The stock markets in the United States struggled to hold their early gains today, and eventually ended the trading session with a slight gain.  The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) gained 18.75 points or 0.12%, the S&P 500’s was relatively flat, up by only 0.05 points or 0.00%, and the Nasdaq climbed 4.47 or 0.10%.

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According to Bloomberg, investors added more than $2.1 trillion investments to equities worldwide this month due to speculations that the global economy is strong enough to withstand the tapering of the bond buying program of the Federal Reserve.

Data showed that the purchased of new homes in the United States in January increased to the highest level over the past five years.

James W. Gaul, portfolio manager at Boston Advisors LLC commented, “We went through a snapback rally and got right back to the all-time highs. Nothing has changed from a month ago, so what’s the fuel to keep pushing stocks higher?”

U.S. Markets

  • Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA)- 16,198.41 (+0.12%)
  • S&P 500- 1,845.17 (0.00%)
  • NASDAQ- 4,292.06 (+0.10%)
  • Russell 2000- 1,179.00 (+0.43%)

European Markets

  • EURO STOXX 50 Price EUR- 3,148.19 (-0.29%)
  • FTSE 100 Index- 6,799.15 (-0.46%)
  • Deutsche Borse AG German Stock Index DAX- 9,661.73 (-0.39%)

Asia Pacific Markets

  • Nikkei 225- 14,970.97 (-0.54%)
  • Hong Kong Hang Seng Index- 22,437.44 (+0.54%)
  • Shanghai Shenzhen CSI 300 Index- 2,163.41 (+0.25%)

Stocks in Focus

The stock price of Abercrombie & Fitch Co. (NYSE:ANF) gained 11% to $40.06 per share after the company reported solid earnings for the fourth quarter of 2013. The retailer posted $1.34 earnings per share, higher than the $1.04 consensus estimate. Abercrombie & Fitch said its revenue increased 12% to $1.29 billion.

The shares of Chesapeake Energy Corporation (NYSE:CHK) declined almost 5% to $25.61 per share after the second largest producer of natural gas in the United States reported fourth quarter net loss due to one-time charges. The energy company incurred a loss of $159 million or $0.24 loss per share compared with a net income of $250 million or $0.39 earnings per share in the same period a year earlier. Excluding one-time charges, Chesapeake Energy should have earned $0.27 per share. The company said its revenue for the quarter increased to $4.54 billion from $3.54 billion.

The stock value of First Solar, Inc. (NASDAQ:FSLR) declined 9.12% to $52.74 per share after the company reported financial results that missed the expectations of Wall Street analysts. The solar panel manufacturer delivered $0.89 earnings per share, lower than the $0.98 earnings per share consensus estimate for the fourth quarter.