Morning Greek Report - Government Shutdown, ECB Hike, Jobless Claims, Chain Store Sales, Oil, Japan, Spain, BBBY, GE
morning Greek report

Greek Factor: Neutral

The "Greek Factor" ranges from +3 to -3, and is a subjective measure of The Greek's view of the market impact of individual and aggregate news and the day's scheduled events.

business columnistOur founder earned clients a 23% average annual return over five years as a stock analyst on Wall Street. "The Greek" has written for institutional newsletters, Businessweek, Real Money, Seeking Alpha and others, while also appearing across TV and radio. While writing for Wall Street Greek, Mr. Kaminis presciently warned of the financial crisis.


Morning Greek Report - Government Shutdown, ECB Hike, Jobless Claims, Chain Store Sales, Oil, Japanese Economy, Spanish Bonds, BBBY, GE

Weekly Initial Jobless Claims

Greek Factor: +1

Weekly Jobless Claims were reported this morning for the period ending April 2nd. Good news! New unemployment insurance filings fell by another 10K last week, to 382K. The prior week's count was revised higher though, to 392K from the initially reported 388K. Economists had been looking for a reading of 385K, but this is less important than the weekly change, given the regular nature of the data. The four-week moving average for new claims filings improved by 5,750 this week, to 389,500.

Pending Government Shutdown

Greek Factor: -1

It appears the GOP would prefer a government shutdown, as its PR advisors have likely determined the negative impact to public perception of the President's Administration would benefit it in the next election. It may just be that the GOP knows the President will do whatever he can to avoid a shutdown, and so it's best to push to the midnight hour. If no deal is reached by Friday at midnight, there will be no money left to fund Saturday's business. A shutdown will affect the economy: key agencies that have dealings with day-to-day business will halt work; the Small Business Administration will stop processing new loans; the FHA guarantees behind 1/3 of new mortgages would dry up; and the IRS would stop processing paper tax returns.

European Central Bank (ECB) Raises Interest Rate

Greek Factor: -1

The ECB raised interest rates to combat inflation, an important change in monetary policy that could be construed both ways with regard to the "Greek Factor," or its market impact today or in the near-term. The ECB hiked its key rate by a quarter of a percentage point, to 1.25%, as it warns of rising commodity, food and energy prices. Jean-Claude Trichet still noted the absolute level of the European rate still supported economic expansion. The reason I have attributed a negative Greek Factor to the move is that it raises market perception of an inflation reality, a scenario that is of course still being debated in Washington. The hike should support American trade with Europe though, as long as the Americans are not missing a real inflation threat. The Bank of England (BOE) also made its monetary policy today, holding its key lending rate steady this month.

Retail Chain Store Sales

Greek Factor: +1

The early take on March same-store sales seems to indicate most retailers beat expectations, which were set low due to high gasoline prices and early indications of issue. However, perhaps winter-beaten consumers made a dash to relieve pent-up demand, and certainly the gasoline price situation has been a steadily deteriorating one; so that maybe gas prices had not reached the important threshold soon enough in March to affect overall spending. In aggregate, retailers were expected to post their first monthly decline in same-store sales since August 2009, partly due to the late April falling of Easter this year. A tally of analysts covering 25 companies had consensus expectations looking for a 0.7% sales decline in March. Thus far, with 17 reporting, 11 showed gains in sales. That news should help the early trading today.

Oil to $109

Greek Factor: -1

The continual rise of oil prices is a negative and intensifying factor to stocks. With the euro strengthening, and given the recent Chinese rate hike, the dollar lost some ground today. With oil priced to the dollar, that means Americans are paying more for it. It would seem we are trading exports for higher food and energy prices, and I'm not so sure this is the best long-term bet for us...

Bank of Japan Cuts Economic Outlook, Issues Aid

Greek Factor: +1

The economic forecast was clearly expected to be reduced, and so the aid issuance supported Japanese shares today and looks a positive for the US markets as well. The BOJ offered a 1 Trillion Yen ($12 Billion) lending facility for companies impacted by the earthquake, which will offer companies 1 year loans at near zero interest rates. This is certainly helpful. The bank kept its rate at zero to 0.1%, and maintained its asset purchase program levels (previously increased by 5 Trillion Yen). Anything new the BOJ could do would support its markets and the global markets at this point. However, it appears there's a growing concern about the developing economic impact to the world's third largest economy.

Spain Bond Issuance

Greek Factor: +1

Spain issued new bonds today and solid demand showed no ill effects from its neighbor and fellow PIIGS nation, Portugal. Spain's offering was just above the mid-range of its target and the yield just short of an offering it made a month ago. So, therefore, the markets received it with open arms.

Corporate News Wire

Bed Bath and Beyond Benefits on Results

Bed Bath and Beyond (Nasdaq: BBBY) shares were up about 10% in early trading Thursday, as it benefited on its EPS results. BBBY basically blew out estimates for $0.97 a share, earning $1.12 in its most recent quarter. The company also raised forecasts for its full year, putting its range above the consensus analysts had seen. With sales also exceeding analysts' forecasts, the shares marked a new 52-week high today.

GE Pushes into Solar Energy

GE (NYSE: GE) announced it will build a factory in the US, the largest of its kind, that will employ 400 people. GE is investing $600 million, buying the remaining stake in PrimeStar Solar, a maker of thin film solar panels. The plant will produce enough panels to power 80K new homes annually. GE also announced over 100 megawatts of new commercial agreements, supporting its effort. The conglomerate's shares are down fractionally in early trading.

The Wells Fargo (NYSE: WFC) Securities Tech Transformation Summit highlights a presentation by Dell (Nasdaq: DELL). Ariad Pharmaceuticals (Nasdaq: ARIA) presents at the Leerink Swan & Co. Oncology Roundtable Conference. Analysts and shareholder meetings are scheduled for Newmont Mining (NYSE: NEM) and Discover Financial (NYSE: DFS).

The EPS schedule highlights Constellation Brands (NYSE: STZ), Burger King (NYSE: BKC), AZZ Inc. (NYSE: AZZ), China Gerui Advanced Materials (Nasdaq: CHOP), Lakeland Industries (Nasdaq: LAKE), Movado Group (NYSE: MOV), Penford (Nasdaq: PENX), Peoples Educational Holdings (Nasdaq: PEDH), Pier 1 Imports (NYSE: PIR), Rite Aid (NYSE: RAD), RPM International (NYSE: RPM), Greenbrier (NYSE: GBX), The9 (Nasdaq: NCTY) and several others.

EIA Natural Gas Report

The EIA's Natural Gas Report for the week ending April 1 showed a net draw from inventory of 45 Bcf. Inventory stood 86 Bcf less than last year at this time and 10 Bcf above the five-year average for this time of year.

Consumer Credit Report

February Consumer Credit data are due for release at 3:00 PM today. Economists surveyed by Bloomberg are looking for a $5 billion increase in consumer credit levels in February, matching January's increase.

Please see our disclosures at the Wall Street Greek website and author bio pages found there. This article and website in no way offers or represents financial or investment advice. Information is provided for entertainment purposes only.

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