Stocks are posting respectable gains, underpinned by strong
coupled with a growing Wall Street consensus the Federal Reserve
will keep its $85 billion per month asset purchase program in
place. While the modest gains suggest traders are confident the Fed
will vote to maintain the flow of liquidity into the financial
markets, there also is little incentive for them to make any
aggressive bets before the 2 p.m. ET announcement, resulting in the
three major market indices flat-lining at their current levels.
Homebuilders reported another banner month, with housing starts
climbing to a five-year high during November and a 1.091 million
annualized pace. Permits were equally robust, increasing to an
annualized 1.007 million. And while the strong data typically would
send the financial markets reeling, given its implication on Fed
policy, investors instead are responding favorably to signs the
U.S. economy is enjoying a more sustained recovery.
European equities also got a shot in the arm from bullish
economic data after the UK reported its jobless rate slid to a
four-year low of 7.4% and German business expectations continued to
improve. All of the major European bourses closed higher, although
like the North American markets, the gains were limited ahead of
the conclusion of today's Federal Open Markets Committee
Crude oil was up $0.36 to $97.59 per barrel. Natural gas was up
$0.01 to $4.29 per 1 million BTU. Gold was up $1.20 to $1,231.60 an
ounce, while silver was up $0.14 to $19.98 an ounce. Copper was
unchanged at $3.32 per pound.
Among energy ETFs, the United States Oil Fund was up 0.63% to
$35.08 with the United States Natural Gas Fund was up 0.14% to
$20.92. Amongst precious-metal funds, the Market Vectors Gold
Miners ETF was up 0.59% to 21.32 while SPDR Gold Shares were up
0.15% to $118.83. The iShares Silver Trust was up 0.47% to
Here's where the markets stand at mid-day:
NYSE Composite Index up 24.02 (+0.24%) to 10013.10
Dow Jones Industrial Average up 20.24 (+0.13%) to 15895.50
S&P 500 down 1.71 (-0.10%) to 1779.29
Nasdaq Composite Index down 19.18 (-0.48%) to 4004.50
Nikkei 225 Index up 2.02%
Hang Seng Index up 0.32%
Shanghai China Composite Index down 0.13%
FTSE 100 Index up 0.09%
CAC 40 up 1.00%
DAX up 1.06%
NYSE SECTOR INDICES
NYSE Energy Sector Index up 0.35%
NYSE Financial Sector Index up 0.31%
NYSE Healthcare Sector Index up 0.40%
(+) VCI, (+21.3%) Agrees to be acquired and taken private by
Harland Clarke Holdings for $1.84 billion.
(+) DEPO, (+9.8%) Acquires U.S. rights to Nautilus
) Cambia non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug for $48.7
(+) ZAGG, (+5.1%) Joins the Samsung Mobile Accessory Partnership
(-) TWGP, (-27.2%) The company boosts loss reserves, sell its
11% stake in Canopius and was downgraded by Compass Point.
(-) JBL (-21.4%) Issues guidance for its quarter ending in
February coming in well below expectations due to lackluster demand
for Apple's (
) iPhone 5c, for which the company makes casings.
(-) OPXA (-10.9%) Announces plans to sell 4.12 million shares at
discounted $1.70 per share.