Today’s Market Highlights

by Dawn Pennington on June 30, 2015

U.S. stocks were basically flat most of the morning, before some positive comments on Greece wanting to stay in the EU sent the Dow up 100 points midway through the trading session.

•  Greece is about to default on a repayment to the International Monetary Fund that’s due Tuesday. Last-minute negotiations to put a deal together to extend bailout terms continue.

•  New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie announced his bid for the Republican presidential nomination. The outspoken governor is the 14th GOP candidate to officially announce.

•  U.S. consumer confidence jumped in June. This is according to an index released by The Conference Board. The index rose to 101.4 in June from a downwardly revised 94.6 in May, topping analysts’ estimates.

•  Cisco Systems (CSCO) said it will buy OpenDNS for $635 million. With the addition of this boutique security company, Cisco plans to increase its cloud-security offerings.

•  Oil futures were higher Tuesday. Traders bid up the commodity on news of an agreement to extend Iran’s nuclear program talks by another week.

•  Gold futures settled lower again. The yellow metal is down about 1% through the first half of 2015.


Today’s Market Highlights

by Dawn Pennington on June 29, 2015

U.S. stocks plunged Monday, with the Dow falling nearly 300 points mid-session. Today’s drubbing took place after the Greek bailout negotiations broke down. It’s starting to look like a Greek exit from the European Union could become a very real possibility.

•  The Greek situation is fluid, but now Greece will likely default on a repayment to the International Monetary Fund due Tuesday. The debt-ridden country now is on the verge of fiscal collapse.

•  Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras announced a referendum on whether to accept terms demanded by its international creditors for this Sunday. Banks and the stock market are closed, and depositors can only withdraw up to 60 euros a day from ATMs.

•  NBC Universal, a unit of Comcast (CMCSA) said it will cut ties with Donald Trump.  This was due to “derogatory statements” the presidential candidate recently made regarding immigrants.

•  Oil futures fell to a three-week low Monday, as fears over a Greek exit helped fuel the sell-off.

•  Gold futures settled at their highest level in a week. The worsening financial crisis in Greece helped to boost the safe-haven metal.


Today’s Market Highlights

by Dawn Pennington on June 26, 2015

Tragedy struck abroad overnight, as gunmen killed nearly 40 people in a tri-continental terror attack.

The targets were an Air Products & Chemicals (APD) plant in France, a Tunisian hotel and a mosque in Kuwait.The Islamic State claimed responsibility, although the New York Times wrote that there is no evidence that the events were coordinated.

French stocks fell on the day while U.S. markets opened higher after the attacks.

Domestic consumer sentiment numbers jumped 6% to hit a five-month high. However, the good news seemed to spook traders. That’s because higher consumer confidence could add further fuel to the Fed’s interest-rate-hike fire. Equities closed lower by -0.03%.

  • Chinese stocks saw their biggest single-day drop in seven years. The CSI300 index, which represents 300 A-share stocks on the Shanghai and Shenzhen exchanges, fell nearly 8%.This led many traders to wonder what will happen to China’s eight-month stock-market surge.
  • This week, international creditors gave Prime Minister Alex Tsipras 48 hours to accept a deal to help Greece avoid default. He initially called the deal — which could release billions in frozen aid — “blackmail.” Euro-zone finance ministers reconvene Saturday to continue talks.


Today’s Market Highlights

by Dawn Pennington on June 25, 2015

U.S. stocks slid in late-Thursday trade as the Dow Jones Transportation Average, long a measure of economic health, now has fallen into correction territory. Transports are down 10.1% from their peak in November.

•  Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonin Scalia called the ACA decision, “pure applesauce.” Scalia wrote the Court’s dissenting opinion.

•  The House of Representatives passed a bill to provide aid to workers who lose their jobs due to international trade deals.

•  Oil futures pulled back below $60 a barrel Thursday, as traders weighed energy-demand implications tied to Greece’s debt woes.

•  Gold futures finished lower for a fifth-consecutive session as traders continue to be cautious over Greece, and over the Fed’s next move.


Today’s Market Highlights

by Dawn Pennington on June 24, 2015

U.S. stocks were fell Wednesday, taking the lead from European markets as hopes for an imminent deal to avert a Greek debt default failed to materialize.

•  The Commerce Department said a first-quarter contraction of the US economy was not as bad as previously thought. GDP in Q1 shrank at an annual rate of 0.2% in the period, much less than the 0.7% in the previous estimate.

•  President Obama announced a new hostage policy designed to ensure that families of captives are treated as partners in an effort to secure their freedom.

•  Warner Bros., a division of Time Warner (TWX) says it will discontinue a toy version of the Dodge Charger used in the TV series “Dukes of Hazzard,” which featured a Confederate flag.

•  Oil futures were lower Wednesday, despite a bigger-than-expected weekly decline in U.S. crude supplies.

•  Gold futures settled lower for a fourth consecutive session as investors looked at first quarter data indicating a Fed rate hike could come in September.


Today’s Market Highlights

by Dawn Pennington on June 23, 2015

U.S. stocks were basically flat in Tuesday trade, as investors await definitive news on the Greek bailout deal.

•  Sales of new single-family homes in May reached the fastest pace in more than seven years, according to data released by the Commerce Department.

