August 21, 2017

Wall Street Modestly Higher, Helped by Earnings Data

The Standard Poor’s 500-stock index hit an intraday record high on Tuesday before slipping in a tight-range session, while the Dow Jones industrials got a lift from upbeat earnings.

The S. P. biotech subindex fell 1.6 percent a day after hitting a record high. The S. P. health care index slipped 0.3 percent and ranked among the worst performers of the 10 industrial sectors in the index.

Shares of United Technologies, the world’s largest maker of elevators and air conditioners, hit a record high of $105.58 and led the Dow’s advance after the company raised the low end of its 2013 earnings forecast. The stock was up 3.4 percent.

The Dow also reached an intraday record high shortly after the opening bell, within a few minutes of the SP 500’s jump to its record intraday high.

In afternoon trading the indexes were off their highs. The S. P. was 0.1 percent lower, at 1,694.69 points, the Dow Jones industrial average gained 0.3 percent to 15,590.89 and the Nasdaq composite was down 0.3 percent.

If the S. P. ends Tuesday’s session with a decline, that would be only the second down day in the last 14 for the benchmark index. The SP 500 has gained about 19 percent for the year.

“Valuations are decent, there’s positive monetary pressure, earnings are just O.K.” said John Manley, chief equity strategist at Wells Fargo Funds Management in New York. “It’s hard to get people excited but the market keeps grinding higher.”

“It will be slow over the summer, but the market will have an upward bias,” he said.

Asian markets rose after local media outlets in China reported that the government was looking to increase investment in railroad projects to reduce gluts in steel, cement and other materials as it aimed to ensure annual economic growth did not sink below 7 percent.

The reports lifted stocks across Asia outside Japan by 1.3 percent, to their highest levels since early June. They also gave an early increase to mining stocks in London, although a lack of detail made some in the markets cautious.

A flurry of merger and acquisition activity and a sharp rally in telecommunications shares added to gains across Europe in morning trade, but by the end of the session, the FTSEurofirst 300 index was 0.2 percent lower.

Among declining shares in the United States, the online-entertainment company Netflix fell 4.8 percent, a day after it reported that its show “Arrested Development” had lured new subscribers in the second quarter — but not enough to impress investors.

United Parcel Service posted a smaller quarterly profit as customers chose slower, cheaper shipping services, especially on international routes. Its shares were 0.1 percent lower.

Gold took a breather after its biggest one-day gain in more than a year. It was down 0.4 percent, at $1,331.20 an ounce, but it has recovered more than $150 from a three-year low of $1,180.71 an ounce hit on June 28.

Benchmark crude oil in the United States gained 27 cents, to $107.21 a barrel. Investors are awaiting United States crude inventory data for further clues about the outlook for demand.

Article source: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/24/business/daily-stock-market-activity.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

Wall Street in Record Territory

Stocks jumped on Thursday, putting the Standard Poor’s 500-stock index within range of its highest close on record, after the Federal Reserve chairman, Ben S. Bernanke, once again said monetary policy will remain “accommodative” for some time.

In afternoon trading the S. P gained 1.1 percent to 1,670 points, the Dow Jones industrial average rose 0.9 percent, and the Nasdaq composite was 1.3 percent higher.

More than 85 percent of shares on the New York Stock Exchange were higher on Thursday, led by gains in materials and technology shares.

Mr. Bernanke sparked a rally in equity futures Wednesday night after he said that the United States unemployment rate of 7.6 percent overstated the health of the job market and noted inflation was still below the Fed’s target of 2 percent.

“His speech last night was much more dovish than most people anticipated,” said Joe Saluzzi, co-manager of trading at Themis Trading in Chatham, N.J. “The negative side of that is that they keep sending conflicting signals, and it does spasm the market up and down.”

Wall Street has recently rebounded from a sell-off begun in late May after Mr. Bernanke first raised the prospect of an earlier-than-expected reduction in the Fed’s bond buying program. By the June 24 close, the S. P. 500 had fallen 5.8 percent from its May 21 record closing high of 1,669.16 points.

Coming off the Fed chairman’s latest comments, the benchmark index is poised to retest that record.

The remarks spurred a rally in shares and bonds globally on Thursday. The dollar tumbled and commodities like gold and copper were bolstered. United States-listed shares of Barrick Gold climbed 7.6 percent while Freeport McMoRan Copper Gold gained 4.4 percent.

Advanced Micro Devices jumped 10.8 percent after Bank of America Merrill Lynch upgraded it to buy from underperform.

Celgene, up 6.7 percent, was among the top performers after the company said a late-stage trial of its cancer drug Revlimid met the main goal of improving survival in newly diagnosed blood cancer patients.

