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End of Day Brief - Thurs Feb. 25 - Stocks hammered / Nasdaq crushed

Stocks drop as tech gets slammed, Treasury yields climb

Equity futures were broadly weaker ahead of early data releases amid a run up in yields, though they bounced from their lows as the mostly better than expected run of economic data knocked Treasury yields from opening highs. However, the weakness seen in stocks resumed and picked up momentum during the trading day, leaving the major averages sharply lower.

ECONOMIC EVENTS: In the U.S., Q4 GDP was revised up to a 4.1% growth rate from 4.0%, though this was not quite as high a bump up as was expected. Initial jobless claims plunged 111,000 to 730,000 in the week of February 20. Durable goods orders surged 3.4% in January. An index of pending home sales dropped 2.8% to 122.8 in January.

TOP NEWS: Shares of Nvidia ($NVDA) closed 8.2% lower despite the many Wall Street analysts raising their price targets on the stock following last night's earnings report from the company. Jefferies analyst Mark Lipacis noted that Nvidia shares traded lower despite its January quarter EPS and its April quarter EPS outlook beating consensus, which he thinks is due to concerns that Crypto is driving gaming upside and because data center revenue was flattish quarter-over-quarter. However, he believes that data center is in a "digestion period," and notes that the last digestion period was a good buying opportunity.

In other earnings news, shares of Best Buy ($BBY) fell 9.3% after the home electronics retailer's mixed report. While earnings beat the consensus forecast, revenue fell short as Best Buy reported Q4 enterprise comparable sales that rose 12.6% compared to the same period of last year.

In M&A news, Merck ($MRK) and Pandion Therapeutics ($PAND) announced that the companies have entered into a definitive agreement under which Merck will acquire Pandion, a clinical-stage biotechnology company developing novel therapeutics designed to address the unmet needs of patients living with autoimmune diseases, for $60 per share in cash. This represents an approximate total equity value of $1.85B.

Twitter ($TWTR) shares gained 3.7% after the microblogging service operator held its analyst day meeting. In advance of the event, the company announced some long-term goals, including plans to at least double total annual revenue from $3.7B in 2020 to $7.5B or more in 2023. In addition, Twitter said it plans to reach at least 315M monthly daily active users in Q4 of 2023, which represents a 20% compound annual growth rate from the base of 152M mDAU reported in Q4 of 2019.

MAJOR MOVERS: Among the noteworthy gainers were Revolve Group ($RVLV) and SeaWorld ($SEAS), which rose 9.4% and 11.1%, respectively, after reporting earnings.

Among the notable losers were Teladoc ($TDOC), Papa John's ($PZZA) and Domino's Pizza ($DPZ), which fell 13.5%, 11.6% and 7%, respectively, after reporting earnings.

Reviewing Thursday's economic data:

  • Initial claims for the week ending February 20 decreased by 111,000 to 730,000 ( consensus 820,000). Continuing claims for the week ending February 13 decreased by 101,000 to 4.419 million.
    • The key takeaway from the report is that this is the lowest level of weekly initial claims since early November, which should lend some confidence to the notion that economic activity is picking up again following a late fourth quarter stupor.
  • Durable Goods Orders for January surged 3.4% m/m ( consensus 1.2%) following an upwardly revised 1.2% increase (from 0.2%) in December. Excluding transportation, durable goods orders rose 1.4% ( consensus 0.6%) following an upwardly revised 1.7% increase (from 0.7%) in December.
    • The key takeaway from the report is that it showed an ongoing pickup in business spending, evidenced by a 0.5% m/m increase in nondefense capital goods orders excluding aircraft. These orders -- a proxy for business spending -- are now up 8.3% yr/yr.
  • The second estimate for Q4 GDP was revised to 4.1%, as expected, from 4.0%. The GDP Price Deflator was bumped up to 2.1% ( consensus 2.0%) from 2.0%.
    • The key takeaway from the report is that it won't be a market mover because (a) it was largely in line with expectations (b) it didn't change much at all from the first estimate and (c) it is dated information, having been released nearly two-thirds of the way through the first quarter.
  • Pending home sales decreased 2.8% m/m in January following an upwardly revised 0.5% increase in December (from -0.3%).

  • Russell 2000 +11.4% YTD
  • Nasdaq Composite +1.8% YTD
  • S&P 500 +2.0% YTD
  • Dow Jones Industrial Average +2.6% YTD

Market Snapshot
SP 5003829.34-96.09(-2.45%)
10-yr Note -14/321.529
NYSEAdv 436 Dec 2764 Vol 1.2 bln
NasdaqAdv 528 Dec 3339 Vol 6.3 bln

Industry Watch
Strong: Utilities, Health Care
Weak: Information Technology, Consumer Discretionary, Communication Services, Materials

Moving the Market

-- Weak session amid another steep rise in Treasury yields

-- 10-yr yield briefly touched 1.61% before closing at 1.52%

-- Equity decline was broad-based and orderly

Disclosure: I may trade in the ticker symbols mentioned, both long or short. My articles represent my personal opinion and analysis and should not be taken as investment advice. Readers should do their own research before making decisions to buy or sell securities. Trading and investing include risks, including loss of principal.

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