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Pence Wealth Management Financial Markets Report

US FINANCIAL MARKET

  • U.S. stocks rose at the open on Tuesday, following two days of declines in major indexes, with gains in the energy and healthcare sectors leading the advance and as data showed consumer confidence increased in March.
  • Walgreen reported a lower-than-expected quarterly profit as a slowdown in the introduction of higher-profit generic medicines and a milder flu season cut into its gross profit margin. Net income slipped to $754 million from $756 million a year earlier. The company’s gross profit margin fell 1.3 percentage points to 28.8 % of sales. Sales rose 5.1 % to $19.61 billion.
  • The Walt Disney is buying Maker Studios, one of YouTube’s largest networks, for $500 million, a deal which makes Disney a major online video distributor and should help draw more teens into the Disney entertainment empire.
    • Maker, founded in 2009, is one of the largest video production networks on Google’s YouTube. Its producers target the younger millennial generation, known for its high appetite for online video.
  • Air France-KLM  said that it had chosen GEnx engines made by GE to power 25 787-9 Dreamliner aircraft it has ordered from Boeing. GE competes with Rolls-Royce to provide engines for the medium-sized long-range aircraft.
  • Google is partnering with Luxottica Group, which owns eyewear brands Ray-Ban and Oakley, to help the Web company’s Glass eyewear go mainstream.
  • Morgan Stanley shareholders will find out this week whether the U.S. Federal Reserve will allow the bank to start returning capital to shareholders in a meaningful way for the first time since the financial crisis.
  • Private equity firm Carlyle Group appointed Mike Cavanagh, co-head of JPMorgan‘s corporate and investment bank, as co-president and co-chief operating officer.
  • U.S. Senate panel to hold hearing on Caterpillar offshore taxes.
  • Five former aides to investment manager Bernard Madoff were convicted on Monday of charges that they helped their boss conceal his multibillion-dollar Ponzi scheme for years. Madoff, 75, is serving a 150-year-prison sentence after pleading guilty to running the Ponzi scheme, estimated to have cost investors more than $17 billion of principal.

US ECONOMY & POLITICS

  • U.S. consumer confidence rose in March to its highest in more than six years. The Conference Board’s index of consumer attitudes rose to 82.3, the highest since January 2008, from 78.3 in February. Economists had expected a reading of 78.6, according to a Reuters poll.
    • The expectations index rose to 83.5 from an upwardly revised 76.5.
    • The present situation index fell to 80.4 from a revised 81.0.
  • Sales of new U.S. single-family homes fell more than expected and hit a five-month low in February, pointing to continued weakness in the housing market. Sales fell 3.3 % to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 440,000 units, the lowest level since last September. Economists had forecast new home sales at a 445,000-unit pace in February. New home sales fell 1.1 % compared with February 2013.
    • Last month, sales in the Northeast tumbled 32.4 %, the biggest decline since October 2012, indicating severe weather continued to hurt activity.
    • Sales fell 1.5 % in the South, which experienced harsh weather.
    • They surged 36.7 % in the Midwest, but fell 15.9 % in the West.
  • Home Prices in 20 U.S. Cities Rose 13.2% in Year to January. U.S. single-family home prices rose in January and slightly beat expectations.
    • The S&P/Case-Shiller composite index of 20 metropolitan areas rose 0.8 % in January on a seasonally adjusted basis. Economists had forecast a 0.7 % rise.
    • Prices in the 20 cities rose 13.2 % year over year, just shy of expectations for a 13.3 % gain.

EUROPE & WORLD

  • Standard & Poor’s cut Brazil’s sovereign debt rating closer to speculative territory. Brazil had its long-term debt rating downgraded to BBB minus, the agency’s lowest investment-grade rating. S&P changed its outlook to stable from negative, meaning further downgrades are unlikely for now.
    • The downgrade of Brazil’s debt rating by Standard and Poor’s contradicts the country’s solid economic fundamentals, the finance ministry said on Monday.
  • Mexico’s government proposed giving new telecommunications regulator IFT sweeping powers to police the operations of dominant telecoms companies and TV broadcasters, right down to their prices and discounts.
  • Putin Threatened With More Sanctions as Russia Out of G-8. Group of Seven leaders said last night they won’t attend a planned G-8 meeting which was to have been held in Sochi.
  • German Confidence Falls for First Time in Five Months.

TODAY in HISTORY

  • Maryland was founded by settlers sent by the late Lord Baltimore (1634)
  • The European Economic Community was established by the Treaty of Rome (1957)
  • King Faisal of Saudi Arabia was shot and killed by his nephew (1975)

Sources: Reuters, Bloomberg.

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. 

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