Microsoft rose 2.1 percent after the company announced a reorganization that it said will allow the software maker to deliver multiple devices and services as a single company.

European shares hit five-week highs, led by growth-sensitive stocks. The FTSEurofirst 300 index was 0.6 percent higher at the close. Earlier, Asian shares hit a near-four-week high, with the Shanghai composite index closing 3.2 percent higher.

The dollar, which had touched three-year highs before the Fed remarks on Wednesday, tumbled 1.2 percent against a basket of major currencies, while the euro roared to a three-week high of $1.3209 before falling to $1.3051.

Article source: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/12/business/daily-stock-market-activity.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

Stocks & Bonds: Investors Stay Calm, if Cautious, as Stalemate Simmers

Politicians remain locked in a rancorous debate over impending tax increases and spending cuts, and it remains unclear if a deal will be reached by the end of the year. But investors are already betting that lawmakers will do enough to avoid heading over the so-called fiscal cliff.

Fears that the divide separating Republicans and Democrats might be too great to bridge helped send markets down in the week after the election. More recently, share prices have climbed steadily, rising for most of the last three weeks to reach their highest point since late October.

The Standard Poor’s 500-stock index ended Wednesday flat, up 0.04 percent, to 1,428.48, after briefly spiking after the Federal Reserve’s announcement that it was expanding its bond-buying programs to stimulate the economy. The afternoon drop was attributed to the Fed’s projection that the economy would grow slightly less than expected next year. The benchmark index is now up almost 14 percent for the year.

“Clearly there is no nervousness in the market at all,” said David Woo, the head of global interest rate research at Bank of America Merrill Lynch. “There is a lot of complacency.”

The current rally has been fueled by the broad consensus among investors that Congress and the White House have narrowed their differences enough to make an agreement inevitable. But these same traders and strategists also are waiting for the first sign that negotiations in Washington are going to derail. In a survey conducted by the Potomac Group, nearly two-thirds of investors said that if an agreement was not reached by Dec. 31, the Dow Jones industrial average was likely to fall at least 10 percent.

Greg Valliere, a researcher at the Potomac Group, is among a loud minority on Wall Street that believes the current confidence is misplaced, given the recent track record of politicians on finding solutions to tough fiscal problems.

“Many people in the markets feel that its unthinkable that Washington would do something this irresponsible,” said Mr. Valliere. “After following Washington for 30 years, I would argue it is not unthinkable.”

The debate over taxes and spending is not the only thing that has helped stock prices higher. A growing stream of economic data has pointed to a strengthening recovery in the housing market and an improvement in the employment picture. The Fed also has continued its efforts to support the economy by keeping borrowing costs down and pushing investors into riskier assets.

Still, Wall Street has been fixated on every twist and turn in the negotiations in Washington. A Barclays survey of 400 of its clients found that a significant majority believed that “mismanagement” of fiscal policy posed the most significant near-term threat to markets.

The state of the debate in Washington seems to vary by the hour and the politician at the microphone. Speaker John A. Boehner said Wednesday morning that he and President Obama remained “far apart” on a possible deal.

Ken Taubes, the chief investment officer at Pioneer Investments, said that despite such rhetoric, he was betting on a last-minute agreement because many Republicans had already conceded that taxes needed to rise and many Democrats, including the president, had said that spending would fall.

A failure to reach a compromise “just seems like such a low probability event given that everyone knows what has to happen, and how bad the consequences are if it doesn’t,” Mr. Taubes said.

A number of indicators, such as the price of military contractors’ stocks, suggest that Mr. Taubes’s view is widely shared. The Department of Defense is to have its budget slashed next year if there is no resolution to the negotiations. But since the election, shares of military contractors are actually doing better than the broader market.

Article source: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/13/business/investors-stay-calm-if-cautious-as-stalemate-simmers.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

Asian Markets Take Heart From U.S. Retail Sales

Although many analysts cautioned that neither development was an immediate cure-all for the problems facing the European and U.S. economies, the news helped stock markets in Asia to solid gains on Monday. European and U.S. stock futures also rose.

The Hang Seng index in Hong Kong and the Straits Times index in Singapore were up 2.1 percent and 1.5 percent by midafternoon.

The S.P./ASX 200 in Australia closed 1.9 percent higher, the Kospi in South Korea rose 2.2 percent and the benchmark index in Taiwan closed up 1.7 percent.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 index managed a rise of 1.6 percent, finishing the day at 8,287.49 points, despite comments from the central bank governor, Masaaki Shirakawa, that the prospects for the Japanese economy remained poor.

The euro was hovering just under $1.33, up from $1.3233 late on Friday. The European currency has slipped sharply since late October, when one euro was worth $1.42.

Global stock markets have also slumped in recent weeks, as the European debt crisis began to move from small, peripheral economies like Greece and undermined confidence in larger euro zone members, like Italy and even France.

