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Stock Market News for December 23, 2015

Benchmarks ended in the green for the second straight session on Tuesday, helped by an increase in U.S. crude oil price. Energy shares moved north after U.S. crude price advanced from multi-year lows. Tuesday's gains were broad based, with industrials, consumer staples, materials and energy sectors gaining more than 1% among the S&P 500 sectors. Meanwhile, the third quarter GDP growth was estimated to grow lower than previously estimated. However, investors were not jittery about this.

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The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) gained almost 1% to close at 17,417.27. The Standard & Poor's 500 (S&P 500) advanced 0.9% to close at 2,038.97. The tech-laden Nasdaq Composite Index closed at 5,001.11, increasing 0.7%. The fear-gauge CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) plunged 11.2% to settle at 16.60. A total of around 3.5 billion shares were traded on Tuesday on the NYSE. Advancers outpaced declining stocks on the NYSE. For 74% stocks that advanced, 23% declined.

U.S. crude oil prices gained on Tuesday, after the 40-year ban on U.S. oil exports was lifted. Additionally, unwinding of a long Brent/short WTI spread before the traditional year-end period of low liquidity, helped U.S. crude price settle in positive territory. The WTI crude oil price gained 0.9% to end at $36.14 a barrel. However, Brent crude oil declined 0.7% to end at $36.11 a barrel.

Rise in U.S crude price had a positive impact on energy shares. The Energy Select Sector SPDR (XLE) gained 1.2%. Dow components Exxon Mobil Corporation ( XOM ) and Chevron Corporation ( CVX ) advanced 0.5% and 1.2%, respectively. Other key stocks from the energy sector such as Occidental Petroleum Corporation ( OXY ), ConocoPhillips ( COP ) and Schlumberger Limited ( SLB ) increased1.3%, 2.6% and 2.3%, respectively.

Tuesday's gains were broad based, with all 12 sectors of the S&P 500 ending in the green. The Industrial Select Sector SPDR (XLI) gained 1.4% and was the biggest gainer among the S&P 500 sectors. Key stocks from this sector including General Electric Company ( GE ), 3M Company ( MMM ), The Boeing Company ( BA ), Honeywell International Inc. ( HON ) and United Technologies Corporation ( UTX ) increased 0.3%, 1%, 1.1%, 1.5% and 1.4%, respectively.

The Consumer Staples Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLP) advanced 1.3%, the second highest gainer among the S&P 500 sectors. Key consumer staples stocks including The Procter & Gamble Company ( PG ), The Coca-Cola Company ( KO ), Philip Morris International, Inc. ( PM ), Pepsico, Inc. ( PEP ) and CVS Health Corporation ( CVS ) increased 0.8%, 1.2%, 1.2%, 1.2% and 2.4%, respectively.

In economic news, U.S. economy accelerated at a mild pace in the third quarter. According to the "third" estimate by the Bureau of Economic Analysis, the third quarter output of goods and services increased at an annual rate of 2%, which was more than the consensus estimate of 1.9% growth. Third-quarter GDP data was revised downward from the previously estimated 2.1%.

The third quarter GDP expanded slower than earlier estimated due to a large trade deficit and a smaller increase in inventories. Exports increased 0.7% instead of an earlier 0.9% estimate, while imports went up 2.3% instead of 2.1%. Separately, inventories increased $85.5 billion, less than prior estimate of $90.2 billion. Meanwhile, construction spending increased 8.2% in the third quarter instead of an earlier 7.3% estimate.

Separately, the National Association of Realtors reported a 10.5% decline in total existing home sales in November to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.76 million from a downwardly revised 5.32 million in October. The consensus estimate had projected sales to be 5.31 million. Existing home sales are 3.8% below year ago level, the first year-over-year decline since Sept 2014.

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


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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