Stocks closed higher Friday, with the major market gauges
posting their best week since mid-July after a flurry of bearish
economic data convinced traders any expected changes in the Federal
Reserve's stimulus efforts will be relatively small. Most sectors
in the S&P 500 ended in the black - albeit by small margins.
Relatively defensive sectors like consumer staples and utilities
led the gains along with basic materials despite price declines for
crude oil and metals in commodities trading.
Retail sales increased by only 0.2% in August, the Commerce
Department reported today, well below market estimates looking for
a 0.5% gain. Excluding the volatile auto and gas component, sales
climbed just 0.1%.
Also today, producer prices rose slightly more than expected
during August, advancing 0.3% compared with consensus opinion
expecting a 0.2% gain. Again, after food and fuel prices were
excluded, PPI was unchanged last month. The data were well received
by both stocks and bonds, fueling speculation the Federal Reserve
will leave monetary policy nearly unchanged when its Federal Open
Markets Committee meets next week.
The Reuters/University of Michigan index of consumer sentiment
fell to a five-month low of 76.8 in September, well below estimates
of 82.0 and lower than the 82.1 index in August. Finally, the
Commerce Department also said business inventories rose a slightly
larger than expected 0.4%.
Crude oil for October delivery settled 39 cents lower at $108.21
per barrel. October natural gas rose 4 cents to finish at $3.68 per
1 million BTU. December gold fell $22 to $1,308.60 per ounce while
December silver declined 43 cents to end at $21.72 per ounce.
December copper slid 7 cents to settle at $3.20 per pound.
Here's where the markets stand at mid-day:
Dow Jones Industrial Average up 75.42 (+0.49%) to 15,376.06
S&P 500 up 4.57 (+0.27%) to 1,687.99
Nasdaq Composite Index up 6.22 (+0.17%) to 3,722.18
Hang Seng Index down 0.17%
Shanghai China Composite down 0.86%
FTSE 100 Index down 0.08%
(+) ULTA, Reports Q2 sales of $601 mln, vs. the analyst
consensus of $588 mln. EPS was $0.70, also beating expectations by
$0.03 per share.
(+) LAKE, Supplier of industrial clothing posts Q4 net loss of
$0.16 per share, a penny wider the Capital IQ consensus.
(+) GSVC, Prices $60 million offering of its 5.25% convertible
senior notes Due 2018.
(-) PRAN, Biopharmaceutical firm says results from Phase II
testing of its potential treatment for early-to-mid stage
Huntington's disease won't be available until early 2014. Initial
release was planned for Q4 of 2013 debut.
(-) GALE, Development-stage oncology drug-maker prices public
sale of 17.5 million equity units at $2.00 apiece, generating $35
million in gross proceeds.
(-) DCTH, FDA issues a complete response letter, regarding the
company's New Drug Application for its Melblez Kit, which will need
to be completed before DCTH can start a randomized trial of the
hepatic perfusion system.