U.S. stocks have reversed their early declines as crude oil
futures began to pare overnight losses and investors increasingly
appear to be expecting the Federal Open Market Committee to remain
cautious before raising interest rates in light of recent global
economic shocks. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was nearly 1%
higher at mid-day while the S&P 500 has climbed back over 2,000
today. European and U.S. markets had slumped this morning in
response to a feeding frenzy for the ruble as the Russian currency
fell to a historic low as well as continued pressure on
Tuesday's bearish economic data was largely ignored as the
global equity markets were gripped by dramatic efforts by the
Russian central bank to stifle the freefall for the ruble,
including boosting short-term interest rates by 650 basis points to
17% in addition to massive intervention efforts. Housing starts
fell 1.6% in November to a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 1.028
million, missing expectations looking for a 3% gain to around 1.03
million homes. Permits also missed estimates, falling more than 5%
to an annualized 1.035 million permits pulled versus the 1.06
million consensus. But one bright spot saw October figures revised
upward: sales were raised to 1.045 million homes from the 1.009
million originally reported and permits climbing to 1.092 million
from 1.08 million.
In addition to the housing data, manufacturing data was also a
disappointment. The Purchasing Manager's flash index for December
dropped to a 53.7 reading from November's 54.8 score, trailing the
consensus estimate looking for an improvement to 55.5.
European stocks rebounded at the close after the Russian central
bank threw the ruble one last lifeline, saying it won't implement
capital controls, sending the currency skyrocketing from nearly
80.0 versus the dollar to 63.0 before London's forex close. Most
European bourses rallied more than 2%, taking their lead from the
impressive rebound on Wall Street as well as mostly upbeat
Euro-zone manufacturing data and economic conditions
Crude oil was up $0.04 to $55.95 per barrel. Natural gas was
down $0.05 to $3.65 per 1 million BTU. Gold was down $10.30 to
$1,197.20 an ounce, while silver was down $0.77 to $15.80 an ounce.
Copper was down $0.01 to $2.87 per pound.
Among energy ETFs, the United States Oil Fund was up 0.71% to
$21.21 with the United States Natural Gas Fund was down 1.45% to
$18.74. Amongst precious-metal funds, the Market Vectors Gold
Miners ETF was up 0.43% to 17.55 while SPDR Gold Shares were up
0.50% to $114.96. The iShares Silver Trust was down 2.17% to
Here's where U.S. stocks stand at mid-day:
NYSE Composite Index up 126.44 (+1.21%) to 10,537.61
Dow Jones Industrial Average up 148.86 (+0.87%) to 17,329.70
S&P 500 up 15.08 (+0.76%) to 2,004.71
Nasdaq Composite Index up 15.59 (+0.34%) to 4,620.74
Nikkei 225 Index down 2.01%
Hang Seng Index down 1.55%
Shanghai China Composite Index up 2.31%
FTSE 100 Index up 2.41%
CAC 40 up 2.19%
DAX up 2.46%
NYSE SECTOR INDICES
NYSE Energy Sector Index up 3.40%
NYSE Financial Sector Index up 0.89%
NYSE Healthcare Sector Index up 0.79%
(+) TLM (+48.05%) Sold to Spain's Reposal for $13 billion.
(+) OAS (+15.55%) Board member McShane buys 50,000 shares.
(+) NVGN (+193.57%) TRXE-009 is shown to be highly active
(-) FRO (-18.47%) Announces private deal to exchange $22.5 mln
in bonds for nearly 4 mln shares plus $9.6 mln in cash.
(-) CYCC (-73.50%) A trial studying an acute myeloid leukemia
treatment is unlikely to reach a statistically significant
improvement in survival.
(-) NAV (-11.67%) Reports narrower fiscal Q4 loss.