Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : February 15th 2015 Contents FEBRUARY 15 • 2015 www.guardian.co.tt SUNDAY BUSINESS GUARDIAN
STOCKS | SBG9
Aslight gain was enough
to push the stock mar-
ket back to record Fri-
day. Stocks climbed as
a rebound in oil prices
helped push energy
stocks higher. A report
that showed growth
picked up faster than forecast in Europe in
the fourth quarter of last year also boosted
Investors were also picking over the latest
earnings news. CBS gained after reporting
earnings that exceeded analyst s expectations,
as the media company got a boost from better
advertising revenue. VF Corporation, a clothing
company whose brands include Vans, Wrangler
and Timberland, jumped after giving an upbeat
outlook for the year.
Stocks have surged in February, rebounding
from a January slump, as recovering oil prices
have boosted energy stocks. Growing corporate
earnings and the announcement of more stim-
ulus to boost growth in Europe have also helped
turn investor sentiment around this month.
"Stability seems to be coming back," said
JJ Kinahan, chief strategist at TD Ameritrade.
"Overall, I think the market is going to go
higher ... but it may be a case of two steps
forward, one step back."
The Standard & Poor s 500 rose 8.51 points,
or 0.4 per cent, to 2,096.99. That surpassed
the previous record close of 2,090.57 set Dec.
29.The Dow Jones industrial average climbed
46.97 points, or 0.3 per cent, to 18,019.35.
The index is still 35 points short of its all-
time high. The Nasdaq composite gained 36.22
points, or 0.8 per cent, to 4,893.84.
About three-quarters of the companies in
the S&P 500 index have now reported results
for the fourth quarter, and earnings for the
period are projected to rise by 7.5 per cent.
While that is a decline from growth of 10.4
per cent in the previous quarter, it s better
than analysts were expecting at the start of
On Friday, VF Corporation was one of the
biggest gainers in the S&P 500. The company
gained US$4.26, or 6 per cent, to US$75.26
after the company said that it was expecting
"meaningful growth" in all of its markets
worldwide, despite challenges because of a
CBS was another winner on Friday.
The media company gained US$2.06, or
3.6 per cent, to US$59.83 after it reported
earnings late Thursday that were slightly better
than Wall Street analysts had been expecting.
The company got a boost from higher adver-
tising revenues, led by the broadcast of "Thurs-
day Night Football" and political ad revenues
associated with the midterm elections.
This month s sharp gains are making some
analysts cautious on stocks.
The price-earnings ratio for next year s earn-
ings for S&P 500 companies is at 17.1, the
highest level in more than a decade. The meas-
ure is a gauge of how much investors are willing
to pay for a company s earnings.
"Watch those valuation levels very carefully,"
said James Liu, Global Market Strategist for
JP Morgan Asset Management.
Rather than tracking the broader market
investors should focus on certain sectors, Liu
says. At the moment he favors so-called con-
sumer discretionary stocks, which should ben-
efit as hiring picks and consumers get more
money in their pockets from lower gas prices.
ConAgra was one of the biggest losers in
the S&P 500 on Friday.
The food company, whose brands include
Swiss Miss hot chocolate mix and Slim Jim
beef jerky, dropped US$1.59, or 4.4 per cent,
to US$34.83 after cutting its earnings outlook
for the year late Thursday. ConAgra blamed
the impact of a stronger dollar and intense
competition for its Private Brands unit.
While energy stocks have been rebounding
this year, one of last year s biggest gainers is
this year s biggest decliner.
Utilities surged 25 per cent last year as
investor pushed up the price of the dividend-
rich stocks as bond yields fell. Now, as bond
yields are showing signs of rising from their
lows, investors are dumping the stocks. The
sector is down 7.0 per cent this month.
Stocks in the US again got a lift from devel-
opments in Europe.
Data out Friday showed the eurozone econ-
omy picked up speed in the fourth quarter
thanks to better growth in Germany and Spain.
The currency union s economy grew 0.3 per
cent in the October-December period com-
pared with the previous quarter, more than
expected, thanks also to lower oil prices and
a weaker euro. The growth rate, while encour-
aging, is still only about half that of the US.
