Morning Call: U.S. and European stocks higher as markets await military action against Syria; Jun E-mini S&Ps up +0.57%; Jun 10-year T-notes down -2.5 ticks.
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 ESM18 - S&P 500 E-Mini
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ESM182,776.85s-6.40-0.23%
DXY0096.335+0.234+0.24%
ZNM18119-310s-0-055-0.14%
GCM181,252.8s-3.8-0.30%
SIK1816.305s-0.176-1.07%
HGK183.0520s-0.0150-0.49%
CLK1868.38s+0.09+0.13%
RBK182.1292s+0.0023+0.11%
INCY68.80+0.95+1.40%
AOS58.33+0.11+0.19%
PLD67.43+1.78+2.71%
SLCA23.35+0.49+2.14%
BERY45.82+0.10+0.22%
ZUMZ29.15+0.45+1.57%
AWK89.49+0.53+0.60%
DQ35.13-1.98-5.34%
RETA72.16+1.61+2.28%
BBBY18.39+0.11+0.60%
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BLCM6.51+0.10+1.56%

Overnight Markets and News

Jun E-mini S&Ps (ESM18 +0.45%) this morning are up +0.57% and European stocks are up +0.41% as the markets await President Trump's decision on military action against Syria. President Trump tweeted this morning that he "never said when an attack on Syria would take place. Could be very soon or not so soon at all." UK Prime Minister May called for an emergency Cabinet meeting for today to discuss how the UK will respond to the Syrian government's suspected chemical attacks on its own people. French President Macron said a decision on how to respond to the Syrian chemical attacks will come when France and its allies "find it the most useful and efficient." Crude oil prices are just below Wednesday's 3-1/3 year high on rising tensions in the Middle East. Along with the Syrian situation, Saudi Arabia intercepted a ballistic missile fired at Riyadh Wednesday and shot down 2 drones in another part of the country as Yemeni rebels step up their attacks. A rally in European airline stocks is helping to lift the overall market on increases M&A activity after British Airways owner IAG said it could make a bid for Norwegian Airlines. Asian stocks settled mostly lower: Japan -0.12%, Hong Kong -0.22%, China -0.87%, Taiwan -0.17%, Australia -0.23%, Singapore -0.32%, South Korea +0.09%, India +0.47%.

The dollar index (DXY00 +0.11%) is up +0.19% on carry-over support from Wednesday afternoon's minutes of the Mar 20-21 FOMC meeting that signaled policy makers were leaning toward faster rate hikes. EUR/USD (^EURUSD -0.14%) is down -0.22% after Eurozone Feb industrial production unexpectedly declined for a third consecutive month. USD/JPY (^USDJPY +0.33%) is up +0.37%.

Jun 10-year T-note prices (ZNM18 -0-015) are down -2.5 ticks.

Eurozone Feb industrial production unexpectedly fell -0.8% m/m, weaker than expectations of +0.1% m/m and the biggest decline in 8 months.

U.S. Stock Preview

Key U.S. news today includes: (1) weekly initial unemployment claims (expected -12,000 to 230,000, previous +24,000 to 242,000) and continuing claims (expected +35,000 to 1.843 million, previous -64,000 to 1.808 million), (2) Mar import price index (expected +0.1% m/m and +3.8% y/y, Feb +0.4% m/m and +3.5% y/y) and Mar import price index ex-petroleum (expected +0.2% m/m, Feb +0.5% m/m), (3) USDA weekly Export Sales, (4) Treasury auctions $13 billion of 30-year T-bonds, (5) Minneapolis Fed President Neel Kashkari (non-voter) speaks in moderated Q&A in Minneapolis.

Notable Russell 1000 earnings reports today include: BlackRock (consensus $6.37), Delta Airlines (0.73), Rite Aid (-0.01), Commerce Bancshares (0.79), Bank of the Ozarks (0.86).

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

Equity conferences this week: none.

Market Comments

June S&P 500 E-minis (ESM18 +0.45%) this morning are up +15.00 points (+0.57%). Wednesday's closes: S&P 500 -0.55%%, Dow Jones -0.90%, Nasdaq -0.49%. The S&P 500 on Wednesday closed lower on ramped-up geopolitical risks in Syria that spurred long liquidation in stocks after President Trump warned Russia of impending U.S. missile strikes against Syria and Russia vowed to shoot down those missiles, which risks a confrontation between U.S. and Russia. Energy stocks rallied after crude oil prices jumped +2.0% to a 3-1/3 year high.

June 10-year T-notes (ZNM18 -0-015) this morning are down -2.5 ticks. Wednesday's closes: TYM8 +2.50, FVM8 +1.00. Jun 10-year T-notes on Wednesday closed higher on increased safe-haven demand for T-notes on escalation of geopolitical risks in Syria after President Trump told Russia to "get ready" for U.S. missile strikes in Syria and Russia's pledge to shoot down those missiles, which risks confrontation between the U.S. and Russia. T-notes were also boosted by the sell-off in stocks, which boosted flight-to-safety demand for government debt.

