Best day for stocks in three weeks; oil halts slide

Best day for stocks in three weeks; oil halts slide



U.S. stocks jumped on Wednesday, with the S&P 500 rebounding from a five-session dive, as U.S. crude stopped a four-day skid, concerns eased about a Greek exit from the European Union and investors offered a favorable reaction to minutes from the Federal Reserve.


The key drivers to equity gains appear to be “a stabilization of energy, easing concern about a Greek exit and a positive tone to the Fed minutes,” said Art Hogan, chief market strategist at Wunderlich Securities.


Benchmark indexes retained gains of roughly 1 percent after the Fed release, with the December gathering of the Federal Open Market Committee indicating inflation would not have to climb from current levels for the central bank to begin raising interest rates.


The Fed is willing to liftoff before we get to 2 percent inflation, and we may not get to 2 percent inflation with $50 oil,” said Hogan.


Also helping bolster market sentiments, Germany left open the door to discussing options with Greece’s next government on its debt, easing worries about a Greek departure from the euro zone.

Private employers added 241,000 jobs to their payrolls in December, surpassing projections of a 226,000 gain, according to the ADP National Employment report.


The figures come two days before the U.S. Labor Department’s nonfarm payrolls report, with economists surveyed by Reuters looking for employment growth of 240,000 last month and a jobless rate of 5.7 percent.


“We had a solid jobs number from ADP, and Monsanto is officially company number 18 on the fourth-quarter earnings clock. Of those 18, only one — FedEx — has missed. It’s the best start to any earnings season in over three years,” said Nick Raich, CEO at the Earnings Scout.

“Here’s the kicker to that, no energy company has reported yet. The drop in energy-sector earnings estimates over the last 1-2 months is the worst deterioration we have measured in any sector since the financial sector earnings fell of a cliff in 2008,” he added.

Monsanto rose after the seed producer reported a lower-than-expected drop in quarterly profit; J.C. Penney rallied after the retailer reported a 3.7 percent gain in same-store sales for the holiday season; American Express also gained after Goldman Sachs upgraded its shares to buy from neutral.



DJIA Dow Jones Industrial Average 17584.52   212.88 1.23%
S&P 500 S&P 500 Index 2025.89   23.28 1.16%
NASDAQ Nasdaq Composite Index 4650.47   57.73 1.26%


After a 225-point leap, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 211.76 points, or 1.2 percent, to 17,584.40, with Home Depot pacing blue-chip gains that extended to 26 of 30 components.

The S&P 500 added 23.27 points, or 1.2 percent, to 2,025.88, with health care the strongest performer and all but one of its 10 major sectors rising.

The Nasdaq gained 57.73 points, or 1.3 percent, to 4,650.47.


For every share falling, nearly three climbed on the New York Stock Exchange, where 565 million shares traded as of 3:50 p.m. Eastern. Composite volume topped 3.3 billion.

After jumping 18 percent over the last two days, the CBOE Volatility Index, a measure of investor uncertainty, on Wednesday fell 7 percent to 19.64.


NYSE trader with 2015 glasses

Getty Images
NYSE trader with 2015 glasses

European stocks climbed and the euro dropped as the risk of deflation furthered the argument for monetary support.


After dipping to $46.83 a barrel, its lowest since April 2009, West Texas Intermediate rose 72 cents, or 1.5 percent, to $48.65 a barrel. Gold futures for February fell $8.70 to $1,210.70 an ounce.


The U.S. dollar rose against other global currencies and the 10-year Treasury yield rose 2 basis points to 1.9592 percent.