Day Traders Diary


The S&P futures are up four points, which leaves them roughly in-line with fair value on this options expiration day. The indication follows a spate of earnings results from widely-held companies and a positive disposition seen currently in most European markets.

Reviewing overnight developments:

Asian markets were mostly weak, although losses were generally held under 1.0%. Japan's Nikkei -0.1%; China's Shanghai Composite -0.9%; Hong Kong's Hang Seng +0.6%; South Korea's Kospi -0.7%.

Economic data was limited:

Japan's Household Confidence declined to 41.3 from 42.5 (43.4 expected).

In news:

Reuters reports that the People's Bank of China said it will use various liquidity management tools in a flexible way and improve the system to appropriately adjust liquidity in order to maintain reasonable growth in credit and social financing

Major European indices are higher. Germany's DAX +0.2%; the UK's FTSE 100 +0.1%; France's CAC 40 +0.2%.

Participants received several economic data points:

Great Britain's Retail Sales surged 2.6% month-over-month (0.4% forecast, 0.1% prior) while the annualized reading pointed to an increase of 5.3% (2.6% forecast, 1.8% last). Also of note, core Retail Sales jumped 2.8% month-over-month (0.3% expected, 0.2% last) while the year-over-year reading indicated an increase of 6.1% (3.2% consensus, 2.1% prior).

French government budget deficit widened to EUR87.0 billion from EUR86.10 billion (EUR80.00 billion deficit expected).

Swiss PPI was unchanged month-over-month (0.1% consensus, -0.1% prior) while the year-over-year reading reflected a decrease of 0.4% (-0.5% forecast, -0.4% last).

Among news of note:

Bloomberg discusses that the EU is considering a ban on proprietary trading for the largest banks from 2018

Standard & Poor's revised its credit outlook for Portugal to Negative from CreditWatch Negative. Its current rating of 'BB' was affirmed.

In U.S. corporate news:

Intel (INTC 25.53, -1.01) is trading 3.8% lower after missing the fourth quarter S&P Capital IQ consensus EPS estimate by a penny and noting that it expects FY14 revenue to be approximately flat

American Express (AXP 88.99, +1.21) is up 1.4% despite coming up four cents shy of the S&P Capital IQ consensus EPS estimate for the fourth quarter

General Electric (GE 26.90, -0.30) is off slightly after the company posted an in-line fourth quarter profit and noted backlog of equipment and services is at a record high $244 bln

Morgan Stanley (MS 32.68, +0.68) is trading higher after beating the fourth quarter consensus EPS estimate by eight cents on a 12.4% jump in revenue

Schlumberger (SLB 89.35, +0.74) is getting a boost after topping the S&P Capital IQ consensus EPS estimate by two cents and announcing a 28% increase in its quarterly dividend

Sprint (S 9.27, +0.19) is moving up following reports it has gotten financing proposals from banks for a T-Mobile (TMUS) bid

December Housing Starts and Building Permits will be released at 8:30 ET while December Industrial Production and Capacity Utilization will be reported at 9:15 ET. The day's data will be topped off with the 9:55 ET release of the preliminary University of Michigan Sentiment survey for January.

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