December 13, 2017
Thursday, December 11, 2014

Wall Street bounces after 3-day slump; off day's highs as oil falls

US stocks rose as upbeat retail sales figures and other US data pointed to a strengthening economy and lifted optimism about consumer spending.

Indexes ended well off their highs for the day, however, paring gains late in the session as US crude oil fell below $60 a barrel for the first time in five years.

The gains came after the S&P 500 shed 2.4 percent over the previous three sessions, the worst run for the benchmark index in two months, as weak oil prices weighed on the energy sector.

Still, lower oil prices likely encouraged consumer holiday spending, and November retail sales beat expectations. Retailers were among the day's biggest percentage gainers on the S&P 500, including Urban Outfitters, up 7.6 percent at $32.29. The S&P retail index jumped 1 percent.

Other economic data showed a strengthening labor market, as weekly initial jobless claims dipped.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 63.19 points, or 0.36 percent, to 17,596.34, the S&P 500 gained 9.19 points, or 0.45 percent, to 2,035.33 and the Nasdaq Composite added 24.14 points, or 0.52 percent, to 4,708.16.

The S&P energy sector, which is down 14.7 percent for the year so far, pared gains late in the session to close flat. Oil prices are down more than 40 percent from June highs.

Adding to investor concern, the fate of a $1.1 trillion US spending bill was put in doubt by Democratic objections over a provision to roll back part of the Dodd-Frank financial reform law. Current spending authority for federal agencies expires at midnight.

Staples Inc jumped 8.7 percent to $16.10 and Office Depot climbed 12.1 percent to $7.54 after activist investor Starboard Value LP disclosed stakes in both office-supply retailers.

About 7.2 billion shares changed hands on US exchanges, above the 6.9 billion average for the last five sessions, according to BATS Global Markets.

NYSE advancers outnumbered decliners 1,787 to 1,295, for a 1.38-to-1 ratio; on the Nasdaq, 1,668 issues rose and 1,089 fell, for a 1.53-to-1 ratio.

The S&P 500 posted 36 new 52-week highs and 15 lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 91 new highs and 93 lows.

After the bell, shares of Adobe Systems Inc rose 7.2 percent to $74.75. It said it would buy stock photography company Fotolia and reported quarterly revenue above market estimates.

In Europe, euro zone shares snapped a three-day losing streak, taking their lead from gains on Wall Street after some stronger-than-expected consumer spending data from the United States.

Greek shares fell for a third day, however, as upcoming presidential elections sparked fears of political instability that could send the country back into crisis.

If Prime Minister Antonis Samaras fails to secure victory for his presidential candidate, snap national elections would be called which the leftist Syriza party, an opponent of Greece's bailout deal with the European Union and IMF, would likely win.

The Athens General Composite index of Greek stocks closed 7.4 percent lower, taking its fall this week to 20 percent.

Most other euro zone indexes turned higher in late trade in response to the U.S. data which showed consumer spending advancing at a brisk clip in November, with lower gasoline prices giving the holiday shopping season a boost.

The Euro STOX 50 index of euro zone blue chips closedd 0.3 percent higher at 3,159.11 points while the pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 was flat at 1,357.43 points.

The FTSEurofirst 300 had fallen 3.4 percent in the previous three sessions as worries about Greece and a slump in commodity prices dented investor appetite for assets which depend on global growth.

Among individual movers, Airbus fell 4.3 percent, adding to a 10 percent drop in the previous session after the planemaker predicted flat profits in 2016. That surprised investors who had expected new and recently upgraded models to start boosting results that year.

Zara owner Inditex bucked the trend, gaining 4.2 percent after posting in-line earnings.

Meanwhile, Japanese stocks sagged to a 2-week low today, as a stronger yen, falling oil prices and downbeat machinery data dampened risk appetite.

In its third consecutive day of losses, the Nikkei average fell 0.9 percent to 17,257.40, its lowest since November 27.

In volatile trade ahead of Nikkei futures and options contracts settling on Friday, the benchmark recovered from a trough of 17,043.63 in the morning session.

Shares in major exporters sensitive to fluctuations in the yen slipped, with Panasonic Corp shedding 1.8 percent and Toyota Motor Corp down 0.6 percent.

The broader Topix fell 0.7 percent to 1,397.04. The JPX-Nikkei Index 400 also slipped 0.7 percent to 12,672.68.

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Tags:  Stocks  shares  FTSEurofirst  Nikkei  US  Dow Jones  

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