Small Stocks on a Roll, Beat Blue-chips for Second Straight Year

Small Stocks on a Roll, Beat Blue-chips for Second Straight YearNew Delhi: On Dalal Street, it was minnows ruling the roost in 2015 as mid-cap and small-cap stocks beat their blue-chip peers for the second year in a row with an average return of up to six per cent.

As the year 2015 draws to a close, mid-cap and small-cap stocks of the BSE have rallied by nearly six per cent and five per cent, respectively, as against a decline of over six per cent in the bellwether BSE index Sensex on a full-year basis.

However, the gains recorded by the medium and small-size companies remained much below the huge returns of up to 60 per cent they generated in the previous year 2014.

“Growth expectation from markets increased tremendously in 2014 when for the first time in 40 years a single largest party came to power. However, due to political compulsions the fireworks did not go off as expected,” said SAMCO Securities’ CEO Jimeet Modi said.

“Markets had already built in those growth expectations which eventually were belied and markets corrected in 2015.

The large-caps having huge businesses could not deliver those growth numbers but small and mid-cap could, due to their nimbleness and lower base effect, this lead to their lesser down fall than large-cap,” he added.

The Sensex touched an all-time high of 30,024.74 on March 4 this year, while it hit a one-year low of 24,833.54 on September 8.

The mid-cap index scaled its record high of 11,666.24 on August 10 and a low of 9,983.55 on May 7.

The BSE small-cap index hit its all-time high of 12,203.64 on August 5 and a low of 10,178.98 on August 25.

“This year, the Sensex and Nifty are down by around 7 per cent so far. This comes after a spectacular return of around 30 per cent in 2014. In 2014, market ran ahead of fundamentals expecting a rebound in GDP growth and corporate earnings growth in FY’16,” said V K Vijayakumar, Investment Strategist,
Geojit BNP Paribas.

“This expectation did not materialise and therefore the market corrected. However, mid and small-caps continued to do well. And, the party is still on,” he noted.

Most of the major Sensex and Nifty stocks have huge external exposure through exports and commodity prices. Since exports have been doing poorly and metals and commodities have been bleeding, this segment suffered.

On the other hand, most mid and small-caps have domestic orientation and therefore, they have been benefiting from the nascent domestic cyclical recovery, Vijayakumar said. Market experts said that FIIs (Foreign Institutional Investors) have been continuously selling since August 2015, while Domestic Institutional Investors (DIIs) have been buying throughout the year.

Domestic equities suffered their bloodiest carnage on August 24, when the Sensex crashed by 1,624.51 points – its biggest single-day fall — and over Rs 7 lakh crore got wiped out from the investors’ wealth on a sharp global sell-off triggered by a rout in Chinese markets.

“In 2015, movement of equities can be termed as range-bound as markets remained glued to various uncertainties with respect to the outcome of Chinese economy, Fed policy, growth in Japan and European markets.

“On the domestic ground, markets were worried by inflation trend in India despite uninterrupted efforts by the central bank. Further the inability of the government to get pass through key bills kept markets weak as many FIIs felt decrease in confidence in the government to pace up the reforms,” said Hiren Dhakan, Associate Fund Manager, Bonanza Portfolio.

These facts kept the markets range-bound and somewhat weak in the year 2015, he added.

Shares of mid-cap and small-cap indices outperformed the Sensex — indicating that overall breadth of the markets remained positive, which showed the presence of retail participation remained intact, Dhakan said.

Motilal Oswal Securities, VP-Midcaps Research, Ravi Shenoy said: “This has been the year of small and mid-cap stocks with stocks returning more than 100 per cent moving beyond the three digit number.”

“FIIs have turned sellers in the latter part of this year and with major part of their holdings in large-caps, this set of stocks which are largely a part of the Sensex have been under pressure,” Shenoy noted.

Market players say smaller stocks are generally bought by local investors, while overseas investors focus on blue-chips.

The mid-cap index tracks companies with a market value that is on an average one-fifth of blue-chips or large firms. Small-cap firms are almost a tenth of that.

On expectations for the new year, Vijayakumar said: “We expect economic recovery to gather momentum, going forward and Sensex and Nifty will reach record levels. Double digit returns are possible in 2016.

Large-caps will do well along with quality mid-caps.” In terms of valuation, the market valuation of Sensex companies rose by just Rs 46,086 crore to Rs 98,82,086 crore so far this year.

