Stocks were sharply higher Monday, with easing geo-political pressures rekindling demand for global equities. Ongoing negotiations between Russian and Ukraine foreign ministers and the possibility for peace in the region fueled today's triple-digit gain in the Dow Jones Industrial Average, and elevated the S&P 500 through key technical resistance at its 1960 and 1965 levels.
Wall Street also was encouraged by bullish housing market data as well as expectations for the Federal Reserve will again endorse an accommodative monetary policy during its economic conference this week in Jackson Hole, Wyo. Despite recent trends indicating more consistent economic growth, Fed Chair Janet Yellen is not expected to alter her plan to keep rates low to offset global economic shocks and slack in the labor market.
In economic news, the National Association of Home Builders housing market index rose to 55.0 in August, beating expectations for the index to remain unchanged at 53.0.
Most European bourses closed more than 1% higher after Eastern European pressures cooled. The FTSE-100, however, lagged its counterparts in reaction to hawkish comments surrounding UK interest rates from Bank of England Governor Mark Carney. In an interview with the UK Sunday Times, Carney said that higher UK rates are exclusive of wage increases, rekindling interest rate jitters and luring investors away from both UK equities and gilts.
Crude oil was down $1.21 to $96.16 per barrel. Natural gas was up $0.03 to $3.84 per 1 million BTU. Gold was down $6.80 to $1,299.40 an ounce, while silver was up $0.13 to $19.65 an ounce. Copper was up $0.02 to $3.14 per pound.
Among energy ETFs, the United States Oil Fund was down 1.30% to $34.97 with the United States Natural Gas Fund was up 0.38% to $20.93. Amongst precious-metal funds, the Market Vectors Gold Miners ETF was down 0.38% to 26.77 while SPDR Gold Shares were down 045% to $124.92. The iShares Silver Trust was down 0.10% to $18.84.
Here's where the U.S. market stand at mid-day:
NYSE Composite Index up 86.49 (+0.80%) to 10,882.52
Dow Jones Industrial Average up 172.84 (+1.04%) to 16,835.75
S&P 500 up 16.90 (+0.86%) to 1,971.96
Nasdaq Composite Index up 43.11 (+0.97%) to 4,508.03
Nikkei 225 Index up 0.03%
Hang Seng Index unchanged
Shanghai China Composite Index up 0.57%
FTSE 100 Index up 0.78%
CAC 40 up 1.35%
DAX up 1.68%
NYSE SECTOR INDICES
NYSE Energy Sector Index up 0.72%
NYSE Financial Sector Index up 0.90%
NYSE Healthcare Sector Index up 0.82%
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(-) MNST (-4.09%) Downgraded to Hold from Buy at Jefferies, raised PT $15.
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