The stock markets in the United States showed extended gains today after Federal Reserve Vice Chairman Janet Yellen expressed that she will continue the bond-buying program to support the economy during her confirmation hearing with the Senate Banking Committee.

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President Barack Obama nominated Yellen to replace Chairman Ben Bernanke, who will be retiring from his position. During the confirmation hearing, Yellin said, “It is important not to remove the support, especially when the recovery is fragile and tools available to monetary policy should the economy falter, are limited given that short-term interest rates are at zero.”

The Department of Commerce recently reported that the gross domestic product (GDP) of the United States increased from 2.5% to 2.8% in the third quarter while the Department of Labor reported that American employers added more jobs than estimated for the month of October. Corporate earnings were also positive.

In recent days, the stock markets fluctuated because of speculation that the Federal Reserve might taper its $85-billion monthly bond-buying program as early as next month. Dennis Lockhart, president of the Federal Bank of Atlanta, previously stated that policymakers might have some discussions regarding the tapering during their next meeting. Economists surveyed by Bloomberg projected that the Fed could reduce its monthly stimulus to $70 billion in March next year.

Commenting on the testimony of Yellen, Joseph Tanious told Bloomberg, “Clearly Yellen’s speech is really what’s driving the markets. Hearing her comments, it reaffirms everyone’s belief that Yellen is unlikely to pull the plug on QE, at least in the next couple months. Investors are feeling a bit more comfortable.”

With regard to the current situation of the U.S. stock markets, Yellen said there is no evidence of asset-price bubble. According to her, “Stock prices have risen pretty robustly, but if you look at traditional measures, you would not see stock prices in territory that suggests bubble-like conditions.”

U.S. Markets

  • Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA)- 15, 876.26 (0.35%)
  • S&P 500- 1,790.61 (0.48%)
  • NASDAQ- 3,972.74 (0.18%)
  • Russell 2000- 1,112.18 (0.00%)

European Markets

  • EURO STOXX 50 Price EUR- 3,053.69 (+1.08%)
  • FTSE 100 Index- 6,666.00 (+0.54%)
  • Deutsche Borse AG German Stock Index DAX- 9,149.66 (+1.05%)

Asia Pacific Markets

  • Nikkei 225- 14, 876.41 (+2.12%)
  • Hong Kong Hang Seng Index- 22,649.41 (+0.82%)
  • Shanghai Shenzhen CSI 300 Index- 22,649.15 (+0.82%)

Stocks in Focus

The stock price of Cisco Systems, Inc (NASDAQ:CSCO) declined 11% to $21.35 per share after the world’s largest computer equipment manufacturer reduced its sales forecast. Cisco CEO John Chambers projected that the company’s revenue will decline by 8% to 10% year-over-year next quarter.  The company delivered first quarter financial results of $0.53 earnings per share and $12.1 billion revenue.

Office Depot, Inc (NYSE:ODP) gained 4.21% to $5.61 per share after Denise Chai, an analyst at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, raised its rating for the stock from Underperform to Buy due to a potential cost savings from its merger with OfficeMax, Inc. The company also appointed Roland Smith as CEO.

The stock value of Kohl’s Corporation (NYSE:KSS) declined 8% to $53.55 per share after the company reported lower-than-expected third quarter earnings and reduced its guidance for the full year. The company generated $0.81 earnings per share and $4.44 billion revenue compared with the $0.92 earnings per share and $4.55 billion consensus estimate of Zacks Equity Research.