5 Stocks That Have Lost More Than Half Their Value in 2015

wall street sign in new york

I recently wrote about some surprising stocks that have more than doubled so far this year, but now it’s time to check out some of the more unfortunate investments. Let’s go over some of the stocks that have lost at least half of their value in 2015 as of the Oct. 25 market close.

Lumber Liquidators (LL) — Down 78 percent

Things seemed to be humming along for the country’s largest stand-alone hardwood flooring retailer until a “60 Minutes” report called out the potentially hazardous nature of some of its laminate flooring. The scathing segment tested Lumber Liquidators’ China-sourced laminates, finding many of them to contain dangerous levels of formaldehyde.

Lumber Liquidators initially denied the claims, but ultimately decided to stop selling the flooring altogether. By then the damage was done. Sales took a dive, and they have yet to recover. This isn’t the first time that Lumber Liquidators has courted controversy, but it’s the first time that the implications have had health concerns. That’s hard to bounce back from in the near term.

Keurig Green Mountain (GMCR) — Down 60 percent

The company that revolutionized the way that we consume premium coffee at home with the original Keurig single-cup brewer has been quite decaffeinated in 2015. The downfall may have started in 2012 when the patents for its K-Cup portion packs expired, but things got really bad last year when it rolled out Keurig 2.0.

Armed with a label scanner, the new brewers only work with new K-Cups. Sure, clever java junkies have circumvented the process by slapping a new label on old, reusable or third-party portion packs, but the brand has taken a hit all the same. Year-over-year sales fell for the first time in its latest quarter, and the new Keurig Kold machine that makes chilled carbonated beverages isn’t garnering rave reviews since last month’s launch.

Yelp (YELP) — Down 55 percent

The site that many foodies turn to for crowdsourced reviews has been giving investors indigestion this year. Yelp has been dogging allegations from disgruntled merchants for years that the site buries negative reviews for local businesses that pay to advertise on Yelp. It’s been a different story on the consumer end, with folks relying on the site for peer reviews of restaurants, shops, spas, and other businesses.

The rub here is that mobile growth is slowing, and desktop usage is actually declining. There are also fears that Yelp relies too heavily on Google (GOOG,GOOGL) searches for traffic, something that could prove to be a sticking point if the leading search engine decides to promote its own ratings platform.

GoPro (GPRO) — Down 54 percent

One of last year’s hottest IPOs has wiped out this year. GoPro made wearable cameras cool, but decelerating growth can’t seem to justify the lofty valuation the company had after last year’s frenzied surge. GoPro’s HERO cameras continue to sell well, but analysts see sales slowing considerably this holiday season.

Fossil (FOSL) — Down 53 percent

Folks have been predicting the death of the designer watch for years. Who needs a wrist-hugging timepiece when there’s a smartphone in the pocket? Now the death knell is all about smartwatches.

Fossil was able to defy gravity in recent years, but that hasn’t been the case in 2015. Sales have started to decline, and profitability is taking an even bigger hit. Fossil is finally starting to live up to its name.

Market Wrap: Stocks Slip on Rate Uncertainty, Earnings

Financial Markets Wall StreetNEW YORK — U.S. stocks slipped Tuesday on uncertainty over the U.S. rate outlook and disappointing results from Ford and other companies.

Upbeat results from Apple after hours, however, could give the market a boost Wednesday.

Shares of Apple (AAPL), the biggest company by market capitalization, rose 2.8 percent to $116.89 after it reported higher-than-expected earnings and revenue. Apple’s stock ended the regular session down 0.6 percent at $114.55.

Nasdaq 100 e-mini futures also edged up after Apple’s results.

“Both earnings and revenues were above expectations, which I think was well embraced based on the fact that a lot of companies have been struggling on the top line,” said Daniel Morgan, senior portfolio manager at Synovus Trust Co., which owns Apple shares.

Also after the bell, shares of Twitter (TWTR) dropped 11 percent to $27.89 after it reported results. Twitter’s stock ended the regular session up 1.5 percent at $31.34.

During the regular session, Ford (F) dropped 5 percent to $14.89 after quarterly results missed expectations, while JetBlue Airways (JBLU) fell 3.2 percent to $25.36 after it said it will make less money per mile in October than it did a year ago.

Shares of other airlines also fell, and the Dow Jones transportation average dropped 2.6 percent.
The Federal Reserve began its two-day policy meeting Tuesday. While expectations for a rate hike this week are slim, investors are looking for clues in its policy statement Wednesday as to when the Fed will begin to raise interest rates.

