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Bob Carey
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  US Stocks Week Ended March 14, 2014
Posted Under: Weekly Market Commentary

After setting a record high last week, the S&P 500 fell as tensions in Ukraine and weak Chinese economic data trumped an improving American economy. While the U.S. equity markets have mainly overlooked tensions between Russia and Ukraine to date, increased pressure of sanctions by the U.S. and European Union on Russia added to market uncertainty. Adding to global fears, Chinese growth was weaker-than-expected as industrial output, investment and retail-sales all missed economic estimates. U.S. economic data points were mainly positive with February retail sales increasing for the first time in three months, even though snow storms and colder-than-normal temperatures persisted. In addition to strong retail sales, the number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits dropped more than expected last week. Turning to stock news, McDonald's Corp. gained after announcing plans to reduce operating costs and increase cash returned to investors through additional debt. Teen retailers continued to struggle as American Eagle Outfitters Inc. issued weak guidance due to the harsh weather conditions and Urban Outfitters, Inc. reported a 4.5% decrease in same store comparable sales. In addition, Aeropostale Inc. fell 20% on Friday after announcing mounting losses, increasing investors' concern of a potential cash crunch. Ulta Salons jumped after guiding to mid-teen bottom line growth for 2014. Looking ahead, Crimea's referendum vote Sunday on whether or not annex from Ukraine and Russia's response to the vote will likely affect the market's risk appetite in the near term. We view the near term sell-off as a buying opportunity as corporate balance sheets remain flush with cash and the U.S. recovery continues to accelerate, despite emerging market weakness.
Posted on Monday, March 17, 2014 @ 8:28 AM • Post Link Share: 
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These posts were prepared by First Trust Advisors L.P., and reflect the current opinion of the authors. They are based upon sources and data believed to be accurate and reliable. Opinions and forward looking statements expressed are subject to change without notice. This information does not constitute a solicitation or an offer to buy or sell any security.
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