Late burst helps all the major US stock indexes close with gains, after the Dow Industrials spend a good portion of the session lurching in and out of positive territory.
Quadruple witching perhaps played some part in the early and late updrafts. Not much conviction in either direction today, but bias is generally positive, helped by strong gains in the tech-heavy Nasdaq.RIMM climbs 10%, Oracle up 6.4%.
Behind tech, financials the next best-performing sector, with other gainers only slightly higher. Consumer staples, industrials decline. US dollar index ends up a little. DJIA rises 20.63 to 10328.89, and Nasdaq Comp climbs 31.64 (1.5%) to 2211.69. S&P 500 ends 6.32 higher at 1102.39.
Holiday shortened week ahead, with stock markets closing early Thursday for the Christmas holiday. Final look at 3Q GDP Tuesday, along with Richmond Fed’s Dec manufacturing survey and November existing home sales; Nov personal consumption/income data, consumer sentiment and new home sales Wednesday; durables Thursday.
- Morgan Stanley’s (MS) plan to relinquish five San Francisco office buildings to its lender represents “a fascinating twist on the underwater homeowner walking away from their bad purchases,” FusionIQ CEO Barry Ritholtz says.
- In the aftermath of Citigroup’s (C) flop of a secondary offering, let the blame game begin.
- Beware of the “Iranian Cyber Army.” Twitter users should take caution after hacking. “It is suggested that if you use the same password on your Twitter account with other accounts, now would be a good time to change your password on those other accounts,” TechCrunch’s Michael Arrington says.
- Yahoo’s declining search trend certainly a cause for concern.
- Retailers turn to gift cards to entice last-minute shoppers.
- Obama reaches a “meaningful agreement” for combating climate change with leaders from China, India and South Africa that was described as “an important first step.”
- Reviving Depression-era laws may be a tough sell.
- Fed can help, but fiscal policy is key to job creation.
- ECRI’s leading indicators reach 17-month high, suggesting the recovery in 2010 will be smooth sailing. Right? Wait. “The last time the reading was this high was in the summer of 2008 – just before the market began to unravel,” the Pragmatic Capitalist notes.
Back in the fall, Google (GOOG) CEO Eric Schmidt said his company would get back into M&A.
He wasn’t kidding.
Google’s reportedly in talks to purchase local review site Yelp for about $500 million. NY Times says talks have been on going for a few years, but entered a more serious stage about two months ago.
“If the deal does go through, then Google will have snapped up seven companies since August, for what I estimate is a total of $1.5 billion,” MediaMemo blogger Peter Kafka says.
Yelp’s known for its community of users who’ve produced about eight million reviews in 30 different cities. “Those reviews help draw local advertisers, and that’s a market that Google, along with everyone else on the Web, has been trying to crack for years, with limited success,” Kafka says.
Catching up on Mike Santoli’s column from last weekend’s Barron’s, where he cites the uncanny accuracy in market calls made by a broker who frequently emails him, but wants to remain anonymous to the rest of us.
This guy essentially called the top in 2007, and was bullish in April when few believed in the stock market’s rebound. He’s predicted some of the market’s pullbacks since then, and now sees the S&P 500 running up to 1200 or 1250 by mid-January, Santoli relates. Fair enough.
What caught our eye is this part of the story:
Our guy writes that he’s “dumbfounded by the refusal of the media, investors and economists” to acknowledge the prospect of a V-shaped economic recovery given the pace of improvement in employment, industrial production and leading indicators, Santoli writes.
He’s dumbfounded, is he? Frankly, we’re a little dumbfounded ourselves…that anyone would believe in the possibility of a V-shaped recovery.
Tech stocks fueling today’s market action as big gains from Oracle (ORCL) and BlackBerry maker Research In Motion (RIMM) have propelled the major market indexes back into positive territory.
Oracle, seen as an industry barometer because it sells lots of software to a variety of businesses, said its quarterly profit rose 12% from a year ago and sales exceeded expectations. Results are good sign for the broader economy as corporate tech spending may finally be ready to rebound.
Analysts were pretty bullish about Oracle’s results. JPMorgan says better-than-expected results come “on the back of solid execution in the Americas, offset by softer international performance, though all regions showed marked improvement from the previous period.
FBR says profitability levels continue to impress. “Just when you think Oracle cannot deliver upside to margins, the company finds more leverage in the model, and this quarter was no different.”
Stormy weather may throw a wrench in the plans of some retailers and holiday shoppers on what’s typically the biggest shopping day of the year.
Planalytics says predictions of a “Super Saturday Snowstorm” will be a net negative for most businesses with presence in the eastern US. “Expect some business to shift to Sunday, but not all will be made up,” firm writes, adding that some demand will shift online but the peak period has passed.
Stores like Bon Ton (BONT) which has about 76% of its store base receiving snowfall on Super Saturday and DSW Shoes (DSW), with 44% of its store base getting snowfall, may be at risk, Planalytics says.
BONT down 3.1% to $10.01; DSW off 0.7% at $25.41; Macy’s (M) up a fraction.
US dollar’s three-week-old rebound comes amid fresh debt worries abroad, which has triggered another rush to safety.
Dollar rally could continue picking up steam as traders who had been shorting the currency start bailing from those bets, Tom Petruno writes at LA Times’ Money & Co blog. But he doesn’t expect the trend to last long term.
“There still are plenty of people on Wall Street who believe the dollar is going lower longer-term,” he says. “But they may be happy to wait until January to try to make that case again. And between now and then, thin holiday trading seems likely to favor the trend already in motion – which is dollar strength.”
Following yesterday’s spirited sell-off in US stocks, futures are shaded higher. Positive earnings reports late yesterday from Research In Motion (RIMM) and Oracle (ORCL) help support the early tone, though gains in stock futures so far don’t signal a lot of conviction toward an early rebound.
Asian markets were mostly lower overnight, while stocks in Europe are posting gains. No economic data on the calendar; quarterly options and futures expiration could add a dash of volatility.
US dollar index is a little lower after yesterday’s big run-up; oil is rallying, gold still down. S&P futures up 5.60; 10-yr flat, yield at 3.48%.
J.P. Morgan reported some strong earnings today. But what this bloggers eye were some of the sub-numbers in the earnings report. The bank booked $1.8 billion in investment banking fees. But don’t be fooled – that wasn’t from big M&A advising. But $429 million was in advisory fees. Instead, that $1.3 billion + remaining fees […]
David Oreck, founder of a well-known maker of vacuums and air purifiers, says he’s upset his namesake company is in bankruptcy. He says Nashville, Tenn.-based Oreck Corp. was a perfectly profitable company when he sold his stake in it to a private equity firm in 2004. He blames the firm, New York-based American Securities Capital […]