That’s going to be parsed every way possible,” said Bucky Hellwig, senior vice president at BB&T Wealth Management in Birmingham, Alabama.

Casting more doubts on whether the Fed will raise rates this year, data showed U.S. non-defense capital goods orders excluding aircraft, a closely watched proxy for business spending plans, slipped last month after a downwardly revised decline in August.

The Dow Jones industrial average (^DJI) fell 41.62 points, or 0.2 percent, to 17,581.43, the Standard & Poor’s 500 index (^GSPC) lost 5.29 points, or 0.3 percent, to 2,065.89 and the Nasdaq composite (^IXIC) dropped 4.56 points, or 0.1 percent, to 5,030.15.

Movers and Shakers

Alibaba (BABA) rose 4 percent to $79.44 after the e-commerce giant reported better-than-expected revenue. After the bell, shares of Twitter dropped after it reported results. Twitter (TWTR) stock ended the regular session up 1.5 percent.

Declines in crude oil weighed further on energy shares, and the S&P energy index, down 1.2 percent, led sector declines for the S&P 500.

Health care was only one of two S&P 500 sectors to end in positive territory for the day. The index was up 1.7 percent after better-than-expected earnings from top drugmakers Pfizer and Merck. Pfizer (PFE) was up 2.4 percent at $34.99 and Merck (MRK) was up 1.1 percent at $53.47.

Rite Aid (RAD) shares jumped 42.6 percent to $8.67. Sources said Walgreens Boots Alliance (WBA) is nearing a deal to buy the rival drugstore chain.

Among other gainers, shares of hotel operators rose after The Wall Street Journal reported at least three Chinese firms were looking to bid for Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide. Starwood (HOT) shares were up 9.1 percent at $74.81 while shares of Marriott International (MAR) were up 1.8 percent at $77.99.

NYSE declining issues outnumbered advancing ones 2,293 to 797, for a 2.88-to-1 ratio; on the Nasdaq, 2,003 issues fell and 820 advanced, for a 2.44-to-1 ratio favoring decliners.

The S&P 500 posted 14 new 52-week highs and 13 new lows; the Nasdaq recorded 56 new highs and 122 new lows.

Federal Reserve policymakers meet to set interest rates and release a statement at 2 p.m. Eastern time.

Earnings Season:
These selected companies are scheduled to report quarterly financial results:

  • Anthem (ANTM)
  • Amgen (AMGN)
  • General Dynamics (GD)
  • GlaxoSmithKline (GSK)
  • Mondelez International (MDLZ)
  • Northrup Grumman (NOC)
  • Occidental Petroleum (OXY)
  • PayPal (PYPL)
  • Walgreens Boots Alliance (WBA)
  • Williams Cos. (WMB)

Market Wrap: Stocks Climb as Fed Puts Dec. Rate Hike in Play

Financial Markets Wall StreetNEW YORK — U.S. stocks ended sharply higher Wednesday after a volatile session as the Federal Reserve gave a vote of confidence in the U.S. economy by signaling a December interest rate hike was still on the table.

S&P financials, which benefit from higher borrowing rates, shot up following the Fed statement and led sector gains. The financial index ended up 2.4 percent, its biggest percentage gain in seven weeks. The KBW Nasdaq regional bank index jumped 4.1 percent.

S&P utilities, which tend to do worse when interest rates are rising, fell 1.1 percent and led S&P sector declines.

The Fed left rates unchanged, as expected, and, in a direct reference to its next meeting, put a December rate hike firmly in play. It also downplayed global economic headwinds in its statement.

Stocks initially sold off following the statement, with the S&P 500 erasing close to a 1 percent gain, but quickly rebounded to end at the day’s highs as investors saw the statement as a sign the Fed has confidence the U.S. economy can sustain a rate hike.

“Obviously the first move [in stocks] is down, which is conventional wisdom. However, I do like the idea of the Fed having more confidence in the economy, less concerned about the global backdrop and willing to ring the bell on the long-term health of the U.S. economy with a rate hike,” said Michael Marrale, head of research, sales and trading at ITG in New York.

The Fed hasn’t raised rates in nearly a decade.

The Dow Jones industrial average (^DJI) rose 198.09 points, or 1.1 percent, to 17,779.52, the Standard & Poor’s 500 index (^GSPC) gained 24.46 points, or 1.2 percent, to 2,090.35, its highest in more than two months.

