Monday, May 18, 2015 – Friday, May 22, 2015
On Monday, no major economic news was released, but both the Dow Industrials and the S&P 500 closed at record highs, bolstered by the apparent reluctance of the Fed to rush to raise interest rates.
On Tuesday, another record high close for the Dow, however, it was a small gain and the S&P 500 and NASDAQ were down slightly. Housing starts for April were unexpectedly strong, up 20% and new home permits were up 10%, some of the best numbers seen in the housing sector in over 7 years. The dollar rose more than 1% against the Euro.
On Wednesday, the Fed minutes from its last meeting were released, pleasing markets with the fact that the majority of Fed members don’t see a need to raise rates in June. Fed members also considered the weak growth of the first quarter to be an anomaly, due to bad weather, a port strike, and the plunge in oil prices. Markets didn’t do much on the news and closed mixed.
On Thursday, jobless claims for the week ending May 16th increased by 10,000 to 274,000, the Markit PMI manufacturing flash index declined slightly in May to 53.8, compared to 54.2 in April, and existing home sales for April were down 3.3%, below expectations as analysts were expecting a 1% gain. Despite the mixed economic news, markets closed slightly higher, with the S&P 500 eking out another record high.
On Friday, the consumer price index for April rose .1%, in line with expectations. However, the core figures, which excludes foods and energy cost, rose a strong .3%. Markets opened mixed on the news.
Now let’s take a look at some stocks
Alibaba Group Holding Limited shares were under pressure early this week before beginning to rally Wednesday after the Chinese e-commerce company was sued by several luxury brands, including Gucci and Yves Saint Laurent, for profiting from sales of counterfeit goods. At the same time, Taiwanese authorities have ordered Alibaba’s online marketplace, Taobao, to halt operations for failing to apply for the proper permits as a mainland Chinese company.
Yahoo! Inc. shares tanked at the end of Tuesday following an announcement that the IRS might be changing regulations that will complicate Yahoo’s plan of spinning off their stake in Alibaba. The new regulations might require a minimum size for active businesses inside a spun-off company.
eBay’s stock fluctuated erratically on Wednesday after regulators accused eBay’s PayPal business of illegally registering consumers for an online credit product. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has ordered the company to pay $25 million in fines.
CVS Health Corporation’s stock was up Thursday after news surfaced that CVS will be acquiring Omnicare, a healthcare services company, for nearly $12.7 billion. CVS is attempting to expand their market share among the senior citizen demographic by providing medications that treat chronic conditions.
May 22, 2015 Weekly Stock Market Wrap-up:
Alibaba Group Holding Ltd(NYSE:BABA)
CVS Health Corp(NYSE:CVS)