US stocks finished in the black as minutes from the latest Fed policy meeting indicated another round of monetary easing.
“Many participants noted that if economic growth remained too slow to make satisfactory progress toward reducing the unemployment rate, or if inflation continued to come in below levels consistent with the FOMC’s dual mandate, it would be appropriate to provide additional monetary policy accommodation,” the Fed’s Open Market Committee said in the minutes.
Since the Fed’s target interest rate is at its lowest possible level, the Fed will probably buy more treasuries and influence inflation expectations to stur growth.
The Fed also said that the U.S. economy will grow slower than forecasted in the second half of 2010 and next year.
In addition, retail sales data was released today by the International Council of Shopping Centers. For the week ending October 9, retail sales increased 0.8% from the prior week and 2.6% on a year-over-year basis. A separate retail sales reading from the U.S. Department of Commerce will be released on Friday.
King Pharmaceuticals (NYSE:KG) surged 39% after Pfizer put in a $3.6 billion bid for the company. At current prices, the company is valued at $3.53 billion.
Myriad Genetics (NASDAQ:MYGN), OfficeMax (NYSE:OMX), Green Mountain Coffee Roasters (NASDAQ:GMCR), and Aruba Networks (NASDAQ:ARUN) were other big gainers, advancing by 9%, 8.8%, 7.4%, and 7.1%, respectively.
The S&P, DOW, and NASDAQ, rallied by 0.5%, 0.3%, and 0.8%, respectively.
Crude oil futures edged downwards by roughly 0.4%, to trade at $83.41 per barrel. Copper edged upwards slightly by about 0.1%, while gold and silver futures declined 0.3% and 0.1%, respectively.
The S&P/TSX index gained roughly 0.3% to trade at the 12,576 level.
Five of the eight Canadian sector indices posted gains, with the telecom sector leading the way with a 1.3% rise. The metals and mining and the industrial sectors dropped the most, both retreating by 0.7%.
Agrium (TSX: AGU, NYSE:AGU) was one of the biggest gainers on Canadian markets, rallying 5% to trade at $86.31 as of 3:10 pm ET. The agricultural products retailer hit a 52-week high of $86.81 earlier in the day.
Metals and mining stocks filled the list of large percentage losers. Katanga Mining (TSX: KAT) lost 4.8%, while First Quantum Minerals (TSX: FM) dropped 4.7%. Southgobi Resources (TSX: SGQ) and Extract Resources (TSX: EXT) both went down by 4%.
Disclosure: no position