December 20, 2014
S&P 500 ends up, Nasdaq dips in volatile Wall Street session
The S&P 500 ended higher today after a volatile session, as gains in Apple and Pfizer helped offset another round of selling in some high-growth tech shares.
The Nasdaq ended slightly lower but rebounded late in the session from a fall of over 1 percent. Leading the Nasdaq down was Amazon.com, which extended Friday's sharp decline a day after its earnings report.
The Dow Jones industrial average rose 87.28 points or 0.53 percent, to end at 16,448.74. The S&P 500 gained 6.03 points or 0.32 percent, to 1,869.43. The Nasdaq Composite dropped 1.161 points or 0.03 percent, to 4,074.401.
European stocks ended slightly higher as merger and acquisition moves in pharmaceuticals and strong results from Germany's Bayer outweighed anxiety over new Western sanctions against Russia.
Shares in AstraZeneca rallied 14.4 percent after US rival Pfizer said it wanted to buy the British drugmaker in a deal potentially worth more than $100 billion. The sharp jump in the stock increased the group's market capitalisation by roughly 7.4 billion pounds, or $12.44 billion.
The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index, which has struggled to make much headway after hitting a near six-year high earlier this month, closed 0.3 percent higher at 1,336.30 points. The euro zone Euro STOXX 50 rose 0.6 percent to 3,165.84 points.
The indexes briefly pared gains early in the afternoon as the United States slapped sanctions on seven Russian government officials and 17 companies. The European Union was also said to have agreed on further asset freezes and visa bans.
Meanwhile, Tokyo's Nikkei fell today, weighed down by a drop on Wall Street and as tensions in the Ukraine drove up the yen.
With the earnings season in swing, lacklustre corporate estimates also dampened sentiment, with Honda Motor Co falling 4.5 percent after its net profit forecast for the year through March 2015 came in well below market expectations.
The Nikkei share average fell 1 percent to 14,288.23. The broader Topix index shed 0.8 percent to 1,160.74.
The new JPX-Nikkei Index 400 lost 0.8 percent to 10,564.15.