Initial Jobless Claims Fall – Acadiana Business Index
- The Dow finished virtually unchanged at 13,973. The S&P 500 Index extended its winning streak to three days with a gain of 1 point to 1,521. The NASDAQ also rose 1 point to 3,198.
- Disappointing economic growth reports offset an improved U.S. jobs picture and M&A activity. The euro zone recession deepened as GDP fell in the fourth-quarter by the most since 2009. Japan’s economy also contracted in the final months of 2012 which prompted its central bank to maintain stimulus measures.
- On our shores, initial jobless claims fell the most in a month as applications dropped 27,000 to 341,000. Energy was the best performing group. Halliburton rallied 5.9% to $43.26 and Schlumberger advanced 3.9% to $81.69. M&A activity helped consumer staples stage a rally. Constellation Brands soared 36.4% to $43.49 after acquiring full control of U.S. distribution for Grupo Modelo’s products. In addition, H.J. Heinz advanced 19.9% to $72.49 after announcing it will be purchased by Berkshire Hathaway and 3G Capital. Telecommunication shares fell amid a 22.9% drop in CenturyLink to $32.17 after the company cut its dividend by 26%.
- NYSE Composite volume totaled over 3.7 billion shares. The NYSE was even on issues and on volume. On the NASDAQ, advancers beat decliners by 9-8 on issues and by 4-3 on volume. In fixed-income, Treasuries were higher after a government auction of 30-year bonds saw solid demand. The 10-year note was up 16/32 to yield 2.00%.
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