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Market Wrap-up for Mar. 20 - The Week in Review

Shauna O'Brien Mar 20, 2015

This week, there were several notable earnings releases and economic reports, but the focus was on Wednesday’s FOMC meeting. For the first half of the week, Wall Street awaited the results of the meeting, anxious to see if the Fed would remain “patient” with raising rates.

Here is a market overview for the week ended March 20.

Monday

The week began with a market rally, due to a weakened dollar and optimism regarding the Fed meeting on Wednesday.

On the economic front, investors saw worse-than-expect data in industrial production. Industrial production rose 0.1% in February, compared to a 0.3% decline in January; analysts had expected production to rise 0.2%.

The Dow increased 1.3%, the S&P rose 1.4% and the Nasdaq gained 1.2%.

Tuesday

Before Tuesday’s opening bell, we saw a couple notable earnings releases:

  • DSW (DSW ) – Reported higher revenue and earnings and beat analysts’ estimates.
  • FactSet Research (FDS ) – Posted higher results. Revenue beat estimates, but EPS fell short.

Housing starts for February plunged 17%, primarily due to poor weather conditions.

The markets ended in the red, as investors awaited Wednesday’s FOMC announcement.

After hours, Oracle (ORCL ) reported in-line results for its third quarter. The company also announced a 25% dividend increase.

The Dow dropped 0.7%, the S&P declined 0.3% and the Nasdaq dipped 0.2%.

Wednesday

There were two notable earnings releases before the opening bell on Wednesday:

  • General Mills (GIS ) – Posted lower results, but beat analysts’ estimates.
  • FedEx (FDX ) – Reported a surge in profits, which beat estimates. Revenue increased, but missed analysts’ view.

The focus on Wednesday was on the FOMC announcement. The Fed removed the word “patient” in regards to raising rates, but noted that this does not mean that it is “impatient.” Janet Yellen hinted that it is unlikely that rates will be raised at the April meeting, which everyone pretty much already knew.

After the closing bell, Apple (AAPL ) was officially added to the Dow 30, replacing AT&T (T ).

The Dow rose 1.3%, the S&P jumped 1.2% and the Nasdaq increased 0.9%.

Thursday

On Thursday morning, homebuilder Lennar (LEN ) reported higher first quarter results, which came in above estimates. Weekly jobless claims were also reported, indicating that the number of claims increased last week.

The stronger dollar brought down oil prices, which took a toll on energy stocks.

After hours, Nike (NKE ) reported higher results. Profits beat estimates, while revenue fell short.

The Dow dropped 0.7%, the S&P declined 0.5% and the Nasdaq increased 0.2%.

Friday

On Friday morning, there were a few notable earnings releases for dividend investors.

  • Darden Restaurants (DRI ) – Posted higher results, and beat analysts’ estimates.
  • Tiffany & Co. (TIF ) – Turned a profit, but revenue declined.
  • KB Home (KBH ) – Reported lower profits, but higher revenue.

Next Week

Next week, there are a few notable dividend stocks that will be reporting earnings including Paychex (PAYX ), Accenture (ACN ), ConAgra Foods (CAG ), GameStop (GME ) and Finish Line (FINL ).

In economic news, the Existing Home Sales report will be released on Monday, the New Homes Sales report on Tuesday, the Durable Goods Orders report on Wednesday, the weekly Jobless Claims report on Thursday and GDP on Friday.

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