Closing Update: Late Rally Snaps Steep, Two-Day Losing String For Stocks; Major Indices All Lower For The Week


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U.S. stocks ended higher Friday, snapping a two slide for equities. Shares of consumer staples and healthcare companies led the late rally, leading the markets back from a mid-day slump and keeping stocks from adding to what already had been the worst two-day slide for the global markets in 21 months.

Equities appeared set early to stem this week's steep declines that followed Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke on Wednesday saying the U.S. central bank could begin to scale back its stimulus actions later this year if the U.S. economy continues to improve. Asian and European markets were mixed today, with any losses kept relatively in check compared to recent sessions. Fears that China's credit markets are seizing up dissipated following reports the People's Bank of China made money available to lenders. The one-day repo rate receded 3.84 percentage points to 7.9%, its biggest drop since 2007, while the seven-day rate fell 3.51 percentages points from the record high it set on Thursday.

Maintaining those initial gains proved difficult, howver, with the major indices for U.S. stocks all falling well in the red by mid-day before again reversing course and locking down moderate advances heading into the close. Technology stocks lagged the field throughout the session, also keeping the Nasdaq Composite index from participating in the late rally.

Friday was a quiet day for economic reports but it was a quadruple witching session - the once-quarterly expiration of stock options, stock futures, and index option or futures contracts along with the individual stock futures options - often resulting in increased volatility, especially in the final hour of trading.

Commodities were mixed. Crude oil for August delivery settled $1.45 lower at $93.69 per barrel while July natural gas was down 11 cents to $3.77 per 1 mln BTU. August gold rose $6.30 to $1292.20 per ounce while July silver added 13 cents to finish at $19.95 per ounce. July copper rose 4 cents to settle at $3.10 per pound.

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

Dow Jones Industrial Average up 41.08 (+0.28%) to 14,799.40

S&P 500 up 4.24 (+0.27%) to 1,592.43

Nasdaq Composite Index down 7.38 (-0.22%) to 3,357.25


Hang Seng Index down 0.59%

Shanghai China Composite Index down 0.52%

FTSE 100 Index down 0.70%


(+) ORMP, Withdraws proposed public offering of 24 mln shares filed with securities regulators on Jan. 11, citing market conditions.

(+) SPRD, Receives $1.38-bln, non-binding buyout proposal from Tsinghua Holdings Co. Ltd. - a state-owned limited liability company funded by Tsinghua University in China - offering $28.50 per American Depositary Share in cash for the fabless chipmaker.

(+) MGI, Reportedly has hired Bank of America Corp/Merrill Lynch to explore a sale of the company, a person familiar with the matter tells Bloomberg News, asking not to be named because the process is private. DealReporter earlier this week said the money-transfers firm is in merger talks, resulting in a spiking share price.


(-) ORCL, Adjusted Q4 EPS of $0.87 matched the analyst consensus. Revenue was unchanged for the second quarter in a row at $10.9 bln, missing expectations by $222 mln. The company also said it would double its quarterly dividend to $0.12 per share, authorized a $12-bln stock buyback and move its stock listing to the New York Stock Exchange.

(-) IDIX, FDA requests additional pre-clinical safety information for its IDX209603 drug candidate, putting the start of clinical testing is on hold until it can provide a satisfactory response to the agency. IDIX recently submitted an Investigational New Drug application for the prospective treatment for hepatitis C.

(-) AHT, Prices secondary offering of 11 mln shares of its common stock at $12 apiece. Proceeds will be used for the proposed spin-off of an 80% stake in its hotel portfolio as Ashford Hospitality Prime Inc.

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

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