Greece and its creditors in the 19-country
eurozone took visible, if modest, steps to bridge
their differences over Athens demands to
lighten the load of its financial bailout. Investors
are hopeful that a deal will be reached to avoid
Greece s exit from the euro.
In energy trading, benchmark US crude rose
US$1.57 to US$52.78 a barrel on the New York
Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude climbed
US$2.24 to US$61.52 a barrel in London.
In US government bond trading, prices fell
slightly. The yield on the 10-year benchmark
government note edged up to 2.04 per cent
from 1.99 per cent on Tuesday.
The dollar was little changed against the
Japanese yen and the euro. The dollar traded
at 118.75 yen, down from 118.85 yen the previous
day. The euro was flat at US$1.1406.
In metals trading, precious and industrial
metals futures closed higher. Gold rose
US$6.40 to US$1,227.10 an ounce, silver
jumped 50 cents to US$17.29 an ounce and
copper edged up less than a penny to US$2.61
In other energy futures trading on the
• Wholesale gasoline rose 3 cents to close
at US$1.626 a gallon.
• Heating oil rose 5.7 cents to close at
US$1.971 a gallon.• Natural gas rose 9.1 cents
to close at US$2.804 per 1,000 cubic feet.
Global stock markets were higher Friday as Athens and its Euro-
pean creditors inched toward a deal on renegotiating Greece s
bailout and fresh data showed an improvement in Germany s econ-
KEEPING SCORE: France s CAC 40 edged up 0.7 per cent to
4,758.18. Germany s DAX added 0.6 per cent to 10,987.43 and
Britain s FTSE 100 gained 0.7 per cent to 6,878.58. U.S. shares
were set to rise with Dow futures gaining 0.2 per cent to 17,963.
S&P 500 futures were up 0.1 per cent to 2,086.30.
GREECE FACTOR: Greece and its creditors in the 19-country
eurozone took visible, if modest, steps to bridge their differences
over Athens demands to lighten the load of its bailout. But a deal
is still some way off. Following weeks of haggling, the two sides
made a series of encouraging noises at a summit of European
Union leaders and even agreed to start technical discussions to
inform a meeting of the eurozone s finance ministers Monday.
Investors are hopeful that a deal will be reached to avoid Greece s
exit from the euro.
GERMAN GROWTH: Data out Friday showed the German
economy, Europe s biggest, picked up speed in the fourth quarter
to grow by a better-than-expected 0.7 per cent. October-December
growth was powered partly by household spending, which got a
perk from lower oil prices. Both exports and imports rose. Growth
figures for euro nations as a whole are due for release during the
ASIA S DAY: Hong Kong s Hang Seng jumped 1.1 per cent to
24,682.54 and South Korea s Kospi rose 0.8 per cent to 1,957.50.
China s Shanghai Composite climbed 1.0 per cent to 3,203.83.
Australia s S&P/ASX 200 surged 2.3 per cent to 5,877.50 on expec-
tations the central bank will lower interest rates again. Japan s
Nikkei 225 dropped 0.4 per cent to 17,913.36 as the dollar weakened
a little against the yen.
ENERGY: Benchmark US crude was up 56 cents to US$51.77
a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
The contract soared US$2.37 on Thursday after the CEO of Royal
Dutch Shell said he expected crude demand to grow faster than
supply this year. Brent crude was up 45 cents at US$59.77 a barrel
CURRENCIES: The dollar, after hitting 120 yen levels recently,
has been falling, trading at 118.93 yen Friday from 118.85 yen the
previous session. The euro rose to US$1.1431 from US$1.1404.
at record high
A couple look at an electronic stock board of a
securities firm in Tokyo Friday, February 6, 2015 as
Japan's Nikkei 225 gained 143.88 points or 0.8 per
cent to close at 17,648.50 for the day. Asian stock
markets were muted Friday as investors awaited
monthly US employment figures and the risk of a
Greek default increased.
A trader works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange in New York, Monday, February 9,
2015. US stocks are opening lower, following declines in overseas markets on weak Chinese
trade data and more worries about Greece's finances. AP
Global stocks higher on Greek progress, German data
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