Financial News and Notes 3/18/12 – 3/24/12


-Residential construction fell 1.1% in February, but application for housing permits reached their highest level since 2008.  3/21

-Mortgage rates have risen with the recent uptick in Treasury rates.  The 30 year fixed mortgage rate has jumped to 4.07% from 3.85% in the past 10 days.  3/22

-A gauge of Chinese manufacturing fell to a four month low in March and was the 5th straight month of contraction.  3/22

-Existing home sales fell 0.9% in February, and the inventory of homes listed for sale increased.  3/22

-Global manufacturing continues to expand in March, but fell from the level of February. 3/23

-Jobless claims continued their decent and reached a 4 year low, however the 4 week moving average remained flat as its been for the past month.  3/23

-Euro-zone business activity weakened further in March contradicting recent statements that euro zone is on path to recovery.  3/23

-New home sales fell for the second straight month. 3/24


-Amazon is purchasing Kiva, a maker of robots used in shipping, for $775 million to continue to grow their business.  3/20

-Disney expects to lose $200 million on the movie John Carter. 3/20

-Apple announced it would issue a dividend and buy back $10 billion worth of shares to return to investors a portion of the $100 billion stock pile of cash the firm holds.  Apple had not paid a dividend since 1995.  3/20

-Oracle’s fiscal first quarter profit gained 18% driven by software sales which compensated for weakness in its hardware business.  3/21

-Apple said it sold 3 million of its newly released iPad tablet computers over the weekend.  3/21

-Fedex’s fiscal  third quarter saw earnings double, however it lowered its global growth forecast to 2.3% and will scale back its staff accordingly.  It also gave earnings guidance that fell below analyst estimates.  3/23

-B of A is launching a new program that will let some home owners at risk of foreclosure remain in their homes and rent the dwelling from the bank at market rates.  3/23

-KB Homes earnings disappointed as it posted a loss and it reported expectations for weak orders for future homes.  3/24

-The shares of computerized trading firm BATS Global Markets plunged after a few seconds being listed to fractions of a cent due to a software glitch on its own trading platform.  It led the firm to pull its IPO, and called into question the functionality of the trading platform.  3/24


-Owners of the NY Mets have reached a settlement with the court appointed trustee for investor Bernie Madoff’s firm for $162 million.  3/20

-Brazil announced it would not allow executives of Chevron and Transocean to leave the country and will be bringing criminal charges stemming from an oil spill in November.  3/20


-Oil prices fell 2.3% to $105.61 a barrel after comments by Saudi officials that they will attempt to lower prices.  3/21

-US markets saw their worst weekly performance of the year as investors exhibited concern over slower growth in China.  The Dow fell 1.1% and the S&P dropped 0.5% for the week.  International markets were down as well as Japan fell 1.2% and Europe was off 2.5%.  The 10 year treasury yield finished the week at 2.237%.  3/24

There is no guarantee that any investment strategy, including those described here, will be successful. Any investment or investment strategy can lose money. Past performance does not guarantee or predict future results. You should not assume that any discussion or information contained in this newsletter serves as the receipt of, or as a substitute for, personalized investment advice from Raffa Wealth Management, LLC. This information was gathered from reliable sources but we cannot guarantee accuracy. Indexes do not reflect the fees associated with actual investments and such fees would reduce the performance illustrated.
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