The bulls fought hard to keep a few winning streaks going on Tuesday and were able to keep one but lost another. The Dow ended in positive territory before the close to extend its March winning streak to 8-straight sessions while the S&P 500 saw its streak of wins snapped at 7. The gains and losses were all minor as Wall Street searches for clues on the market’s next direction. Yesterday’s action may have been dull but fresh highs were still made and the action still favors the bulls as near-term support held.
The Dow gained 3 points, or 0.2%, to close at 14,450. The blue-chips traded up to 14,478 and another all-time high before slipping to 14,412 and rebounding. The index is just 50 points away from clearing our 14,500 target with short-term support coming in at 14,350.
The S&P fell nearly 4 points, or 0.2%, to settle at 1,552. The index made a fresh 5-year high of 1,556.77 but slipped to 1,548 late in the day before recovering a little to hold 1,550 by the close. There next 25 points represent support and resistance with the bears trying to get near 1,525 and the bulls trying to push all-time highs (1,576).
The Nasdaq dropped over 10 points, or 0.3%, to finish at 3,242. Tech was weak all day and tested 3,229 before bouncing off its lows. There wasn’t a lot of room to work with in holding 3,250 but the losses were somewhat contained and 3,225 held for the second-straight session.
The Russell 2000 declined 2 points, or 0.2%, to end at 940 while the S&P Volatility Index ($VIX, 12.27, up 0.71) advanced 6% to finish back above 12.
We wanted to highlight the major earnings announcements for the rest of the week:
Express (EXPR, $18.85, down $0.05), Guess’ (GES, $27.39, down $1.19), Hot Topic (HOTT, $13.84, flat), Men’s Wearhouse (MW, $29.17, down $0.27), TravelCenters of America (TA, $7.15, up $0.02), Tree.Com (TREE, $16.24, down $0.51), Vera Bradley (VRA, $24.67, up $0.28)
Carmike Cinemas (CKEC, $15.39, down $0.11), Dynegy (DYN, $20.10, up $0.40), Ebix (EBIX, $15.59, up $0.10), Krispy Kreme Doughnuts (KKD, $14.63, down $0.10), Lifetime Brands (LCUT, $10.89, up $0.09), Buckle (BKE, $46.16, down $0.69), Ulta Salon, Cosmetics & Fragrance (ULTA, $87.19, down $2.63), Zumiez (ZUMZ, $22.54, down $0.42)
Brown Shoe (BWS, $17.66, up $0.09), Hibbett Sports (HIBB, $51.36, down $0.02)
While we probably won’t take a flyer on any of these names, we do believe ULTA could make a 5% move one way or the other, as well as MW. (all quotes are from Tuesday’s close)
With 4Q/2012 earnings winding down, the end of March is usually reserved for warnings or upping guidance. We know it’s early, but go ahead and circle April 8th on the calendar for the official 1Q kickoff for 2013 earnings.
Futures are improving after a better-than-expected Retail Sales as they came in at 1.1% versus expectations for a gain of 0.5%: Dow (+3); S&P 500 (+2); Nasdaq 100 (+2). Subscribers, check the Members Area for the updates.