Barchart Morning Call
OVERNIGHT MARKETS AND NEWS

Mar E-mini S&Ps (ESH18 +0.36%) this morning are up +0.20% and European stocks are up +0.17% on reduced concerns over a global trade war after White House trade adviser Navarro said some countries may be exempt from tariffs provided they reach an updated Nafta deal with the U.S. Trading activity has been subdued ahead of the results of the ECB meeting and press conference from ECB President Draghi later this morning. M&A activity is also positive for stocks prices as Express Scripts surged 17% in pre-market trading after being acquired by Cigna for $54 billion in cash and stock. Asian stocks settled higher: Japan +0.54%, Hong Kong +1.52%, China +0.51%, Taiwan +0.73%, Australia +0.69%, Singapore +0.86%, South Korea +1.17%, India +0.96%. Chinese stocks moved higher after trade data showed China's Feb exports surged +44.5% y/y, the largest increase in 3-years. Japanese stocks gained on signs of stronger economic growth after Japan Q4 GDP was revised higher than expected.

The dollar index (DXY00 +0.17%) is up +0.18%. EUR/USD (^EURUSD) is down -0.23%. USD/JPY (^USDJPY) is up +0.06%.

Jun 10-year T-note prices (ZNM18 +0.01%) are up +1.5 ticks.

German Jan factory orders fell -3.9% m/m, weaker than expectations of -1.8% m/m and the biggest decline in a year.

The China Feb trade balance was in surplus by +$33.74 billion, wider than expectations of -$5.70 billion. Feb exports surged +44.5% y/y, stronger than expectations of +11.0% y/y and the biggest increase in 3 years. Feb imports rose +6.3% y/y, weaker than expectations of +8.0% y/y.

Japan Q4 GDP was revised upward to +1.6% (q/q annualized) from the previously reported +0.5% (q/q annualized), stronger than expectations of +1.0% (q/q annualized).

U.S. STOCK PREVIEW

Key U.S. news today includes: (1) Feb Challenger job cuts (Jan -2.8% y/y), (2) weekly initial unemployment claims (expected +10,000 to 220,000, previous -10,000 to 210,000) and continuing claims (expected -12,000 to 1.919 million, previous +57,000 to 1.931 million), (3) USDA weekly Export Sales, (4) USDA Mar WASDE crop production.

Notable Russell 1000 earnings reports today include: Kroger (consensus $0.63), Vail Resorts (3.58), International Game Technology (0.39), Burlington Stores (2.09), Marvel Technology (0.31), Cooper Cos (2.54).

U.S. IPO's scheduled to price today: none.

Equity conferences this week: UBS Global Consumer and Retail Conference on Wed-Thu, Bank of America Merrill Lynch Refining Conference on Thu, Boenning & Scattergood Water Summit on Thu, Evercore ISI Payments and FinTech Innovators Forum on Thu, J.P. Morgan Gaming Lodging Restaurant & Leisure Management Access Forum on Thu-Fri.

OVERNIGHT U.S. STOCK MOVERS

Express Scripts (ESRX -1.56%) surged 17% in pre-market trading after Cigna agreed to acquire the company for $54 billion in cash and stock.

Microchip Technology (MCHP -1.04%) was upgraded to 'Buy' from 'Neutral' at Goldman Sachs with a price target of $108.

Thor Industries (THO +0.66%) rose 3% in after-hours trading after it reported Q2 net sales of $1.97 billion, above consensus of $1.93 billion.

Align Technology (ALGN +2.71%) was rated a new 'Overweight' at Barclays with a price target of $290.

Guidewire Software (GWRE +6.97%) lost over 2% in after-hours trading after it announced proposed public offerings of $200 million of common stock and $300 million of convertible senior notes due 2015.

Devon Energy (DVN -1.21%) gained almost 2% in after-hours trading after it said it had entered into a definitive agreement to sell the southern portion of its Barnett Shale position for $553 million.

Comtech Telecommunications (CMTL +1.25%) climbed 5% in after-hours trading after it reported Q2 net sales of $133.7 million, better than consensus of $124.8 million, and said it sees full-year adjusted Ebitda of $72 million to $76 million, higher than consensus of $70.2 million.

Caesars Entertainment (CZR +1.21%) rose 3% in after-hours trading after it reported Q4 same-store adjusted Ebitdar of $505 million, higher than consensus of $502 million.

ZAGG (ZAGG +2.31%) dropped 7% in after-hours trading after it reported Q4 adjusted Ebitda of $35.8 million, weaker than consensus of $36.3 million, and CEO Randy Hales will retire, effective immediately.

