FINALLY, STOCKS FALL: Here’s What You Need To Know

Slip And Fall

Disappointing housing and jobs data gave reasons for people to sell stocks.

First, the scoreboard:

Dow: 12,734.6, -22.3, -0.2%
S&P 500: 1,318.4, -7.6, -0.6%
NASDAQ: 2,805.3, -13.0, -0.5%

And now, the top stories:

  • A quick note on Europe: Greece’s debt swap negotions with private creditors grind on.  Meanwhile, Italy sold 5 billion euros worth of debt in a healthy bond auction and interest rates fell.  European stock markets across the board closed higher.
  • Initial jobless claims jumped to 377k, up from 352k a week ago. The number was also much worse than the 370k expected.  Not a great number, but it’s still well below 400k.
  • Durable goods orders jumped 3.0% in December, beating economists’ estimate of 2.2%.
  • The big miss of the day was new home sales, which unexpectedly fell 2.2% to an annualized rate of 307k units.  Homebuilder stocks took a pretty big hit. DR Horton and Lennar each fell by more than 2%.  Here Are 10 States Where You Can Get Amazing Bargains On Foreclosed Homes >
  • Despite the stocks selling off of their highs, commodity prices rallied.  Gold, silver and copper all jumped.  Crude oil topped $100, while natural gas fell. 
  • Caterpillar posted monster earnings.  The maker of earthmovers reported Q4 sales of $17.2 billion versus the expectation of $16 billion.  EPS of $2.32 beat estimates by $0.60.  Most importantly, guidance was great.  Management expects to delive $68-$70 billion in sales, which was well ahead of the expectation of $67 billion.  Caterpillar: This What The World Will Be Like In 2012 >
  • 3M, the maker of Post-Its and various consumer goods, announced EPS of $1.35, which beat expectations.  Net sales came in line with expectations.  Management noted deterioration in Western Europe and weakness in consumer electronics.  However, the company also saw healthy amounts of growth in Latin America, Canada, and the U.S.
  • Netflix, the momentum stock that just couldn’t do it last year, seems to have gotten its groove back.  The DVD rental company reported revenue of $876 million and EPS of $0.73.  Analysts were expecting $857 million and $0.55, respectively. The stock jumped 22.0% today.
  • Don’t Miss: Frank Holmes’ EPIC Presentation On The China Boom, And What It Means For Commodities >