The Nasdaq composite (^IXIC) added 65.55 points, or 1.3 percent, to 5,095.69, while the Nasdaq 100 index of biggest non-financial names rose 0.9 percent to 4,678.57, just shy of a 15-year high.

Movers and Shakers

A 4.1 percent gain in Apple (AAPL) shares to $119.27 also helped support indexes a day after stronger-than-expected results.

The company sold 48 million iPhones in the latest quarter and posted a near doubling of revenue from China, allaying concerns about its business in the world’s second-largest economy.

On the flip side, Twitter (TWTR) shares fell 1.5 percent to $30.87 while Akamai Technologies (AKAM) dropped 16.7 percent to $62.91, Both reported disappointing results late Tuesday.

The S&P energy sector snapped a three-day losing streak, ending up 2.2 percent, after a sharp rally in crude oil prices .

After the bell, shares of GoPro (GPRO) dropped 15.2 percent to $25.62 following its results.

Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by 2,428 to 645, for a 3.76-to-1 ratio on the upside; on the Nasdaq, 2,252 issues rose and 605 fell for a 3.72-to-1 ratio favoring advancers.

The S&P 500 posted 35 new 52-week highs and six new lows; the Nasdaq recorded 155 new highs and 82 new lows.

About 8.5 billion shares changed hands on U.S. exchanges, well above the 7.1 billion daily average for the past 20 trading days, according to Thomson Reuters (TRI) data.

What to watch Thursday:

  • At 8:30 a.m. Eastern time, the Labor Department releases weekly jobless claims, and the Commerce Department releases third-quarter gross domestic product.
  • At 10 a.m., Freddie Mac releases weekly mortgage rates, and the National Association of Realtors releases pending home sales index for September.

Earnings Season
These selected companies are scheduled to report quarterly financial results:

  • Aetna (AET)
  • Altria Group (MO)
  • ConocoPhillips (COP)
  • Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. (GT)
  • Johnson Controls (JCI)
  • LinkedIn (LNKD)
  • MasterCard (MA)
  • Starbucks (SBUX)
  • Teva Pharmaceutical (TEVA)
  • Time Warner Cable (TWC)

Market Wrap: Stocks Slip as Investors Digest Fed, Earnings

Financial Markets Wall StreetNEW YORK — U.S. stocks ended slightly lower Thursday as the market digested the potential for an interest rate hike in December and some disappointing tech earnings reports.

The Federal Reserve, which kept rates unchanged at its policy meeting that ended Wednesday, downplayed concerns about global growth and indicated confidence in the U.S. job market’s recovery.

Stocks had jumped Wednesday following the Fed statement and, after a strong run from the end of September, were due for a “reprieve,” said Jason Ware, chief investment officer at Albion Financial, in Salt Lake City.

I would just say that we had a big move and this is a bit of a cooling pause the next day.

“I would just say that we had a big move and this is a bit of a cooling pause the next day,” Ware said.

The three indexes are on track for their best month in four years.

S&P utilities, which tend to do worse when interest rates are rising, were the worst-performing S&P sector, off 0.6 percent.

The Dow Jones industrial average (^DJI) fell 23.72 points, or 0.1 percent, to 17,755.8, the Standard & Poor’s 500 index (^GSPC) lost less than a point to 2,089.41 and the Nasdaq composite (^IXIC) dropped 21.42 points, or 0.4 percent, to 5,074.27.

The three indexes recovered much of the day’s losses late in the session.

Stocks were “treading water” after the Fed statement, said John Mousseau, executive vice president at Cumberland Advisors in Sarasota, Florida.

“Low interest rates have been the anchor for stock prices for a while,” Mousseau said.

Odds of a December hike increased to 50 percent from 43 percent Wednesday, according to the CME Group’s FedWatch program.

The S&P health care sector rose 0.4 percent, making it the top-performing sector, as Allergan’s (AGN) shares shot up 6 percent to $304.38. The Botox-maker confirmed it was in buyout talks with Pfizer. Pfizer (PFE) dropped 1.9 percent.

Sixty percent of the S&P 500 companies have reported quarterly results so far. Analysts now expect overall third-quarter profit to decline a modest 1.7 percent, compared with the 4.2 percent drop forecast on Oct. 1, according to Thomson Reuters data.

