August 20, 2014
Wall Street ends up after Citi results, retail sales
US stocks closed higher today as Citigroup's earnings and strong retail sales gave investors reasons to buy equities despite a resurgence of geopolitical uncertainties.
Equities opened higher as strong results from Citigroup and bullish retail sales data lifted sentiment, though shares lost ground in the last hour of trading. Both the Nasdaq and the S&P 500 briefly turned negative, though they subsequently returned to positive territory.
Geopolitical concerns returned to the forefront after pro-Russian separatists ignored an ultimatum to leave occupied government buildings in eastern Ukraine as a threatened military offensive by government forces failed to materialize. Rebels in the town of Slaviansk issued a bold call for Russian President Vladimir Putin to help them.The Dow Jones industrial average shot up 146.49 points, or 0.91 percent, to end at 16,173.24. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index gained 14.92 points, or 0.82 percent, to finish at 1,830.61. The Nasdaq Composite Index advanced 22.96 points, or 0.57 percent, to close at 4,022.69.
Strong US economic data helped pan-European equity indexes snap a three-day losing streak, but appetite for risk remained muted as the threat of violence between Ukrainian forces and pro-Russia separatists loomed.
The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index ended three days of falls to close 0.5 percent higher at 1,319.46 points, having erased early losses after strong results from US bank Citigroup and better-than-expected U.S. retail sales data.
The euro zone's blue chip Euro STOXX 50 index also rose 0.5 percent, to 3,131.57 points.
Japanese stocks slumped to a fresh six-month low as market sentiment stayed fragile after a rocky session on Wall Street and on escalating tensions in Ukraine.
The Nikkei share average closed down 0.4 percent at 13,910.16, its lowest level since Oct. 8. The benchmark shed 7.3 percent last week to mark its biggest weekly fall since the week after the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami.