Slow Ascent for Market Continues: Dave's Daily

Jobless Claims (358K vs 370K expected) continued to show some improvement but inside the numbers was one standout data point--there was no gain in "new hires". So we're still just seeing people falling off the roles. Greece was back in the news with an announcement of an agreement. Later in the day came some grumbling about a lack of details with some saying things won't get sorted-out for another 15 days. (Per the AP: "German Finance Minister Schaeuble. Greek deal on spending cuts appears to not yet fulfill bailout conditions.") The final outcome (for this round) theoretically comes on the March 20 th drop dead date. But here's the calendar for what's ahead in the euro zone.  

Now the mortgage fraud settlement which everyone is supposed to feel good about presents itself; but, in fact (thank God for bloggers!) the deal is not what it seems as outlined by Naked Capitalism.

Earnings results featured poor results from banks Credit Suisse (CSGN) and ING Groep N.V. (ING both constituents in KBE) as they took big write downs from losses in the region. Pepsi (PEP a constituent in XLY) also featured disappointing results and will lay-off 8K workers globally. Tech remained the primary leader with Apple (AAPL, the heaviest weight in QQQ and XLK) still dominating markets overall as firms (Needham & Co and Canaccord Genuity) raised price targets to $620 and $655 respectively. Also Akamai Technologies (AKAM, a constituent in FDN) was sharply higher on earnings while investors didn't like guidance for Cisco (CSCO, a constituent in IGN) or the report from Groupon (GRPN) but later cheered the late report from LinkedIn (LNDK both constituents in SOCL).

Gold prices were flat as the dollar see-sawed between gains and losses. Oil settled higher (USO) as did base metals like copper (JJC) while bond prices (IEF) fell.

Volume continues on the light side and breadth per the WSJ was mildly positive to mixed overall. We're still much overbought.

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