•  A new Suffolk University poll of likely New Hampshire Republican primary voters showed Gov. Jeb Bush in the lead with 14%, Donald Trump right behind him at 11% and Gov. Scott Walker at 8%.

•  Oil futures turned higher Tuesday, as expectations for a weekly decline in U.S. crude supplies and tensions over oil-rich Russia fueled the buying.

•  Gold futures finished lower Tuesday, as expectations Greece could strike a deal with its creditors and avoid default sent money out of the safe-haven trade.

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Today’s Market Highlights

by Dawn Pennington on June 22, 2015

U.S. stocks surged Monday. Optimism over a Greek bailout deal being reached caused money to flow into risk assets. The Nasdaq Composite vaulted to a new, all-time high in early trade and notched another record close.

Here are some more of today’s highlights …

•  The Supreme Court issued several rulings Monday, including a ruling to uphold Marvel Entertainment’s toy patent.

•  The court also ruled in favor of a raisin farmer in its claim against mandates to sell its product to the government. See more about this issue in my article on this subject from May.

•  General Mills (GIS) said it now plans to remove artificial flavors and colors from all its cereals by the end of 2017. Shares edged higher to $56.53 today.

•  Apple’s (AAPL) new music service will now pay royalties to artists during its three-month free trial of its new streaming service. The company changed its tune after singer Taylor Swift said she would withhold her album “1989” from the service. Shares closed higher by almost a full point at $127.56.

•  Alcoa Inc. (AA) shares sank to a 15-month low after analysts at Sterne Agee CRT downgraded the aluminum giant. Shares ended the day 1.5% lower at $11.76.




Today’s Market Highlights

by Dawn Pennington on June 19, 2015

U.S. stocks sold off today, as the deadlock in Greek debt talks turned and the “quadruple-witching,” concurrent expiration of index options and futures options drove trading.

  • China stocks fell sharply this week, sending the benchmark Shanghai Composite index to its steepest weekly loss since 2008. Concern that the government will clamp down on margin trading and valuations helped fuel the selling.
  • Oil futures slid Friday, and for the week, as traders bet on a further rise in Saudi crude output. The Greek debt drama and negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program also weighed on crude futures.
  • Gold futures held at the $1,200 an ounce level Friday with gains for the week. Uncertainty over Greece, the value of the dollar, and the Fed combined to push the safe-haven asset slightly higher.


Today’s Market Highlights

by Dawn Pennington on June 18, 2015

U.S. stocks surged today, one day after the Federal Reserve signaled that it would move even slower than expected in raising interest rates. The Nasdaq Composite hit an all-time intraday high, and the Dow Industrials and S&P 500 each gained 1% on the day.

Here’s part of what drove today’s trading …

  • May consumer price data showed the biggest inflationary uptick in more than two years. But you strip out energy and food, the picture looks much different — with so-called “core” inflation increasing just 0.1%.
  • The House passed legislation to restore presidential power to ease trade pacts through Congress. Republicans and pro-trade Democrats drove through a new fast-track bill a week after some Dems brought down a similar measure.
  • Shares of Fitbit (FIT) soared 50% in their trading debut. The IPO was priced at $20 a share, above the expected range. The maker of wearable fitness-tracking devices sold 36.6 million shares to raise $732 million. Shares ended the day at $29.68.
  • Oracle (ORCL) fell nearly 5%, one day after the software giant reported disappointing fiscal fourth-quarter earnings.
  • Oil futures climbed Thursday, with prices settling at their highest level in a week.
  • Gold futures rallied past $1,200 an ounce to settle at their highest level in nearly a month.


Today’s Market Highlights

by Dawn Pennington on June 17, 2015

Today, the Federal Reserve kept interest rates as-is, with no change in monetary policy.

The decision was widely expected. Now the process of analyzing the FOMC statement, as well as Fed Chair Yellen’s press conference, begins.

We’ll have more on the Fed’s decision, as well as the market’s reaction, in tomorrow Afternoon Edition. In the meantime, you can read the FOMC’s press release here.

U.S. stocks started the day slightly higher, as the situation in Greece remained unchanged and markets waited for the Fed. Although stocks pulled back around announcement time, the S&P 500 managed to end the day with a modest gain.

Here’s what else happened today …

  • AT&T Inc. (T) will likely get hit with a $100 million fine. The Federal Communications Commission alleges the telecom giant misled its customers about unlimited data plans and the data speeds for unlimited-plan customers.
  • California’s labor commissioner ruled that an Uber driver should be classified as an employee of the company. The decision could set a precedent for how the ride-for-hire service compensates its more than 200,000 drivers.
  • European stock markets sold off Wednesday, and Greek stocks fell more than 3% to their lowest level since September 2012.
  • Honda (HMC) says lower gas prices have hurt sales of hybrids and natural-gas-powered cars. The company reportedly plans to stop producing the hybrid and compressed natural gas versions of the Civic. Shares edged slightly lower in today’s trading.
  • Meanwhile, Tesla Motors (TSLA) has reportedly partnered with researcher Jeff Dahn to help cut battery costs. Dahn is considered a pioneer developer of the lithium-ion battery. TSLA gained 2.9% on the day.