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Oil’s Drag Returns for Stocks; Car Sales and Earnings in Focus

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February 2, 2016

(Tuesday Pre-Market) Oil and stocks decoupled for a day, allowing the broad equity averages to close essentially flat to start the week despite another sharp drop in crude prices. Well, the two just can’t stay away from each other. Oil prices retreated again overnight and dropped some 3% early Tuesday, this time dragging energy shares and the broader stock averages down with them.

Car sales, especially in the wake of disappointing consumer spending results earlier in the week, could capture market attention Tuesday; they’ve been relatively strong in recent months. Earnings continue to hold court, including results from: Exxon Mobil (XOM), Google-parent Alphabet (GOOGL, GOOG). Coming up in after-hours earnings are Chipotle (CMG) and Yahoo (YHOO), which pledged an announcement about a “narrowing” focus, according to financial media. Street analysts expect YHOO revenue to fall under $1 billion for the first time in 11 years.

S&P 500 stock chart

FIGURE 1: EYES ON 1900.

The S&P 500 (SPX), plotted here through Monday on TD Ameritrade’s thinkorswim® platform, ended flat. The 1900 line is much buzzed about as potential chart and psychological market support. Data source: Standard & Poor’s. For illustrative purposes only. Past performance does not guarantee future results.

Can 1900 Hold? The S&P 500 (SPX) wrapped up virtually flat trading, moving as low as 1920 at one point in Monday’s session (figure 1). Support, largely psychological, comes in for SPX at 1900, and base formation there could potentially set up a bullish charge. Conversely, a significant break below this line could stir bearish rumblings anew.

Google Reigns? Google-parent Alphabet (GOOGL, GOOG) surged post-earnings, landing its market capitalization above that of Apple’s (AAPL) for the first time. The company, which broke out core Google earnings, reported profit of $4.9 billion, or $7.06 a share, compared with $4.6 billion, or $6.79 a share, in the year-earlier period. Excluding one-time items, Alphabet reported earnings of $8.67, topping the FactSet consensus estimate of $8.10. Total revenue rose to $21.3 billion, versus $14.5 billion last year, beating expectations of $16.9 billion. Revenue from its core Google business jumped 18% to $21.2 billion.

And From the Oil Patch… Exxon Mobil (XOM), the largest U.S. oil company, reported a drop of 58% in Q4 profit pinned on depressed oil prices. The decline was actually smaller than Street analysts feared.  Profit of $2.78 billion, or $0.67 a share, down from $6.57 billion, or $1.56 a share, a year earlier. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expected a per-share profit of $0.63. MarketWatch notes Exxon hasn't logged a quarterly profit below $3 billion since 2002. U.S.-listed shares of BP (BP) traded lower early Tuesday after it reported a Q4 loss.

Good Trading,

JJ

@TDAJJKinahan

economic release schedule

FIGURE 2: ECONOMIC AGENDA.

This week’s U.S. economic report calendar. Source: Briefing.com.

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