Market Happenings for Thursday, March 15, 2012

Pre-market, futures are up a bit. Gainers this morning include PCS, AMD, WY, BAC and AAPL while losers include JOY, DTE, LSI, COF and NSC. Light crude is up +0.14% at 105.58 and gold is down -0.15% at 1,640.50.

The Market

Bank stocks have been in the finder this week following the results of the Federal Reserve’s latest stress tests, which said a majority of the nation’s largest banks would be able to weather another deep recession. However the Fed said four institutions, which included Citigroup (C) and Metlife (MET), would likely need to raise more capital in the event of a severe financial shock or economic downturn.

Euro stocks are mixed in mid-day trading and Asian markets ended mixed.

Capital One Financial (COF) shares dropped 1.5% in pre-market trading after the company announced a $1.25 billion common stock offering yesterday to help finance its acquisition of HSBC’s (HBC) U.S. credit card business.

Today, the Labor Department said initial claims for state unemployment benefits dropped 14,000 to a seasonally adjusted 351,000, taking claims back to a four-year low reached in February.

The New York Federal Reserve said its Empire State general business conditions index rose to 20.21 from 19.53 in February. It’s highest level since June 2010.

Earnings Reports

Earnings reports (confirmed releases): ROST-Ross Stores (earnings consensus $0.85), AMCX-AMC Networks (0.60), SCHL-Scholastic (-0.70), PWRD-Perfect World Co. Ltd. (0.56), RNF-Rentech Nitrogen Partners LP (0.63), DOLE-Dole Food (-0.09), QRE-QR Energy LP (0.37), CATO-Cato Corp. (0.34), NAT-Nordic American Tankers Ltd. (-0.34), GEVA-Synageva BioPharma (-0.38), GTY-Getty Realty (0.48), MAPP-MAP Pharmaceuticals (-0.29).

Financial Calendar

0830 ET Weekly initial unemployment claims expected -5,000 to 357,000, previous +8,000 to 362,000. Weekly continuing claims expected -8,000 to 3.408 million, previous +10,000 to 3.416 million.

0830 ET Mar Empire manufacturing index expected -2.0 to 17.5, Feb +6.0 to 19.5.

0830 ET Feb PPI expected +0.5% m/m and +3.3% y/y, Jan +0.1% m/m and +4.1% y/y. Feb PPI ex food and energy expected +0.2% m/m and +2.9% y/y, Jan +0.4% m/m and +3.0% y/y.

0900 ET Jan net long-term TIC flows expected +$38.5 billion, Dec+$17.9 billion.

1000 ET Mar Philadelphia Fed manufacturing index expected +1.8 to 12.0, Feb +2.9 to 10.2.

1100 ET Treasury announces amount of 10-year TIPS to be auctioned Mar 22 (previous $15 billion).

1630 ET Weekly money supply report and Fed balance sheet.

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