What’s Happening In The Market Now..
- Markets were down sharply at the open this morning as economic data continues to post mixed results.
- The Commerce Department said January retail sales rose one percent from December after having fallen for six straight months. Economists had expected January sales to show a drop of 0.8 percent.
- The Labor Department said the number of U.S. workers filing new claims for unemployment benefits eased last week but by less than expected.
- Crude oil prices are down after a weekly report from the Energy Information Administration showed crude inventories jumped by 4.7 million barrels for the week ended Feb. 6.
- Mortgage rates fell during the past week, pushed lower from the uncertainty stemming from the bank bailout plan unveiled Tuesday. The average 30-year fixed mortgage rate fell to 5.34% from 5.70% for the week ended Feb. 11, according to Bankrate.com.
Prices of existing U.S. single-family homes dropped a record 12.4 percent in the fourth quarter from a year earlier to the lowest level since 2003.
- Sectors starting the day out strong include healthcare facilities, soft drinks and airlines while building products, REITs, education services and real estate services are down.
Stocks Most Watched Today
Home Depot, Inc (HD), Kohl’s Corp. (KSS), Burger King Holdings Inc. (BKC), Delta Air Lines Inc. (DAL), Willis Group Holdings Ltd. (WSH), Northrop Grumman Corp (NOC), Apollo Group Inc (APOL), Equinix Inc (EQIX), NetApp Inc (NTAP), Activision Blizzard Inc (ATVI), Hewlett-Packard Co (HPQ), Oracle Corp (ORCL), United States Steel Corp (X), Gildan Activewear Inc (GIL) and AFLAC Inc (AFL).
Today’s News Leaders…
Coca-Cola Co (KO), Aetna Inc (AET), Waste Management (WMI), Gilead Sciences Inc (GILD) and Viacom Inc (VIA).
Oracle Corp (ORCL), Aeropostale Inc (ARO), Intel Corp (INTC), NIKE Inc (NKE) and Schering Plough Corp (SGP).
ETFs and HOLDRs Watched Today…
iShares DJ US Oil and Gas Exploration and Production Index Fund (IEO), Pharmaceutical HOLDRS (PPH), ProShares Ultra S&P500 (SSO), iShares Nasdaq Biotechnology Index Fund (IBB) and SPDR S&P Metals and Mining (XME).
Tip of the Day…
When you are considering which accounts to draw down and when, make sure your plan draws down tax-deferred accounts before you get penalized. Failure to take the required minimum distribution from many tax-deferred accounts can result in substantial penalties.