Markets Inch Higher Following Encouraging Beige Book Commentary
U.S. stocks were mostly higher as the Dow and S&P 500 closed the day at record highs.
The Fed's Beige book contained positive commentary on improved employment with “widespread” gains across all 12 districts. Manufacturing activity improved in most districts along with economic activity and consumer spending.
Economic data reported on Wednesday showed the ISM Services Index rising to a three-month highs and exceeded expectations. Private payroll data showed sector employment is rising, albeit at a slightly less than expected pace in November.
Investors and traders will be paying close attention to Thursday's weekly jobless claims report and the monthly jobs report on Friday.
- The Dow gained 0.18 percent, closing at 17,912.62.
- The S&P 500 gained 0.38 percent, closing at 2,074.33.
- The Nasdaq gained 0.39 percent, closing at 4,774.47.
- Gold gained 0.94 percent, trading at $1,210.70.
- Oil gained 0.75 percent, trading at $67.38.
News Of Note
MBA Mortgage Composite Index fell 7.3 percent after declining 4.3 percent last week.
November ADP Jobs Report rose 208,000 versus expectations of 223,000.
Q3 Productivity rose 2.3 percent (versus expectations of 2.4 percent) after rising 2.0 percent in the second quarter.
Q3 Unit Labor Costs declined 1.0 percent (versus expectations of a 0.1 percent decline) after rising 0.3 percent in the second quarter.
November Gallup U.S. Job Creation fell to 28 from 27 in October.
November ISM Non-Manufacturing Index rose to 59.3 (versus expectations of 57.5) from 57.1 in October.
EIA Petroleum Crude Inventories declined 3.7 million barrels (versus expectations of a 1.3 million barrel gain) after rising 1.9 million barrels last week.
Equities News Of Note
Analysts at JMP Securities maintained a Market Outperform rating on Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) with a price target raised to $150 from a previous $135. Shares gained 1.13 percent, closing at $115.93.
Analysts at Oppenheimer initiated coverage of Halliburton (NYSE: HAL) with an Outperform rating and $71 price target. Shares gained 1.47 percent, closing at $40.75.
Analysts at Edward Jones downgraded Wal-Mart (NYSE: WMT) to Hold from Buy. Shares lost 1.14 percent, closing at $84.94.
CME Group (NASDAQ: CME) raised its offer to acquire GFI Group (NYSE: GFIG) to $5.25 from a previous $4.55. Shares of CME Group hit new 52-week highs of $86.80 before closing the day at $86.69, up 1.26 percent. Shares of GFI Group gained 8.35 percent, closing at $5.45.
QEP Resources (NYSE: QEP) confirmed it completed a $2.5 billion sale of its natural gas gathering and processing business to Tesoro Logistics. (NYSE: TLLP). Shares of QEP Resources gained 3.55 percent, closing at $21.98, while shares of Tesoro Logistics gained 4.01 percent, closing at $56.80.
Activist investor Barrington Capital is urging Omnova Solutions (NYSE: OMN) to break up and sell its smaller engineered surfaces business. Shares gained 7.58 percent, closing at $7.24.
Luxottica Group (NYSE: LUX) and Intel (NASDAQ: INTC) announced a multi-year R&D partnership to create smart technology eyewear devices. Shares of Luxottica lost 0.04 percent, closing at $54.38 while shares of Intel hit new 52-week highs of $37.88 before turning negative and closing the day at $37.44, down 0.43 percent.
Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ) is exploring a sale of its Splenda sweetener business. Shares lost 0.73 percent, closing at $107.72.
AutoNation (NYSE: AN) reported a 6 percent gain in vehicle sales from a year ago in November and sold 27,055 new vehicles. Shares gained 1.66 percent, closing at $60.02.
Walgreen (NYSE: WAG) reported its November sales rose 4.9 percent to $6.36 billion. Shares gained 0.94 percent, closing at $67.38.
PVH Corp (NYSE: PVH) reported its third quarter results after market close. The company earned $2.56 per share, beating the consensus estimate of $2.48. Revenue of $2.23 billion beat the consensus estimate of $2.27 billion. Shares were trading lower by 0.36 percent at $123.95 following the earnings report.
Quote Of The Day
“You have enjoyed considerable non-pecuniary compensation such as perfumed sedan driver(s) and assorted assistants who spray ionized lavender water on your barren cranium.” – activist investor Cannell Capital in a letter to The Street's Jim Cramer after disclosing an 8.95 percent stake.
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