The stock markets in the United States fluctuated by ending higher after the trading session on Friday. Investors continue to monitor corporate earnings and evaluate economic data to find signs as to when the Federal Reserve will begin the tapering of its $85 billion bond-buying program.

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Richard Sichel, chief investment officer of Trust Co. told Bloomberg that earnings have been good, driving the market upwards. He also believed that the economy is going in the right direction even if the growth is slow. He said, “Stocks definitely have shown that they’re the best place to be, and that can continue in spite of things going on in Washington.”

Earlier this week, the Federal Reserve stated that there is an “underlying strength” in the economy, and policymakers are waiting for more signs of economic growth to bring the current 7.2% unemployment rate lower. The latest data from the Institute of Supply Management factory index showed that the manufacturing sector expanded at a faster rate in October.

Eric Green, director of research and fund manager of Penn Capital Management projected that the Fed will start reducing the stimulus by the end of this year. He said, “There’s some concern clearly that the economic data is getting better and we might get tapering in December. As you get positive economic data points, those that were concerned about the taper get more concerned.”

A majority of economists polled by Bloomberg are anticipating that the Federal Reserve tapering will begin in March next year.

U.S. Markets

  • Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA)- 15, 615.55 (+0.45%)
  • S&P 500- 1,761.64 (+0.29%)
  • NASDAQ- 3,922.04 (+0.06%)
  • Russell 2000- 1,095.843(-0.43%)

European Markets

  • EURO STOXX 50 Price EUR- 3,052.14 (-0.52%)
  • FTSE 100 Index- 6,734.74 (+0.05%)
  • Deutsche Borse AG German Stock Index DAX- 9,007.73 (-0.29%)

Asia Pacific Markets

  • Nikkei 225- 14,201.57 (-1.88%)
  • Hong Kong Hang Seng Index- 23,249.79 (+0.19%)
  • Shanghai Shenzhen CSI 300 Index- 2, 384.96 (+0.47%)

Stocks in Focus

The stock price of American International Group Inc (NYSE:AIG) declined by 6.52% to $48.28 per share after the insurance giant revealed that the third quarter premium revenue of its property casualty division dropped 3.7% to $8.43 billion. The company reported that its net income increased to $2.17 billion or $1.46 per share compared with its $1.82 billion net income of $1.13 earnings per share in the same quarter last year.

First Solar, Inc. (NASDAQ:FSLR) gained 17.56% to $59.14 per share after reporting outstanding financial results for the third quarter. The biggest solar panel manufacturer in the United States generated $2.28 earnings per share on $1.26 billion revenue. The financial results of the company beat the $1.64 earnings per share and $1.35 billion consensus estimates of Wall Street analysts.

Meanwhile, the stock price of Tower International Inc (NYSE:TOWR) fell 5% to $20.14 a share after revelations that Tower International Holdings, an affiliate of Cerberus Capital Management is planning to sell approximately 2.6 million shares in the company.