Closing Update: Stocks Rally After Strong PMI Restores Confidence


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Stocks rallied and reversed nearly all of yesterday's losses when a leading manufacturing index restored investor confidence in the U.S. economy. The Markit PMI preliminary index for February hit a 4-year high, overshadowing a significant decline in the Philadelphia Fed index, disappointing Q4 results from Wal-Mart ( WMT ) and concerns surrounding the health of the global economy. Investors were also cheered by strong earnings from electric car maker Tesla ( TSLA ) and a $19 billion cash and stock bid for WhatsApp by social-media leader Facebook ( FB ).

The trading day kicked off with a softer tone that resulted from weak European and Chinese manufacturing data, deadly rioting in Ukraine and rekindled pressure on emerging markets. U.S. data was mostly benign with initial claims and CPI both close to expectations. Stocks were struggling to climb out of negative territory, but got a kick-start from the Markit PMI for February which jumped to 56.7, a four year high, from 53.7 in January. This offset a plunge in the Philly Fed index to -6.3 from +9.4. As a result, the S&P 500 flirted with a record high and the Dow Industrials gained nearly 100 points.

Here's where the markets stand at the close:


Dow Jones Industrial Index was up 92 points (+0.6%) at 16,133

S&P 500 was up 11 points (+0.6%) at 1,839

Nasdaq Composite Index was up 29 points (+0.7%) at 4,267.55


FTSE 100 was up 0.24%

Nikkei 225 was down 2.15%

Hang Seng Index was down 1.19%

Shanghai China Composite Index was down 0.18%


JTPY Landed a significant contract to process financial and data transactions for LifeMed patient kiosks

MCHX Q4 revenue topped estimates and predicted a 30% increase in call-driven sales for Q1

SHIP Reported a profit for Q3

UNTD Reported a 167% increase in Q4 earnings


RBY, RMX.TO Entered into an agreement to sell 64.6 million units of the company at a price of C$1.55 per unit for gross proceeds of C$100.13 million.

CONN Cut both fiscal Q4 and fiscal 2015 earnings guidance amid increased bad debt provisions and lower-than-expected sales.

GDP Reported disappointing Q4 earnings

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 Headlines for: WMT , TSLA , FB

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