Markets across the world improved after Janet Yellen was approved as the new Federal Reserve Chairwoman on Thursday. Yellen’s appointment allowed investors to release a collective sigh of relief as she dovishly defended the Fed’s easy money policies.

The prospect of extended US monetary stimulus kept Asian markets climbing higher on Friday morning and helped US shares soar on Thursday.

Top News

In other news around the markets:

  • Spain and Ireland announced on Thursday that they were ready to stand on their own as their bailout programs are set to finish in the near future. Although the region’s finance ministers praised the decision, it does carry risks; especially after the bloc’s recent GDP data showed that the eurozone’s economic growth was far from roust.
  • The United Nations reported that Iran has cut down on its nuclear activity since President Hasan Rouhani took office back in August. With talks between the West and Iran over the nation’s nuclear capabilities set to resume next week, the report could help aid diplomacy. The two sides will be working on a deal to prevent Tehran from developing nuclear weapons in exchange for easing sanctions.
  • On Thursday, Berkshire Hathaway disclosed that it had bought 40.1 million shares of Exxon Mobil, resulting in a $3.45 billion stake. Following news of the deal, Exxon shares rose 0.9 percent.
  • On Friday morning, ECB Executive Board Member Joerg Asmussen said it would be necessary for the eurozone to have backstops in place before the ECB performs its health check assessments. EU finance ministers will meet later on Friday to discuss how to implement backstops before the checks begin in October 2014.

Asian Markets

Asian markets ended the week on a high note with the prospect of US monetary stimulus continuing until March of next year. The Japanese NIKKEI was up 1.95 percent and the South Korean KOSPI gained 1.94 percent. China’s Shanghai composite gained 1.68 percent and the Shenzhen composite was up 1.84 percent.

European Markets

European markets were mixed, the UK’s FTSE gained 0.29 percent and the eurozone’s STOXX 600 was mostly flat. Italy’s MIB lost 0.90 percent and the Spanish IBEX lost 0.34 percent.

Commodities

Energy futures were higher with Brent futures up 1.33 percent and WTI futures up 0.20 percent. Gold lost 0.27 percent and silver was down 0.56 percent. Industrial metals were mixed with copper down 0.22 percent and tin up 0.77 percent.

Currencies

The euro lost 0.15 percent against the dollar and the pound was down 0.04 percent against the greenback. The dollar gained 0.34 percent against a tumbling yen, and remained flat against the Australian dollar.

Earnings

Notable earnings released on Thursday included:

  • Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE: WMT) reported third quarter EPS of $1.14 on revenue of $115.69 billion, compared to last year’s EPS of $1.08 on revenue of $113.93 billion.
  • Kohl’s Corporation (NYSE: KSS) reported third quarter EPS of $0.81 on revenue of $4.44 billion, compared to last year’s EPS of $0.91 on revenue of $4.49 billion.
  • Nordstrom, Inc. (NYSE: JWN) reported third quarter EPS of $0.69 on revenue of $2.88 billion, compared to last year’s EPS of $0.71 on revenue of $2.81 billion.

Pre-Market Movers

Stocks moving in the Premarket included:

  • Exxon Mobil Corp (NYSE: XOM) gained 1.62 percent in premarket trade after rising 0.68 percent on Thursday.
  • ADT Corp (NYSE: ADT) gained 1.45 percent in premarket trade after climbing 1.47 percent yesterday.
  • Interpublic Group of Companies (NYSE: IPG) lost 0.58 percent in premarket trade after rising 3.47 percent over the past five days.
  • Prudential Financial Inc (NYSE: PRU) lost 0.47 percent in premarket trade after climbing 6.23 percent over the past five days.
  • Citigroup Inc. (NYSE: C) fell 0.42 percent in premarket trade after gaining 3.85 percent over the past week.

Earnings

No notable earnings to report

Economics

Friday’s economic calendar will be relatively quiet; notable releases expected include eurozone CPI, Italian trade balance, US industrial production, US CPI, and Germany’s house price index.

For a recap of Thursday’s market action click here.

Tune into Benzinga’s pre-market info show with Dennis Dick and Joel Elconin here.

Related Articles
  1. Budgeting

    Plated Review, Is It Worth It?

    Take a closer look at the ready-to-cook meal service, Plated, and learn how the company can help you take the hassle out of home cooking.
  2. Investing News

    How China's Economy is Now Like America's

    China's economy could take the global economy down with it; why that might be good news in the grand scheme.
  3. Investing News

    A 2016 Outlook: What January 2009 Can Teach Us

    January 2009 and January 2016 were similar from an investment standpoint, but from a forward-looking perspective, they were very different.
  4. Fundamental Analysis

    South Korea - King of Exports

    Read about one the most important and successful exporting countries in the world, and learn more about the types of products it exports.
  5. Investing News

    Volatility Vexed? See What the Experts Are Saying

    Volatile times lead to a diversity of opinions on where the market is headed. Here are takes from five investing luminaries.
  6. Investing Basics

    The January Barometer: Is it Still Relevant?

    The January Barometer has been historically accurate. Will that be the case in 2016?
  7. Investing News

    The 8 Highest Grossing Movies of 2015

    Count down the most popular films at the American box office in 2015, and learn how much they earned in the domestic and worldwide markets.
  8. Economics

    Why the Chinese Economy Impacts the U.S. So Much

    Here's how the Chinese economy, the second-largest in the world, impacts the United States.
  9. Investing News

    Why You Should Be Buying Stocks, Not Going to Cash

    Hedge fund managers are buying up the shares of big companies. What do the managers know that we don't?
  10. Economics

    Why Commodities Aren't to Blame for Market Malaise

    Commodities are taking the brunt of the blame for poor investment performance. Are they the real villain?
RELATED FAQS
  1. What is the long-term outlook of the metals and mining sector?

    An industry agency council was established by the World Economic Forum in 2014 to serve as an advisory board on the future ... Read Full Answer >>
  2. What is the railroads sector?

    The railroads sector is comprised of publicly traded stocks for companies that operate railroad tracks and/or trains. Railroad ... Read Full Answer >>
  3. Who are Amgen Inc.'s (AMGN) main competitors?

    Biotech giant Amgen Inc (AMGN) bills itself as one of the first biotechnology firms. It was founded in 1980 and has grown ... Read Full Answer >>
  4. What's the most expensive stock of all time?

    Back in late August 2012, Apple’s (AAPL) stock price reached nearly $700 per share. The stock has since split but has yet ... Read Full Answer >>
COMPANIES IN THIS ARTICLE
Trading Center