Wall Street is trading up today, led by financial stocks, as investors calm nerves after Hurricane Irene passed and caused less damage than many expected. Insurance stocks benefited most with companies like Travelers (TRV) and All State (ALL) up 5 percent to 7 percent. Wall Street had anticipated much more significant disruptions and damage claims from the storm, so a lot of today’s rally could be attributed to market relief that things could have been significantly worse. Another financial stock getting a boost is Bank of America (BAC), which said it plans to raise $8.3 billion in cash by selling 13.1 billion shares, or half of its holdings, of China Construction Bank. Bank of America had been battling public perception that the U.S.’s largest bank was insolvent due to the mortgage debacle it inherited with the Countrywide acquisition and Merrill Lynch bailout. The bank had already received a hefty $5 billion investment from Berkshire Hathaway’s (BRK.A) Warren Buffett last week. Oil prices moved up to $87 a barrel, while gold is trading flat.
Major U.S. Stock Indices
DJIA: 11,487.86 (+1.80 percent)
S&P 500: 1,202.27 (+2.16 percent)
NASDAQ: 2,544.95 (+2.63 percent)
Russell 2000: 715.64 (+3.45 percent)
In other news:
- If the thought of an 80-year-old soaking in a bathtub doesn’t bother you, then you may enjoy this read on Warren Buffett’s best investments. [Fortune]
- President Barack Obama’s nomination of Alan Krueger to lead the White House Council of Economic Advisers shows that he’s serious about bringing jobs back. [Marketwatch]
- Jobs growth may be stalling, but that didn’t stop U.S. consumers from opening their wallets in July. [WSJ]
- Not everyone escaped Irene unscathed. Automakers and retailers might see a slight dip in sales. [Reuters]
- The European Union’s financial crisis could be turning euro banks into big discount buying opportunities for investors with some appetite for risk. [Economist]
Check back as more news develops.