Post-Market Report: Dow Jones Industrial Average Soars on Philly Fed Manufacturing News

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Dow Jones Industrial Average
N/A: DJIA
Dec 18
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Price: 17,778.15 | Ch: 421.28 (2.4%)

The markets roared today after the Philadelphia Federal Reserve announced better than expected news in its area manufacturing figures.

At the closing bell, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 108.88 points to finish at 16,331.05. The Nasdaq increased 11.68 points to finish at 4,319.29, while the S&P 500 added 11.24 points to close at 1,872.01.

The Philly Fed index increased to a 9.0 reading for March, a steep jump from the negative 6.3 incurred last month. After February's sharp drop, this month's readings of the Fed's manufacturing index suggest that the weather impact on the U.S. economy is a temporary problem.

The report was especially positive for business spending in the near future. According to the Business Outlook Survey, a near majority (49%) of companies said they would increase capital expenditures in 2014 compared to last year, while just 21% suggested they would cut back.

Here's a recap of other major events today…

  1. House of Morgan Rules: Shares of JPMorgan Chase (NYSE: JPM) soared to their highest levels since April 2000, breaching the $60 mark. The news comes one day after the company reached a tentative agreement to sell its low-margin physical commodities business to Mercuria Energy Group Limited for $3.5 billion.
  2. Dollar at Three-Week High: Gold prices slumped to a three-week low this morning against the greenback after the first Janet Yellen-led Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting. The dollar rose following Yellen's surprising announcement that interest rates could rise sooner than expected. Meanwhile, the British pound hit a five-week low.
  3. Russian Risks Rise: Following the annexation of Crimea and the widening of economic sanctions on Russian billionaires and Putin supporters, Standard & Poor's revised its outlook for the Russian Federation from stable to negative. S&P cited rising geopolitical and economic risks as tensions with the West have reached a high since the Cold War. Russia's stock market, the MICEX index, will likely slide tomorrow morning. Year to date, the MICEX is down more than 12%, according to Bloomberg.
  4. Easier Than the Keystone Pipeline: Reuters reports the U.S. government approved a plan by Energy Transfers Partners LP (NYSE: ETP) to construct a natural gas pipeline traveling from Texas to Mexico. The U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issued a presidential permit to allow one of the company's divisions to build the pipeline across the federal border. Meanwhile, U.S. President Barack Obama and multiple agencies are delaying (for five years to be exact) the construction of the Keystone Pipeline, an oil-and-gas pipeline between Canada and the United States…

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