Friday, February 24, 2012

Saskatchewan Screamer Reaches East;Patrick Takes Daytona Pole

A late winter storm,the Saskatchewan Screamer,has reached the East coast,giving Connecticut five inches of snow and knocking power out.It had been moving across Colorado and the Dakotas,where it left more than nine inches of snow.It then dropped hail on Georgia and high winds on Alabama,where it ripped off a school roof while 62 children were inside,but escaped unhurt.
Winds from the Saskatchewan Screamer could top 50 mph,or 80 kmh,this weekend,threatening more power lines and disrupting air travel.At 5:16 pm,the Screamer's winds were noted arriving on the Maryland/Pennsylvania border.They were noticeable,but not catastrophic at that point.Winds could reach up to 60 mph,or 96 kmh.
Danica Patrick came back from crashing Thursday to win the pole position on Friday for Saturday's DRIVE4COPD 300 NASCAR Nationwide Series race.She was in her backup car after hitting the wall,caught up in someone else's crash the day before.Patrick is the first woman to take the pole at a NASCAR race since Shawna Robinson in 1994.In the Sprint Series Daytona 500 on Sunday,Patrick will start in 29th position out of 43 because of Thursday's crash.She left Indy car racing to concentrate on stock cars this year,having been the first woman to win an Indy car race and achieved a third place finish at the Indy 500-the best ever by a female driver at that event.
The stock market logged a slight gain for the week,with the S&P 500 Index gaining 0.33%.Volume was extremely light as traders hesitated in the face of headwinds such as the Iranian crisis and a drop in new home sales.
Next week,the calendar has many data points to contemplate,such as durable goods orders,auto sales,the GDP reading,and manufacturing numbers from the Institute for Supply Management.There will also be a European Union summit on Thursday.The S&P futures rose 0.40 Friday evening,and longer maturity bond index futures gained as well.
Update:Danica Patrick finished 38th after being bumped by another car in Saturday's Nationwide Series race at Daytona,having started in the pole position.She will start in 29th out of 43 in Sunday's big Sprint Series Daytona 500 race.The Sprint Series is the major NASCAR racing series.
The Saskatchewan Screamer left property damage from Ohio to Pennsylvania.In Prince George's County,Maryland,seven firefighters were burned when high winds from the Screamer caused a fireball to form while they were fighting a house fire.The oxygen in the wind literally ignited during the house fire.Two of the firefighters were severely burned by it.
Update 2:The Daytona 500 was postponed because of rain.They will try again Monday at noon,but there is more rain in the forecast.
Update 3:Now they will attempt to start the Daytona 500 at 7:02 Monday night.Fox Sports will broadcast starting at 7:00.If it is still raining then,they will consider Tuesday.All the teams have to leave for Phoenix,Arizona by Thursday for this weekend's race there.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Knicks Lose;Market Logs Modest Gain

Jeremy Lin could not get his team to victory Friday night as the New York Knicks lost to the New Orleans Hornets at Madison Square Garden.The 89-85 loss breaks a 7-game winning streak that saw the celebrated point guard emerge from media obscurity.The full glare of the spotlight will be on Lin Sunday as the Knicks play on national television.The game will be carried by ABC beginning at 1 pm Eastern.
Commentator and NBA legend Magic Johnson was critical of Lin's performance.He's got to get a better understanding of the point guard position,Johnson feels.You've got to turn to Amare Stoudemire,who scored 26 points on the night along with Lin.Lin's job is how to win tonight,turning the ball over to Carmelo Anthony and Stoudemire.He must not get caught up in the hype.This was great for Jeremy Lin tonight.It's not all gonna be well.I just want him to go back and watch the films and get better for Sunday,Johnson counseled.
Lin turned the ball over to the Hornets nine times-the worst in his career.
The market did well this week,adding a modest 1.38%,or 8.24 on the year.Positive manufacturing reports from the Empire State and Philly Fed led the way,and hope for a Greek debt deal also assisted.
Next week will be conditioned by the Greek outcome,as well as earnings reprts from Wal-Mart,Home Depot and Hewlett-Packard.In additon,home sales and consumer sentiment numbers will be released.
The S&P futures added 4.89 ahead of the long Presidents' Day weekend,and bond index futures declined.
Wal-Mart(WMT),Home Depot(HD),Hewlett-Packard(HPQ)

Friday, February 10, 2012

Knicks Win,Electric Lin

The New York Knicks' Jeremy Lin was described by his coach Mike D'Antoni as being just an unbelievable point guard,and he certainly justified that description Friday night as he led the Knicks to a 92-85 win over the Los Angeles Lakers at Madison Square Garden.The amazing rookie scored a career high 38 points.
A product of Harvard University,the Asian American said I'm just gonna thank my teammates.It's fun just to play basketball with these guys.I'm just thankful to God.This is my dream.
Surrounded by the media,lionized by fans chanting "MVP" and even congratulated by Lakers players after the game,it could scarcely get more intense for the young man,who has four consecutive 20+ point games to his name,all of them Knicks victories.
The stock market,haunted by Greek troubles and a decline in consumer confidence,did not fare as well.All three major averages declined slightly on the week,with the S&P 500 Index stepping down 0.17%.For the year,the S&P remains in the green,up 6.76.The CBOE VIX Volatility Index climbed 21.58 on the week,signaling a resurgence of fear among the traders.
Next week,the market will deal with a number of reports,including the Empire State and Philly Fed manufacturing readings,as well as the Leading Economic Indicators and retail sales.General Motors,HJ Heinz and Campbell Soup will issue earnings figures.
The S&P futures lost 7.70 Friday evening,while bond index futures gained.
HJ Heinz(HNZ),Campbell Soup(CPB),General Motors(GM)

Friday, February 3, 2012

Celtics Continue Streak;Economy Looking Strong

The Boston Celtics won their third game in a row Friday night at TD Garden in Boston,edging past the New York Knicks 91-89.Ray Allen put Boston ahead with a three-pointer in the 4th period,followed by another three and a two.
The Celtics defense stopped the Knicks in the second half.Our defense is keeping us around the game,Boston coach Doc Rivers told his team.Your energy is good.
The Celtics have won seven of their last eight games.Carmelo Anthony has returned to the court for the Knicks,but his 26 points on the night weren't enough to overcome the Boston defense in the second half.
The Denver area is overcoming something most of the rest of the country hasn't seen much of this winter: heavy snow.Denver itself reports 13 inches of accumulation,but the foothills of the Rockies west of the city got up to four feet,or just over one meter of snow.
The market had a smooth journey on Friday when the unemployment rate dropped to 8.3% for January-its lowest level since February 2009,and the economy added a better than expected 243,000 jobs.The Institute for Supply Management also reported bigger than predicted growth in both the manufacturing and service sectors for January.For the week,the S&P 500 Index rose 2.17%,yielding a gain of 6.94 on the year.
Next week,earnings season continues with data coming in from Disney,Coca-Cola,PepsiCo,Visa and Time Warner Communications.Consumer sentiment will be reported on Friday.
The S&P futures climbed another 16.40 Friday evening,while bond index futures dropped.
PepsiCo(PEP),Coca-Cola(KO),Disney(DIS),Visa(V),Time Warner Communications(TWX)