The stock market soared on Thursday after Fed Chairman Ben
Bernanke said on Wednesday that monetary policy would remain
accomodative for "the foreseeable future."
This helped to stem concerns that the central bank was on the
verge of turning more hawkish on the monetary policy front. The
market rally was led by the Nasdaq, but all three of the major
averages rose better than 1 percent on the session.
Treasury prices also climbed on the day while the U.S. Dollar
plunged in the wake of Bernanke's comments.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 169 points, or 1.11
percent, to close at 15,461.
The S&P 500 jumped better than 22 points, or 1.36 percent,
The Nasdaq surged almost 58 points, or 1.63 percent, to close
Initial jobless claims rose from 344,000 for the week ending
June 29 to 360,000 for the week ending July 6. This compared to
consensus expectations calling for a rise to 345,000.
Continuing jobless claims climbed to 2.977 million for the
week ending July 29 from 2.953 million for the week ending July
22. This compared to consensus expectations that expected
continuing claims to rise to 2.949 million.
Energy prices fell on Thursday despite a sharp rally for
stocks. NYMEX crude futures were last trading down 1.68 percent
to $104.73. Brent crude contracts lost 0.88 percent to $107.56.
Natural gas fell almost 2 percent on the day and was last trading
Precious metals jumped sharply on Thursday. COMEX gold futures
were last up a little less than 3 percent to $1,283.50 while
silver climbed nearly 4.50 percent to $20.02. Copper futures
added 2.72 percent on the session to $3.1750.
In the grains complex, both corn and wheat rose. At last
check, corn futures were up around 1 percent while wheat added
0.59 percent. Movers in soft commodities included cocoa and
cotton. Cocoa futures climbed almost 3 percent on the day while
cotton was last down 2.36 percent.
Bond prices also rose sharply on Thursday. Near the close of
equities, the iShares Barclays 20+ Year Treasury Bond ETF (NYSE:
) was up 1.12 percent to $107.66. Yields fell as prices rose on
Yields were as follows on Thursday afternoon: The 2-Year Note
yield was last at 1.40 percent while the yield on the 5-Year Note
was sitting at 1.40 percent. The 10-Year Note was yielding 2.58
percent and the 30-Year Bond yield was last at 3.63 percent.
The U.S. Dollar plummeted on the session, helping to spur the
rally in risk assets. The PowerShares DB US Dollar Index Bullish
), which tracks the performance of the greenback versus a basket
of foreign currencies, fell 1.67 percent to $22.40.
The closely watched EUR/USD pair was last trading up 1.67
percent to $1.3097. Other movers included the USD/JPY, which fell
1.15 percent and the GBP/USD, which surged 1.80 percent. The
USD/CAD fell 1.25 percent on Thursday.
Volatility and Volume
The VIX continued its descent on Thursday, although the loss
was small. At last check, the widely watched barometer of
volatility expectations was down a little less than 2 percent to
Volume was lighter than usual despite the market rally. Around
111 million SPDR S&P 500 ETF (NYSE:
) shares traded hands compared to a 3-month daily average of 144
Positive top-line data from a Phase I study and a price target
boost at JMP Securities sent shares of Alnylam Pharmaceuticals
) up around 17 percent near the close of trading on Thursday.
) had added almost 8 percent near the close after the company
said its flagship blood-cancer drug Revlimid helped extend the
time that newly diagnosed multiple myeloma patients survived
without their tumors growing in a late-stage study.
Advanced Micro Devices (NYSE:
) jumped almost 12 percent after analysts at Bank of
America-Merrill Lynch upgraded the stock from Underperform to
Buy, citing next generation gaming consoles as a catalyst.
Eldorado Gold (NYSE:
) rose almost 11 percent on Thursday amid the rally in gold
Small-cap biotech firm Rockwell Medical (NASDAQ:
) had added better than 15 percent late in the day after
reporting positive results from a late-stage study of its
investigational drug for the treatment of iron deficiency in
chronic kidney disease patients receiving hemodialysis.
Homebuilders rose on the session on signs that the Federal
Reserve intends to keep its easy-money policies in place for the
time being. Among the leaders were Lennar (NYSE:
), which added more than 8 percent and D.R. Horton (NYSE:
), which added almost 9 percent.
Shares of Ascent Capital (NASDAQ:
) had lost around 7 percent late in the day after the company
announced it was buying Security Networks for $507.5 million.
Restoration Hardware (NYSE:
) fell around 5 percent after the company announced that selling
stockholders are offering 12 million shares.
Merrimack Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:
) fell 28 percent on the session after the company announced that
it plans to offer $50 million in stock and $75 million in
convertible senior notes.
Texas Industries (NYSE:
) lost around 3 percent after the company reported its fiscal
first-quarter earnings results.
(c) 2013 Benzinga.com. Benzinga does not provide investment
advice. All rights reserved.
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