Market Focus with Tom Hudson – Friday, Mar 9 2012

TOM HUDSON: If we hadn’t lived through it, we wouldn’t have remembered it
here, Susie. It has been that kind of week here. Let’s go ahead and get
you updated to the quiet end to this week with tonight’s “Market Focus.”

As Susie mentioned, the ups and downs earlier in the week. Despite
all of the volatility we saw earlier in the week, we really did see a quiet
end. Stocks began the week in the red, pretty significantly, especially
with that stiff sell-off on Tuesday.

But buyers fought back and the Dow Industrials ended the week down
only 0.4 percent. Of the three major indices, it was the only one down for
the week. The NASDAQ was able to erase all of the losses from Monday and
Tuesday and actually finish the week higher by 0.4 percent.

In the broad market, S&P 500 was able the climb higher compared to
last Friday night, barely, but still higher, just 0.1 percent stronger
tonight compared to a week ago.

Today’s action for the S&P 500 shows morning buyers holding steady
until about the last hour of trading or so, when the day’s gains were cut
in half, but it was a very, very tight and narrow trading range, only about
10 points today.

Now a trade group made the official designation today a, quote,
“credit event” has happened in Greece. In other words, a default. The
International Swaps and Derivatives Association is the arbiter of complex
financial derivatives and its declaration will likely trigger some pretty
big payouts.

Now the move impacts credit default swaps, these are essentially
insurance on bonds. The trade group declared a credit event after Greece
forced all bond-holders to take losses, whether they wanted to or not.

So now owners of those less valuable bonds could collect more than $3
billion if they owned credit default swaps. Now the move was not really
much of a surprise. Just consider the fact that the financial sector,
which has been so much in focus with the European worries, was the best-
performing stock sector today.

Starbucks (NASDAQ:SBUX) shares really perky lately, jumping to a new
high, up 3 percent. The buying came after it released plans to sell a
single-serve brewer. That single-serve market comes with bigger profit
margins.

And the big player in that market currently fell hard. Green Mountain
Coffee Roasters (NASDAQ:GMCR) dropped 16 percent with shares settling at
their lowest price since early February. Now the stock rallied back in
February after a very strong quarter, thanks to its single-serve coffee
business. And, of course, now that’s a business that has a new competitor
in the form of Starbucks (NASDAQ:SBUX).

The company behind women’s clothing store Ann Taylor is one of those
retailers suffering from the strategy of steep holiday discounting,
offering big promotions to get shoppers in the door hurt its fourth quarter
results. But though there are higher hopes for this quarter.

And that led to some share stock-buying. Shares jumping 6 percent to
their highest close since October. The company expressed more confidence
in the types of clothing it’s selling currently and promised better
customer service.

It was a mix of news though at some specialty retailers. Teen
retailers Zumiez (NASDAQ:ZUMZ) and Aeropostale (NYSE:ARO) were up 6 and 3
percent respectively. Both had better-than-expected earnings. But outdoor
clothing store QuikSilver was quick to fall, 7.5 percent, after coming up
shy of expectations.

Now the stock market wasn’t the only thing able to rebound from those
losses earlier in the week. After sinking below $1,700 an ounce earlier
this week, gold is back above that price tonight. As we move into the
weekend, gold rallying almost $13 an ounce on the session.

And that is tonight’s “Market Focus.”


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