The U.S. stock markets ended the trading session lower as many investors were not available on Friday. The trading volume was below average today.

market news Morning News

Yesterday, the stock markets rallied driven by data from the Department of Labor indicating the number of people who filed of unemployment benefits decreased to 338,000 for the week ended December 21. The figure is lower than the 345,000 jobless claims estimated by economists surveyed by Bloomberg.

This year, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) gained more than 25%, the S&P 500 increased almost 30% while the Nasdaq climbed 38%. One of the factors that helped the stock markets to rally was the $85 billion bond-buying program of the Federal Reserve. Earlier this month, the Fed said it would reduce its stimulus because the economy is growing faster than expected.

In a telephone interview, Jacques Porta, fund manager of Ofi Gestion Privee in Paris told Bloomberg, “The beginning of withdrawal of monetary stimulus has added visibility for investors, who can now focus on a strengthening economic recovery. The U.S. economy is very strong, it’s a good surprise.”

U.S. Markets

  • Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA)- 16,478.41 (-0.01%)
  • S&P 500- 1,841.40 (-0.03%)
  • NASDAQ- 4,156.59 (-0.25%)
  • Russell 2000- 1,160.37 (-0.20%)

European Markets

  • EURO STOXX 50 Price EUR- 3,111.37 (+1.25%)
  • FTSE 100 Index- 6,758.87 (+0.85%)
  • Deutsche Borse AG German Stock Index DAX- 9,599.39 (+1.06%)

Asia Pacific Markets

  • Nikkei 225- 16,174.94 (+0.03%)
  • Hong Kong Hang Seng Index- 23,243.24 (+0.27%)
  • Shanghai Shenzhen CSI 300 Index- 2,303.48 (+1.68%)

 Stocks in Focus

The stock price of Delta Air Lines, Inc. (NYSE:DAL) increased more than 3% to $27.01 per share after a technical glitch showed incorrect, less expensive fares on its website and other booking sites. According to Trebor Banstetter, spokesperson for the company, the issue has been resolved, and “Delta will honor any fares purchased at the incorrect price.”

The shares of Sprint Corporation (NYSE:S) surged more than 8% to $10.80 per share amid speculations that the wireless carrier will merge with T-Mobile US Inc (NYSE:TMUS). Sources familiar with the situation said that Masayoshi Son, CEO of Softbank Corp (OTCMKTS:SFTBF) (TYO:9984) and majority owner of Sprint Corporation (NYSE:S) held financing discussions with certain banks regarding a potential takeover deal with T-Mobile.

Baidu Inc (NASDAQ:BIDU) gained almost 4% to $173.77 per share over reports regarding the potential acquisition of a literature website. The Chinese search engine giant agreed to acquire the online reading business unit of Perfect World Co., Ltd. (NASDAQ:PWRD) for $31.6 million or 191.5 million yuan.