March E-mini S&Ps (ESH16 +0.44%) are up +0.29% and European stocks are up +0.14% as the markets await the ECB's decision today on possible additional stimulus measures. The markets are expecting at least an interest rate cut by the ECB today and or an expansion of its quantitative easing. Weakness in crude oil and metals undercut energy and raw-material producing stocks, while an unexpected decline in German Jan exports pressured European stocks. Asian stocks settled mixed: Japan +1.26%, Hong Kong -0.06%, China -2.02%, Taiwan +0.31%, Australia -0.14%, Singapore -0.05%, South Korea +0.96%, India -0.69%. China's Shanghai Composite closed down over 2% after Chinese consumer prices rose at the fastest pace in 19 months, which may limit further stimulus measures by the government.
The dollar index (DXY00 +0.14%) is up +0.20%. EUR/USD (^EURUSD)is down -0.21%. USD/JPY (^USDJPY) is up +0.26%.
Jun T-note prices (ZNM16 +0.15%) are up +7 ticks.
The German Jan trade balance shrank to a surplus of 13.6 billion euros, less than expectations of +17.0 billion euros and the smallest surplus in 17 months. Jan exports unexpectedly fell -0.5% m/m, weaker than of +0.8% m/m. Jan imports rose +1.2% m/m, stronger than expectations of +0.8% m/m.
China Feb CPI rose +2.3% y/y, stronger than expectations of +1.8% y/y and the fastest pace of increase in 19 months.
Key U.S. news today includes: (1) weekly initial unemployment claims (expected -3,000 to 275,000, previous +6,000 to 278,000) and continuing claims (expected -7,000 to 2.250 million, previous +3,000 to 2.257 million), (2) the Treasury's auction of $12 billion of 30-year T-bonds, and (3) Feb monthly budget statement (expected -$196.3 billion, Jan +$55.163 billion).
There are 5 of the Russell 1000 companies that report earnings today: Dollar General (consensus $1.26), Care Capital Properties (0.79), Four Corners Property Trust (0.45), VeriFone Systems (0.46), Ulta Salon (1.54).
U.S. IPO's scheduled to price today: Biolight Life Sciences (BOLT).
Equity conferences this week include: UBS Global Consumer Conference on Wed-Thu, JPMorgan Chase & Co., Inc Aviation, Transportation and Industrials Conference on Tue-Thu, J.P. Morgan Gaming, Lodging, Restaurant & Leisure Management Access Forum on Thu.
Expedia (EXPE +0.79%) was upgraded to 'Overweight' from 'Neutral' at Piper Jaffray with a 12-month price target of $140.
Sally Beauty Holdings (SBH +0.03%) was downgraded to 'Neutral' from 'Overweight' at Piper Jaffray with a 12-month price target of $31.
Royal Bank of Scotland Group PLC (RBS +0.46%) was downgraded to 'Market Perform' from 'Outperform' at Bernstein.
Ryerson Holding (RYI +0.22%) reported Q4 sales of $668.8 million, below consensus of $711.4 million.
American Eagle Outfitters (AEO +1.13%) lost nearly 2% in after-hours trading after it announced that CFO Mary Boland plans to retire April 1 and Chief Accounting Officer Scott Hurd will be interim CFO.
B&G Foods (BGS -0.54%) fell over 2% in after-hours trading after it announced a public offering of 4 million shares of its common stock.
Square (SQ +4.79%) rose nearly 2% in after-hours trading after it reported Q4 revenue of $374.4 million, higher than consensus of $344.7 million.
Box Inc. (BOX +3.73%) jumped over 10% in after-hours trading after it said it sees Q1 revenue of $88 million-$89 million, above consensus of $86.4 million, and then said it sees a fiscal 2017 adjusted loss of -83 cents to -85 cents, narrower than consensus of a loss of -90 cents.
Gulfport Energy (GPOR +4.01%) slid over 2% in after-hours trading after it announced a public offering of 14 million shares of its common stock.
Spectrum Pharmaceuticals (SPPI -1.18%) gained nearly 3% in after-hours trading after it reported a Q4 loss of -6 cents a share, a smaller loss than consensus of -18 cents.
Nasdaq (NDAQ +0.77%) agreed to buy International Securities Exchange from Deutsche Borse for $1.1 billion.
Sunrun (RUN -0.45%) climbed 3% in after-hours trading after it was rated a new 'Buy' at Deutsche Bank with a price target of $15.
Omega Protein (OME +6.46%) slumped over 20% in after-hours trading after it reported Q4 adjusted EPS of 29 cents, well below consensus of 53 cents.
Energy XXI Ltd. (EXXI +12.50%) plunged over 30% in after-hours trading when it said it may seek Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection as soon as next week.
Mar E-mini S&Ps (ESH16 +0.44%) this morning are up +5.75 points (+0.29%). Wednesday's closes: S&P 500 +0.51%, Dow Jones +0.21%, Nasdaq +0.65%. The S&P on Wednesday closed higher on strength in energy producers with the rally in crude oil and on expectations that the ECB on Thursday will expand stimulus measures in an attempt to bolster economic growth. Stocks were undercut by news that the Jan wholesale inventory-to-sales ratio rose to a 6-3/4 year high of 1.35 months, which is a sign of tepid demand that is causing an unwanted buildup of inventories.