Movers and Shakers

NXP Semiconductors (NXPI) sank 19.7 percent to $73 after its bleak forecast. The slide took down other chipmakers, with the broader semiconductor index down 3 percent.

F5 Networks (FFIV) shares fell 9.3 percent to $110.08 after a disappointing outlook, making it the biggest percentage loser in the S&P 500 technology index.

GoPro (GPRO) slumped 15.2 percent to $25.62 after the action camera maker posted disappointing results.

Declining issues outnumbered advancing ones on the NYSE by 1,852 to 1,185, for a 1.56-to-1 ratio on the downside; on the Nasdaq, 1,820 issues fell and 959 advanced for a 1.90-to-1 ratio favoring decliners.

The S&P 500 posted 28 new 52-week highs and 6 lows; the Nasdaq recorded 102 new highs and 76 new lows.

About 7 billion shares changed hands on U.S. exchanges, about even with the 7.1 billion daily average for the past 20 trading days, according to Thomson Reuters (TRI) data.

Market Wrap: Stocks Slip After Energy Slide, Yellen Comments

Hewlett-Packard Enterprise Rings The NYSE Opening Bell For The First Day Of Regular-Way Trading
NEW YORK — U.S. stocks edged lower Wednesday, retracing recent gains along with energy shares, while comments by Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen pointing to a possible rate hike in December added to investor caution.

S&P energy, down 1 percent, led the day’s decline.

The fall snapped a run of five straight days of gains for the index, with shares of Chevron (CVX) down 1.4 percent at $96.77 and Exxon Mobil (XOM) down 1 percent at $85.98.

Stocks added to losses after Yellen’s comments, which caused investors to reset their expectations of a December rate hike above 60 percent.

Yellen said December remains a “live possibility” for a rate increase, and William Dudley, the president of the New York Fed and a permanent voting member of the Fed’s policy panel, said later on Wednesday that he would “completely agree” with Yellen.

Still, S&P utilities, which tend to fall in a higher-interest rate environment, were up 0.4 percent, the day’s best-performing sector.

The market is consolidating after a big rally, said Michael O’Rourke, chief market strategist at JonesTrading in Greenwich, Connecticut.

“The gains have been strong over the past five weeks and we’re due for more of a breather here,” said O’ Rourke.

The Dow Jones industrial average (^DJI) fell 50.57 points, or 0.3 percent, to 17,867.58, the Standard & Poor’s 500 index (^GSPC) lost 7.48 points, or 0.4 percent, to 2,102.31 and the Nasdaq composite (^IXIC) dropped 2.65 points, or 0.05 percent, to 5,142.48.

Stocks rallied after the Fed’s statement last week, when it signaled a December rate hike was still on the table, yet the ongoing debate over when the Fed will actually make its move has added uncertainty to the market.

“It’s really that uncertainty — investors don’t know whether to applaud a rate hike or to fear it,” said Bruce Zaro, chief technical strategist, Bolton Global Asset Management in Boston.

A raft of data released Wednesday suggested the economy was strong enough to support ending an era of near-zero interest rates.

The ADP National Employment Report showed U.S. private employers maintained a steady pace of hiring in October, while data from the Institute for Supply Management showed a jump in new orders buoyed activity in the services sector.

The reports come ahead of Friday’s nonfarm payrolls data, the most widely watched U.S. economic indicator.

Movers and Shakers

Time Warner (TWX), down 6.6 percent at $72.20, weighed on the S&P 500 the most after the company said ratings for its “key” domestic entertainment networks have dropped more than anticipated, while shares of Twenty-First Century Fox (FOXA) dropped 5.2 percent to $29.65 after it reported lower-than-expected quarterly revenue.

Other media stocks such as Disney (DIS), Viacom (VIA) and Discovery (DISCA) also fell.

U.S. health insurers also slid, with UnitedHealth (UNH) falling 2.6 percent to $114.64.

Groupon (GRPN) lumped 26.3 percent to $2.97 after it forecast weak fourth-quarter and 2016 revenue.

Declining issues outnumbered advancing ones on the NYSE by 1,849 to 1,214, for a 1.52-to-1 ratio on the downside; on the Nasdaq, 1,398 issues fell and 1,362 advanced for a 1.03-to-1 ratio favoring decliners.

The S&P 500 posted 16 new 52-week highs and 1 new low; the Nasdaq recorded 69 new highs and 43 new lows.

