Monday was a holiday and markets were closed, however, Tuesday started off with the news that the People’s Bank of China feels the yuan has no basis to keep falling and it set the official rate sharply stronger against the dollar.
Also on Tuesday, the Empire State manufacturing survey for February came in at -16.64, the seventh straight month of declines. The Dow Industrials closed up 222 points.
On Wednesday, U.S. crude oil futures rose $1.62 to close at $30.66 a barrel on hopes that oil producers can cooperate to freeze production. The producer price index for January was up .1% compared to the previous month’s .2% decline. The minutes from the latest Federal Reserve meeting were released and revealed policymakers are concerned about tighter global financial conditions and are hesitating about raising interest rates further. The Dow Industrials closed up 257 points. For the three trading days of Friday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, the Dow gained 5.07% while the Nasdaq composite surged 6.26%, the largest three-day gain since August of 2015.
On Thursday, jobless claims for the week ending February 13th fell 7,000 to 262,000 and crude oil climbed slightly higher as major oil producing countries supported a proposal to freeze production. Markets ended the day modestly down.
On Friday, the core CPI for January was up .3%, largely due to increased rent and medical costs. Markets opened lower as oil prices dropped sharply.
Now let’s take a look at some stocks.
Priceline Group (NASDAQ: PCLN) shares jumped 11% on Wednesday after the online travel company reported a higher-than-expected quarterly profit. Priceline’s earnings show that hotel and rental car bookings have increased, partially because lower oil prices resulted in more affordable airfares.
Wal-Mart (NYSE: WMT) shares were down about 5% this Thursday after the retaiing giant reported fourth-quarter earnings of $1.49 per share, compared to $1.61 per share during the same period last year. Wal-Mart also cut its sales outlook due to the strong dollar’s impact on international operations. The company is currently closing stores in order to cut expenses and increase profitability.
Jack in the Box (NASDAQ: JACK) shares dove more than 15% Thursday after the hamburger chain reported a lower-than-expected profit. Analysts feel that Jack in the Box is one of several chains to be impacted by McDonald’s recent launch of an all-day breakfast menu, thereby resulting in less daily visits to Jack in the Box by regular customers.
The ADT Corporation (NYSE: ADT) announced that it has entered into an agreement to be acquired by affiliates of Apollo Global Management, LLC and co-investors for $42 per share in cash. The acquisition represents a 56% premium for ADT, at a value of approximately $15 billion. The new combined company will operate mostly under the ADT brand, which is a provider of business and home security.
On Thursday, IBM (NYSE: IBM) said it will acquire Truven Health Analytics in a deal valued at $2.6 billion. The acquisition is meant to further develop IBM Watson’s capabilities as a computer system capable of answering questions posed in natural language. Truven Health Analytics tracks cost, claims and quality data within the health-care industry. Shares of IBM jumped more than 5% on the news.