Markets & Finance

Stocks Finish Higher


Stocks gained ground on Monday, as bulls speculated about a fourth-quarter rally. A drop in oil prices and Treasury yields helped equities. However, some expect a technical correction this week after the steep advance last week, says Standard & Poor's MarketScope.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 55.47 points, or 0.53%, to 10,586.23. The broader Standard & Poor's 500 index was up 2.67 points, or 0.22%, to 1,222.81. The tech-heavy Nasdaq composite index gained 8.81 points, or 0.41%, to 2,178.24.

In the energy markets, December West Texas Intermediate crude oil fell $1.11 to $59.47 a barrel amid unseasonably warm temperatures throughout much of the U.S.

Among sectors on the move, select rate-sensitive and cyclical groups were strong, including automobiles and homebuilding, while energy shares closed broadly lower.

In company news, Yahoo! (YHOO

) and Google (GOOG

) are planning new wireless services, offering features on cellphones similar to those available on computers, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Yahoo and Tivo (TIVO

) announced that they plan a service to let users remotely program TiVo recorders from Yahoo's site.

Guidant (GDT

) shares fell after the company reported third-quarter earnings from continuing operations of 32 cents per share, vs. 63 cents a year ago, on a 14% sales drop. The medical devices maker initiated a lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson (JNJ

) seeking its obligation to complete its acquisition of the company under the terms of its merger agreement.

On the bright side, TXU (TXU

) raised its 2006 operating EPS estimate to $5.50-$5.75. It also hiked its dividend and set a 2-for-1 stock split.

Qualcomm (QCOM

) set a $2.5 billion stock repurchase program, replacing its previous stock repurchase program, which had approximately $1.0 billion remaining availability.

No major economic reports were due today, which could keep trading relatively subdued. This week's economic calendar is on the light side; look for updates on trade and import and export prices, consumer sentiment, and jobless claims released Thursday.

Treasury Market

Treasury yields were sideways to lower. The benchmark 10-year yield settled at 4.64%, despite earlier talk of Japanese investor interest in the T-note, says Action Economics.

World Markets

European stock markets finished higher on Monday. London's Financial Times-Stock Exchange 100 index was up 37.2 points, or 0.69%, at 5,460.8.

Germany's DAX index gained 28.96 points, or 0.58%, to 5,024.2. In Paris, the CAC 40 index rose 4.95 points, or 0.11%, to 4,503.65.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 eased 14.36 points, or 0.10%, to 14,061.60 as the market paused after recent gains. Foreign buying, a key contributor to recent market gains, reportedly ebbed, capping potential upside, says Standard & Poor's MarketScope.

In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng index sank 220.00 points, or 1.51%, to 14,365.79 on profit taking. Property shares closed broadly lower, hurt by concerns that higher interest rates will adversely impact housing demand, says Standard & Poor's MarketScope. Big-cap names China Mobile, HSBC Holdings, and Hutchison Whampoa led the Hang Seng lower by index points.


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