Closing Update: Ukraine Stalemate Alleviated Giving Stocks Green Light

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Stocks were up for a second consecutive day as fears of an escalating conflict between the West and Russia were alleviated after Russian President Vladimir Putin said that he has no designs on annexing other territories of Ukraine besides Crimea.

Although western leaders still condemn Russia's actions in southern Ukraine and intend to follow through on limited economic sanctions, the likelihood for any aggressive NATO response was extinguished by Putin's reticence to invade further into the former Soviet satellite. As a result, investors breathed a sigh of relief to the end of the stalemate and drove stock prices higher, encouraged by tame inflation data and signs of a rebound in the U.S. housing market.

Consumer prices increased a benign 0.1% in February, matching analyst expectations. Although food prices were markedly higher, the increase was offset by a corresponding decline in energy prices which left the core index only 0.1% higher last month.

As for the housing market, severe weather conditions has brought building activity to a standstill, but signs that activity will improve over the next few months was evidenced by the much greater than expected 7.7% increase in new housing permits in February, well above estimates for a modest 1.6% increase.

Here's where the markets stand at the close:

US MARKETS

Dow Jones Industrial Index was up 88 points (+0.6%) at 16,336

S&P 500 was up 13 points (+0.7%) at 1,872

Nasdaq Composite Index was up 53 points (+1.3%) at 4,333

GLOBAL SENTIMENT

FTSE 100 was up 0.56%

Nikkei 225 was up 0.94%

Hang Seng Index was up 0.51%

Shanghai China Composite Index was up 0.08%

UPSIDE MOVERS

(+) FF Reported net income of $26.5 million or $0.61 per share, nearly 3 times analyst estimates.

(+) MRCY Wall Street Journal reports the defense contractor is up for sale

(+) GERN Seeking Alpha article claims FDA hold on Imetelstate is temporary and predicts shares to double

(+) OCLS Ruthigen IPO could boost valuation of Oculus which is 48% owner of the soon-to-be public biotech firm

DOWNSIDE MOVERS

(-) ATV Reported a much steeper than expected Q4 loss

(-) FNMA Trades lower as Senate introduces proposal to replace FNMA and Freddie Mac ( FMCC ) with a government-backed mortgage-bond insurer.

(-) INTX Reported a 35.6% decline in subscribers



The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of The NASDAQ OMX Group, Inc.

Copyright (C) 2014 MTNewswires.com. All rights reserved. Unauthorized reproduction is strictly prohibited.


This article appears in: Investing , Commodities

Referenced Stocks: FMCC

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