Dow Jones: 17,213.31 (+1.2%)
NASDAQ: 4,748.47 (+0.7%)
S&P 500: 2,022.19 (+1.1%)
Gold: 1,249.40 (-0.9%)
Copper: 223.50 (-1.3%)
Crude Oil: 38.52 (+6.7%)
The European Central Bank (ECB) lowered rates and increased quantitative easing to curb persistently low inflation and spur growth. It lowered the marginal lending facility rate by 5 basis points to 0.25%, the main refinancing rate by 5 basis points to 0.00%, and the deposit facility rate by 10 basis points to -0.40%. It also increased its monthly asset purchase program to €80 billion from €60 billion and extended its purchases to include non-bank issued assets.
Crude Oil remains volatile; rising on an IEA report that prices may have bottomed and falling on uncertainty about the March 20 producer meeting. It rose 6.7% to close at $38.52 per barrel. Commercial crude oil inventories (excluding the Strategic Petroleum Reserve) increased 0.8% to 521.9 million barrels from 518 million the past week. However, the national average retail regular gasoline price rose 3.3% to $1.841 from $1.783 per gallon the prior week.
The US labor market continues its positive momentum pushed by further declines in unemployment claims. Initial unemployment claims fell 6.5% to 259,000 from 277,000 the past week while continuing claims fell 1.4% to 2,225,000 from 2,257,000. Additionally, the continuing claims 4-week moving average fell 0.2% to 2,252,000 from 2,256,500. The insured unemployment rate declined to 1.6% from 1.7% the previous week.
Dick's Sporting (NYSE: DKS) recorded a 6.7% rise in sales and a 4% drop in net income for 2016. Diluted EPS fell 0.4% to $2.83 from $2.84 the past year. The sales rise was partly attributed to increased e-commerce penetration which rose to 10.3% of total sales from 9.2% while the net income drop was driven by a 7.4% increase in SG&A expenses and a 13.4% increase in pre-opening expenses. Consolidated comparable store sales dropped 0.2%.
Urban Outfitters (NASDAQ: URBN) reported a revenue increase of 3.7% and net income decline of 3.4% for 2016. However, diluted EPS rose 6% to $1.78 from $1.68 the previous year. The revenue increase was driven by better sales in the urban outfitters (up 0.6%), anthropologie (up 2.5%), and free people brands (up 14.8%) while the net income drop resulted from high SG&A expenses (up 4.8%). Comparable store sales increased 2%.
Square (NYSE: SQ) posted a 49% rise in revenue and a 37.6% increase in net losses for 2015. Losses per share increased to $1.24 from $1.08 the previous year. Revenue grew across all business segments; transaction, starbucks, software, and hardware grew 48%, 16%, 382% and 124% respectively. Net losses increased to $212 million from $154 million as operating expenses rose 44.6%. Gross Payment Volume rose 50% to $35.6 billion.
Box's (NYSE: BOX) revenue rose 39.9% while net losses grew to $202 million in 2016 from $169 million in 2015. Losses per share declined to $1.67 from $11.48 the previous year as total shares outstanding septupled. The revenue gains were driven by a growing customer base (57,000 businesses in January 2016 from 45,000 in January 2015) while the net losses were propelled by increasing operating expenses (up 24.1%).
The following companies will be releasing their earnings results next week.