Better than expected economic data gave stocks a boost on Wednesday. Investors looked past a drop in new home sales and applauded a rise in durable goods. A slightly better global economic forecast from the OECD didn't hurt. Major stock markets are currently higher across the globe.
Yesterday the Chinese Shanghai index broke a four-day winning streak but the bulls are already back. The Shanghai index is 1% and hitting new one-year highs fueled by strength in steel, iron and metal producers. Strength in the Japanese NIKKEI was a little surprising. The NIKKIE gained 0.4% in spite of news that Japan's exports plunged almost 41% in May from a year ago. The NIKKEI is bouncing from the 9500 level after breaking past the 10,000 mark two weeks ago. The Hong Kong Hang Seng out performed its neighbors with a 2.0% gain.
European markets were looking strong at this hour. Investors chose to ignore lackluster retail sales data in England. The Confederation of British Industry said their trade survey remain unchanged at -17 in June. In Paris the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) revised their global outlook from -4.3% growth to -4.1% in 2009. The OECD is predicting that the Euro-zone's GDP will fall 4.8%, the U.S. economy will shrink 2.8% and that Japan's economy will slide 6.8%. Thus far the news isn't hurting European markets. The French CAC-40 is up 2.3%. The German DAX is up 2.4%. The English FTSE is up 1.25%.
Here at home the Commerce Department released the May new home sales numbers. Economists were expecting a jump of +2.3% in home to a 360,000 annual sales pace. The report was a disappointment. Sales actually dropped 0.6% in May to a seasonally adjusted rate of 342,000 home, which is down almost a third from May a year ago. The median new home sales price was $221,600, which is a 4% improvement over April's sales price. The DJUSHB home construction index is up 2.9%
The real story today, while investors wait on the FOMC decision, was the durable goods report. The Commerce Department said that durable good orders, essentially orders for large, big-ticket items, jumped 1.8% in May. Analysts had been expecting a 0.6% drop. This surprise improvement in durable goods is helping fuel the market's rally.
In other news the Department of Energy released their weekly oil inventory report. Analysts were expecting a decline of 1.2 million barrels. The DOE said stockpiles actually fell 3.8 million barrels. Meanwhile gasoline inventories rose by 3.9 million barrels. Naturally you'd think a worse than expected decline in oil inventory would be bullish for oil prices but crude futures are falling with the current front month contract trading under $69 a barrel, down about 30 cents.
The big event today is the conclusion of the Federal Reserve's FOMC meeting and their decision on interest rates and statement on the economy due out around 2:15 p.m. Eastern time. Expectations are for rates to remain unchanged so the focus will be on their statement. The Fed's comments could have a big impact on the market's tone and stocks can be volatile after the report.
Currently the S&P 500 index is up 1.5% at 908, bouncing back above the 900 level and its 50-dma and 200-dma. The NASDAQ composite is up 2.1% with a rebound back above the 1800 level. The Dow Industrials are up 1% at 8410. The small cap Russell 2000 index is up 2% hovering near the 500 mark.
Let's take a quick look at charts for the major averages:
Chart of the S&P 500:
Chart of the NASDAQ:
Chart of the Dow Industrials:
Chart of the Russell 2000 index:
Glancing over the OptionInvestor.com play list I see that ESRX is in rally mode with a 2.3% gain and a bounce back above the $66.00 level. This looks like another bullish entry point to buy calls on ESRX. Shares of MUR are continuing to rebound following its test of support near $50.00. Drug-maker TEVA is bouncing with a 1.8% gain. Defense contractor LLL continues to sink and a close under $70.00 would be positive for our put play. MDC is bouncing on the new home sales numbers. Readers may want to exit our MDC put play early. The market's widespread rebound is also lifting SYMC and WYNN. Make sure you're comfortable with your stop loss placement.