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U.S. Stocks Close Up On Jobless Claims, Mid-East Cease Fire

By  |  Stock Markets  |  Nov 21, 2012 09:44PM GMT  |   Add a Comment
 
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U.S. stocks gained momentum in the second half of the trading session, Wednesday, closing higher as the markets cheered reports of a cease-fire in the Israel-Hamas conflict.

Prior to a report from Egypt's foreign minister that the cease-fire had been achieved, U.S. stocks were mildly positive in light trading, as market participants began to prepare for the impending Thanksgiving holiday.

U.S. Jobless Claims Down
Stocks were given a modest boost just before the opening bell after the Labor Department reported that jobless claims from last week were slightly lower than forecast. Economists polled by MarketWatch forecast jobless claims would come in at 418,000: the actual measure was 410,000 for the week ending Nov. 17th. Claims in the previous week were revised up to an increase of 90,000 to 451,000 compared with the initial estimate of up 78,000 to 439,000. The four-week average rose 9,500 to 396,250. Economists expect claims will continue to pour in for several more weeks in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.

Investors shrugged off the fact that euro-zone finance ministers and IMF officials were unable to reach an agreement on the release of the next tranche of aid for Greece. Officials will meet again on Monday to try and hash out a deal.

U.S. Consumer Sentiment
The final reading of the November Michigan consumer sentiment index came in at 82.7, up marginally from 82.6 the month before, but down from a preliminary reading of 84.9 released earlier in the month, and below the median forecast of 84.5 among economists polled by Reuters.

U.S. markets will be closed tomorrow, and will open for an abbreviated session on Friday.

In commodities, crude oil ended slightly higher following the cease fire truce in the Middle East. January crude oil rose 63 cents, or 0.7%, to $87.38 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Gold for December delivery closed up 0.3%, to settle at $1,728.20 an ounce on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Here's Where The Markets Stood At Day's End:
  • Dow Jones Industrial Average up 48.38 (+0.38%) to 12,836.89
  • S&P 500 up 3.22 (+0.23%) to 1,391.03
  • Nasdaq Composite Index up 9.87 (+0.34%) to 2,926.55
GLOBAL SENTIMENT
  • Nikkei 225 Index up 0.88%
  • Hang Seng Index up 1.39%
  • Shanghai China Composite Index up 1.05%
  • FTSE 100 Index up 0.17%
  • DAX up 0.22%
  • CAC 40 up 0.49%
UPSIDE MOVERS
  • (+) MEMS, Shares surge following the company's after hours news that it received an unsolicited, non-binding proposal from IDG-Accel China Growth Fund to acquire all outstanding shares of common stock of Memsic not currently owned by IDG or its affiliates for cash for $4.00 per share.
  • (+) SQNM, Stock jumps on news that the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists Committee on Genetics and the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine Publications Committee issued a joint Committee Opinion on November 20 recommending that cell-free fetal DNA testing be offered to patients at increased risk of aneuploidy.
  • (+) NLP, The company announced yesterday that has received a letter from its founder and Chairman J.D. Nichols, and CEO Brian F. Lavin revising the non-binding proposal for a going private transaction.
DOWNSIDE MOVERS
  • (-) ZLC, Shares plummet in the wake of the company's after hours report of a Q1 loss of $0.88 per share, missing the Capital IQ consensus of a $0.63 loss per share. Revenues were $357 mln, also below the analyst estimate of $364.83mln.
  • (-) SCHL, Company revised its earnings guidance for the fiscal year ending May 31, 2013, now expecting earnings from continuing operations to be in the range of $1.40 to $1.60 per diluted share on revenues of approximately $1.8 to $1.9 billion, compared to the prior guidance of a range of $2.20 to $2.40 per diluted share on revenues of approximately $1.9 to $2 billion.
  • (-) TLYS, Shares are down after earlier touching a 52-week low of $12.50 after the company said late Tuesday it expects Q4 adjusted EPS of $0.30 to $0.33, below the analyst consensus of $0.35 per share on Capital IQ.
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