February 10th, 2012

S&P 500 – U.S. stocks fell, snapping a five- week-rally for the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index, amid concern plans to help Greece avoid default were unraveling.

Citigroup Inc. (C), Morgan Stanley and Bank of America Corp. (BAC) dropped more than 1.2 percent to pace losses in financial companies. Commodity producers retreated as Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc. (FCX), Alcoa Inc. (AA) and Halliburton Co. (HAL) slid at least 1.2 percent. LinkedIn Corp., the biggest professional-networking website, jumped 10 percent after it reported sales that more than doubled and forecast higher 2012 revenue.

The S&P 500 declined 0.8 percent to 1,340.92 as of 9:39 a.m. New York time. The benchmark gauge for American equities has fallen 0.3 percent since Feb. 3, snapping the longest weekly rally since January 2011. The Dow Jones Industrial Average decreased 101.57 points, or 0.8 percent, to 12,788.89 today.

“We’ve had a flip-flop that triggered global selling,” Frederic Dickson, who helps oversee $28 billion as chief market strategist at D.A. Davidson & Co. in Lake Oswego, Oregon, said in a telephone interview. “Investors are responding to the sudden change in direction or the lack of resolution of the Greek/European problem that they felt was resolved.”

Equities followed a global slump as emergency talks of euro-area finance chiefs broke up late last night with Luxembourg Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker saying Greece must turn its budget cuts into law, flesh out 325 million euros in spending reductions and have its major party leaders sign up to the program so they don’t retreat after upcoming elections.

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Feb 8, 2012

S&P 500 Futures – U.S. stocks were little changed, a day after the Dow Jones Industrial Average reached the highest level since 2008, as Greek Prime Minister Lucas Papademos began talks with political leaders on terms required for a bailout.

Equities reversed gains after a report that the European Central Bank was still divided on its role in a Greek debt restructuring. Six out of 10 groups in the S&P 500 retreated as energy and utility shares had the biggest declines. Sprint (S) Nextel Corp., the third-largest U.S. wireless carrier, slumped 2 percent after reporting a wider loss. Hartford (HIG) Financial Services Group Inc. climbed 9.2 percent after billionaire John Paulson demanded action to boost the stock performance.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index fell less than 0.1 percent to 1,346.88 at 1:01 p.m. New York time, after rising as much as 0.3 percent earlier today. The Dow lost 15.48 points, or 0.1 percent, to 12,862.72.

“It seems as if everyone is holding their breath and waiting for some kind of resolution in Greece to let us know what direction to take next,” Michelle Gibley, senior market analyst at San Francisco-based Charles Schwab Corp., said in a telephone interview. Her firm has $1.68 trillion in client assets. “A deal will be made ultimately, but policy makers have already proven that deadlines mean little to them.”

Papademos began negotiating with leaders of the political parties supporting his caretaker government as he tried to make up for lost time to secure a second aid package. ECB policy makers are still divided on what contribution the central bank could make, Reuters reported, citing two unidentified euro-zone monetary-policy sources.

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February 3rd, 2012

S&P 500 Futures – U.S. stocks advanced, extending the best start to a year for the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index since 1989, after a report showed that employment growth topped estimates and the jobless rate unexpectedly fell to 8.3 percent.

Bank of America Corp. (BAC), Caterpillar Inc. (CAT) and Alcoa Inc. (AA) rallied at least 2.4 percent to pace gains among companies most- tied to economic growth. The Dow Jones Transportation Average gained 1.2 percent as FedEx Corp. (FDX) climbed 1.4 percent. Genworth Financial Inc. (GNW), a mortgage guarantor and life insurer, surged 14 percent after swinging to a profit. Tyson Foods Inc. (TSN) rose 5.3 percent as earnings at the meat processor beat estimates.

The S&P 500 added 1.3 percent to 1,342.83 at 11:55 a.m. New York time. The benchmark gauge has rallied for five straight weeks, the longest streak in a year. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 144.71 points, or 1.1 percent, to 12,850.12, the highest level on a closing basis since 2008. The Russell 2000 Index of small companies jumped 2.1 percent to 829.62.

“Spectacular,” Ron Florance, managing director of investment strategy for Wells Fargo Private Bank, said in a telephone interview from Phoenix. His firm manages $169 billion. “It’s a very, very strong jobs number. It shows that companies have confidence that they see global demand growth through their products and services. That will support risk assets.”

Stocks and bond yields jumped as the report fueled optimism the economy is weathering the European debt crisis. The 243,000 increase in payrolls was the most since April and exceeded all forecasts in a Bloomberg News survey. The unemployment rate dropped to the lowest since February 2009.

