The Nasdaq crossed 5,000 for the first time since 2000, rallying with other major stock indexes to start the week.
First the scoreboard:
- Dow: 18,280.7, +148, (+0.8%)
- S&P 500: 2,117.4, +12.9, (+0.6%)
- Nasdaq: 5,008.1, +44.6, (+0.9%)
And now, the top stories on Monday:
- In economic data, personal spending fell more than expected in January and personal income rose less than expected. Spending fell 0.2% versus an estimate of -0.1%, while income rose 0.3% compared to an expected rise of 0.4% month-over-month. In a note, Pantheon Macro’s Ian Shepherdson said spending was flattened by increased demand for utilities amid the cold weather.
- The latest manufacturing PMI from Markit ticked up to 55.1 from 53.9 last month, beating the expectation of a 54.0 reading. But the February report on business from the Institute for Supply Management missed, falling to 52.9 from 53.5 last month, versus 53.0 estimated. “Could have been worse, but west coast port disruptions and weather could still hit in March,” Shepherdson wrote. Construction spending unexpectedly fell 1.1% last month, missing the estimate of a 0.3% increase.
- The Nasdaq broke through the 5,000 milestone for the first time since the height of the tech bubble in March 2000. According to Gluskin Sheff’s David Rosenberg, this time is different for the tech index, as investors are wary over concerns of another bubble. Tech stocks are much cheaper, tech stocks make up less of the index, and their yield is higher compared to the five-year treasury note, Rosenberg noted recently.
- Shares of Lumber Liquidators fell more than 24% following a report on CBS’ “60 Minutes” Sunday that detailed the company’s several health and safety violations. The report said Lumber Liquidators was selling laminate flooring made in China with levels of formaldehyde higher than those allowed under California law. Excessive exposure to formaldehyde could cause respiratory issues and nasopharyngeal cancer.
- In a statement Monday, Lumber Liquidators responded to the “60 Minutes report,” saying: “We stand by every single plank of wood and laminate we sell all around the country and will continue to deliver the best product at the best price to our growing base of valued customers.”
- Costco announced a new co-branding agreement with Citi and Visa following the end of its prior deal with American Express. In a statement, Costco said Citi would exclusively issue its co-brand credit cards, and Visa would replace American Express starting April 1, 2016. After the announcement of the end of the old deal, analysts estimated that the Costco business was worth about $US80 billion in billed business annually to American Express.
- Genworth Financial disclosed that it has identified a “material weakness” in its internal control over some financial reporting related to its long-term care insurance unit. This weakness is related to Genworth’s wrong assumptions in its long-term care unit.
- Warren Buffett was on CNBC’s “Squawk Box” Monday morning, following the release of his annual letter to shareholders and Berkshire Hathaway’s earnings on Saturday. He told CNBC’s Becky Quick that the company has a “precise plan” for who succeeds him at the helm, amid speculation that it would be either Ajit Jain or Greg Abel, heads of Berkshire’s insurance and energy groups respectively. He also disclosed that he sold Berkshire’s entire stake in ExxonMobil to invest the money elsewhere, adding that he has “no opinion” on the future price of oil.
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