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Weekly Market Wrap: February 27, 2015
The Online Investor - Fri., Feb. 27, 1:56 PM

The eighth full trading week of 2015 comes to a close with the Dow Jones, S&P 500 and NASDAQ composite all lower in early afternoon trading on Friday.

Most actively traded stocks include Bank of America (BAC) down 1.3%, Apple (AAPL) down 0.95%, JC Penney (JCP) down 5.15%, and GE (GE) up 1%.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average, S&P 500 and the Nasdaq Composite are all higher in the last five days of trading.

Crude oil futures are lower this week, trading at $48.53 per barrel on Friday afternoon.

And Gold futures are higher so far this week, trading at $1213.77 an ounce this afternoon.

In economic news, sales of new single-family houses in January 2015 were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 481,000, according to estimates released jointly by the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development. This is 0.2 percent below the revised December rate of 482,000, but is 5.3 percent above the January 2014 estimate of 457,000. The median sales price of new houses sold in January 2015 was $294,300; the average sales price was $348,300. The seasonally adjusted estimate of new houses for sale at the end of January was 218,000. This represents a supply of 5.4 months at the current sales rate.

In the week ending February 21, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 313,000, an increase of 31,000 from the previous week's revised level. The previous week's level was revised down by 1,000 from 283,000 to 282,000. The 4-week moving average was 294,500, an increase of 11,500 from the previous week's revised average. The previous week's average was revised down by 250 from 283,250 to 283,000.

The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers declined 0.7 percent in January on a seasonally adjusted basis, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Over the last 12 months, the all items index decreased 0.1 percent before seasonal adjustment.

The energy index fell 9.7 percent as the gasoline index fell 18.7 percent in January, the sharpest in a series of seven consecutive declines. The index for all items less food and energy rose 0.2 percent in January. The all items index declined 0.1 percent over the last 12 months, the first negative 12-month change since the period ending October 2009. The energy index fell 19.6 percent over the span, with the gasoline index down 35.4 percent. The food index rose 3.2 percent, and the index for all items less food and energy increased 1.6 percent.

Real gross domestic product -- the value of the production of goods and services in the United

States, adjusted for price changes -- increased at an annual rate of 2.2 percent in the fourth quarter of 2014, according to the "second" estimate released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. In the third quarter, real GDP increased 5.0 percent.

In corporate dividend news, Gap's Board of Directors authorized the first quarter fiscal year 2015 dividend of $0.23 per share, payable on or after April 29, 2015 to shareholders of record at the close of business on April 8, 2015.

The Chubb Corporation (NYSE:CB) declared a quarterly dividend in the amount of $0.57 per share payable April 1, 2015 to shareholders of record on March 13, 2015.

Thermo Fisher Scientific (NYSE:TMO) has declared a quarterly cash dividend of $0.15 per share. The dividend will be paid on April 15, 2015, to shareholders of record as of March 16, 2015.

The Home Depot (NYSE:HD) declared a 26 percent increase in its quarterly dividend to $0.59 cents per share. The dividend is payable on March 26, 2015, to shareholders of record on the close of business on March 12, 2015. This is the 112th consecutive quarter the Company has paid a cash dividend.

And, Comcast Corporation (NASDAQ:CMCSA) increased its dividend by 11.1% to $1.00 per share on an annualized basis. In accordance with the increase, the Board of Directors declared a quarterly cash dividend of $0.25 a share on the company's common stock, payable on April 22, 2015 to shareholders of record as of the close of business on April 1, 2015.

This is the 'Weekly Market Wrap' for Friday, February 27, 2015.

Please join us on Monday for the Week Ahead Market Report.

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March 5, 2015    10:57 PM Eastern


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