Midday Update: Yellen Comments Fueling Stock Market Rally

Upbeat comments last night regarding the U.S. economy from Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen was helping snap a three-day losing streak on Wall Street, with all three of the major benchmark indices Friday posting sizable gains. Led by a rally for component company Nike ( NKE ) following strong Q1 financial results for the athletic apparel-maker, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was nearly 200 points higher this afternoon.

At a speech at the University of Massachusetts, Yellen last night said that it would be appropriate to raise interest rates this year, suggesting that the Federal Reserve is upbeat in its outlook for the U.S. economy, soothing investor jitters.

Economic data Friday reinforced Yellen's impression of a healthy economy, with Q2 gross domestic product revised higher for a final time to 3.9% from an initial revision last month of 3.7%, beating expectations for GDP for the April-to-June period to remain unchanged. Today's report also found Q2 corporate profits doubled in the latest revision, climbing to a 2.6% gain compared to last month's 1.3% advance.

The flash Purchasing Managers Index reading for the services sector during September declined somewhat to 55.6 from August's 56.1 reading, although that still was slightly better than estimates expecting a 55.5 reading this month.

Also today, consumer confidence improved during September despite the recent stock market volatility. The University of Michigan consumer sentiment index rose to 87.2 from a 85.7 reading in August, also beating expectations for a improvement to 87.1.

European equities also were giving the U.S. markets a boost with a rally for BMW after German car magazine Auto Bild said that it had no evidence that the luxury automaker manipulated its auto emission data. Volkswagen shares were also higher today amid reports that the company will name Porsche head Matthias Mueller to be its new CEO.

Crude oil was up 48 cents to $45.39 per barrel. Natural gas was down 6 cents to $2.62 per 1 million BTU. Gold was down $8.10 to $1,145.70 per ounce, while silver was down 3 cents to $15.10 per ounce. Copper was down 2 cents to $2.28 per pound.

Among energy ETFs, the United States Oil Fund was up 1.10% to $14.74 with the United States Natural Gas Fund was down 2.24% to $12.01. Among precious-metal funds, the Market Vectors Gold Miners ETF was down 1.20% to 14.05 while SPDR Gold Shares were down 0.74% to $109.67. The iShares Silver Trust was down 0.21% to $14.40.

Here's where the U.S. markets stood at mid-day:

NYSE Composite Index up 74.10 (+0.75%) to 9,911.91

Dow Jones Industrial Average up 188.04 (+1.16%) to 16,389.36

S&P 500 up 13.13 (+0.68%) to 1,945.37

Nasdaq Composite Index up 7.07 (+0.15%) to 4,741.55


Nikkei 225 Index up 1.76%

Hang Seng Index up 0.43%

Shanghai China Composite Index down 1.60%

FTSE 100 Index up 2.47%

CAC 40 up 3.07%

DAX up 2.77%


NYSE Energy Sector Index up 0.22%

NYSE Financial Sector Index up 1.39%

NYSE Healthcare Sector Index up 0.10%


(+) BLPH (+78.66%) Reported positive results from an interim analysis of the company's Phase 2 long-term extension study of INOpulse to treat Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension

(-) VBLT (+16.11%) Expected to report positive test results from cancer treatment before European medical conference

(+) NKE (+9.22%) Reported better-than-expected fiscal Q1 results, strong sales to China


(-) SYRX (-35.63%) Priced underwritten 5.3 million share offering at 38% discount

(-) PETX (-28.76%) Canine lymphoma products AT-004 and AT-005 products will not fully capture the market opportunity

(-) EMES (-27.91%) Withdrew its full-year 2015 distribution guidance

(-) GLPG (-24.37%) Said it will be moving its JAK1 inhibitor filgotinib into Phase 3 trial for rheumatoid arthritis by early 2016.

(-) INAP (-18.12%) Forecasting Q3 sales miss and lowering FY outlook below street view

(-) FINL (-15.95%) Reported earnings in line with Street expectations, but revenues slipped below estimates

(-) PIR (-14.30%) Reported mixed Q2 financial results that missed Wall Street expectations, and guided Q3 and FY16 below estimates

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

Copyright (C) 2016 All rights reserved. Unauthorized reproduction is strictly prohibited.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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