Market Wrap: Stocks Slip on Mixed Earnings, Jobs Report Looms

Financial Markets Wall Street
NEW YORK — U.S. stocks edged lower Thursday as investors digested mixed tech and health care earnings a day ahead of Friday’s employment report.

Energy shares dragged more than other sectors as crude prices fell. Qualcomm (QCOM) weighed the most on the S&P 500, falling 15.3 percent to $51.07 after the chipmaker forecast first-quarter profit below expectations. Biotech Celgene (CELG) fell 5.3 percent to $120.46 after its quarterly revenue missed targets.

Overall declines were limited by a rise in Facebook shares following the social media company’s strong quarterly results, and a 0.4 percent gain in the financial sector. Facebook (FB) shares jumped 4.6 percent to $108.76.

Investors were looking to Friday’s nonfarm payrolls report as they gauge whether the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates in December.

“This is a big piece of data as to what the Fed is looking for,” said Scott Colyer, chief executive officer of Advisors Asset Management in Monument, Colorado. “I think everybody wants them to move or not move. The month-to-month stuff is killing everybody.”

The Dow Jones industrial average (^DJI) fell 4.15 points, or 0.02 percent, to 17,863.43, the Standard & Poor’s 500 index (^GSPC) lost 2.38 points, or 0.1 percent, to 2,099.93 and the Nasdaq composite (^IXIC) dropped 14.74 points, or 0.3 percent, to 5,127.74.

The declines paused a rally that took shape in October, the best monthly performance for major stock indexes in four years.

“We have had in the past month … a very strong market, a very sharp rebound, and I think that’s also probably causing some profit taking more than you might expect from the news that’s out there,” said Tim Ghriskey, chief investment officer of Solaris Asset Management in New York.

Seven of the 10 major S&P sectors finished lower. The S&P energy sector fell 1 percent, with Chevron (CVX) off 2.3 percent to $94.55 and Exxon Mobil (XOM) down 1.4 percent at $84.81.

The utilities group dropped 0.8 percent and materials declined 0.5 percent.

The S&P health care sector fell 0.4 percent, weighed down by Celgene’s results.

Drug Price Probe

A U.S. Senate panel began a probe Wednesday into drug price increases, seeking documents from four drugmakers including Valeant Pharmaceuticals. U.S.-listed Valeant (VRX) shares tumbled 14.4 percent to $78.77 on Thursday.

The probe hit the entire biotech group and the broader market as well, said Larry Peruzzi, a senior equity trader at Cabrera Capital Markets in Boston.

HomeAway surged 25.3 percent to $40.15 after Expedia said it would buy the vacation rental site for $3.9 billion. Expedia (EXPE) rose 2.4 percent to $137.40.

Declining issues outnumbered advancing ones on the NYSE by 1,561 to 1,488, for a 1.05-to-1 ratio on the downside; on the Nasdaq, 1,497 issues fell and 1,283 advanced for a 1.17-to-1 ratio favoring decliners.

The S&P 500 posted 22 new 52-week highs and 7 new lows; the Nasdaq recorded 94 new highs and 71 new lows.

About 7.3 billion shares changed hands on U.S. exchanges, compared with the 7 billion daily average for the past 20 trading days, according to Thomson Reuters data.

Market Wrap: Stocks End Flat as Fed Rate Hike Eyed

Jeh Johnson Rings Opening Bell At New York Stock ExchangeNEW YORK — U.S. stocks ended little changed Friday, with a rise in financials countered by a slide in utilities and other sectors, as Wall Street took the strong U.S. jobs report as evidence the Federal Reserve will soon raise interest rates.

Since the Fed last week opened the door to a rate increase in December, investors have been looking to economic reports for clues to whether the central bank will take action. Data released Friday showed U.S. non-farm payrolls growth in October was the best since December 2014, while the unemployment rate fell to 5 percent, the lowest since April 2008.

While higher interest rates themselves are not a good thing, a vote of confidence in the strength of the economy I think is going to overshadow that over time.

The three major indexes posted higher weekly performances for the sixth week in a row, after posting their best monthly results in four years in October.

The overall market Friday was “holding up well,” Peter Jankovskis, co-chief investment officer at OakBrook Investments in Lisle, Illinois, who noted that a Fed action would indicate the economy is healthy enough to tolerate higher rates.

“While higher interest rates themselves are not a good thing, a vote of confidence in the strength of the economy I think is going to overshadow that over time,” Jankovskis said.