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January 31st, 2012

S&P 500 – U.S. stock futures rose, indicating the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index will cap the best January since 1997, as most countries in Europe agreed to tighter budget controls and Greece made progress on debt talks.

Bank of America Corp. and Morgan Stanley increased at least 1.1 percent, following gains in European lenders. Eli Lilly & Co. rallied 2.1 percent as the drugmaker’s profit beat projections. Archer Daniels Midland Co., the world’s largest grain processor, slumped 3.2 percent amid disappointing results.

S&P 500 futures expiring in March added 0.5 percent to 1,315.40 at 9:13 a.m. New York time. Dow Jones Industrial Average futures rose 50 points, or 0.4 percent, to 12,652.

“Most market participants will raise their glasses to usher out what has proved to be a decent January for performance, data and sentiment,” said Jim Reid, a global strategist at Deutsche Bank AG in London.

Global stocks rose today as European Union leaders, meeting in Brussels yesterday, completed a fiscal-discipline treaty that speeds sanctions on high-deficit states. Greek Prime Minister Lucas Papademos said he’s “strongly committed” to reaching a debt-swap pact with bondholders. Residential real estate prices fell more than forecast in November, showing distressed properties are hampering improvement in the U.S. housing market.

Stocks fell yesterday, sending the S&P 500 lower for a third day, as European leaders sparred with Greece over a second rescue program. The decline followed a four-week rally, which was driven by the Federal Reserve’s plans to keep interest rates low through at least late 2014 and better-than-estimated earnings. Of the 184 S&P 500 companies that reported results since Jan. 9, 123 posted per-share earnings that beat projections, Bloomberg data show.

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January 23rd, 2012

S&P 500 futures – U.S. stock futures were little changed, following a four-day rally for the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index, as finance ministers gathered in Brussels to discuss new budget rules and a Greek debt swap.

Bank of America Corp. and Chesapeake Energy Corp. (CHK) increased more than 1 percent to pace gains among the biggest companies. Research In Motion Ltd. (RIM) fell 1.8 percent after replacing its co- chief executive officers as the BlackBerry maker struggles to compete against Apple Inc. (AAPL)

S&P 500 futures expiring in March gained less than 0.1 percent to 1,311 at 8:39 a.m. New York time. Dow Jones Industrial Average futures climbed 10 points, or 0.1 percent, to 12,664 today.

European officials will forge ahead today with crafting a long-term plan to tackle the region’s debt crisis, as banking and government negotiators continue trying to reach an agreement that will lighten Greece ({GDBR10)’s debt burden. Bondholders negotiating a debt swap with Greece have made their “maximum” offer, leaving it to the European Union and International Monetary Fund to decide whether to accept the deal, the negotiator for private creditors said.

The S&P 500 rose all four days U.S. exchanges were open last week as data bolstered confidence in the American economy and companies from Goldman Sachs Group Inc. to Union Pacific Corp. topped analysts’ income projections. Of the 52 companies in the S&P 500 that reported results since Jan. 9, 34 posted per-share earnings that beat projections, Bloomberg data show.

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January 18th, 2012

S&P 500 Futures – U.S. stocks advanced, giving the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index its best start to a year since 1987, as semiconductor companies and homebuilders gained. The euro rose as the International Monetary Fund proposed boosting its lending resources by as much as $500 billion.

The S&P 500 rose 1.1 percent to 1,308.04 at 4 p.m. New York time, closing above 1,300 for the first time since July. It has surged 4 percent this year. Computer-related companies led gains today among 10 MSCI World (MXWO) Index industries after ASML Holding NV (ASML), Europe’s biggest semiconductor-equipment maker, forecast higher first-quarter orders and Linear Technology Corp. (LLTC)’s sales beat projections. Builders climbed after industry confidence increased. The euro added 1 percent to $1.2859.

The IMF may increase its resources to help safeguard economic growth after identifying a potential need for $1 trillion in financing in coming years. The World Bank cut its growth forecast by the most in three years, saying a euro-region recession threatens to worsen a slowdown in emerging markets such as India and Mexico.

“Earnings momentum is slowing somewhat, but we’re still seeing growth,” Peter Jankovskis, who helps manage about $2.5 billion at Oakbrook Investments in Lisle, Illinois, said in a telephone interview. “That’s something that investors should be encouraged by. The economic data points continue to be upbeat. We’re in a mode for decent growth.”

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December 28th, 2011

U.S. stocks declined, halting a five-day advance in the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index, as the European Central Bank’s balance sheet increased to a record after a surge of bank lending to stem the region’s debt crisis.

