On The Fly: Top stock stories for Thursday
Stocks opened in positive territory and continued to tack on gains throughout the morning. Dovish comments from St. Louis Fed President Bullard about four rate hikes in 2018 potentially being excessive, put investors in a buying mood. The market tacked on gains of almost 1.0% before reversing and giving up a large portion of them. The Nasdaq and S&P both fell into negative territory while the Dow lost half of its gains. By the end of the day, the averages were well off their best levels, keeping the market's volatile moves continuing for another day. ECONOMIC EVENTS: In the U.S., initial jobless claims declined 7,000 to 222,000 in the week of February 17. The leading economic indicators index rose 1.0% to 108.1 in January, which is a new record high. In Asia, mainland Chinese stocks saw gains after the market re-opened for the first time following the New Year holiday, though most other major Asian markets - including Japan, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Korea - finished lower. COMPANY NEWS: A number of oil & gas explorers' stocks advanced amid a bounce in crude prices. Among them, Chesapeake Energy (CHK) surged 22% after it reported better than expected fourth quarter profits and guided toward capital expenditures being down 12% next fiscal year. Whiting Petroleum (WLL), which also reported on its quarterly results last night, rose 25%... Meanwhile, BlackRock (BLK) shares were in focus after the company said that it plans to speak with gun makers and distributors "to understand their response" to last week's mass school shooting in Florida, according to Reuters. Spokesman Ed Sweeney told Reuters that the asset manager prefers to "focus on engaging with the company and understanding how they are responding to society's expectations of them" instead of selling shares of a company in an index. MAJOR MOVERS: Among the notable gainers was Sangamo Therapeutics (SGMO), which gained 14% after the company announced a collaboration agreement with Kite, a Gilead Company (GILD), for the development of next-generation ex vivo cell therapies in oncology. Also higher following the company's earnings report was Avis Budget (CAR), which gained 13.5%. Additionally, MoviePass majority owner Helios and Matheson (HMNY) rose 9% after Canaccord initiated coverage of the stock with a Buy rating and $15 price target. Among the noteworthy losers was Macquarie Infrastructure (MIC), which dropped 41% after reporting a 31% reduction in its dividend payout. Also lower following their earnings reports were Wayfair (W), which fell 23%, and Applied Optoelectronics (AAOI), which dropped 20%. INDEXES: The Dow rose 164.70, or 0.66%, to 24,962.48, the Nasdaq slid 8.14, or 0.11%, to 7,210.09, and the S&P 500 advanced 2.63, or 0.1%, to 2,703.96.