Twitter shares tumbled 18 percent to an all-time low of $31.85 this week after the microblogging site’s IPO lockup expired – allowing inside investors to sell some 480 million shares for the first time. (1) Traders go beyond “buy and hold” in order to make money regardless of market conditions with a download that is being given away free by a top U.S. trading school – read the full story here. U.S. Fed Reserve Chair Janet Yellen said she foresees the economy expanding at a slightly faster pace this year – noting significant improvements in the job market. However, she warned that weakness in the housing market as well as increased geopolitical tensions could pose a possible risk to growth – stating that “a high degree of monetary accommodation remains warranted.” (2)
The U.S. trade deficit fell 3.6 percent to $40.4 billion in March, as exports rebounded 2.1 percent to $193.9 billion – marking its largest advance in 9 months – and imports rose just 1.1 percent to $234.3 billion. Economists had had projected a slightly larger decline to $40 billion. (3) The U.S. services sector advanced at its fastest pace in 8 months – rising from a March reading of 53.1 to 55.2 in April – as the index for new orders rose from 53.4 to 58.2 and business activity/production index climbed to 60.9 from 53.4. Economists had projected a smaller increase to 54.1. (4) Although the European Commission left its 2014 economic growth forecast unchanged at 1.2 percent, it lowered its 2015 projection from 1.8 percent to 1.7 percent, after reducing its inflation outlook to just 0.8 percent this year and 1.2 percent next year. The commission previously called for an increase of 1 percent and 1.3 percent, respectively. (5) Manufacturing in China fell for the fourth straight month in April – dropping from initial reading of 48.3 to 48.1 – as “both the new export orders and employment sub-indices contracted.” Forecasts had called for a reading of 48.4. (6) German factory orders unexpectedly dropped 2.8 percent in March versus forecasts for a gain of 0.3 percent, as foreign orders tumbled 4.6 percent. On a year-on-year basis, order rose 1.5 percent – missing forecasts for a 4.3 percent advance. (7)
Pfizer’s Q1 profit fell 15 percent to $2.33 billion or $0.36 a share, as revenue fell 9 percent to $11.35 billion due to increased generic drug competition. On an adjusted basis, drugmaker earned $0.57 a share – beating forecasts of $0.55 – on aggressive cost cutting measures. (8) A new unconventional day trading strategy is helping consistently losing traders obtain mind-boggling results – read the full story here. A 32 percent increase in expenses had Discovery Communications’ Q1 profit falling 0.4 percent to $230 million. However, adjusted earnings of $0.75 a share exceeded forecasts of $0.71, as overall revenue climbed 22 percent to $1.41 billion. (9) After reporting a Q1 profit of $38 million or $0.07 a share versus forecasts of $0.03 a share, Office Depot announced plans to close some 400 stores by the end of 2016 in a move that would cut costs by $75 million. The news had the retailer’s shares jumping 20 percent. (10) Chesapeake Energy’s Q1 profit surged from $15 million to $374 million, as revenue soared 47 percent. On an adjusted basis, the company earned $0.59 a share – topping forecasts of $0.48. Chesapeake also raised its 2014 production estimate from a projected 2 to 4 percent growth to between 9 and 12 percent. (11)
The Reserve Bank of Australia left its key interest rate unchanged and in line with forecasts at a record-low 2.5 percent this week, in the hopes that the low rates will boost both consumer and business spending. (12) Trader explains how what happened June 4, 2010 is allowing even the smallest investor to make a solid weekly income in just 15 minutes a week – read the full story here. As expected, the European Central Bank held its interest rate at a record-low 0.25 percent. Although the move initially sent the euro to a nearly 2½-year high of $1.3993 against the dollar, comments from the council that it could take action as early as June had the currency reversing its advance. (13) The U.S. dollar dropped to a 1-month low against the loonie on Thursday – hitting C$1.0868 – after the release of strong housing data out of Canada. (14) Despite recent signs that the U.K.’s economic recovery is accelerating, the Bank of England held its interest rate unchanged at a record-low 0.5 percent, as housing prices continue to rise. The move was anticipated by economists. (15)
According to Wednesday’s EIA report, the nation’s crude oil supplies unexpectedly fell by 1.8 million barrels to 397.6 million barrels last week. Analysts had called for a build of 1.2 million barrels that would have brought supplies to stand at an all-time. Gasoline supplies increased more than anticipated last week – climbing 1.6 million barrels to 213.2 million barrels compared to forecasts for a build of 100,000 barrels. Distillates unexpectedly declined – dropping 447,000 barrels to 114 million versus forecasts for an increase of 1.2 million barrels. (16)
Natural gas storage rose by 74 billion cubic feet to 1.1 trillion cubic feet last week – exceeding forecasts for a build of 71 billion cubic feet. Supplies are 797 billion cubic feet lower year-on-year and 982 billion cubic feet below the 5-year average. The larger-than-expected increase had prices falling 3.5 percent to $4.57 per million British thermal units. (17)
In its most recent WASDE release, the USDA raised its 2014 domestic soybean crop forecast from a previous estimate of 3.55 billion bushels to a record 3.635 billion, as farmers increase acreage. Inventories are expected to more than double this year’s estimate of 130 million bushels – reaching 330 million as of Aug. 31, 2015 versus forecasts of 285 million bushels. (18) Domestic corn inventories are projected to rise from 1.146 billion bushels to 1.726 billion as of Aug. 31, 2015 – exceeding forecasts of 1.641 billion bushels – as production rises from 2013’s record 13.925 billion bushels to 13.935 billion versus forecasts of 13.736 billion bushels. (19) India wheat exports are expected to jump from the 2012/13 record of 6.8 million metric tons to between 8 million and 10 million tons in the 12 months that began April 1, as U.S. prices advance on drought concerns and the possibility of supplies being disrupted from the Black Sea over political tensions. (20)
According to the China Gold Association, consumption of gold bars in China tumbled nearly 44 percent to 67.95 metric tons during the first quarter of the year, while total gold consumption fell 0.8 percent to 322.99 metric tons. Output was up 7.3 percent at 96.499 metric tons. (21) An upbeat economic forecast from Fed Reserve Chair Janet Yellen on Wednesday had gold prices making its largest decline in 3 weeks – dropping 1.5 percent to settle at $1,288.90 an ounce, while silver similarly fell 1.5 percent to close at $19.34 an ounce. (22)
Indonesia coffee consumption is expected to climb 33 percent to a record 400,000 metric tons in the next 2 years, as population and income per capita advances. With output projected to reach just 700,000 this year, analysts expect prices to continue their upward trend. As of May 6, Arabica stood up 83 percent for the year at $2.0225 a pound. (23) Brazil’s 2014/15 orange harvest is projected to rise 6.5 percent to 308.8 million boxes, as a 9.4 percent increase in orchard productivity more than compensated for a 2.6 percent decline in the number of trees. (24) Sugar output in Brazil’s center-south is expected to fall from last season’s 596 million metric tons to 575 million tons, as the “worst drought in decades and the country’s energy policy” has processors cutting the number of active mills to a 6-season low of 377. (25)
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