December 12, 2017
Friday, February 26, 2016

Wall Street gains on strong GDP data; oil eases

Wall Street inched higher on Friday after data showed that a slowdown in US economic growth was not as bad as expected, but gains were capped as oil prices came off sessions highs.

Gross domestic product increased at a 1 percent annual rate instead of the previously reported 0.7 percent pace. The economy grew at a rate of 2.0 percent in the third quarter.

US crude prices, a major stock market driver this year, rose nearly 5 percent but pared some of those gains and were up about 2 percent at 11:11 a.m. ET.

"We've been low on oil for so long that stable or slightly higher oil price is viewed positively as a stabilizing effect on the economy and stock market," said Mark Spellman, portfolio manager at Alpine Funds in New York.

The S&P is on track for its best two-week performance since last February, staging a recovery from one of the worst starts to a year.

At 11:11 a.m. ET, the Dow Jones industrial average was up 37.02 points, or 0.22 percent, at 16,734.31, the S&P 500 was up 7.67 points, or 0.39 percent, at 1,959.37 and the Nasdaq Composite index was up 21.98 points, or 0.48 percent, at 4,604.19.

Eight of the 10 major S&P sectors were higher, led by a 1.4 percent rise in the materials sector.

European equities rallied to reach a three-week high, as a jump in metals prices boosted miners and some encouraging company updates also supported the market.

However, state-backed Royal Bank of Scotland slumped more than 7 percent after reporting its eighth straight full-year loss, of 1.97 billion pounds ($2.7 bln). Restructuring and litigation costs continued to weigh it down.

Jefferies analysts called the RBS results "disappointing".

Miners were the top performers, with the STOXX Europe 600 Basic Resources index gaining 3.9 percent following sharp gains in the prices of key industrial metals such as copper and aluminium.

Shares in Glencore, BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto rose by 2.9 to 7.9 percent.

They helped the pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index end up 1.6 percent and strike its second positive week in a row.

In Asian markets, Japan's Nikkei rose to its highest close in almost three weeks after risk sentiment recovered on a steadily weakening yen and overnight gains on Wall Street.

The Nikkei share average edged up 0.30 percent to 16,188.41 for its highest close since Feb. 8. Japan's benchmark index added about 1.4 percent for the week.

Investors focused on a two-day G20 meeting that began in Shanghai Friday morning.

The broader Topix rose 0.3 percent to end the day at 1,311.27 with all but 10 of its 33 subindexes in positive territory. The index ended the week 1.5 percent higher.

The JPX-Nikkei Index 400 climbed 0.4 percent to 11,883.82.

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Tags:  US  stock market  Europe  Nikkei  

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