Stocks closed the week of trading mostly higher by Friday’s closing bell, logging a second straight week of gains and fueling the notion that Wall Street is ready to rally. While the Federal Reserve reported a 0.80 percent decrease in US factory production during the month of January, the largest decline since May 2009, investors were comfortable with the explanation that sees the weather as the primary culprit.
Optimism about the economy was further bolstered by results from the Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan consumer sentiment index, which showed a reading of 81.2 for the month. The average of estimates had the figure one basis-point lower.
The Final Tally
· Standard & Poor’s 500: +0.48 percent to 1,838.63
· Dow Jones Industrial Average: +0.79 percent to 16,154.39
· Nasdaq: +0.08 percent to 4,244.03
Our Top Stories
· Equities.com Senior Editor Jacob Harper delves into the various niches of the online dating market.
· Sam Stovall of S&P Capital IQ assures us that the rally is real, but advises caution as the S&P 500 will take its time in breaking even.
· Doug French of Casey Research discusses the relationship between gold and bitcoin, against the backdrop of Keynesian monetary policy.
· Dennis Miller has written an excellent piece on how the bond market has changed over the last decade.
· The Energy Report interviews Bob Moriarty on the future of basic resources like food, water, and energy in the shadow of Chinese growth.
On the S&P 500
Tech stocks continued to rally on the S&P, but were joined on the day by the big auto manufacturers General Motors Company (GM) and Ford Motor Co. (F) , both of which were up over 1 percent on heavy trading. Leading cable television provider Comcast (CMCSA) added about 1.4 percent on the day.
On the Dow
Unitedhealth Group (UNH) saw shares continue on their upward trajectory, leading gainers on the benchmark index by adding 3.25 percent. The healthcare giant was followed closely by ExxonMobil (XOM) , who saw shares nabbed a much needed bump of almost 3 percent after announcing the first production results from its Damar field off the eastern coast of Malaysia. Most components were in the green to end the week, but the big telecom service providers Verizon (VZ) and AT&T (T) were each off over a percent, in the wake of the Comcast-Time Warner Cable (TWC) merger announcement from the previous day.
On the Nasdaq
The exchange was held back to some extent by the Galena Biopharma imbroglio, as other biotechs were caught in the undertow of the company’s 14.5 percent drop on the day. Ariad Pharmaceuticals (ARIA) was off by only a quarter of a percent, but Chelsea Therapeutics International (CHTP) was down over 4.25 percent, and Gilead Sciences Inc. (GILD) shed over 1.5 percent.
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