Stocks rebounded from Monday's steep decline, finishing back
near their best levels in more than five years, propelled by strong
earnings and a fresh round of mergers and acquisitions
Economic data showing the non-manufacturing sector continues to
chug along, coupled with an unexpected rise in retail sales over
the week also contributed to today's advance. All 10 sectors in the
S&P 500 ended the session in the black, led by technology and
consumer stocks. Commodities also gained today.
The Institute for Supply Management today reported strong hiring
gains in America's non-manufacturing sector, rising 2.2 points in
January to a 57.5 reading, its best level for growth since February
2006. The ISM composite index eased slightly in January, down 0.2
to a 55.2 reading last month. The report also showed a slight
slow-down in new order growth.
Home prices rose for a 10th consecutive month on a
year-over-year basis in December, marking the biggest gain since
May 2006, according to CoreLogic. The Data analysis firm's home
price index rose 0.4% from the previous month and is up 8.3%
compared to December 2011 levels.
Earlier this morning, the International Council of Shopping
Centers-Goldman Store Sales index showed a surprise 2.4% rise for
the week ended Feb. 2 over the prior week, much better than the 1%
decline industry experts were expecting. The weekly measure of
same-store sales at the major retail chains also reported a 2.6%
year-over-year increase in same-store sales, accounting for about
10% of total retail sales around the country.
Overseas today, Masaaki Shirakawa, Japan's central bank
governor, said he will resign his post three weeks before his
five-year term expires on April 8 so his departure will coincide
with those of his top deputies on March 19. Shirakawa and Prime
Minister Shinzo Abe have appeared at odds in recent months, but
Shirakawa insisted his decision had nothing to do with Abe's call
the central bank more aggressively ease monetary policy to help
spur economic growth.
Commodities were mostly higher, with crude oil for March
delivery was up 47 cents to settle at $96.64 per barrel. March
natural gas finished 8.4 cents higher at $3.40 per 1 million BTU.
April gold fell $2.60 to $1,673.70 per ounce with March silver
adding 16 cents to $31.88 per ounce. March copper settled unchanged
at $3.77 per pound.
Here's where the markets stood at end-of-day:
Dow Jones Industrial Average up 0.71% to 13,979.30
S&P 500 up 1.04% to 1,511.29
Nasdaq Composite Index up 1.29% to 3,171.58
Hang Seng Index down 2.27%
Shanghai China Composite Index up 0.20%
FTSE 100 Index up 0.58%
(+) VMED, Sets new 52-week high after confirming discussions
with Liberty Global (
) concerning a possible merger.
(+) ARMH, Reports Q4 earnings of $0.06 per share, in-line with
analyst estimates. Revenues beat the Street view, coming in at
$259.06 million versus the $238.86 analysts were expecting.
(+) DELL, Finalizes $24.4 billion buyout, with plans to pay
shareholder $13.65 for each of their shares. The company has a
45-day "go-shop" period to solicit alternative proposals.
(+) OPXA, Announces development agreement worth up to $255
million with an affiliate of German conglomerate Merck KGaA for its
Tcelna T-cell treatment for patients with muscular sclerosis.
(-) YUM, Lowers FY13 earnings outlook, now sees mid-single digit
decline, excluding special items, down from its prior guidance
forecasting 10% growth. Q4 EPS of $0.83 beats by $0.01.
(-) PBR, Reports 36% year-over-year decline in FY12 profit. Also
cuts dividend in order to save cash to pay for its investment
(-) ACI, Posts wider-than-expected $0.42 per share Q4 net loss,
ex items, reversing a $0.33 profit last year and trailing analyst
forecasts for a $0.14 loss. Revenue declined 21% to $968.2 million,
also shy of expectations.
(-) BIDU, Q4 earnings of $1.31 per ADR beat the Street view by
$0.02. Revenues rise 42% to $1.02, narrowly topping expectations.
Analysts at Stifel Nicolaus and Raymond James both cut their
respective ratings to the equivalent of neutral following the Q4
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