CHICAGO, April 20, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Zacks.com announces the list of stocks featured in the Analyst Blog. Every day the Zacks Equity Research analysts discuss the latest news and events impacting stocks and the financial markets. Stocks recently featured in the blog includeBank of America (NYSE: BAC), DuPont(NYSE: DD), Morgan Stanley (NYSE: MS) and Verizon (NYSE: VZ).
A slew of economic and earnings news provides the backdrop to today's trading action. We have reassuring news out of Spain this morning, with a decently successful auction for long-term government bonds. The earnings story is also unfolding favorably, with this morning's basket of reports from Bank of America (NYSE: BAC), DuPont(NYSE: DD) and Morgan Stanley (NYSE: MS) providing a positive backdrop. But the all-important domestic labor market picture emerging out of this morning's Jobless Claims reading is less than inspiring.
And that's not all in terms of economic reports for today: we also have readings on Existing Home Sales, Leading Indicators and a regional manufacturing survey from the Philly Fed on deck for release a little later.
Importantly, Spain held a reasonably good auction for longer-duration government bonds today, which should help allay some of the exaggerated fears that demand for the country's bonds was drying up. The clearing yield on the 10-year bond was higher than what the country had to pay in the last auction, but the improved demand picture is the reassuring takeaway, at least for today.
This morning's Jobless Claims data fails to satisfy the doubts raised by last week's surprise jump in claims and the March payroll miss the week before that. The official report says that Initial Jobless Claims dropped by 2K to 386K, but in reality the preceding week's tally was revised upwards from 380K to 388K. So, in reality, we got a 6K increase last week to 386K. The four-week average, which tends to smooth out the inherent week-to-week jumpiness of this series, increased by 5.5K to 374.8K last week.
It is unclear at this stage whether the emerging softness in labor market over the last few weeks is a reflection of economic improvement stalling or just due to complications in seasonally adjusting this data. We will know for sure in the coming weeks, but this is nevertheless a disappointing reversal.
Optimists, like myself, will continue to assign the blame for today's claims miss on the inherent difficulties and complications of seasonal adjustments. But this argument will become weaker if this negative trend fails to reverse in the coming weeks.
Maybe we can take comfort in this morning's strong run of earnings reports to get over the labor market disappointment. Results from Bank of America appear to have topped expectations, though the plethora of one-time charges makes it difficult to get a clearer view of the numbers. As with its other banking peers, credit quality at Bank of America continued to improve, with reduced credit loss provisions helping earnings.
DuPont came ahead of earnings and revenue expectations, with pricing gains and sales growth driving the outperformance.
Verizon (NYSE: VZ ) beat by a penny on in-line top-line results. Morgan Stanley also came ahead of expectations when results are adjusted for the debt valuation adjustment.
Zacks Equity Research provides the best of quantitative and qualitative analysis to help investors know what stocks to buy and which to sell for the long-term.
Continuous coverage is provided for a universe of 1,150 publicly traded stocks. Our analysts are organized by industry which gives them keen insights to developments that affect company profits and stock performance. Recommendations and target prices are six-month time horizons.
Zacks "Profit from the Pros" e-mail newsletter provides highlights of the latest analysis from Zacks Equity Research. Subscribe to this free newsletter today: http://at.zacks.com/?id=5517
Zacks.com is a property of Zacks Investment Research, Inc., which was formed in 1978 by Leon Zacks. As a PhD from MIT Len knew he could find patterns in stock market data that would lead to superior investment results. Amongst his many accomplishments was the formation of his proprietary stock picking system; the Zacks Rank, which continues to outperform the market by nearly a 3 to 1 margin. The best way to unlock the profitable stock recommendations and market insights of Zacks Investment Research is through our free daily email newsletter; Profit from the Pros. In short, it's your steady flow of Profitable ideas GUARANTEED to be worth your time! Register for your free subscription to Profit from the Pros at http://at.zacks.com/?id=5518.
Disclaimer: Past performance does not guarantee future results. Investors should always research companies and securities before making any investments. Nothing herein should be construed as an offer or solicitation to buy or sell any security.