Market Happenings For Thursday, December 19, 2013

Dow stocks at new 52 week highs include Disney (DIS), Goldman Sachs (GS), 3M (MMM), Visa (V) and Exxon Mobil (XOM). There are no Dow stock 52 week lows.

The Market

Premarket, the Dow was indicated to open down -24 points.

However, the Bull Market continues.

Wednesday, the Dow closed up +292.71 (+1.84%) at 16,167.97.

Year-to-date the Dow is up +23.38%.

The Federal Reserve announced yesterday a modest scaling back of its stimulus program. The program was launched in September 2012 and involved pumping $85 billion per month into the markets through bond purchases. Beginning in January, the Fed said it will scale the purchases back to $75 billion per month and promised to keep its key interest rate low even longer than was promised.

If you were watching Dow data yesterday at 2:01 EST, you would have seen the Dow move from negative territory to +160 in about six minutes.

Applications for U.S. unemployment benefits unexpectedly rose last week to an almost nine-month high. Jobless claims climbed by 10,000 to 379,000 in the period ended Dec. 14, the most since the end of March, Labor Department data showed this morningin Washington. The median forecast was for a decrease to 336,000.

JPMorgan Chase (JPM) was downgraded to ‘Neutral’ from ‘Buy’ at SunTrust.

Only six days till Christmas.

European stocks are higher and Asian stocks ended mostly higher.

The national average price of gasoline is down four-tenths of a cent to $3.212 per gallon.

Earnings Reports.

Nike (NKE) will report earnings today after the market close.

Earnings reports from Wednesday include:

FedEx Corporation (FDX) reported second quarter EPS of $1.57 on revenue of $11.40 billion, compared to last year’s EPS of $1.39 on revenue of $11.11 billion.

General Mills, Inc. (GIS) reported second quarter EPS of $0.83 on revenue of $4.88 billion, compared to last year’s EPS of $0.86 on revenue of $4.88 billion.

Lennar Corporation (LEN) reported fourth quarter EPS of $0.73 on revenue of $1.90 billion, compared to last year’s EPS of $0.56 on revenue of $1.35 billion.

Oracle Corporation (ORCL) reported second quarter EPS of $0.69 on revenue of $9.28 billion, compared to last year’s EPS of $0.64 on revenue of $9.11 billion.

Other stocks expected to report earnings today include:

Nike, Inc. (NKE) is expected to report second quarter EPS of $0.58 on revenue of $6.44 billion, compared to last year’s EPS of $0.57 on revenue of $5.96 billion.

Accenture plc. (ACN) is expected to report first quarter EPS of $1.09 on revenue of $7.25 billion, compared to last year’s EPS of $1.06 on revenue of $7.22 billion.

Darden Restaurants, Inc. (DRI) is expected to report second quarter EPS of $0.22 on revenue of $2.07 billion, compared to last year’s EPS of $0.26 on revenue of $1.96 billion.

Rite Aid Corporation (RAD) is expected to report third quarter EPS of $0.04 on revenue of $6.29 billion, compared to last year’s EPS of $0.07 on revenue of $6.24 billion.

Today’s Featured Dow Stock

International Business Machines Co. (IBM)

International Business Machines Co. (IBM) is down -6.71% year-to-date.

Financial Calendar

0830 ET Weekly initial unemployment claims expected -33,000 to 335,000, previous +68,000 to 368,000. Weekly continuing claims expected -21,000 to 2.770 million, previous +40,000 to 2,791 million.

0830 ET USDA weekly Export Sales.

1000 ET Dec Philadelphia Fed manufacturing index expected +3.5 to 10.0, Nov -13.3 to 6.5.

1000 ET Nov existing home sales expected -2.0% to 5.02 million, Oct -3.2% to 5.12 million.

1000 ET Nov leading indicators expected +0.7%, Oct +0.2%.

1130 ET Treasury auctions $29 billion 7-year T-notes.

1300 ET Treasury auctions $16 billion 5-year TIPS.

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