The dollar index (DXY00 +0.11%) this morning is up +0.173 (+0.19%). EUR/USD (^EURUSD -0.14%) is down -0.0027 (-0.22%) and USD/JPY (^USDJPY +0.33%) is up +0.40 (+0.37%). Wednesday's closes: Dollar Index -0.019 (-0.02%), EUR/USD +0.0011 (+0.09%), USD/JPY -0.41 (-0.38%). The dollar index on Tuesday fell to a 2-week low and closed lower on the decline in the 10-year T-note yield to a 1-week low, which reduces the dollar's interest rate differentials. The dollar recovered most of its losses on the hawkish minutes of the Mar 20-21 FOMC meeting.

Metals prices this morning are weaker with Jun gold (GCM18 -0.71%) -11.1 (-0.82%), May silver (SIK18 -0.85%) -0.148 (-0.88%) and May copper (HGK18 -2.17%) -0.061 (-1.94%). Wednesday's closes: Jun gold +14.10 (+1.05%), May silver +0.172 (+1.04%), May copper -0.200 (-0.64%). Metals on Wednesday settled mixed with Jun gold and May silver at 1-3/4 month highs. Metals prices were boosted by the fall in the dollar index to a 2-week low and by ramped-up geopolitical concerns in Syria which spurred heavy safe-haven demand for precious metals after President Trump told Russia it will launch missiles into Syria and Russia's pledge to shoot down the missiles, which risks a confrontation between the U.S. and Russia. Copper prices were undercut by the sell-off in stocks.

May crude oil prices (CLK18 -0.18%) this morning are down -10 cents (-0.15%) and May gasoline (RBK18 -0.67%) is -0.0134 (-0.65%). Wednesday's closes: May crude +1.31 (+2.00%), May gasoline +0.0267 (+1.31%). May crude oil and gasoline on Wednesday closed higher with May crude at a 3-1/3 year high and May gasoline at a 7-1/4 month high. Crude oil prices were boosted by the fall in the dollar index to a 2-week low and by concern about escalation of the conflict in Syria after President Trump told Russia to "get ready" for U.S. missiles to be fired at Syria and Russia's pledge to shoot down any U.S. missiles at Syria and target the sites they were launched from, which raises the risk of a U.S.-Russian confrontation. Bearish factors included the unexpected +3.31 million bbl increase in weekly EIA crude inventories (vs expectations -1.25 million bbl) and the +0.6% increase in U.S. crude production the week of Apr 6 to a record high of 10.525 mln bpd.

Overnight U.S. Stock Movers

Incyte (INCY -2.69%) was upgraded to 'Buy' from 'Under Review' at UBS with a price target of $78.

AO Smith (AOS -1.41%) was rated a new 'Buy' at D.A. Davidson with a price target of $72.

Prologis (PLD +0.03%) was upgraded to 'Buy' from 'Hold' at Jeffries with a price target of $73.

U.S. Silica Holdings (SLCA +3.23%) was downgraded to 'Neutral' from 'Buy' at Goldman Sachs.

Berry Global Group (BERY -0.34%) was rated a new 'Buy' at Vertical Research Partners with a price target of $65.

Zumiez (ZUMZ +1.20%) gained 4% in after-hours trading after it said Mar comparable sales rose +12.6%, well above consensus of +4.2%.

American Water Works (AWK +0.01%) lost 2% in after-hours trading after it announced that it had commenced an underwritten public offering of shares of 2.32 million shares its common stock.

Dago New Energy (DQ -2.95%) fell 5% in after-hours trading after it announced that it had commenced an underwritten public offering of 2 million American Depositary Shares (ADS) and intends to grant the underwriter a 30-day option to purchase up to 300,000 additional ADSs

Reta Pharmaceuticals (RETA -1.17%) jumped over 11% in after-hours trading after it said updates on a Phase 2 study of its Bardoxolone Methyl showed a significant boost to kidney function in patients with Alport syndrome.

Bed Bath & Beyond (BBBY +1.27%) sank 12% in after-hours trading after it forecast full-year net earnings per diluted share will be in the low-to-mid $2.00 range, weaker than consensus of $2.77.

QuinStreet (QNST -17.69%) soared over 20% in after-hours trading after it said claims by Kerrisdale Capital Management LLC that its business model appears "fundamentally flawed" are inaccurate and exaggerated, and according to Stephens, the Kerrisdale analysis is a rehash of past reports and the recent decline in QNST is a "great buying window."

PolarityTE (COOL -4.19%) dropped 8% in after-hours trading after it announced that it had commenced an underwritten public offering of shares of its common stock, although no size was given.

Alileron Therapeutics (ALRN +11.04%) climbed over 4% in after-hours trading after it said nonclinical data on the anti-cancer potential of its ALRN-6924 drug were published in the journal Science Translational Medicine.

Bellicum Pharmaceuticals (BLCM +1.48%) surged 27% in pre-market trading after it said the FDA lifted its clinical hold on studies of BLCM's BPX-501 for T-cell therapy.