Midday Update: Stocks Rally As Taper-Pressure Eases

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Stocks are back on the offensive today as investors pour into equities amid expectations the Federal Reserve will keep monetary policy unchanged this week. Bullish U.S. and European manufacturing data along with a pair of multi-billion-dollar deals between AIG ( AIG ) and AerCap Holdings ( AER ) along with Avago Technologies ( AVGO ) and LSI Corp ( LSI ) also are lifting the markets today. The energy sector is providing the Dow Industrials index with a boost after an endorsement by Goldman Sachs carried Exxon Mobil Corp ( XOM ) sharply higher.

Investors cheered the improvement in global manufacturing with both the European and U.S. purchasing managers indices all showing very modest gains in November. And in addition to the PMI, U.S. industrial production and capacity utilization also improved in November, both of which came in better than expectations. Although the Empire State manufacturing survey missed forecasts, the index improved dramatically from -2.21 in November to +0.98 last month.

Finally, non-farm productivity jumped 3.0% in the third quarter, while labor costs were kept down, meeting expectations for a 1.4% drop.

European markets were all higher as well, bolstered by gains in the U.S. as well as signs of continued improvement in the EU-zone manufacturing sector. Although France remained the laggard, a significant gain in the German PMI offset weakness in France, lifting the EU-wide PMI to 52.7 from 51.6 the month prior.

Crude oil was up $0.75 to $97.31 per barrel. Natural gas was down $0.05 to $4.28 per 1 million BTU. Gold was up $7.10 to $1,242.10 an ounce, while silver was up $0.26 to $19.86 an ounce. Copper was up $0.01 to $3.33 per pound.

Among energy ETFs, the United States Oil Fund was up 1.01% to $34.98 with the United States Natural Gas Fund was down 1.77% to $21.04. Amongst precious-metal funds, the Market Vectors Gold Miners ETF was up 0.90% to 21.31 while SPDR Gold Shares were up 0.50% to $120.00. The iShares Silver Trust was up 1.27% to $19.19.

Here's where the markets stand at mid-day:

NYSE Composite Index up 68.85 (+0.69%) to 10023.72

Dow Jones Industrial Average up 140.45 (+0.89%) to 15895.81

S&P 500 up 11.92 (+0.67%) to 1787.24

Nasdaq Composite Index up 30.50 (+0.76%) to 4031.48

GLOBAL SENTIMENT

Nikkei 225 Index down 1.62%

Hang Seng Index down 0.56%

Shanghai China Composite Index down 1.60%

FTSE 100 Index up 1.28%

CAC 40 up 1.48%

DAX up 1.74%

NYSE SECTOR INDICES

NYSE Energy Sector Index up 1.07%

NYSE Financial Sector Index up 0.70%

NYSE Healthcare Sector Index up 0.18%

UPSIDE MOVERS

(+) LSI (+38.6%) Avago ( AVGO ) will acquire LSI ( LSI ) for $11.15 per share in an all-cash transaction valued at $6.6 billion.

(+) AER (+31.9%) Inks $5.4-billion deal with American International Group ( AIG ) to purchase AIG's International Lease Finance Corp subsidiary.

(+) WYY, (+5.5%) Announces $600-million contract with the Department of Homeland Security.

DOWNSIDE MOVERS

(-) USU, (-55.8%) Uranium miner reaches agreement with a majority of holders of senior convertible notes and replacing $530 mln of the notes maturing October 2014 with new debt and equity. Expects to file Chapter 11 bankruptcy petition during Q1 of 2014.

(-) TTMI, (-8.5%) Announces plans for a $150-million offering of convertible senior notes due 2020.

(-) WPCS (-9.4%) Fiscal Q2 revenue declines 7.8% year over year to $7.36 mln.



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: AER , AIG , AVGO , LSI , XOM

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