Alcoa Inc. and Chevron Corp. dropped at least 1.6 percent as the U.S. dollar rallied, reducing the appeal of commodities. Bank of America Corp. (BAC) slumped 3.1 percent, extending yesterday’s retreat. The Morgan Stanley (MS) Cyclical Index sank 1.6 percent as Ford Motor Co. and Caterpillar Inc. (CAT) slid more than 2.1 percent.

The S&P 500 lost 1 percent to 1,252.51 at 12:45 p.m. New York time. The benchmark gauge erased its 2011 gain and fell below its average price of the past 200 days. The Dow Jones Industrial Average slid 119.05 points, or 1 percent, to 12,172.30. The Russell 2000 Index of small companies dropped 1.5 percent. About 2.1 billion shares changed hands on U.S. exchanges, or 34 percent below the same time a week ago.

“If the euro zone banks are too afraid to lend, that does not bode well for future growth,” Brian Jacobsen, who helps oversee about $209 billion as chief portfolio strategist at Wells Fargo Advantage Funds in Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin, said in a telephone interview. “The banks are not borrowing from the ECB in order to spur lending. It’s to shore up their balance sheets. That could lead to a credit contraction.”

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December 6th, 2011

Asian stocks fell, with a benchmark gauge headed for its first loss in seven days, after Standard & Poor’s said it may cut credit ratings on Germany, France and 13 other members of the euro amid the worsening debt crisis.

Esprit Holdings Ltd. (330), a clothier that gets most of its revenue from Europe, dropped 11 percent in Hong Kong after its Chief Financial Officer quit. STX Pan Ocean Co., a South Korean shipping line, dropped 4.5 percent after a leak was found in a vessel. Toyota Motor Corp. (7203), the world’s biggest carmaker by market value, slid 2.1 percent in Tokyo. Meiji Holdings Co. plunged 9.7 percent after a report that radioactive cesium was found in some of the Japanese milk maker’s products.

“People want to move away from risk assets,” said Naoteru Teraoka, general manager at Tokyo-based Chuo Mitsui Asset Management Co., which oversees about $20 billion. “The market is unstable and has been moving up and down like a seesaw. Investors buy stocks (MXAPJ) on good news after a plunge and are selling unless the news moves in the right direction. The downgrade news is a bad story in the middle of such movements.”

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index fell 1.3 percent to 116.70 as of 8:25 p.m. in Tokyo, set to end its longest winning streak since Oct. 13. All 10 industry groups on the measure declined, with more than six stocks retreating for each that gained.

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December 5th, 2011

Even with the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index down 19 percent since the bursting of the technology bubble in 2000, it’s been no lost decade for stocks.

The benchmark gauge for American common equity has climbed 66 percent since March 24, 2000, after stripping out adjustments for market value, which gives equal credit to Exxon Mobil Corp. (XOM), whose shares are worth $382.5 billion, and Monster Worldwide Inc. (MWW), at $945.6 million. That’s little help for most investors, whose returns reflect the capitalization-weighted index, says Cliff Asness at AQR Capital Management LLC.

Gains in the S&P 500 Equal Weighted Index through the dot- com tumble, the Sept. 11 attacks, the real-estate collapse and the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression show the resilience of U.S. companies that are forecast to report record earnings this year even as Europe’s debt crisis threatens growth again. Declines in the S&P 500’s biggest members have left them cheaper (OEX) compared with the full index than 89 percent of the time since 2000, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

“Corporate America repaired itself,” Chris Hyzy, the New York-based chief investment officer at U.S. Trust Co., which oversees about $360 billion, said in a phone interview on Dec. 1. “On an equal-weighted basis, it hasn’t been a lost decade.”

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November 10th, 2011

The rally that drove the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index up 20 percent since October fizzled after it failed to remain above its 200-day average for a second time.

The benchmark gauge for U.S. equities fell 3.7 percent to 1,229.10 yesterday, dropping below its average in the past 200 days, as surging Italian bond yields spurred concern Europe’s crisis is intensifying. One out of 500 stocks in the index rose, the fewest since June 2010. The measure closed above the 200-day level on two straight days at the end of October, following the biggest monthly rally since 1991, and again on Nov. 8.

Equities surged worldwide starting in the first week of October on optimism European leaders would solve the crisis, driving the S&P 500 out of a price range where it had been stuck since the start of August. Price indicators such as the stock index’s average price are captivating investors, said Brian Barish of Cambiar Investors LLC.

“The S&P 500 failed to break the 200-day and Italy’s debt yields really blew out, so you have a panicky reaction in the marketplace,” Barish, who helps oversee about $8 billion as Denver-based president of Cambiar, said in a telephone interview yesterday. In early October, “the market was poised to rally on almost anything, and it did,” he said. The 200-day average is “where it ran out of gas.”

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