On The Fly: Top stock stories for Thursday
The averages opened in positive territory, putting the Dow on course for its tenth consecutive winning session, the first time in decades that has happened. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, in an interview this morning on CNBC, asserted the market's run was a direct result of the optimism surrounding the pro-business Trump administration. The first index to show weakness was the Nasdaq, which diverged from the S&P and Dow and spent most of the day in negative territory. The S&P struggled to hold onto its gains, while the Dow gathered itself and closed higher, keeping its win streak intact. ECONOMIC EVENTS: In the U.S., Treasury Secretary Mnuchin emphasized tax reform is on the way in a wide-ranging CNBC interview, with the timing goal of the August recess for reform. Initial jobless claims rose 6,000 to 244,000 in the week ended February 18 after rising 4,000 to 238,000 previously. The Chicago Fed National Activity Index fell to -0.05 in January after rising to 0.18 in December. The FHFA home price index rose 0.4% to 242.6 in December after rising 0.7% to 241.6 in November. Gas inventories showed an 89 billion cubic feet draw versus consensus of 81 billion cubic feet draw, while crude oil inventories showed a 564,000 build versus the consensus forecast for a 3.25M build. COMPANY NEWS: Shares of Tesla (TSLA) dropped 6.4% after the electric car maker reported better than expected top line fourth quarter results but larger quarterly losses than the consensus forecast. JPMorgan analyst Ryan Brinkman called Tesla's results "mixed," with automotive revenue stronger than expected and gross margin weaker. The company's guidance for a $2.0-$2.5B capital outlay in just the first half of 2017 in order to prepare for the mid-year launch of the Model 3 may be giving investors pause, as Brinkman said this increases the likelihood of another equity capital raise over the near-term... On the other side of the earnings coin, HP Inc. (HPQ) gained 8.6% after the PC and printer maker posted better than expected results for the first quarter of its fiscal year... Shares of several infrastructure names slipped following a report from Mike Allen and Jonathan Swan of Axios, citing Republican sources, that the new U.S. administration is planning to push off until next year its "massive" infrastructure bill for roads, airports and big projects. Among the publicly traded companies in the infrastructure sector slipping near noon are Steel Dynamics (STLD), AK Steel (AKS), U.S. Steel (X), Fluor (FLR), Granite Construction (GVA), Vulcan Materials (VMC), Quanta Services (PWR), Aecom (ACM), Jacobs Engineering (JEC), KBR (KBR), Chicago Bridge & Iron (CBI) and MasTec (MTZ). MAJOR MOVERS: Among the notable gainers was Carter's (CRI), which gained about 4% after the children's apparel maker reported better than expected quarterly results and raised its dividend by 12%. Also higher was Square (SQ), which rose 14% after the payment system provider reported better than expected fourth quarter results and guidance. Among the noteworthy losers was L Brands (LB), which dropped 15.8% after the parent of Victoria's Secret gave a lower than expected profit forecast for the new fiscal year and said it expects to report a mid-to-high-teens percentage decrease in February comparable sales. Also lower following its earnings reports was Wayfair (W), which fell 6.5%. Additionally, NVIDIA (NVDA) shares dropped over 9% after BMO Capital and Nomura downgraded the stock to Underperform and Reduce, respectively, citing valuation, competitive changes ahead and a slowdown in gaming. INDEXES: The Dow rose 34.72, or 0.17%, to 20,810.32, the Nasdaq lost 25.12, or 0.43%, to 5,835.51, and the S&P 500 advanced 0.99, or 0.04%, to 2,363.81.