December 21, 2014
Wall Street ends higher after Fed minutes
US stocks rose today, rebounding from the previous day's broad selloff, after minutes of the Federal Reserve's last meeting showed central bankers have discussed the eventual tightening of monetary policy but made no decisions on which tools to use.
The Dow Jones industrial average rose 1 percent, its biggest daily percentage jump since mid-April. Goldman Sachs was the top gainer on the blue chip index, up 1.9 percent at $159.35.
Minutes of the Fed meeting showed the Fed staff presented several approaches to raising short-term interest rates, but said the discussion was simply "prudent planning" and not a sign rate hikes would come any time soon.
The Dow Jones industrial average rose 158.75 points or 0.97 percent, to 16,533.06, the S&P 500 gained 15.2 points or 0.81 percent, to 1,888.03 and the Nasdaq Composite added 34.65 points or 0.85 percent, to 4,131.54.
With the day's gain, the S&P 500 was up for a third session out of four. But the broad market index was still off about 1 percent from its record intraday high on May 13.
Retail stocks were once again in the spotlight. Tiffany & Co jumped 9.1 percent to $96.30 as one of the best performers on the S&P 500 after the jewelry retailer raised its full-year profit forecast. The S&P retail sector index was up 1.2 percent.
Despite a better-than-expected first-quarter earnings season, Bank of America-Merrill Lynch gave a cautious outlook on prospects for the rest of the year and 2015.
European shares finished higher,, with Danish shipping and oil group A.P. Moller-Maersk gaining after its profit beat forecasts and German utilities rising on the back of broker upgrades.
The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 ended 0.6 percent higher at 1,364.76 points, just below last week's six-year peak. The index was helped by companies like Maersk and Germany's top utilities E.ON and RWE.
E.ON and RWE rose 3.2 percent and 3.6 percent respectively after RBC Capital Markets upgraded E.ON to "outperform" from "underperform" and raised RWE to "sector perform" from "underperform".
Maersk rose 3.9 percent as profit at its container shipping business, a bellwether for global trade, more than doubled in the first quarter. That exceeded net profit forecasts and prompted it to raise its outlook for the full year.
Meanwhile, Japan's Nikkei share average edged down hurt by the yen's strength in recent sessions, with investors nervous about whether Bank of Japan Governor Haruhiko Kuroda sticks to his mantra that there is no need for additional easing now.
The Nikkei closed down 0.2 percent at 14,042.17, after having hit a five-week intraday low of 13,964.43. The broader Topix fell 0.3 percent and the new JPX-Nikkei Index 400 dropped 0.3 percent.