Stock opened sharply higher in a bit of a delayed reaction to the Fed having signaled yesterday afternoon that interest rate cuts may be coming by as soon as next month. However, the highs were set early in the session, the major averages mostly bled lower throughout the morning, and then rose again in the afternoon half of the trading day. Oil surged from the outset and held onto its advance after Iran shot down a U.S. military drone. Iran claims the drone was flying over its territory, but the U.S. said the drone was in international airspace, ratcheting up tensions that have recently flared in the wake of a recent attack on two oil tankers in the region.
ECONOMIC EVENTS: In the U.S., initial jobless claims fell 6,000 to 216,000 in the week ended June 15. The Philly Fed index dropped 16.3 points to 0.3 in June, which was below expectations. The Q1 current account deficit narrowed to $130.4B after widening to $143.9B in Q4. The leading economic index was unchanged at 111.8 in May. Nymex crude settled with a greater than 5% gain at $56.65 per barrel after Iran shot down a U.S. drone that it said had entered its airspace.
TOP NEWS: Shares of Oracle (ORCL) gained 8.1% after the company last night reported fiscal Q4 results that exceeded expectations. Several Wall Street analysts raised their targets on the stock in the wake of the earnings beat, though Stifel analyst Brad Reback was among those with a more lukewarm view of the report.
Slack Technologies (WORK), which pursued a direct listing rather than a traditional initial public offering, came public on the New York Stock Exchange. The NYSE announced that Slack's reference price was set at $26 per share and the stock opened for trading at $38.50 per share. Slack, which markets collaboration software billed as a replacement for email, closed its first day of trade at $38.62.
MAJOR MOVERS: Among the noteworthy gainers was Ventas (VTR), which received a number of analyst upgrades and gained 3% following the company's investor day meeting. Also higher were a number of stocks in the energy sector, including Noble Energy (NBL), HollyFrontier (HFC), Halliburton (HAL) and Baker Hughes (BHGE).
Among the notable losers was Carnival (CCL), which is down 7.7% after its earnings report this morning. Also lower was Macerich (MAC), which slipped 2.4% after Morgan Stanley analyst Richard Hill said in a note to investors that he sees cash flow headwinds accelerating and believes the market underappreciates the company's deterioration in free cash flow.
INDEXES: The Dow gained 249.17, or 0.94%, to 26,753.17, the Nasdaq advanced 64.02, or 0.8%, to 8,051.34, and the S&P 500 rose 27.72, or 0.95%, to 2,954.18.