On Monday, factory orders for February fell 1.7%, compared to the previous month’s 1.2% gain.
On Tuesday, the trade deficit for February was worse than expected, coming in at $47.1 billion, compared to the prior month’s deficit of $45.9 billion. The ISM non-manufacturing index for March was 54.5, compared to the prior month’s 53.4, pointing to solid growth in the service economy. The JOLTS employment report for February showed 5.4 million job openings, down 2.8% from the prior month.
On Wednesday, the EIA petroleum status report for the week ending April 1st finally showed a drop in crude oil inventory with the stockpile falling 4.9 million barrels. West Texas Intermediate crude jumped over 5% to $37.75 a barrel on the news.
The Federal Reserve released minutes for its meeting last March and it showed some internal debate, with a couple of hawks pushing for an immediate rate hike, however, the majority were content to leave rates alone while global risks are monitored.
On Thursday, jobless claims for the week ending April 2nd fell 9,000 to 267,000, however, the Japanese Yen gained strongly against the dollar and that spooked investors. The Dow Industrials ended the day down 174 points.
After the market close, Fed Chair Janet Yellen met with her predecessors on a panel and talked about monetary policy. She said she didn’t consider last December’s rate hike a mistake as employment and inflation figures continue edging closer to the desired target.
On Friday oil prices surged on hopes of a production freeze and markets opened sharply higher. Now let’s take a look at some stocks.
Alaska Airlines (NYSE: ALK) will acquire Virgin America (NASDAQ: VA) in a deal valued at approximately $4 billion. The newly combined company will operate approximately 1,200 flights per day. American Airlines, the world’s largest airline, operates about 3,400 daily flights in comparison.
Pfizer Inc. (NYSE: PFE) and Allergan terminated their planned $150 billion merger after the Treasury Department imposed tougher than expected new rules to fight corporate inversions. Pfizer was planning to move its headquarters to Ireland to avoid the U.S.’s higher corporate tax rates. Pfizer’s Chief Executive Ian Read has said his company is in a competitive disadvantage with foreign rivals, who pay lower tax bills.
Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc. (NASDAQ: WBA) reported 2nd quarter fiscal 2016 earnings before markets opened on Tuesday. The popular drugstore chain reported adjusted diluted earnings per share of $1.31 on revenues of $30.2 billion, which is an increase of 14% over last year. The increase in sales was helped by last year’s acquisition of competitor Rite-Aid Corp.
Tesla Motors (NASDAQ: TSLA) announced Thursday that it has now received 325,000 orders for its Model 3, thus implying $14 billion in future sales. Earlier in the week, Tesla said it had received twice the number of preorders it had expected, by the end of the week the number was nearly three times expectations. While impressive, some investors raised questions about the company’s ability to meet its increasingly challenging production goals.