Closing Update: Beige Book Finds Renewed Growth After Tough Winter, Lifting Stock to More Gains


Shutterstock photo

Stocks built on early gains, closing Wednesday afternoon near their best levels of the session after the Federal Reserve said the nation's economy was showing signs of regaining strength following a tough winter. The Fed provided the stocks with an early boost, saying industrial production in March slowed less than market experts were expecting.

New economic data out of China helped extend a global rally for equities to a second day after China said Q1 GDP growth was slowing but still topping the market consensus while ongoing tensions in Ukraine may have kept a lid on the rally.

In its latest Beige Book assessment of national and regional economic conditions, the Federal Reserve said the U.S. appears to be emerging from the weather-related slump this winter although cold and wet weather continues to suppress sentiment. The central bank found growth in most of its 12 districts, also observing home prices rose moderately in recent weeks as inventory trail historic norms.

The Fed this morning reported that industrial production slowed to a 0.7% gain in March, better than the 0.4% increase expected. The Fed also doubled its previous estimate for February production to 1.2%. Utilization of factory capacity improved to 79.2%, up from 78.4% in February and comfortably above forecasts for 78.7%.

Also today, construction on new U.S. homes rose 2.8% last month over February levels to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 946,000, the Commerce Department said. That was down 5.9% from year-ago levels and it also lagged the market consensus looking for a 965,000 annual pace. February results were revised upward to a 1.9% rise, reversing the 0.2% drop initially reported by the agency.

Building permits declined in March, falling 2.4% to an annual rate of 990,000 units.

Crude oil for May delivery settled 2 cents lower at $103.75 per barrel while May natural gas was down 4 cents at $2.53 per 1 million BTU. June gold rose $3.50 to $1303.40 per ounce while May silver was up 16 cents at $19.64 per ounce. May copper added 4 cent to settle at $3.03 per pound.

Here's where the U.S. markets stood at end-of-day:

Dow Jones Industrial Average up 162.29 (+1.00%) to 16,424.85

S&P 500 up 19.33 (+1.05%) to 1,862.31

Nasdaq Composite Index up 52.06 (+1.29%) to 4,086.23


Hang Seng Index up 0.11%

Shanghai China Composite Index up 0.17%

FTSE 100 Index up 0.65%


(+) ATHL, Climbs to record high after boosting its outlook for full-year production by around 17% over its prior guidance, now saying it will likely average between 23,000 to 24,250 barrels of oil equivalent per day.

(+) ZGNX, Federal judge late Tuesday issues a court order preventing the State of Massachusetts from enforcing a ban on sales and distribution of its Zohydro painkiller, effective April 22.

(+) SODA, Reportedly in talks to sell up to a 16% equity stake to a U.S. soft-drink firm, with the buyer paying $52 a share - a 30% premium - while receiving options that eventually could give it a majority interest, writes Calcalist, an Israeli business daily.


(-) BAC, Q1 loss of $0.05 per share trails analyst consensus looking for $0.05 per share profit. Revenue falls 2.7% to $22.77 bln, beating estimates by $670 mln. Excluding valuation adjustments, revenue slides 4% from last year to $22.7 bln.

(-) LEN, Homebuilder stocks decline after new-home construction during March grew less than expected while building permits fell last month, slipping 2.4% to an annual rate of 990,000 units.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

Copyright (C) 2014 All rights reserved. Unauthorized reproduction is strictly prohibited.

This article appears in: Investing , Commodities

More from MT Newswires


MT Newswires

MT Newswires

Market News, Commodities
Follow on:

Find a Credit Card

Select a credit card product by:
Select an offer:
Data Provided by