Stock Market News Today, Dec. 2: U.S. stocks are trading lower today despite positive momentum in online sales and positive manufacturing data.
In today's trading climate, good news is often absorbed with caution, as optimistic economic indicators can cause the U.S. Federal Reserve to scale back its $85 billion per month bond-buying stimulus. So, while today's manufacturing Institute for Supply Management reading was impressive, stocks are soft.
The ISM index rose to 57.3% in November from 56.4% in October to the highest level in more than two years. It was more than the 55% economists expected.
This is also a crucial week for economic data, as Friday's monthly jobs report is expected to dominate this week's trade. November payroll report and the Q3 gross domestic product review are due out this week.
As stock futures sag today, gold prices - which tend to trade counter to stock trends - are dropping along with the stock market today. Gold shed 5.5% last month, its largest monthly drop since June, when gold lost 12.2%. Today, gold is down more than $20 per ounce to about $1,226.90. And the U.S. dollar is up today against several other currencies, including the yen.
Dwindling supply and growing demand make for a profit opportunity you won't want to miss. Bigger Than Gold: It's Time to Buy the Precious Metal That's Primed to Double.
And energy futures are climbing. Light sweet crude oil for January delivery is up about 1.1% at $93.80 per barrel today, while heating oil is up 0.04% at $3.09 per gallon.
In energy stocks news, Petroleo Brasileiro Petrobras (NYSE: PBR) is down more than 11% after the Brazilian energy giant said it's eliminating fuel subsidies as part of its new pricing strategy. The company did not explain how this would impact it. PBR is trading with a 52-week range of $12.03 to $20.63.
Cyber Monday Keeps eBay, Amazon in the Green
Meanwhile, today, this Cyber Monday is boding well for online retailers like eBay Inc. (Nasdaq: EBAY), which has shares up about 5% today after it reported strong Black Friday sales. eBay's Black Friday sales reportedly increased 35% until noon on Black Friday versus the year prior. eBay was also upgraded today to a Buy from Neutral at SunTrust.
Also, Amazon.com Inc. (Nasdaq: AMZN) sales rose 25%. Amazon was up about 1% this morning and has since been trading with volatility, losing about 8 points before gaining 5 to around $393 per share.
In other consumer news today, Monster Beverage Corp. (Nasdaq: MNST) is about 1% off earlier gains after JPMorgan raised its rating on the shares to Overweight from Neutral and boosted its price target to $74 from $70.
IPO News Today: Hilton Worldwide Preps for Launch
Hilton Worldwide plans to launch an initial public offering of up to 112.8 million shares of common stock from $18 to $21, according to its S-1 filing.
And, Valero Energy Corp.'s (NYSE: VLO) Valero Energy Partners LP unit started an IPO of 15 million common units representing limited partner interests. VLO is up about 3% today. The shares are expected to trade on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker VLP.
Technology Stocks News Today: Hanwha up on New Credit
In technology stocks news, Hanwha SolarOne Co. Ltd. (Nasdaq: HSOL), a manufacturer of solar modules, is up 2% after it said it has finalized a framework agreement with the Bank of Beijing for about $574 million of credit over the next three years.
And, WebMD Health Corp. (Nasdaq: WBMD) was raised to Neutral from Sell at Goldman Sachs. It also raised its price target to $36 per share from $28. BNN TV says the increases reflect optimism about the company monetizing inventory.
Healthcare Sector: Forest Labs
Healthcare stocks are active today, including shares of Forest Labs Inc. (NYSE: FRX), which are up about 7%. The company announced it has paid about $240 million to acquire Merck & Co. Inc.'s (NYSE: MRK) exclusive U.S. marketing rights for Saphris to treat schizophrenia and acute bipolar disorder.
In other news today in the healthcare sector, ISIS Pharmaceuticals Inc. (Nasdaq: ISIS) says it has earned a $2 million milestone payment from GlaxoSmithKline PLC (NYSE: GSK) related to the advancement of the ongoing phase 2/3 study for its treatment for a group of nervous system diseases.
And, finally, UnitedHealth Group Inc. (NYSE: UNH) is fairly flat today, climbing out of pre-market losses, after it affirmed its previous outlook for 2013 net earnings of $5.40 to $5.50 per share. The Street consensus is for $5.49 per share.
Today's top story: This Will Change the Way You Think About Investing Forever