Collegium Pharmaceutical (COLL -4.08%) rose 5% in after-hours trading after it said prescriptions for its Xtampza ER rose to 38,044 in Q4, up +37% q/q and net Q4 revenue from Xtampza ER was $10.8 million, better than consensus of $9.8 million.

Energy Recovery (ERII -0.72%) dropped over 5% in after-hours trading after it reported Q4 revenue of $22.4 million, below consensus of $28.1 million.

ShiftPixy (PIXY +66.15%) rallied almost 5% in after-hours trading on carry-over from a 66% surge in Wednesday's session when it said it was leveraging blockchain technology "as a digital ledger for all human capital transactions."

Viking Therapeutics (VKTX -0.99%) slid nearly 7% in after-hours trading after it said it was pushing the data from its VK2809 Phase 2 fatty liver and hypercholesterolemia study from the first half of the year until the second half of the year.

MARKET COMMENTS

Mar S&P 500 E-mini stock futures (ESH18 +0.36%) this morning are up +5.50 points (+0.20%). Wednesday's closes: S&P 500 -0.05%, Dow Jones -0.33%, Nasdaq +0.24%. The S&P 500 on Wednesday closed lower on Tuesday afternoon's resignation of President Trump's economic advisor Gary Cohn, a free-trade advocate, which fueled concern President Trump will go ahead with his proposed tariffs on metal imports and ramp up his aggressive trade policies. Stocks were also undercut by the U.S. Jan trade deficit of -$56.6 billion, which was the widest deficit in 9-1/4 years and had negative implications for Q1 GDP. Stocks recovered from their worst levels on reduced trade concerns after White House Press Secretary Sanders said some countries may be exempt from tariffs based on national security considerations.

Jun 10-year T-note prices (ZNM18 +0.01%) this morning are up +1.5 ticks. Wednesday's closes: TYM8 unch, FVM8 -0.25. Jun 10-year T-notes on Wednesday closed little changed. T-note prices found support on the the wider-than-expected U.S. Jan trade deficit of -$56.6 billion, which was negative for Q1 GDP. T-note prices were also supported by the decline in stocks, which boosted the safe-haven demand for T-notes. T-note prices were undercut by hawkish comments from Fed Governor Brainard who said stronger global growth and "very substantial" U.S. fiscal stimulus gives her confidence in the inflation outlook. T-note prices were also undercut by the Fed Beige Book that said a tight labor market was contributing to "moderate inflation" in most Fed districts.

The dollar index (DXY00 +0.17%) this morning is up +0.163 (+0.18%). EUR/USD (^EURUSD) is down -0.0028 (-0.23%) and USD/JPY (^USDJPY) is up +0.06 (+0.06%). Wednesday's closes: Dollar Index +0.019 (+0.12%), EUR/USD +0.0007 (+0.06%), USD/JPY -0.06 (-0.06%). The dollar index on Wednesday recovered from a 2-week low and closed slightly higher on the stronger-than-expected U.S. Feb ADP employment report, which was hawkish for Fed policy, and on the upbeat Fed Beige Book that stated the U.S. economy expanded at a "modest to moderate" pace.

Apr crude oil (CLJ18 -0.13%) this morning is down -14 cents (-0.23%) and Apr gasoline (RBJ18 -0.47%) is -0.0105 (-0.55%). Wednesday's closes: Apr WTI crude -1.45 (-2.32%), Apr gasoline -0.0228 (-1.18%). Apr crude oil and gasoline on Wednesday closed lower on a stronger dollar, and on the +0.8% increase in U.S. crude production the week of Mar 2 to a record high of 10.369 million bpd. Crude oil prices were supported by the -605,000 bbl decline in crude supplies at Cushing to a 3-year low and by the unexpected -788,000 bbl decline in EIA gasoline inventories versus expectations for an increase of +1.5 million bbl.

Metals prices this morning are weaker with Apr gold (GCJ18 -0.18%) -1.8 (-0.14%), May silver (SIK18 -0.12%) -0.014 (-0.08%), and May copper (HGK18 -1.43%) -0.046 (-1.45%) at a 3-week low. Wednesday's closes: Apr gold -7.6 (-0.57%), May silver -0.290 (-1.73%), May copper -0.0230 (-0.73%). Metals on Wednesday closed lower on a stronger dollar and on concern that the Trump administration's aggressive trade policies could lead to a trade war that reduces demand for industrial metals.