U.S. stocks closed higher Tuesday, rising for a second day in a
row as traders wait for signs tomorrow from the U.S. Federal
Reserve on the state of the U.S. economy and the status of its
ongoing stimulus programs. Today's gains also were supported by
positive housing data, which despite narrowly trailing expert
opinion, still showed permit applications for single-family homes
rising to a seven-year high. A separate report showed inflation
remains in check. All 10 sectors in the S&P 500 were higher,
led by shares of industrial and consumer discretionary companies.
The weakest gains were among mining and materials stocks following
declines for most metals in commodities trade.
The policy-setting Federal Open Market Committee began a two-day
meeting today and it is widely expected to leave its bond-buying
stimulus program unchanged. More important - at least for traders -
will be the language in the FOMC statement tomorrow and comments by
Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke during a 2 p.m. news conference, all of
which will be scrutinized for any clues as to when the central will
begin to taper back its $85-billion-a-month bond-buying
Economic data today was largely supportive of stocks. Housing
starts climbed 6.8% during May to a 914,000 annualized rate, the
Commerce Department reported today. That trailed the median
estimate of experts polled by Bloomberg News looking for housing
starts to climb to a 950,000 annualized pace. The federal agency
also revised its headline number for April to a 856,000 annualized
pace while saying applications to build one-family homes rose 1.3%
to a 622,000 pace during May - the fastest rate since May 2008.
Also today, the Labor Department said the consumer price index
edged 0.1% higher last month after two straight months of declines.
The so-called core index - which excludes food and energy costs and
is closely watched by Fed officials because it more accurately maps
price trends - rose 0.2% last month and is up 1.7% over the past 12
Commodities were mixed. Gold for August delivery slid $16.20 to
settle at $1,366.60 per ounce while July silver was down 8 cents to
finish at $21.68 per ounce. July copper fell 4.5 cents to settle at
$3.16 per pound. Among hydrocarbons, July crude oil rose 67 cents
to settle at $98.44 per barrel while July natural gas added 3 cents
and finished at $3.91 per 1 mln BTU.
Here's where the U.S. markets stood at end-of-day:
S&P 500 up 12.39 at 1651.43
Nasdaq Composite up 29.7 to 3481.82
Hang Seng Index unchanged
Shanghai China Composite Index up 0.14%
FTSE 100 Index up 0.69%
(+) WLT up 16.5% regular hours, Morgan stanley today reiterates
its Overweight rating for the stock and set a $47 a share price
target - suggesting as much as a threefold increase in its stock
(+) CBMX up 14.5% regular hours, Said prenatal testing has shown
a "significant uptick" during the six months since data from two
National Institutes of Health studies showing the value of
chromosomal microarray analysis was published.
(+) GEVO up 20% regular hours, Resumes commercial production of
isobutanol at its plant in southwestern Minnesota.
(-) GNMK down 12% regular hours, Reduces projected FY13 revenue
by $5 mln from its previous guidance, now expecting around $30 mln
in yearly revenue. Analysts, on average, have been looking for
around $35 mln in revenue this year by the molecular diagnostics
(-) HRL down 3.5% regular hours, Lowers FY13 EPS guidance to
$1.88 to $1.96 per share, down $0.07 per share from its prior
(-) MNKD down 12% regular, CFO says the firm has considered
waiting to partner with another firm until regulators sign off on
Afrezza diabetes drug.
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