Markets Higher, Closing News 12/23/11

Markets closed up in a quiet pre-holiday session, leaving the S&P positive on the year, with no new news from Europe and an anemic reaction to disappointing capital goods results.

The Senate and the House of Representatives passed a $33 billion measure to keep the payroll tax rate at 4.2% through February. It had been slated to increase on Jan. 1 to 6.2%. The temporary fix lets lawmakers end the weeks long standoff that in the end produced only another inconclusive truce in a fiscal policy debate set to rage straight through the 2012 election season and beyond.

Durable Goods orders rose 3.8% to $206.99 billion in November which was more than expected, but the gain was driven mostly by strong demand for civilian airplanes. Disappointing investors was the fact that new orders for non-defense capital goods excluding aircraft dropped by 1.2% vs. an expected gain of 1.0%. Personal income and spending were slightly lower than expected at  +0.1% each as wages continue to be weak and Americans took advantage of deep discounts. New Homes Sales increased 1.6% to 315k in November. 

All the best to you and your families for a safe and happy holiday!  


Market Indices/Statistics:

  • Dow closed up 124.35 pts/+1.02% to 12,294.00
  • S&P closed up 11.33 pts/+0.90% to 1,265.33
  • Nasdaq closed up 19.19 pts/+0.74% to 2,618.64
  • 28 of the 30 Dow stocks closed higher
  • All 10 S&P 500 sectors closed up
  • Consumer Discretionary and IT were the most positive (+1.11and +1.06%);  Financials were the least positive (+0.74%)
  • The VIX was down 0.43to 20.73
  • Oil is up $0.24 to $99.77
  • Nat Gas is down $0.061 to $3.180
  • Gold is down $2.70 to $1,607.90
  • Euro vs. Dollar down$0.0009to $1.3041
  • Dollar vs. Yen down $0.12 to $78.04

Companies in the News:

Eastman Kodak rose $0.06/+9.5% to $0.69 after announcing that the board elected general counsel Laura Quatela to serve as president alongside current President Philip Faraci. The management shake-up, along with the sale of the company’s Gelatine subsidiary, boosted the stock 19% to $0.75 cents in after-hours trading last night.

SunPower (+$0.11/+1.9% to $6.00) agreed to acquire Total SA's (+$0.86/+1.7% to $50.48) solar energy unit , Tenesol, for $165.4 million, in a deal that will expand SunPower’s presence in large-scale projects. Under the deal Total, Tenesol’s biggest shareholder, has agreed to acquire an additional 18.6 million SunPower shares in a private placement for $8.80 each, a roughly 50% premium to Thursday's close. The move raises Total's stake in SunPower to roughly 66%.

Rambus Inc. shares rose $0.91/+12.5% to $8.21 after reaching a five-year patent license agreement with Broadcom Corp. (-$0.02/-0.1% to $29.76) covering some of the technology used in the wireless chip maker's products. Rambus said the deal with Broadcom settles all outstanding claims between the two companies.

Mead Johnson (-$3.47/-5.1% to $65.29) continued to fall today following the recall of some of its Enfamil baby formula from Wal-Mart Stores Inc. after the death of a Missouri infant who tested positive for Cronobacter, a bacteria that has sometimes been linked to rare illnesses in newborns and has been found in milk-based powdered baby formula.

Coming Tuesday:

Economic Reports:S&P Case Shiller Home Price Index (-0.34% MoM expected) at 9:00 a.m.; Consumer Confidence (58.6 expected), Richmond Fed Manufacturing Index (5 expected) at 10:00 a.m.; Dallas Fed Manufacturing Index (4.5 expected) at 10:30 a.m.  Earnings  None