Financial News 4/15/12 – 4/21/12

Economy

-A measure of homebuilder’s confidence fell in April for the first time in seven months. 4/17

-U.S. retail sales jumped 0.8% in March vastly outperforming expectations.  The high level was likely spurred by mild weather.  4/17

-Manufacturing output fell 0.2% in March.  4/18

-The ECB’s emergency lending program that pumped cheap money into the European banking system is close to running out.  Banks had then used these funds to purchase Italian and Spanish debt.  AS the primary buyers they helped lower the interest rates for these countries.  As their purchases have slowed the countries borrowing rates have begun to rise. 4/19

-Unemployment claims fell slightly from the previous week to 386K, but the four week moving average rose for the 5th week in seven. 4/20

-Sales of previously owned homes fell 2.6% from February to March. 4/20

Corporate

-Citigroup released a mixed earnings report.  Their earnings beat estimates, but income and revenue declined from a year earlier. 4/17

-Apple shares fell 4.1% to bring their five day plunge to 9.9%.  4/17

-Warren Buffet announced he has stage one prostate cancer and will be undergoing treatment.  4/18

-IBM’s earnings gained 7%, but revenue growth plateaued as hardware sales fell.  4/18

-Intel’s first quarter profit fell 13% on mostly flat revenue growth, but provided an upbeat forecast on sales. 4/18

-Goldman Sachs earnings fell 23% in the first quarter to $2.1 billion, however the number still beat analysts’ estimates.  The firm also announced it was increasing its dividend for the first time in 6 years by 31%.  4/18

-Morgan Stanley had a quarterly loss of $94MM driven primarily by a $2B accounting charge on its own debt.  Excluding that issue the firm beat analyst estimates.  4/20

-B of A’s first quarter profit plunged 68%, driven by a $4.8 billion accounting charge on its debt.  In addition loans fell by 3% and revenue fell 17%.  4/20

-Microsoft’s revenue rose 6% overcoming a poor consumer market for PCs. 4/20

-Apple is down 10% from its April 10th high. 4/21

-GE’s earnings fell 12%, but their operating revenue showed improvement. 4/21

Market

-China has decided to widen the trading range for the Yuan an important step in allowing the Yuan to appreciate faster than has previously been allowed.  4/16

-Spain saw yields on its bonds rise to over 6% – levels last seen in December.  The government also announced it may take control of regional government’s finances in order to help cut deficits and increase investor confidence.  4/17

-The IMF said Europe could be in for a prolonged recession unless its takes stronger and swifter action to fight the debt crisis. 4/18

-The most recent Spanish bond auction was well received and more strong earnings reports were released resulting in world markets strongly rebounding.  The S&P 500 and Dow soared 1.5% and Europe jumped 2.0%.  4/18

-Italy said it will not balance its budget in 2013 as it had previously proposed as it tries to weigh austerity measures with economic growth.  4/19

-US markets snapped two week losing streaks on strong earnings news.  The Dow rose 1.4% for the week and the S&P 500 was up 0.6%.  In Europe stocks were up 1.7%, but in Japan stocks finished the week down 0.8%.  The 10 year Treasury yield ended the week at 1.97%.   4/21

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