Stronger than expected U.S. economic data have left the market poised for yet another weekly advance... MACRO NEWS: The U.S. government reported lower than expected weekly jobless claims and an index of retail sales for February came in significantly higher than expected. However, an index of consumer sentiment for March was meaningfully below economists' consensus estimate... Economic data out of China, meanwhile, was somewhat weak, as the country reported that its industrial production rose 9.9% in January and February, the smallest advance since October 2012... COMPANY NEWS: The Fed approved the capital allocation plans of most of the nation's largest banks, including Bank of America (BAC), Citigroup (C), Morgan Stanley (MS) and Wells Fargo (WFC). The Fed did not object to the substance of capital plans submitted by Goldman Sachs (GS) and JPMorgan (JPM), but required those two institutions to submit new plans to address "weaknesses in their capital planning processes." The central bank also approved capital plans submitted by American Express (AXP), Capital One (COF) and Discover Financial (DFS)... Most natural gas stocks advanced significantly this week as the price of the commodity rose... On a negative note, Krispy Kreme (KKD), which sells doughnuts and coffee, sank after reporting lower than expected fourth quarter adjusted earnings per share. Also, Ulta Salon (ULTA), a retailer that specializes in beauty products, plunged after its first quarter guidance came in below analysts' consensus estimate.
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