Wall Street is trading higher today, extending yesterday’s late run that retook much of yesterday’s early losses. Investors are again putting hope that the Federal Reserve will unveil some sort of new stimulus plan that will boost the market and broader economy. The Fed started a two-day meeting to discuss whether to utilize additional tools to help ease pressure on the economy. The most speculated strategy is what is known as Operation Twist, in which the U.S. central bank will purchase long-term bonds financed by short-term debt to push the already historically low interest rates even lower. In Europe, more pressure is mounting on Greece as the next bailout installment may not be coming and the nation could be facing bankruptcy. Greek officials have already pledged to cut additional spending on top of its aggressive austerity plan in hopes that it can sway a favorable decision from the European Union and International Monetary Fund next month. But while Greece receives the bulk of the negative spotlight, it isn’t the only European economy in turmoil. Standard & Poor’s today downgraded Italy’s credit rating to A-1 with a negative outlook. The deterioration of Greece and Italy’s bonds could have a dire impact on France, whose banks have the most exposure to those securities. In commodities, oil prices edged a little higher on hopes that the Fed will announce some form of economic assistance. Gold prices pushed up over 1.3 percent to retake the $1,800 level.
Major U.S. Stock Indices
DJIA: 11,533.23 (+1.16 percent)
S&P 500: 1,218.45 (+1.19 percent)
NASDAQ: 2,635.45 (+0.86 percent)
Russell 2000: 705.24 (+0.47 percent)
In other news:
- The International Monetary Fund makes big cuts to its growth outlook for 2011 and 2012, and tells Europe to get it together. [Marketwatch]
- Google’s (GOOG) social network is now open to the public. [WSJ]
- Netflix (NFLX) has taken a lot of flack the last two months with its price increase, loss of Starz as a content partner, and talks of a spin-off. But here’s a contrarian case for why the split up should be applauded. [Fortune]
- Millionaires that pay less taxes than their secretaries may actually be exceptions and not the norm. [CNBC]
- For income investors, here are five financial stocks that have nice yields. [The Street]
Check back for more news.