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17-Jan2019

US markets end higher for second straight session

Extending their gains for second straight day, the US markets ended higher on Wednesday, on the back of upbeat earnings report from financial institutions such as Bank of America (BAC) and Goldman Sachs (GS).  Shares of Bank of America reported fourth quarter results that beat Street estimates on both the top and bottom lines. Meanwhile, the Federal Reserve also released its Beige Book this afternoon, with the report saying economic activity has continued to increase in most of the US but also hinting at deterioration in optimism. The Beige Book, a compilation of anecdotal evidence on economic conditions in the twelve Fed districts, said eight of the twelve districts reported modest to moderate growth. Looking ahead, the Beige Book said outlooks generally remained positive, although many districts reported that contacts had become less optimistic.

On the economic front, the Labor Department released a report showing another steep drop in import prices in the month of December, reflecting a continued nosedive in fuel prices. The Labor Department said import prices tumbled by 1.0 percent in December after plunging by a revised 1.9 percent in November. Street had expected import prices to plummet by 1.3 percent compared to the 1.6 percent slump originally reported for the previous month. The report said export prices also fell by 0.6 percent in December after sliding by a revised 0.8 percent in November. The drop in export prices matched street estimates. However, a separate report from the National Association of Home Builders showed an unexpected improvement in homebuilder confidence in January. The report said the NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index rose to 58 in January after slumping to 56 in December. Street had expected the index to come in unchanged.

Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 141.57 points or 0.59 percent to 24207.16, Nasdaq added 10.86 points or 0.15 percent to 7034.69 and S&P 500 was up by 5.80 points or 0.22 to 2616.10.


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