U.S. stocks held gains at midday as investors went bargain hunting on the last full trading day of the week on mostly positive data. Markets close early on Thursday for Christmas Eve and are closed Friday for the Christmas holiday.
U.S consumer spending rose in November after flat lining in October. Personal income rose 0.3% in November from 0.4% in October. Personal consumption expenditures (PCE) were released earlier and rose 0.3% last month, with October's 0.1% gain revised to unchanged.
The PCE chain price index was unchanged in November from 0.1%, with the core up 0.1% versus unchanged
previously. On a year-over-year basis, the headline price index rose to 0.4% year over year from 0.2% year over year, while the core rate was steady at 1.3%.
November durable goods were flat compared with expectations for a 0.5% decline.
Consumer sentiment rose to 92.6 in December from 91.3 in November to reach the highest level since July and beat forecasts for 92.
New home sales rose 4.3% in November from October to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 490,000, hitting the highest level in three months but missing expectations for 503,000.
Oil companies and steel and mining companies all over the world, again led gains. Oil stocks got a boost as crude prices stabilized off 11-year lows hit on Monday, while steel and mining companies continued to find support from the Central Economic Work Conference (CEWC), an annual meeting of Communist Party leaders. Chinese officials hinted at additional monetary and fiscal easing in early 2016 and announced several reforms, including increasing the fiscal deficit ratio, reducing industrial overcapacity and easing property oversupply.
Crude prices rose after a surprise dip in U.S. inventories. The Energy Department's Energy Information Administration said crude inventories fell 5.9 million barrels in the week ended Dec. 18. The American Petroleum Institute, an industry group, late Tuesday said inventories had dropped 3.6 million barrels, while analysts surveyed by The Wall Street Journal had forecast a rise of 600,000 barrels.
In Europe, France's economy grew 0.3% in Q3, the official statistics office said on Wednesday, confirming a preliminary estimate. However, French consumer spending fell month-on-month in November.
And the U.K. economy grew 0.4% in Q3, less than previously thought and down from an earlier estimate of 0.5%, the Office for National Statistics said on Wednesday.
Japan's market was closed for a holiday.
Crude oil (NMN: CLQ1) is down 1.62% to $53.44 per barrel. Natural gas (NMN: NGU16) is up 0.60% to $2.35 per 1 million BTU. Gold (CNS: GCQ16) is down 0.48% to $1,071.50 an ounce, while silver (CNS: SIU16) is down 0.43% to $14.35 an ounce. Copper (CNS: HGU16) is up 0.45% to $2.13 per pound.
Among energy ETFs, the United States Oil Fund ( USO ) is up 3.67% to 11.16 with the United States Natural Gas Fund ( UNG ) is up 2.60 % to 7.49. Amongst precious-metal funds, the Market Vectors Gold Miners ETF (NYSEARCA:GDX) is up 0.84% to 13.78 while SPDR Gold Shares ( GLD ) are down 0.30% to 102.30. The iShares Silver Trust ( SLV ) is up 0.22% to 13.62.
Here's where the markets stand at mid-day:
NYSE Composite Index ( NYA ) is up 133.49 (+ 1.32%) to 10,245.49
Dow Jones Industrial Index (DJI:DJIA) is up 137.34 (+0.79%) to 17,554,61
S&P 500 (SPX) is up 19.80 (+0.97%) to 2,058.77
Nasdaq Composite Index (NASDAQ: COMP) is up 31.15 (+0.62%) to 5,032.26
FTSE 100 (UK:UKX) is up 157.88 (+2.60%) to 6,240.98
DAX (DX:DAX) is up 238.89 (+2.28%) to 10,727.64
CAC 40 (FR:PX1) is up106.93 (+2.34%) to 5,674.53
Nikkei 225 (TYO: JP:100000018) is closed
Hang Seng Index (HSI: HK:HSI) is up 210.57 (+0.96%) to 22,040.59
Shanghai China Composite Index (SHA: CN:000001) is /down 15.68(-0.43%) to 3,636.09
(+) SHPG (+4.0%) Reportedly closer to reaching deal with BXLT
(+) ADMS (+52.0%) Parkinson's complication drug met primary endpoint in phase 3 trial
(+) CVX (+3.2%) Reportedly cut 1,200 jobs at LNG plant in Australia
(+) AZN (+2.0%) FDA OKs gout drug
(+) CELG (+9.8%) Settled legal fight to keep a rival India drug maker from making generic version of cancer drug for another decade
(+) KMDA (+6.6%) Rabies treatment trial met primary endpoint
(+) ANAD (+15.5%) Received raise offers for co in bidding war.
(-) NKE (-2.6%) Fiscal Q2 earnings beat views, future orders up 15%
(-) BBBY (-4.8%) Said Q3 sales could be lower than expected, earnings to drop
(-) MU (-4.8%) Topped Q1 EPS estimate but sales missed; several analysts cut price targets or downgraded shares
(-) GALE (-5.5%) Got subpoena from U.S. Attorney's Office related to Abstral sublingual tablets
(-) GBSN (-16.1%) Hit 52-wk low after securities issuances update
(-) STEM (-10.3%) Halted retinal disorders treatment development and cut jobs
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