Market Has Best Day of the Year
Business Roundup for Thursday, February 6
NEW YORK (AP) — The stock market had its best day this year, nearly erasing the steep losses from early this week. The gains came after encouraging news on the U.S. job market and Disney and other companies reported solid earnings. The Dow Jones industrial average jumped 188 points, or 1.2 percent, to close at 15,628 Thursday. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index rose 21 points, also 1.2 percent, to 1,773. It was the best gain for both indexes since Dec. 18. Both are still down about half a percent for the week following a steep drop on Monday. The Nasdaq composite gained 45 points, or 1.2 percent, to 4,057.Disney jumped 5 percent after the media company reported earnings that beat analysts’ estimates, thanks partly to its box-office hit “Frozen.”
NEW YORK (AP) — Twitter’s stock price has taken a big hit today. Twitter reported stronger-than-expected revenue and adjusted earnings in its fourth-quarter financial report yesterday. But shares have dropped more than 20 percent as user numbers suggest that Twitter’s growth is slowing. The company added 9 million new monthly users in the fourth quarter, after averaging 16 million new accounts in the first three quarters of the year.
NEW YORK (AP) — A former portfolio manager at SAC Capital Advisors has been convicted of insider trading. Prosecutors say Mathew Martoma and his firm dumped millions of shares of two pharmaceutical companies after he learned in July 2008 about the secret results of an Alzheimer’s drug trial. The government says Martoma corrupted a University of Michigan professor who was in charge of the safety committee for what was hoped to be a breakthrough drug to control the disease.
NEW YORK (AP) — Retailers are taking a rosy view of the year ahead despite a rough start. The National Retail Federation says it expects retail sales will increase 4.1 percent in 2014. That’s slightly better than last year’s gain. Winter storms crimped sales in January, following a holiday season in which stores had to discount heavily to get shoppers to buy. Many retailers are already discounting spring merchandise to help improve sales.
FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — The head of the European Central Bank says the eurozone economy suffers from “broad based weakness” and will recover only “at a slow pace.” But the bank is holding off on any stimulus effort for now, leaving its benchmark interest rate unchanged at a record low of 0.25 percent. Some analysts thought it might cut the rate to 0.1 percent. Weak growth and an unexpected drop in inflation have raised concerns that the eurozone might slide into deflation, a sustained drop in prices that can cripple the economy.
HONG KONG (AP) — International stock markets advanced cautiously today but Australia’s exchange and currency jumped after encouraging economic data there. Most investors are waiting for key policy meetings in Europe and a major U.S. job report. The dollar slipped against the yen and edged up against the euro. Benchmark U.S. crude oil rose above $97.50 a barrel.
UNDATED (AP) — The government releases the closely watched weekly jobless claims number today. It also issues fourth-quarter productivity data and international trade data for December. Freddie Mac reports weekly mortgage rates. And chain retailers release January sales comparisons. There are quarterly earnings reports from Sony, Aetna, General Motors, 21st Century Fox, Philip Morris International and Kellogg before the market opens. After the close, it’s results from News Corp. and Linkedin.
WASHINGTON (AP) — Tomorrow’s scheduled employment report from the government is getting some extra attention amid worries about an economic slowdown. Stock markets have sunk after signs of weaker growth in the United States, Europe and China. But experts say there’s a downside: The numbers may be distorted by recent bad weather and the end of extended unemployment benefits in December.
FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — The 24-member governing council of the European Central Bank is meeting today in Frankfurt and will weigh conflicting signals from the economy as it considers whether to cut interest rates again for the 18-country euro bloc. A number of economists think it will hold off cutting rates or taking other measures that might stimulate the economy, which is growing more slowly than people would like.
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