Halftime Report for 4.27.2012

Amazon (AMZN) continues to be one of the stellar performers of the day, rising over 14% at last glance. But, Expedia (EXPE) shareholders are feeling even better – as that stock is higher by 27% today after earnings. EPS came in at $0.26 versus expectations of $0.16.

With the slowdown in the session, we can take a look at some of the other happenings this week. Apple (AAPL) quieted skeptics with a blockbuster quarter, sending shares from around $560 to $610. AAPL shares have retreated slightly, but the stock is holding above $600 today. 

Since EUR/USD closed above its Ichimoku Cloud on the daily chart last Friday, we have expected prices to rise. A Monday sell-off was followed by rallies through the rest of the week to have the pair up 50 pips, a gain of just 0.3%. Other major currencies are posied to close the week relatively higher against the US$ as well. Gold has gained 1.3% this week.

Natural Gas has been the best performer this week, up 12%. This looks to be the first weekly advance for Nat Gas in six. Over the year, Nat Gas is still lower by 27.7% – and we do not expect that this marks a reversal.

Live Cattle are down 6.6% this week following revelations on Monday about a Mad Cow outbreak in California. 

Equity futures are higher by 2.3% (NASDAQ), 1.7% (S&P 500), and 1.5% (DJIA) for the week. 

Morning Rage 4.27.2012

Following yesterday’s disappointing weekly jobless claims – the latest in a series of disappointing data – today’s first estimate of Q1 GDP is perhaps more important to the long-term macroeconomic view than before. Consensus estimates point to a 2.5% headline GDP growth, led higher by a 2.2% increase in consumer spending and 2% increase in government spending. Numbers are released at 8:30 a.m. ET. At 9:55 a.m. ET, the University of Michigan Consumer Confidence figure will be released. 

In markets, equity futures are holding near the flat-line. S&P futures are trading at 1,397 and are sure to test the 1,400 level on a good GDP figure. DJIA futures are at 13,163, and NASDAQ futures are higher – up 0.2% on AMZN’s gain – to 2,525.50. 

Bond futures are higher this morning, with modest gains seen in the 30-year bond and 10-year note. The US$ Index is unchanged on the session, trading at 1.3230 against EUR. USD/JPY fell below the 81-figure, trading at 80.72 at present. 

Reporting earnings this morning are Altria (AIMC), Chevron (CVX), Ford (F), and Procter & Gamble (PG). F is up 1.6% following its report, and PG is down 2.5%.

Meadows on the Markets 4.26.2012

Gold futures, whose low was at the session open, rose 1% on the session. Other metals – Silver (+2.4%) and Platinum (+1.4%) – experienced larger gains.

Live Cattle futures have based following a precipitous decline based on Mad Cow news released early this week. For the session, Live Cattle futures were down slightly to $118.35. 

This afternoon and into tomorrow, we are waiting on EPS from Amazon (AMZN), Wynn (WYNN), and Zynga (ZNGA). Also, tomorrow morning, at 8:30 a.m. ET, the release of Q1 GDP will dominate traders minds. For us to break through 1,400 on the S&P futures, we are looking for a good number. If not, we would likely see a pull-back before the next leg higher.

Halftime Report for 4.26.2012

In earnings news, Whirpool (WHR) beat estimates this morning when it reported, but is down 5% on the session. During the conference call, WHR executives warned that they are not expecting consumer confidence to improve and will see growth through price increases, not increased sales. Dow Chemical (DOW) is also sharply lower after earnings, dropping 3.2% after reporting net income declined 30% year-over-year.

Natural Gas is up 10% this week and 2.4% today after inventory figures at 10:30 a.m. ET. Nat Gas is trading at its highest level since early April at $2.111. Crude oil is trading higher on the session as well, holding prices near $104.50. 

Also today, Treasury futures are higher. The 30-year bond prices are up 0.4% (yield of 3.12%), and 10-year note futures are higher by 0.25% (yield of 1.95%). The CBOE Volatility Index lost 1.8% today, and has dropped sharply over the past week. The VIX is at 16.52 at present. 

A host of companies report earnings tonight, including Zynga (ZNGA), Wynn (WYNN), and Amazon (AMZN). WYNN is up 3% today, while ZNGA has gained nearly 2%. AMZN is flat on the session.

Morning Rage 4.26.2012

Gold futures are higher this morning after bouncing off support at $1,625 yesterday. Prices gained 0.5% to $1,651.10 per ounce. Silver futures are also higher, rising 1.3% to $30.76. Yields on the 30-year bonds are down slightly to 3.12%, while the 5-year note is yielding 1.96%. Natural Gas, which caught a bid in the afternoon yesterday, is down slightly to $2.059. Today, inventory figures will be released at 10:30 a.m. ET.

At 8:30 a.m. ET, the Labor Department will release figures for Initial Jobless Claims. Weekly Claims are expected to fall 11,000 to 375,000. At 10 a.m., data on Pending Home Sales will be released as well. Data will continue to play a large role in the long-term macroeconomic picture, which ultimately will point to where (or if) the Fed moves with interest rates.

With Bernanke “prepared to do more,” as he mentioned yesterday and earnings on the whole suprising to the upside, ultimately equity markets will be a beneficiary.