The ratings agency Moody’s on Monday warned that the increasing severity of the euro zone debt crisis was putting the ratings of all E.U. nations under threat.

“While the euro area as a whole possesses tremendous economic and financial strength, institutional weaknesses continue to hinder the resolution of the crisis and weigh on ratings,” Moody’s said in a report
on Monday. “In terms of the policy framework, the euro area is approaching a junction, leading either to closer integration or greater fragmentation.”

Still, despite this grim environment, markets staged a muted rally on Monday, reversing some of the slides seen during the previous weeks.

Encouraging news from both Europe and the United States helped prop up investor sentiment.

In the United States, the Thanksgiving weekend — a key shopping period ahead of the all-important Christmas holiday season — saw unexpectedly strong spending across the nation, fanning hopes that U.S. consumers are once again daring to open their wallets.

The National Retail Federation said Sunday that spending per shopper surged 9.1 percent over last year — the biggest increase since 2006 — to an average of almost $400 a customer. In all, 6.6 percent more shoppers visited stores on the Thanksgiving weekend than last year.

And in Europe, there were reports saying that France, Germany and Italy were prepared to move ahead more quickly to establish firm rules on fiscal issues, including debt limits, and to encourage more coordination of economic and fiscal policy.

Still, the differences on how to approach a larger bailout for euro zone countries remain profound, with Germany firmly opposing both an expanded role for the European Central Bank and bonds issued jointly by the euro zone countries — commonly known as euro bonds — as answers to the sovereign debt crisis.

And analysts cautioned that it was by no means clear that even an agreement on tighter budget rules would convince markets that the European Union, the E.C.B. and euro zone governments stand behind bigger indebted nations like Italy and Spain.

“Calls on the E.C.B. to adopt Fed style pre-emptive and aggressive QE continue to intensify, now also from within the core countries,” said Michala Marcussen, an economist at Société Générale in London, in a research note on Sunday, referring to quantitative easing. “The political hurdle thus seems to be easing.”

Yet a potential legal obstacle remains, she cautioned, in that the E.C.B. is not allowed to finance governments directly. “We have long held that the E.C.B. would, when looking into the abyss, turn more aggressive. However, such action is likely to be reactive rather than pre-emptive.”

Moody’s echoed this cautious sentiment on Monday.

“The political impetus to implement an effective resolution plan may only emerge after a series of shocks, which may lead to more countries losing access to market funding for a sustained period and requiring a support program,” it wrote.

“This would very likely cause those countries’ ratings to be moved into speculative grade in view of the solvency tests that would likely be required and the burden-sharing that might be imposed if (as is likely) support were to be needed for a sustained period.”

Stephanie Clifford contributed from New York.

Article source: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/29/business/global/daily-stock-market-activity.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

Asian Markets Rebound After Turmoil

In Japan, second-quarter gross domestic product data showing that the economy there had contracted less severely than expected also helped lift sentiment.

The statistics, released by the Cabinet Office early Monday, showed that the Japanese economy, which was battered by a massive earthquake and tsunami in March, had contracted 0.3 percent from the previous quarter, indicating that economic activity had rallied more quickly than expected after the disaster.

The Nikkei 225 index was 1.2 percent higher by early afternoon in Tokyo.

However, investors in Japan are likely to keep a wary eye on the yen, whose ascent against other currencies is weighing on exporters.

On Monday, one U.S. dollar bought about 76.8 yen.

Elsewhere in Asia, the benchmark index in Australia rose 2.2 percent, and Hong Kong and Taiwan managed gains of 2.2 percent and 1.9 percent, respectively, by early afternoon.

In mainland China, the Shanghai composite index edged up 0.2 percent, and in Singapore, the Straits Times index climbed 0.6 percent.

The gains in Asia followed modest rises in the Dow Jones industrial average and the Standard Poor’s 500 index on Friday. They closed 1.1 percent and 0.5 percent higher, respectively, after a dizzying, rollercoaster performance as investors struggled to assess the impact of the U.S. ratings downgrade.

The overall global markets, however, are expected to remain jittery, with much uncertainty about the debt crisis in Europe and the health of the U.S. economy.

Futures on the S. P. 500 were 0.5 percent higher by early afternoon in Asia.

“Decent data on Thursday and Friday last week brought a semblance of stability to markets,” analysts at DBS in Singapore wrote in a research note on Monday, referring to U.S. retail sales and jobless figures that were both relatively upbeat.

“Housing, inflation and industrial production will have the do the trick this week,” the DBS analysts commented. “It won’t be easy.”

Article source: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/16/business/global/asian-markets-rebound-after-turmoil.html?partner=rss&emc=rss