The succinct summation of the February 15, 2013 week’s events:
1) M&A activity picking up: Berkshire bought H.J. Heinz Co. for $23B. American Airlines merged with US Airways to create the world’s largest airline. Comcast bought the remaining portion of NBC.
2) Thompson Reuters/University of Michigan index of consumer sentiment increased to a 3 month high, climbing to 76.3.
3) Retail sales grew 0.1% (0.2% excluding the auto sector) in January. Sales were up 4.7% from January 2012.
4) Initial claims for unemployment benefits dropped 27,000 to 341,000.
5) U.S equity markets continue their steady climb higher as large caps, small caps, transports and financials all make new highs.
6) NFIB‘s small-business optimism index rose 0.9 points to 88.9 in January.
7) February 2013 Empire State Manufacturing Survey indicates that conditions for New York manufacturers improved for the first time since the summer of last year, with the index at 10.04.
8) Capacity Utilization improved from 78.8% to 79.1% in January
9) Ackman/Icahn silliness continues, which means there is no sequestration talk to scare investors.
10) Former LAPD officer Christopher Dorner found and killed in a gun battle.
1) Currency markets remain in a frenzy as Japanese Yen freefalls. G7 statement Tuesday was vague and uncertain.
2) CBOE Market Volatility Index lowest level since 2007, showing market complacency.
3) China surpassed the U.S. to become the world’s biggest trading nation in 2012.
4) Confidence among small business owners remains close to record lows.
5) American Association of Individual Investors saw bullish sentiment fall to 42.25% from 42.77%.
6) Gas Prices increased 3 cents per gallon to $3.61 week. Price of oil has now increased 10% from December to January.
7) U.S. Industrial production fell 0.1% in January following biggest back-to-back gains in three decades.
8) AAII, bullish sentiment declined from 42.77% down to 42.25%, for the third straight weekly fall.
9) Over the last 13 trading days, the difference between the Dow’s intraday high and low has been just 1.35%. This phenomenon has not happened since 1986, suggesting the market is getting tired up here.
10) Walmart VP said February sales were worst in 7 years, blames payroll tax cut expiry.