Today's 1.7% rally in stocks took the S&P 500 back to flat on the week, after a somewhat disappointing start to earnings season. Today's earnings from financial heavyweights J.P. Morgan Chase (JPM 36.07, +2.03) and Wells Fargo (WFC 33.91, +1.06) provided a boost to the financial sector, which was the strongest sector in the market. While today's results were taken as a positive, there have been several warnings in the tech sector and lackluster results from the majority of other companies that have reported thus far.
Looking more closely at today's earnings, J.P. Morgan reported its highly anticipated second quarter results, and gave additional details on the highly-publicized 'London Whale' trade. The loss from the trade is approximately $5.8 billion year-to-date, and statements that the trade has been largely unwound soothed some fears. Overall results would be viewed as 'noisy' given the number of one-time items that included the CIO loss, DVAs, reserve builds, and litigation expense. The underlying performance of the Investment Bank unit and Housing was a positive for the firm, and has helped shares recover. Wells Fargo posted numbers that were slightly better than consensus as housing helped provide a solid quarter for the bank in a difficult environment.
Aside from the big bank earnings, this morning's data showed PPI run at a hotter than expected 0.1% month over month clip and a Michigan Sentiment number that fell short of estimates with a 72.0 print. The equity market saw no reaction to the negative sentiment reading.
The euro hit multi-year year lows this week, but gained sharply vs. the dollar shortly after today's U.S. equity market open. The euro finished the week at $1.2240. Treasuries have witnessed some light selling on today's return to risk with the 10-yr yield climbing two basis points to 1.50%.
Looking back on the week, Alcoa (AA 8.42, +0.12) kicked off earnings season reporting in-line EPS and better than expected revenue. AA also reaffirmed its forecast for 2012. The S&P finished nearly unchanged on Monday.
On Tuesday, markets closed lower for a fourth consecutive session as a drop of 1.0% saw the Nasdaq pace the decline. Losses accelerated mid-day after Cummins (CMI 88.63, +2.86) announced it expects its full-year revenue outlook for 2012 to match 2011 despite prior guidance suggesting an increase of 10%.
On Wednesday, a late-day rally lifted the S&P 500 into positive territory moments ahead of the close, but the index finished with fractional losses to close lower for a fifth straight session. The FOMC Minutes failed to mention more quantitative easing by the Fed, but suggested ‘further policy stimulus likely would be necessary to promote satisfactory growth,' and that the Fed should study ‘new tools' for easing. The minutes were taken as a disappointment for stocks.
On Thursday, things were quiet ahead of the bank earnings and Chinese GDP data overnight as the S&P fell 0.5% on the day.
Next week, earnings season will dominate the headlines and have a bigger influence on the market. Over 200 companies will report Q2 results, including many Dow components; most of the large cap financials and some major technology bellwethers. Citigroup (C 20.02, -0.02) will kick things off on Monday morning.
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