The stock markets in the United States gained after the International Monetary Fund (IMF) indicated that it would raise its forecast for the economy. The positive momentum was also propelled by an increase in the stock price of Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL), as well as big moves in T-Mobile US Inc (NYSE:TMUS), and Darden Restaurants, Inc. (NYSE:DRI)

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Commenting on the movement of the stock markets today, Donald Selkin, chief market strategist at National Securities Corp told Bloomberg,“It’s a cauldron of bullish factors. There’s the seasonal factor, the IMF raising its forecast and the Fed saying they’re going to keep the federal funds rate low.”

IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde said the organization is raising its outlook for the U.S. economy due to the fact that the budget deal in Washington and the plan of the Federal Reserve to reduce its $85 billion monthly bond-buying program alleviates concerns regarding the future of the country. Last year, the IMF projected that the U.S. economy will grow around 2.6% next year.

Last week, the Department of Commerce reported that gross domestic product (GDP) of the United States climbed to 4.1% in an annual basis in the third quarter, up from its previous estimate of 3.6%. During the second quarter, the U.S. GDP was 2.5%.

Data from Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan indicated that the final index of consumer sentiment increased from 75.1 points last month to 82.5 points in December. Based on the survey conducted by Bloomberg, the average estimate of economists was 83 points.

U.S. Markets

  • Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA)- 16,296.57 (+0.47%)
  • S&P 500- 1,828.03 (+0.53%)
  • NASDAQ- 4,147.65 (+1.05%)
  • Russell 2000- 1,156.49 (+0.87%)

European Markets

  • EURO STOXX 50 Price EUR- 3, 070.91 (+0.71%)
  • FTSE 100 Index- 6,678.61 (+1.09%)
  • Deutsche Borse AG German Stock Index DAX- 9,488.82 (+0.94%)

Asia Pacific Markets

  • Nikkei 225- 15, 870.42 (+0.07%)
  • Hong Kong Hang Seng Index- 22,921.56 (+0.48%)
  • Shanghai Shenzhen CSI 300 Index- 2,284.60 (+0.28%)

Stocks In Focus

The stock price of Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) rose to $570.72 per share, up by 3.8% after the iPhone and iPad Maker confirmed its agreement with China Mobile Ltd. (NYSE:CHL) (HKG:0941), the largest wireless carrier in China with approximately 700 million subscribers. China Mobile Ltd. (NYSE:CHL) (HKG:0941) will start selling the iPhone 5C and iPhone 5S in its stores on January 17.

“We know there are many China Mobile customers and potential new customers who are anxiously awaiting the incredible combination of iPhone on China Mobile’s leading network. We are delighted that iPhone on China Mobile will support our 4G/TD-LTE and 3G/TD-SCDMA networks, providing customers with high-speed mobile service,” said China Mobile Chairman Xi Guohua.

T-Mobile US Inc (NYSE:TMUS) climbed almost 3% to $31.90 per share over reports that Masayoshi Son, Chairman of Softbank Corp (OTCMKTS:SFTBF) (TYO:9984) and majority owner of Sprint Corporation (NYSE:S), discussed financing with certain banks regarding its planned takeover bid, according to people knowledgeable about the issue. On the other hand, Oppenheimer projected that T-Mobile will report strong financial results for the fourth quarter.

The stock value of Darden Restaurants, Inc. (NYSE:DRI) surged 6.5% to $54.46 per share after activist investor Starboard Value LP disclosed a 5.6% stake in the restaurant operator and indicated that the stock is deeply undervalued and represents an attractive investment opportunity.