The Dow Jones industrial average (^DJI) rose 46.9 points, or 0.3 percent, to 17,910.33, the Standard & Poor’s 500 index (^GSPC) lost 0.73 points, or 0.03 percent, to 2,099.2 and the Nasdaq composite (^IXIC) added 19.38 points, or 0.4 percent, to 5,147.12.

The S&P financial sector rose 1.1 percent, leading all sectors. Banks tend to benefit from higher borrowing rates, and shares of JPMorgan (JPM), Bank of America (BAC) and Citigroup (C) each climbed at least 3 percent, making them the biggest positive influences on the S&P.

The rate-sensitive utilities sector dropped 3.6 percent, the worst performing group. The S&P consumer staples sector fell 1.1 percent, while the energy group dipped 0.4 percent as crude oil prices were down.

Focus on Rate Increase

“The market is reacting today as if rates will be increased in December,” said Ben Halliburton, chief investment officer at Tradition Capital Management in Summit, New Jersey.

“They’re rotating money to take advantage of that or cut back where they’re not going to be advantageous,” Halliburton added.

Alibaba (BABA) fell 2.1 percent to $83.61 after a CNBC report said short-seller Jim Chanos pitched the company as a possible short.

Shares of Disney (DIS) rose 2.4 percent to $115.67 after it reported a higher-than-expected profit.

ZS Pharma (ZSPH) shares jumped 40.6 percent to $89.04 after Britain’s AstraZeneca (AZN) agreed to buy the biotech company for $2.7 billion.

Tableau Software (DATA) shares jumped 21.4 percent to $102.44 after higher-than-expected results, with other data analytics stocks also rising.

Declining issues outnumbered advancing ones on the NYSE by 1,931 to 1,186, for a 1.63-to-1 ratio on the downside; on the Nasdaq, 1,726 issues rose and 1,086 fell for a 1.59-to-1 ratio favoring advancers.

The S&P 500 posted 15 new 52-week highs and 9 new lows; the Nasdaq recorded 151 new highs and 70 new lows.

Market Wrap: Stocks Give Up Gains After Germany Bomb Scare

Financial Markets Wall StreetNEW YORK — U.S. stocks forfeited gains Tuesday after a soccer match between Germany and the Netherlands was called off over fears of a bombing.

All three major U.S. indexes had ventured into positive territory following upbeatearnings reports from Walmart and Home Depot. But they quickly relinquished those gains after the friendly match was canceled less than two hours before its start due to indications of a planned attack with explosives at the stadium in Hanover.

That added to apprehension following last week’s attacks in Paris that killed 129 people.

“These situations create uncertainty and in uncertain times everyone goes to cash,” said Mohannad Aama, managing director at Beam Capital Management in New York.

Despite the broad market’s reversal, Walmart (WMT) ended 3.5 percent higher and Home Depot (HD) climbed 4.4 percent, pushing the S&P 500 retail index up 1 pct.

There’s a shift in consumer behavior, but the consumer is still spending.

The healthy quarterly performance of Walmart and Home Depot stood in contrast to results from department stores Macy’s (M) and Nordstrom (JWN) last week that sent some retail stock sharply lower.

“There’s a shift in consumer behavior, but the consumer is still spending,” said Steve Goldman, principal of Goldman Management in Short Hills, New Jersey. “They’re just spending differently, whether on restaurants or travel.”

Home Depot rival Lowe’s (LOW) rose 1.7 percent and Target (TGT) added 0.8 percent. Both report their quarterly results Wednesday.

Data released Tuesday offered a mixed view of the health of the U.S. economy –consumer prices increased in October after two straight months of declines, while industrial production fell.

The modest rise in inflation could bolster chances of the Federal Reserve raising interest rates next month, but weak industrial output raised concerns about the robustness of fourth-quarter economic growth.

The Dow Jones industrial average (^DJI) rose less than 0.1 percent to end at 17,489.50 and the Standard & Poor’s 500 index (^GSPC) lost 0.1 percent to finish at 2,050.44. The Nasdaq composite (^IXIC)
was essentially flat, ending at 4,986.02.

Seven of the 10 major S&P sectors fell, with the utilities sector’s 1.9 percent drop leading the decliners.

Criminal Probe

Shares of dietary supplement-makers sank after federal agencies, including the Department of Justice, said they would announce criminal and civil actions related to unlawful advertising and sale of dietary supplements.

