After last night’s revelry, the markets and exchange traded funds (ETFs) this morning have health care, job numbers and leading indicators on the brain. In early trading, the markets are green (perhaps like many of us).
The health care conversation continues along. House Democrats this morning are keeping on with their push to get health care legislation up and running, stating that it would expand coverage and lower the gargantuan federal deficit. Democrats are fast and furiously working to lure Republicans to their side and have worked to make the bill more appealing to both parties. Health Care Select Sector SPDR (NYSEArca: XLV) is up slightly this morning. [Biotech ETFs for Any Risk Appetite.]
Teva Pharmaceutical (NASDAQ: TEV), the world’s largest generic drug maker, has snapped up Ratiopharm, a German generic drug maker, for a cool $5 billion. Ratiopharm is a privately owned company. iShares MSCI Israel (NYSEArca: EIS) is down a hair this morning; Teva is 22.5% of the fund. [Emerging Market ETFs: A Unique Growth Story.]
Growth in the second half of the year could be slower, if February’s leading indicators are to be believed. The index grew 0.1% last month, the smallest gain in nearly a year. The good news is that the gain met expectations, and some of the indicators may have been sent lower as a result of the Snowpocalypse.
Inflation? Not right now. Consumer prices stayed steady last month and showed no movement overall. Excluding food and fuel costs, though, prices gained 0.1%. In fact, energy costs declined 0.5% and food rose 0.1%. Between rock-bottom rates and billions in stimulus dollars floating around out there, inflation has been a real concern, but these numbers show that it’s not exactly imminent. PowerShares DB Agriculture (NYSEArca: DBA) is up 0.6% so far today. [6 ETFs for the Agriculture Recovery.]
The number of workers filing new claims for unemployment benefits dropped once again last week for the third straight week. Despite those decreases, though, they’re still at very high levels that continue to concern lawmakers.
The opinions and forecasts expressed herein are solely those of Tom Lydon, and may not actually come to pass. Information on this site should not be used or construed as an offer to sell, a solicitation of an offer to buy, or a recommendation for any product.