Thursday, April 26, 2012 -Home Sales Up, Expectations Up; Beard on Beard Violence; Spain Sinks; Draghi’s Pretzel Logic; Big Banks Payday Tactics

DOW + 113 = 13,204SPX + 9 = 1399NAS + 20 = 305010 YR YLD -.02 = 1.96%OIL – .50 = 104.05GOLD + 12.80 = 1658.10SILV + .38 = 31.19PLAT + 16.00 = 1574.00 The number of people seeking U.S. unemployment benefits last week was 388,000; basically unchanged from a week earlier. The National Association of Realtors’ pending-home-sales index rose 4.1% to 101.4 in March. March pending home sales were up 12.8% from year-ago levels. A sale is listed as pending when the contract has been signed but the transaction has not closed. Sales of existing homes during the first quarter were the strongest in five years, and the NAR said the pending home sales data suggests the second quarter will be equally good. Pending sales are now at a 23 month high. We told you there would be a push to stimulate the economy by way of the housing market. It probably started with Operation Twist, and the Fed buying mortgage backed securities, and then continued with the push for HARP 2.0. We had a plethora of earnings reports today. Pulte Homes posted a smaller than expected loss. Citrix Software posted a better than expected profit. Amazon.com reported better than expected earnings even though profit dropped 35% from a year earlier. Of the 51% of the S&P 500 companies that have reported first-quarter results so far, 72.4% have reported earnings above expectations, 11.8% reported earnings in line with expectations and 15.7% reported earnings below estimates. It’s all about expectations. …

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