The last trading week of the first quarter begins with investors nervously watching the rhetoric going back and forth between Russia and the western world over the ongoing Crimea crisis, and with the knowledge that as of Monday, March 24th, mother Russia was no longer a member of the now G7 Group of Nations.
China added to the market’s uncertainty when their HSBC Flash PMI number dropped by another 0.4-point in March to 48.1. To refresh, any number or declining trend below 50 indicates a slowing of the economy, and markets have a hard time rising in the face of a PMI number that indicates a slowing economy.
Nu Skin Enterprises (NUS-N) rose by almost 18.5% to US$88.84 when a US$540,000 false advertizing fine imposed on the cosmetic company by China was deemed by the market as being…now wait for it……too low.
The new S&P/Case-Shiller 20-City Home Index left another level of uncertainty to the market on Tuesday, March 25th when it revealed that the broad measure of American home prices declined by another 0.1% in January, the third consecutive monthly drop of 0.1%.
Whether by coincidence or design, Anheuser-Busch InBev (BUD-N) announced it was closing their third Russian brewery in the past 18-months, stating officially that higher taxes and lower consumption levels were effecting its sales in that country.
Canadian National Railway Co. (CNR-T) becomes the first North American railway to state it was phasing out and replacing its fleet of 185 older DOT-111 oil tank cars that came into very clear focus in the aftermath of last September’s devastating Lac Megantic, Quebec oil spill and fire.
Only one week following the resignation of Jim Flaherty and the Bank of Montreal (BMO-T) coincidently lowers their five-year mortgage rate by 0.5% to drop it below the former Canadian Finance Minister’s line in the sand level of 3.0% to just 2.99%.
King Digital Entertainment (KING-N) is called for trading on Wednesday, March 26th and the Candy Crush Saga digital game company’s share price quickly fell below the IPO price of US$22.50 by some 15.5% and end the day at US$19.00-a-share.
The U.S. Commerce Department reported that their durable goods orders rose in February by a 3-month high 2.2%. Durable goods are large items like refrigerators that are meant to last more than 3-years.
Facebook (FB-Q) continued to show they were not afraid to spend their large cash reserves on relatively obscure companies when the giant social media company announced that it had purchased immersive virtual reality technology company (?) Oculus VR in a cash & stock deal of some US$2-billion.
ReneSola (SOL-N) shares’ fell by over 14% to US$3.37 when the Chinese solar company became the target of a U.S. Commerce Department antidumping investigation.
Silver lost another $0.23 to fall below the psychologically important level of $20 and end the day at US$19.75-an-ounce.
Citibank Inc. (C-N) had a bad day on Thursday, March 27th that saw their share price fall by 5.40% to US$47.45 following their failure of a U.S. Federal Reserve (FED) stress test of the giant bank’s readiness to adjust to another national financial crisis such as happened in 2008 – 2009.
Gold bullion succumbed to a rising U.S. dollar by falling a further $8.60 to drop below the psychologically important level of $1,300 and end the day at US$1,294.80-an-ounce.
lululemon athletica (LULU-Q) shares’ finally have a good day as they rise by over 6% to US$51.27 after the yoga-wear retailer beat the street with its 4th quarter financials.
The ever improving strength of the American housing market was reflected on Friday, March 28th in the share price of Restoration Hardware (RH-N) that rose by almost 13% to US$71.93 when the home-goods retailer reported better than expected 4th quarter financials.
Alliance Grain Traders (AGT-T) at $20.20, Enbridge Inc. (ENB-T) at $50.30 and Stella-Jones Inc. (SJ-T) at $31.98 al established new TSX 52-week trading highs, while Dundee Corp. (DC.A-T) at $15.41, Silvercorp Metals (SVM-T) at $2.11 and Westport Innovations (WPT-T) at $15.34 all established new 52-week trading lows.
For the Week – The Dow Industrials improved by 0.13% to 16,323, with the S&P 500 Index off by 0.43% to 1,858 and the NASDAQ Exchange down by 2.83% to 4,156. North of forty-nine, the TSX Composite Index was off by 0.53% to 14,261 while the TSX Venture Exchange dropped by 4.38% to 990.
Gold bullion lost another 3.04% to US$1,293, while copper finally reversed course to gain 3.04% to US$3.05, as crude oil gained another 2.14% to US$101.62 and natural gas improved by 4.48% to US$4.19. Overall, the CRB Commodities Index improved by 5.83-points to end the week at 305.90.
The Canadian loonie rose by 1.40% to end the week at US$0.9038.
The closely watched CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) eased by another 0.86-point to finish the week at a slightly calmer level of 14.41.
And Finally – In direct contrast to the media headlines, Interac reported that improved chip PIN technology helped to push Canadian debit card fraud down by some 62% in 2013 to $7.3-million.
And Finally-Finally – The Week will be taking an indefinite hiatus as Lori Kennedy has moved on to other opportunities within Canaccord, and this publication cannot be put together in a timely manner without her expertise. We thank her for her help and dedication and wish her well in the future. Meanwhile, we look forward to dropping The Week in your inbox once again in the near future.
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