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.
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 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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
No notable earnings to report
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.
(c) 2013 Benzinga.com. Benzinga does not provide investment advice. All rights reserved.
EconomicsWe share some insights on how the recent terrorist attacks in Paris could impact the economy and markets going forward.
EconomicsWill remaining calm and staying long present significant risks to your investment health?
EconomicsDue to creative measures by central banks, there is no telling when a recession will actually occur, but natural economic forces will eventually win.
InvestingAs an alternative investment, income-seeking investors may turn to dividend-paying exchange traded funds (ETFs) as a way to seek both income and growth.
Stock AnalysisThe stock market can't seem to make up its mind. Will investors end up with coal for Christmas or might their wishes come true?
EconomicsDiscover which countries produce the most oil in the Middle East, a region long known for its influence on international petroleum markets.
EconomicsDiscover which African countries produce the most oil, and learn more about which domestic and international oil companies operate in each country.
EconomicsFind out which countries produce the most oil in Latin America, and learn about some of the biggest oil companies operating in each country.
Stock AnalysisLearn about the top energy companies in Russia, a country that holds some of the largest reserves of oil, natural gas and coal in the world.
Stock AnalysisLearn which Asian countries deliver the most crude oil to market, and discover what companies are the biggest producers in each country.
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 >>
The railroads sector is comprised of publicly traded stocks for companies that operate railroad tracks and/or trains. Railroad ... Read Full Answer >>
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 >>
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 >>