Equities Update: Consumer Cheer Leads Stocks Higher

 |  Includes: AA, NSM, YHOO
by: Midnight Trader

4:12 PM, Dec 11, 2009 --

  • DJIA up 202.07 (0.93%) to 10,471.50.
  • S&P 500 up 4.06 (0.37%) to 1,106.41.
  • Nasdaq down 0.55 (0.03%) to 2,190.31.


  • Hang Seng up 0.93%
  • Nikkei up 2.48%
  • FTSE up 0.33%


(+) C gains as WSJ story says TARP repayment may lure back institutional investors.

(+) YHOO gets analyst upgrade.

(+) NCR gets analyst upgrade.

(+) UTX issues FY09, FY10 outlooks in line with Street view.

(+) ING gains on report of early payback of government aid.

(+) BWY gets analyst upgrade.

(+) SNSS higher on trial data.


(-) KGS prices offering.

(-) DNDN prices shares.

(-) DEER prices shares.


Stocks pulled out modest gains in Friday's regular session as traders were cheered by a set of economic datapoints that would suggest the beleaguered U.S. consumer is showing some signs of life. The Commerce Department said retail sales were up 1.3% in November, well ahead of Street expectations of a 0.7% rise and an indication that consumers are feeling slightly more comfortable with the economic outlook. Separately, the University of Michigan/Reuters consumer sentiment index notched a solid move higher to 73.4 in December from 67.4 in November.

The rise in U.S. retail sales in November was the third increase in the past four months. Excluding the volatile autos category, sales rose 1.2%, the biggest gain since January.

Looking out to next week, the earnings calendar includes several issues likely to provide some directional influence for the markets. On Tuesday, Adobe (NASDAQ:ADBE) and Best Buy (NYSE:BBY) are slated to report results. Hovnanian Enterprises (NYSE:HOV) and Paychex (NASDAQ:PAYX) are due with financials on Wednesday. Thursday will bring a host of top names posting numbers, including Accenture (NYSE:ACN), FedEx (NYSE:FDX), Nike (NYSE:NKE), Oracle (NYSE:ORCL), Palm (PALM) and Research In Motion (RIMM).

On the economic front, data on PPI, Empire manufacturing and capacity utilization/industrial production are due out on Tuesday. Slated for release on Wednesday are: building permits, housing starts, CPI, crude inventories, and the FOMC rate decision. On Thursday, initial claims, leading indicators, and the Philadelphia Fed will be distributed.

Elsewhere today, global stocks finished higher after Chinese industrial production accelerated in November to its fastest rate this year, official data showed Friday.

Crude settled lower on the day, sliding below $70 a barrel as the upbeat consumer data added lift to the U.S. dollar and subsequently weighed on crude. Oil had managed to edge higher earlier on Friday following the International Energy Agency's move to raise its oil demand forecast for 2010. The decline in crude was the eighth consecutive session finishing in the red.

Alcoa (NYSE:AA) bucked the weak trend in commodities after the aluminum giant saw its price estimate raised to $25 from $22 by JPMorgan Chase, which said the company's earnings will increase more than previously projected next year as metal prices gain.

In the technology space, Yahoo (NASDAQ:YHOO) led modest gains after the stock was upgraded to Buy from Hold by Kaufman Bros.

National Semiconductor (NSM) shares weighed on the broader tech space as the stock dropped more than 3% despite a better-than-expected quarterly report and guidance.