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:
Dow Jones Industrial Index was up 88 points (+0.6%) at
S&P 500 was up 13 points (+0.7%) at 1,872
Nasdaq Composite Index was up 53 points (+1.3%) at 4,333
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%
(+) 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
(-) ATV Reported a much steeper than expected Q4 loss
(-) FNMA Trades lower as Senate introduces proposal to replace
FNMA and Freddie Mac (
) with a government-backed mortgage-bond insurer.
(-) INTX Reported a 35.6% decline in subscribers