U.S. Stocks Advance as Confidence, Home Sales Beat Forecasts

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Aug. 25 (Bloomberg) -- U.S. stocks rose as better- than- estimated consumer confidence and home prices bolstered optimism the recession is ending, while falling oil prices dragged down energy producers. Treasury yields declined after a record-tying $42 billion sale of two-year notes.
Macy’s Inc. and Bed Bath & Beyond Inc. added more than 3.5 percent as the Conference Board’s measure of consumer sentiment increased to 54.1, topping the median projection of 47.9. Pulte Homes Inc., the nation’s biggest builder by market value, rose 3.7 percent as the S&P/Case-Shiller home-price index for 20 U.S. cities dropped by the smallest amount since April 2008. Energy companies fell as crude lost 3.7 percent from a 10-month high.
The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index added 0.4 percent 1,029.73 at 3:01 p.m. after rallying as much as 1.2 percent. The Dow Jones Industrial Average advanced 48.30 points, or 0.5 percent, to 9,557.58, gaining for the sixth straight day. Both measures reached their highest levels of 2009.
“Obviously there’s a lot of questions about whether the economic recovery is sustainable, but stocks tend to react before the fundamentals do,” said Jeffrey Coons, who helps oversee $21 billion as co-director of research at Manning & Napier Advisors Inc. in Fairport, New York. “We haven’t yet begun to see investors shift more assets into equities, so we think stocks have more room to appreciate.”
The S&P 500 has advanced five straight months and in five of the past six weeks following better-than-forecast corporate profits and signs of an improving economy. More than 72 percent of its companies beat the average analyst estimate for second- quarter earnings, the most since Bloomberg began tracking the data in 1993. The Conference Board’s index of leading economic indicators has risen every month since April. With today’s gain, the S&P 500 has risen 53 percent from a 12-year low in March.
Europe, Asia Shares
The Dow Jones Stoxx 600 Index of European shares advanced 0.4 percent after earlier falling as much as 0.8 percent. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index slipped 0.3 percent as the Shanghai Composite Index slid for the first time in four days, decreasing 2.6 percent. Wen Jiabao, China’s premier, said yesterday that excess industrial capacity may limit growth and authorities can’t be “blindly” optimistic.
Treasury yields, which move inversely to the price of the securities, declined after the auction. The new two-year notes were sold at a yield of 1.119 percent, higher than the 1.115 percent average estimate of eight bond-trading firms surveyed by Bloomberg News.
Today’s auction will be followed by $39 billion of five- year notes tomorrow and $28 billion of seven-year notes on Aug. 27. The U.S. government is selling the securities to fund the record budget deficit that resulted from measures to prop up the economy. The deficit will widen to $1.5 trillion next year, reflecting a “deeper recession” than previously expected, White House budget chief Peter Orszag said today.
Teen Clothing
Macy’s, the second-biggest U.S. department-store chain, rose 4.2 percent to $15.96. Bed Bath & Beyond, the largest U.S. home-furnishings retailer, climbed 3.9 percent to $36.60. The S&P 500 Consumer Discretionary Index advanced 1.2 percent, the most among 10 industries, following the consumer-confidence report.
Pulte Homes, the biggest U.S. homebuilder, advanced 3.6 percent to $13.07. The four homebuilders in the S&P 500 gained 3.2 percent as a group, and reached the highest level since Oct. 2. The S&P/Case-Shiller home-price index declined 15.4 percent in June from a year earlier, less than the median economist estimate of 16.4 percent. Prices rose from the prior month by the most in four years.
Energy companies in the S&P 500 retreated 1.6 percent, the biggest drop among the 10 industries.
Big Lots Inc. rose 5.7 percent to $25.41. The closeout retailer said second-quarter profit from continuing operations was 35 cents a share, or 15 percent more than the average analyst estimate.
Burger King Holdings Inc. increased 7.6 percent to $19. The second-largest U.S. hamburger chain said fourth-quarter profit was 43 cents a share, topping the average estimate by 32 percent, as the company expanded overseas.
Harman International Industries Inc. rose the most in the S&P 500, climbing 9.7 percent to $29.72. The maker of audio systems for homes and vehicles was rated “overweight” in new coverage at JPMorgan Chase & Co., which said the company has the potential to cut costs and boost sales.
Most U.S. stocks fell yesterday, led by financial companies, after SunTrust Banks Inc. said lenders face more credit losses and commercial real estate may falter through 2010. The S&P 500’s five-month rebound left it the valued at 18.9 times the trailing 12-month operating profits of its companies last week, the highest ratio since 2004, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
Ouster From S&P 500
Manitowoc Co. fell 4.9 percent to $6.51. The crane maker was picked to replace CareFusion Corp., which is being spun off from Cardinal Health Inc., in the S&P 500.
Denbury Resources Inc. fell 7 percent to $15.70 for the biggest drop in the S&P 500. The oil and natural-gas producer was cut to “neutral” from “buy” at UBS AG.
U.S. companies with the worst finances are beating the S&P 500 even as their funding deteriorates, a sign their rally may falter should the economic recovery stall, Armstrong Investment Managers said.
The weakest non-financial companies in the S&P 500 surged 90 percent since March 9 through last week. After the S&P 500 sank to a 12-year low five months ago, those with the best finances gained 49 percent, data from Armstrong Investment show. The companies were identified using New York University Professor Edward Altman’s Z-Score method.
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LATEST:-U.S. Stocks Fall, S&P 500 Completes Fourth Straight Weekly Loss

Thursday, January 7, 2010

July 10 (Bloomberg) -- U.S. stocks dropped, sending the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index to a fourth straight weekly loss, as a deeper-than-estimated slide in consumer confidence added to concern the economic recovery will be delayed.

