US FINANCIAL MARKET
- The 116-year-old Dow Jones industrial average jumped o.7% climbing above the 14,164.53 record closing level it reached before the global financial crisis, powered by China’s strong economic growth targets and a jump in European retail sales.
- While the Dow has more than doubled in the four years since its bear-market low, its valuation remains 20% less than the price-earnings (PE) ratio at the previous peak and 15% below its 20-year average.
- Qualcomm raising its quarterly cash dividend by 40% (to 35 cents from 25 cents) and introduced a new $5 billion stock repurchase program.
- CNBC and The Wall Street Journal reported that Deutsche Bank is shopping around the sale of 10 million shares of J.C. Penney’s stock held by Vornado Realty Trust, a real estate investment trust.
US ECONOMY & POLITICS
- US ISM services index rose to 56 from 55.2 in January, highest level since February 2012. The new orders index jumped to 58.2 from 54.4, while orders for exports rose to their highest level since May 2007 with that gauge at 60.5, up from January’s 55.5. The measure of the backlog of orders was at its highest since May 2011 at 54.5 against 49. But the employment index weakened slightly, edging down to 57.2 from 57.5 in January.
- U.S. home prices rose 9.7% in January from a year ago. Prices rose in all states except Delaware and Illinois. The states with the biggest price gains were Arizona with 20.1%, Nevada, with 17.4%, and Idaho, with 14.9%. California and Hawaii rose 14.1% and 14%, respectively.
- The federal regulator who oversees Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac is putting forward a plan to combine the two mortgage giants’ divisions that issue billions of dollars in securities backed by home loans. The government rescued the companies in 2008 with $170 billion in aid. So far, the companies have repaid a combined $52.3 billion.
EUROPE & WORLD
- Markit’s Eurozone Composite PMI, a broad gauge of activity at thousands of companies across the 17-nation bloc, fell to 47.9 in February from 48.6 in January. While British services companies had a slightly better month than expected the divide between Germany and France, the euro zone’s two biggest economies, grew to its widest since the currency union’s inception in 1999.
- China’s services sector cooled in February. The HSBC Services Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) fell to 52.1 from January’s 54.0, but still held above 50. The services sector accounted for 46% of China’s GDP in 2012.
- Australian retail sales advanced faster than economists forecast in January, led by gains in household goods as interest-rate reductions encouraged spending.
- Philippine inflation accelerated to the fastest in five months in February on higher food prices.
- Taiwan’s inflation quickened to the fastest in six months in February.
TODAY in HISTORY
- The Boston Massacre, a pre-Revolutionary incident, occurred (1770)
- In the last free elections in Germany until after World War II, the Nazi Party received 44% of the vote (1933)
- Winston Churchill delivered his famous Iron Curtain Speech (1946)
- Soviet dictator Josef Stalin died at age 73, after 29 years in power (1953)
Sources: Reuters, Yahoo Finance, Google Finance, Bloomberg, CNN Money.
This information has been prepared from sources believed to be reliable, but no representation is being made as to its accuracy or completeness. The information provided should be used only as general information and is not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. The economic forecasts set forth in the material may not develop as predicted. All indices, such as the S & P 500, are unmanaged and may not be invested into directly.