On The Fly: Stocks end week higher as rally continues
Stocks ended the week higher as Wall Street's major indexes continued to rally on Trump administration's promises of tax reforms, reduced regulation and increased infrastructure spending. MACRO NEWS: In the U.S., Markit's manufacturing PMI fell 0.7 points to 54.3 in the flash February reading. Existing home sales rose 3.3% to a 5.69M rate in January. The minutes from the Federal Reserve meeting that concluded on February 1 said: "In discussing the outlook for monetary policy over the period ahead, many participants expressed the view that it might be appropriate to raise the federal funds rate again fairly soon if incoming information on the labor market and inflation was in-line with or stronger than their current expectations or if the risks of overshooting the Committee's maximum-employment and inflation objectives increased." Treasury Secretary Mnuchin emphasized tax reform is on the way in a wide-ranging CNBC interview earlier in the week, 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. The Chicago Fed National Activity Index fell to -0.05 in January. The FHFA home price index rose 0.4% to 242.6 in December. New home sales bounced 3.7% to a 555,000 unit rate in January. Consumer confidence fell to 96.3 in the final read from the University of Michigan survey. In Asia, Japan's all industry activity index declined at a seasonally adjusted 0.3% in December. In Europe, the overall flash composite index of services and manufacturing activity in the Eurozone spiked to 56.0 in February. COMPANY NEWS: Momenta Pharmaceuticals (MNTA) disclosed that its generic Copaxone 40mg ANDA will be delayed by an FDA warning letter at its fill-finish manufacturing partner, Pfizer (PFE)... Shares of several infrastructure names slipped on Thursday following a report from Mike Allen and Jonathan Swan of Axios saying 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 that dropped after the report were 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). In M&A news, Kraft Heinz (KHC) and Unilever (UN; UL) announced in a joint statement that the former has "amicably agreed to withdraw its proposal for a combination of the two companies." A few days after rejecting Kraft Heinz's $143B takeover bid, Unilever made headlines again, saying it is conducting a comprehensive review of options available to "accelerate delivery of value" to its shareholders. The company noted that the recent events have "highlighted the need to capture more quickly the value we see in Unilever," adding that they expect their review to be completed by early April... Restaurant Brands (QSR) agreed to acquire Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen (PLKI) for $79.00 per share in cash, or $1.8B... Tronox (TROX) said it is acquiring the TiO2 business of Cristal, and announced its intent to begin a process to sell its Alkali business. Among companies that announced quarterly results this week, Wal-Mart (WMT), Home Depot (HD), Community Health (CYH), Toll Brothers (TOL), Garmin (GRMN), Chico's FAS (CHS), HP Inc. (HPQ), Carter's (CRI), Square (SQ), Nordstrom (JWN), Foot Locker (FL), Applied Optoelectronics (AAOI), and RH (RH) advanced following their reports, while Macy's (M), Papa John's (PZZA), First Solar (FSLR), Texas Roadhouse (TXRH), Tesla (TSLA), L Brands (LB), Wayfair (W), HP Enterprise (HPE), J.C. Penney (JCP), Acacia Communications (ACIA), B&G Foods (BGS), and Splunk (SPLK) declined. INDEXES: For the week, the Dow rose 0.95% to 20,821.76, the Nasdaq advanced 0.14% to 5,845.31, and the S&P 500 gained 0.69% to 2,367.34.