Apple shares closed at an all-time high of $100.53 this week, as anticipation for the launch of new products rose – including the release of a possibly larger iPhone. (1) In a tell-all event, trader Kirt Christensen reveals a little-know market sector that has allowed him to make $1.4 million – read the full story here. Dollar General offered $9.7 billion to buy competitor Family Dollar – exceeding the $8.5 billion bid made by Dollar Tree last month. The announcement had Dollar General’s shares climbing 12 percent to close at $64.14, while Family Dollar’s shares rose 4.9 percent to $79.81. Dollar Tree’s shares fell 2.4 percent to $54.26. (2)
U.S. home builder confidence rose to a 7-month high of 55 in August versus forecasts for an unchanged reading of 53, as “historically low mortgage rates and increased employment are bringing home purchases within reach of more Americans.” (3) U.S. housing starts jumped 15.7 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.093 million units in July versus forecasts of 961,000 units. Applications for building permits climbed 8.1 percent to 1.052 million units – exceeding forecasts of 1.005 million. (4) As anticipated, U.S. consumer prices rose just 0.1 percent in July as a 0.3 percent downturn in gasoline prices help to offset a 0.4 percent rise in food prices. Core-prices also increased 0.1 percent – missing forecasts for a gain of 0.2 percent. Year-on-year, prices rose 2 percent while core-prices advanced 1.9 percent. (5) U.K. inflation slowed more than expected in July – falling 0.3 percent for the month to bring the full-year gain to just 1.6 percent – as clothing prices fell. Economists had called for a monthly decline of 0.2 percent and a year-on-year advance of 1.8 percent. (6)
Target reduced its full-year profit outlook from $3.60-$3.90 a share to $3.10-$3.30, as the retailer continued to take on expenses related to last year’s data breach and Q2 same-store sales out of Canada fell 11 percent. Analysts had been looking for $3.44 share. Shares fell nearly 5 percent following the news. (7) A new unconventional day trading strategy is having truly uncommon results in helping consistently losing traders obtain mind-boggling returns – read the full story here. Home Depot’s Q2 profit rose 14 percent to $2.05 billion or $1.52 a share – topping forecasts of $1.44 a share – as sales rose 5.7 percent to $23.8 billion. The home-improvement retailer also raised its full-year outlook from $4.42 a share to $4.52. The news sent shares up 4.6 percent – marking the largest 1-day advance in more than a year. (8) Lowe’s Q2 net income rose 10.4 percent to $1.04 billion, as sales rose 5.7 percent to $16.6 billion. Diluted earnings per share rose 18.2 percent to $1.04 versus forecasts of $1.03. However, shares fell 3 percent after the company cut its full-year revenue growth projection from 5 percent to 4.5 percent. (9)
The U.S. dollar advanced to an 11-month high of $1.3356 against the euro after Fed Reserve minutes indicated that a rate increase could take place sooner than initially projected. (10) Trader reveals how he uses weekly options to make every Friday his payday – read the full story here. The pound fell against all of its 16 major peers this week, including falling to a 4-1/2 month low of $1.66442 against the U.S. dollar, as weaker than expected U.K. inflation data reinforced bets that the Bank of England will hold off on raising interest rates until next year. (11) The Canadian dollar fell to a nearly 4-month low of C$1.0980 against the U.S. dollar after data showed that “the inflation rate slowed for the first time in five months in July.” (12)
According to Wednesday’s EIA report, the nation’s crude oil supplies dropped 4.5 million barrels to 362.5 million barrels last week – well exceeding forecasts for a draw of 1.2 million barrels. Gasoline supplies unexpectedly rose by 0.6 million barrels to 213.3 million barrels versus forecasts for a draw of 1.6 million barrels. Distillates fell by 1 million barrels to 121.5 million compared to forecasts for a draw of 700,000 barrels. (13)
Natural gas storage rose by 88 billion cubic feet to 2.467 trillion cubic feet last week – exceeding forecasts for a build of 83 billion cubic feet. Supplies are 500 billion cubic feet lower year-on-year and 535 billion cubic feet below the 5-year average. (14)
Russia’s 2014 wheat harvest is projected rise 15 percent year-on-year to 57 million metric tons, with the total grain harvest projected higher at 97-99 million tons – up from last year’s 89 million. (15) Germany’s 2014 winter wheat harvest is projected higher at 26.2 million metric tons versus a previous estimate of 25 million tons and last year’s crop of 24.6 million tons. (16) A closely watched survey completed by participants of the Pro Farmer crop tour this week called for corn yields in Illinois rise 15 percent year-on-year to 196.96 bushels per acre. The estimate exceeded the USDA’s projection of 188 bushels per acre. (17) Soybean pod counts are estimated 40 percent higher year-on-year in Illinois and 38 percent higher in Iowa. The projection sent soybean prices falling to a 4-year low of $10.35 a bushel. (18)
Speculation as to how soon the Fed Reserve would raise interest rates had gold falling to a 2-month low of $1,276.20 an ounce. Silver prices also fell – dropping 1 percent to hit a 2-month low of $19.30 an ounce. (19) Palladium climbed to a 13-year high of $902.75 an ounce – marking the ninth straight day of gains and the longest run in more than a month – as concerns rose that demand will outpace supplies and top-supplier Russia was hit with sanctions. (20)
Despite a boost in cherry development brought about by recent rains, coffee production in Vietnam is expected to fall 3 percent during the 2014/15 season to 1.65 million metric tons. Robusta demand is expected to outpace supplies by 1.6 million bags this year, while total coffee demand will outpace supplies by 10 million bags. (21) Domestic orange sales fell 9.2 percent year-on-year to an all-time low of 34.96 million gallons in the 4 weeks ended Aug. 2, as prices continue rise and more competition enters the market. Over the last 10 years orange-juice demand has fallen 39 percent. (22) Sugar prices dropped to a 6-month low of 15.40 cents per pound, “as slow demand on the cash market and growing stocks at the peak of the Brazilian harvest weighed on prices.” (23)
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