Jun 10-year T-notes (ZNM16 +0.15%) this morning are up +7 ticks. Wednesday's closes: TYM6 -14.00, FVM6 -51.75. Jun T-notes on Wednesday closed lower on reduced safe-haven demand for T-notes and on carryover weakness from a slide in German bund prices to a 2-week low.
The dollar index (DXY00 +0.14%) this morning is up +0.198 (+0.20%). EUR/USD (^EURUSD) is down -0.0023 (-0.21%). USD/JPY (^USDJPY) is up +0.30 (+0.26%). Wednesday's closes: Dollar Index -0.036 (-0.04%), EUR/USD -0.0012 (-0.11%), USD/JPY +0.73 (+0.65%). The dollar index on Wednesday closed lower on strength in the Canadian dollar (which climbed to a 3-3/4 month high against the dollar) and in the Russian ruble (which rose to a 2-1/2 month high against the dollar) as a rally in crude oil supported the currencies of crude-exporting countries. In addition, EUR/USD showed strength on short-covering ahead of Thursday's ECB meeting.
Apr WTI crude (CLJ16 -0.08%) this morning is down -11 cents (-0.29%) and Apr gasoline (RBJ16 +0.01%) is down -0.0077 (-0.52%). Wednesday's closes: CLJ6 +1.79 (+4.90%), RBJ6 +0.0827 (+5.96%). Apr crude and gasoline on Wednesday closed higher with Apr gasoline at a 4-month nearest-futures high. Crude oil prices were boosted by a weaker dollar and by the -4.53 million bbl drop in weekly EIA gasoline supplies (vs. expectations of-1.5million bbl). Crude oil prices were undercut by the rise in EIA crude stockpiles by +3.88 million bbl to a record high 521.8 million bbl and by the rise in oil inventories at Cushing, OK, the delivery point for WTI futures, by +690,000 bbl to a record 66.9 million bbl.
|US||0830 ET||Weekly initial unemployment claims expected -3,000 to 275,000, previous +6,000 to 278,000. Weekly continuing claims expected-7,000 to 2.250 million, previous +3,000 to 2.257 million.|
|0830 ET||USDA weekly Export Sales.|
|1100 ET||Treasury announces amount of 10-year TIPS to be auctioned Mar 17 (previous $15 billion).|
|1300 ET||Treasury auctions $12 billion 30-year T-bonds.|
|1400 ET||Feb monthly budget statement expected -$196.3 billion, Jan +$55.163 billion.|
|GER||0200 ET||German Jan trade balance expected +17.0 billion euros, Dec +19.0 billion euros. Jan exports expected +0.8% m/m, Dec -1.4% m/m. Jan imports expected +0.8% m/m, Dec -1.6% m/m.|
|0200 ET||German Jan current account balance, Dec +25.6 billion euros.|
|0200 ET||German Q4 labor costs, Q3 unch q/q and +2.4% y/y.|
|EUR||0745 ET||ECB announces interest rate decision expected -10 bp cut in deposit facility rate to -0.4% from -0.3%.|
|0830 ET||ECB President Mario Draghi holds press conference following ECB meeting.|
|JPN||1850 ET||Japan Q1 BSI all-industry business conditions, Q4 4.6.|
|Dollar General Corp||DG US||Bef-mkt||Q4 2016 Earnings Release||Q4 2016||1.261|
|Care Capital Properties Inc||CCP US||Bef-mkt||Q4 2015 Earnings Release||Q4 2015||0.787|
|Four Corners Property Trust Inc||FCPT US||Bef-mkt||Q4 2015 Earnings Release||Q4 2015||0.445|
|Armstrong World Industries Inc||AWI US||8:00||Investor Meeting||Y 2016|
|Western Union Co/The||WU US||8:30||Investor Day||Y 2016|
|Genpact Ltd||G US||9:00||Analyst & Investor Day||Y 2016|
|Dollar General Corp||DG US||10:00||Q4 2016 Earnings Call||Q4 2016|
|Tahoe Resources Inc||THO CN||10:00||Q4 2015 Earnings Call||Q4 2015|
|Care Capital Properties Inc||CCP US||10:00||Q4 2015 Earnings Call||Q4 2015|
|Applied Materials Inc||AMAT US||13:00||Annual General Meeting||Y 2016|
|American Express Co||AXP US||13:30||Investor Day||Y 2016|
|United Technologies Corp||UTX US||14:00||Investor and Analyst Meeting||Y 2016|
|F5 Networks Inc||FFIV US||14:00||Annual General Meeting||Y 2016|
|Four Corners Property Trust Inc||FCPT US||14:00||Q4 2015 Earnings Call||Q4 2015|
|VeriFone Systems Inc||PAY US||16:01||Q1 2016 Earnings Release||Q1 2016||0.461|
|VeriFone Systems Inc||PAY US||16:30||Q1 2016 Earnings Call||Q1 2016|
|Ulta Salon Cosmetics & Fragrance Inc||ULTA US||17:00||Q4 2016 Earnings Call||Q4 2016|
|Ulta Salon Cosmetics & Fragrance Inc||ULTA US||Aft-mkt||Q4 2016 Earnings Release||Q4 2016||1.535|
|Cabot Corp||CBT US||Annual General Meeting|
|Equifax Inc||EFX US||Investor Meeting - Boston||Y 2016|
|National Fuel Gas Co||NFG US||Annual General Meeting|
|Xcel Energy Inc||XEL US||Investor Meeting - Day 2||Y 2016|