GNC Holdings (GNC) dropped 6.4 percent, Vitamin Shoppe (VSI) fell 4.9 percent and Herbalife (HLF) lost 1.5 percent. None of the companies were named in the subsequent Justice Department release.

Underscoring the uneven performance among retailers, Urban Outfitters (URBN) dropped 3.8 percent and Dick’s Sporting Goods (DKS) lost 9.4 percent after handing in quarterly report cards that disappointed investors.

Declining issues outnumbered advancing ones on the NYSE by 1,934 to 1,126. On the Nasdaq, 1,501 issues fell and 1,290 advanced.

The S&P 500 index showed 10 new 52-week highs and 16 new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 46 new highs and 148 new lows.

About 7.5 billion shares changing hands on U.S. exchanges, compared to the 7.2 billion daily average for the past 20 trading days, according to Thomson Reuters (TRI) data.

Abhiram Nandakumar contributed reporting from Bangalore, India.

What to watch Wednesday:

  • The Commerce Department releases housing starts for October at 8:30 a.m. Eastern time.
  • The Federal Reserve releases minutes from its October policy meeting at 2 p.m.

Earnings Season
These selected companies are scheduled to report quarterly financial results:

  • Aramark (ARMK)
  • Keurig Green Mountain (GMCR)
  • L Brands (LB)
  • Lowe’s (LOW)
  • NetApp (NTAP)
  • Salesforce.com (CRM)
  • Staples (SPLS)
  • Target (TGT)

Market Wrap: Stocks End Flat Ahead of Thanksgiving Holiday

APTOPIX Financial Markets Wall Street
NEW YORK — The major U.S. indexes were virtually unchanged Wednesday at the close of a quiet trading day with gains in health care and consumer stocks after data showed U.S. modest economic growth.

Trading volume was low as many market participants were away in the last session before the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday. Markets will be closed Thursday and most of Friday afternoon.

The news this morning was a little better than worse, so the market went up.

“The news this morning was a little better than worse, so the market went up,” said Peter Costa, president of Empire Executions, citing mixed economic data.

The Dow Jones industrial average (^DJI) rose 1.2 points, or 0.01 percent, to 17,813.39, the Standard & Poor’s 500 index (^GSPC) lost 0.27 points, or 0.01 percent, to 2,088.87 and the Nasdaq composite (^IXIC) added 13.34 points, or 0.3 percent, to 5,116.14.

Data showed claims for jobless benefits fell more than expected to 260,000 last week, while durable goods orders for October, excluding aircraft, increased 1.3 percent, far more than the 0.4 percent expected.

However, other reports suggested consumers weren’t in a spending mood, withconsumer spending increasing just 0.1 percent in October compared with the 0.3 percent expected.

The University of Michigan’s final index of consumer sentiment for November also fell short of estimates.

While investors cited good conditions for consumers, they were cautious about global security issues and the impact from the first U.S. interest rate hike since 2006, which is widely expected to happen in December.

“With market valuations where they’re at right now, there’s potential downside if the next data point or global political event is negative,” said Jeff Morris, head of U.S. equities at Standard Life Investments in Boston.

‘Swing Factor’

Traders turned their focus to the crucial U.S. holiday shopping season, which starts around Thanksgiving.

“That’s going to be the key, the swing factor for the next couple of weeks — how holiday sales shape up,” said Michael Baele, senior portfolio manager at U.S. Bank Private Client Reserve in Portland, Oregon.

“When you consider the job market, low energy costs [and] low interest rates, the consumer’s in pretty good shape.”

Four of the 10 major S&P sectors were higher, with gains in the health care and consumer discretionary sectors leading the way, while the energy and utilities sectors were lower.

HP Inc. (HPQ), the new company that houses the former Hewlett-Packard’s printer and PC businesses, dropped 13.7 percent after its profit forecast missed estimates.

Hewlett-Packard Enterprise (HPE), HP’s corporate hardware and services businesses, rose 3 percent after it maintained its full-year profit forecast.

NYSE advancing issues outnumbered decliners 1,852 to 1,185, for a 1.56-to-1 ratio on the upside; on the Nasdaq, 1,853 issues rose and 947 fell for a 1.96-to-1 ratio favoring advancers.

The S&P 500 posted 17 new 52-week highs and no new lows; the Nasdaq recorded 91 new highs and 42 new lows. Just under 5.2 million shares changed hands Wednesday on U.S. exchanges, well below the 7.19 billion average for the last 20 sessions.