CIT Group Inc., the century-old lender that trades in the bond market as if it may fail, slid 18 percent on concern the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. won’t guarantee its bond sales. Chevron Corp. helped lead the Dow Jones Industrial Average lower as oil completed its worst weekly drop since January and the company said the weaker dollar was slashing profit. Technology shares rose, limiting the market’s slide, following analyst upgrades of Yahoo! Inc. and MEMC Electronic Materials Inc.

“We’re finding out that the economy is not recovering in any significant way at all,” said Christian Thwaites, president and chief executive officer of Sentinel Investments in Montpelier, Vermont, which manages $19 billion. “The market is still relatively expensive on a current earnings basis.”

The S&P 500 slipped 0.4 percent to 879.13 at 4:08 p.m. in New York and lost 1.9 percent over the past five days, capping its longest weekly losing streak since March. The Dow declined 36.65, or 0.5 percent, to 8,146.52. Less than 7 billion shares changed hands on all U.S. exchanges, the slowest trading day since Jan. 2. Equities extended their declines as the Reuters/University of Michigan index of consumer confidence trailed economist estimates.

Recession Concern

The S&P 500 has dropped more than 7.1 percent since June 12 on concern its rebound of as much as 40 percent since March outpaced prospects for a recovery from the longest slump in profits on record. The index is trading for about 14 times its companies’ earnings over the past 12 months, compared with about 10 times on March 9, the day the gauge slid to a 12-year low.

The worst recession in half a century may be prolonged because consumers see few signs that job losses and declines in home prices are ending, economists Nouriel Roubini and Robert Shiller said.

The U.S. needs another stimulus package because President Barack Obama’s initial $787 billion plan hasn’t been implemented fast enough, according to Shiller. Roubini, the economics professor at New York University who predicted the financial crisis, said the recession will likely continue for six months as companies struggle to pay their creditors.

The economy shrank 5.5 percent in the first quarter and 6.3 percent in the fourth quarter of 2008, the worst six months since 1958, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Analysts estimate profits of S&P 500 companies fell 35 percent last quarter from a year earlier after plunging 33 percent in the first quarter, Bloomberg data show. They forecast a 21 percent year-on-year drop in the third quarter.

Chevron’s Slide

Chevron declined 2.7 percent to $61.40. The second-biggest U.S. energy producer said the falling dollar slashed overseas profit from oil and natural-gas wells by almost $7 million a day during April and May, more than double the impact of currency fluctuations during the second quarter of 2008.

Crude oil fell 0.9 percent to $59.89 a barrel in New York, the lowest settlement in almost two months, on concern a prolonged global recession will sap demand for energy. Crude plunged 10 percent this week.

CIT Group tumbled 18 percent to $1.53. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. is unwilling to guarantee the company’s bond sales because the commercial lender’s credit quality is worsening, according to people familiar with the regulator’s thinking.

Technology Outperforms

Technology companies added 0.4 percent as a group, the best performance among 10 industries in the S&P 500. MEMC Electronic Materials rose 3 percent to $16.61. The maker of silicon wafers for solar modules and semiconductors was raised to “buy” from “hold” at Citigroup Inc., which said the company is “starting to reap meaningful cost reductions.”

Yahoo gained 2.6 percent to $14.93. The owner of the world’s second-most-used Internet search engine was raised to “market weight” from “underweight” by Thomas Weisel Partners analyst Christa Quarles.

SanDisk Corp. increased 3.2 percent to $14.47. Morgan Stanley lifted its 2010 earnings-per-share estimate for the biggest maker of flash-memory cards and said the company’s 2009 loss was likely to be narrower than it previously estimated.

Dell Inc. rose 0.5 percent to $13.22. Goldman Sachs upgraded the world’s second-biggest maker of personal computers to “conviction buy” from “neutral.” Goldman raised its rating on the computer-hardware industry to “attractive” from “neutral,” saying “downward estimate revisions are mostly behind us” and “we see greater upside than downside to estimates into the seasonally stronger second half of the year and in 2010.”

Faster Growth Forecast

The U.S. economy will expand faster than previously forecast in the second half of this year and in 2010 as a revival in consumer spending signals an end to the recession, a Bloomberg News survey showed.

Growth will average 1.5 percent in the July-to-December period, compared with last month’s 1.2 percent projection, according to the median of 57 forecasts in the survey taken from July 2 to July 8. The jobless rate will exceed 10 percent early next year and average 9.8 percent for 2010.

IBM fell 1.2 percent to $100.83. The world’s biggest computer-services provider was downgraded to “neutral” from “buy” at Goldman Sachs, which said investors will “shift their focus from earnings resiliency in a period of soft demand to companies with greater operating leverage and higher top-line growth as tech spending improves.”

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