U.S. stocks rise as GDP fuels stimulus bets, China crunch eases

Bank Demands

“The PBOC reiterated overnight that it is comfortable with its current stance on liquidity and stands ready to avoid a collapse, but it is not keen to give in to demand from banks,” said Ioan Smith, a strategist at Knight Capital Europe Ltd. in London. “This may have helped markets to some degree, but there will be a lot of posturing over the next few days as investors have the month end in their sights.”

The S&P 500 has lost 1.7% in June, paring its advance in the second quarter to 2.2%. It is on course to end a streak of seven monthly advances, the longest run since September 2009. The Chicago Board Options Exchange Volatility Index, or VIX, retreated 6.3% to 17.30. The benchmark gauge for U.S. stock options surged to the highest level since Dec. 28 last week amid concern the Federal Reserve may begin tightening monetary policy.

All 10 industries in the S&P 500 increased, with health- care companies climbing the most. UnitedHealth jumped 1.8% to $64.86. Johnson & Johnson rallied 1.9% to $86.98 and Boeing added 1.9% to $100.50.

Financial Stocks

Financial shares advanced 1.1%. Citigroup gained 1.4% to $47.67, and Bank of America added 1% to $12.80.

Pandora Media Inc. gained 7.1% to $17.57. Cowen & Co. analyst John Blackledge boosted his rating of the biggest online radio service to outperform, the equivalent of buy, from market perform, following news that the number of U.S. listeners in cars topped 2.5 million.

Hartford Financial Services Group Inc. added 2.3% to $29.85. The insurer boosted its plan for buybacks and lifted its dividend by 50% after Chief Executive Officer Liam McGee sold assets to simplify the company.

Teradata Corp. surged 3.8% to $50.36. Morgan Stanley said shares of the database management company represent a buying opportunity after a recent slump, citing improving demand for data warehouses. The stock has fallen 19% this year, compared to a 12% increase in the S&P 500.

Gold Producers

Barrick Gold, the world’s largest gold miner, dropped 7.4% to $14.92, the lowest in a decade. Newmont slid 5.9% to $27.22. Materials producers had the weakest performance among 10 S&P 500 groups as gold and silver tumbled after yesterday’s U.S. economic data bolstered the case for the Fed to reduce stimulus.

Apollo Group Inc. sank 8.6% to $17.71 for the biggest drop in the S&P 500. The largest U.S. for-profit college said earnings in the fiscal third quarter fell 40% as new enrollment tumbled.

Apple Inc. slid 1.3% to $397.38, it’s lowest level since April 24. The maker of iPhones and iPads has fallen 14% from a May 8 peak, and is down 43% from a record high reached in September.


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