crude is up +0.41% at 107.51 and gold is down -0.08% at 1,710.00.

The Market

Investors will be listening today to Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke’s second day on Capitol Hill, as he gives his semi-annual report on the economy to the Senate. Yesterday, Bernanke did not provide hope that the Fed will continue to offer monetary support to the market, sending U.S. stocks modestly lower.

Rising gas prices continued Thursday, as gas prices climbed for the 23rd straight day to just below $3.74 a gallon. We’re $0.20 above that here in the pacific northwest.

Initial jobless claims for the week ended Feb. 25 fell 2,000 to 351,000 . This was below expectations.

Shares of Wal-Mart (WMT) rose, after the company raised its annual dividend 9% to $1.59 per share.

European stocks were higher in afternoon trading while Asian markets ended lower.

Earnings Reports

Earnings reports (confirmed releases): KR-Kroger (earnings consensus $0.49), KOS-Kosmos Energy Ltd. (0.11), FL-Foot Locker (0.51), DRC-Dresser-Rand Group (0.94), WRI-Weingarten Realty Investors (0.09), ASNA-Ascena Retail Group (0.67), ESL-Esterline Technologies (0.65), VNR-Vanguard Natural Resources LLC (0.53), DIN-DineEquity (0.87), PRIM-Primoris Services (0.22), SPPI-Spectrum Pharmaceuticals (0.30), PETD-Petroleum Development (0.21), TPC-Tutor Perini (0.75), NAT-Nordic American Tankers Ltd. (-0.34).

Financial Calendar

0830 ET Weekly initial unemployment claims expected +4,000 to 355,000, previous unchanged at 351,000. Weekly continuing claims expected +23,000 to 3.415 million, previous 52,000 to 3.392 million.

0830 ET Jan personal spending expected +0.4%, Dec unchanged. Jan personal income expected +0.4%, Dec +0.5%. Jan PCE deflator expected +2.3% y/y, Dec +2.4% y/y. Jan PCE core deflator expected +0.2% m/m and +1.9% y/y, Dec +0.2% m/m and +1.8% y/y.

1000 ET Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke delivers semi-annual monetary policy report to the Senate Banking Committee.

1000 ET Jan construction spending expected +1.0%, Dec +1.5%.

1000 ET Feb ISM manufacturing index expected +0.4 to 54.5, Jan +1.0 to 54.1. Feb ISM prices paid sub-index expected +2.5 to 58.0, Jan +8.0 to 55.5.

1030 ET Feb ICSC chain store sales, Jan +4.8% y/y.

1030 ET Fed Governor Sarah Bloom Raskin speaks on the economic outlook at the Unitarian Church in Westport, CT.

1230 ET Atlanta Fed President Dennis Lockhart speaks to the Atlanta Fed’s Banking Outlook Conference on the economy and banking.

1700 ET Feb total vehicle sales expected 14.00 million, Jan 14.13 million. Feb domestic vehicle sales expected 11.0 million, Jan 11.05 million.

1630 ET Weekly money supply report and Fed balance sheet.

2330 ET San Francisco Fed President John Williams speaks at the CFA’s Economic Forecast Dinner in Honolulu, HI.

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