The stock markets in the United States ended the week higher as investors continue to become more optimistic with the economic growth of the country.

The latest data showed that the U.S. consumer confidence was higher than expected in February. The preliminary reading of the Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan index of consumer confidence was 81.2 percentage points higher than the 80.6 percentage points estimated by analysts.

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In a statement, survey director Richard Curtin said, “The good news is that confidence proved resilient to recent government reports of weak growth in income and employment. The not-so-good news is that the full impact on household budgets from the harsh winter has yet to be registered.”

Commenting on the stock markets’ rally today, Robert Pavlik, chief market strategist at Banyan Partners LLC told Bloomberg, “I think the market is still believing that the economy is moving in the right direction. Most of the reports are being negatively affected by the weather. Folks are looking to buy on the dips.”

Federal Reserve chairperson Janet Yellen recently stated that the economic growth of the United States had strengthened, and a notable change in the outlook could lead policy makers to slow the timing of the reductions of the central bank’s monthly bond-buying program.

John Augustine, chief market strategist Fifth Third Bancorp opined, “There is an expectation that weather is involved in the economic weakness and that a rebound is coming in March, April.”

U.S. Markets

  • Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA)- 16,154.39 (+0.79%)
  • S&P 500- 1,838.63 (+0.48%)
  • NASDAQ- 4,244.03 (+0.08%)
  • Russell 2000- 1,148.86 (+0.09%)

European Markets

  • EURO STOXX 50 Price EUR- 3,119.06 (+0.68%)
  • FTSE 100 Index- 6,669.62 (-+0.06%)
  • Deutsche Borse AG German Stock Index DAX- 9,662.40 (+0.68%)

Asia Pacific Markets

  • Nikkei 225- 14,313.03 (-1.53%)
  • Hong Kong Hang Seng Index- 22,298.41 (+0.60%)
  • Shanghai Shenzhen CSI 300 Index- 2,295.57 (+0.70%)

Stocks in Focus

The stock price of Agilent Technologies Inc. (NYSE:A) declined 8% to $55.25 per share after the company lowered its adjusted earnings guidance for the full year 2014 in the range of $2.96 and $3.16 per share. The company previously projected that it will be able to deliver earnings in the range of $3.03 to $3.33 per share this year. For the quarter ended Jan 31, Agilent Technologies Inc. (NYSE:A) posted $0.67 earnings per share on $1.68 billion revenue.

Campbell Soup Company (NYSE:CPB) gained 4.98% to $43.01 per share after reporting profit the beat the consensus estimate of Wall Street analysts. The company also maintained its earnings guidance for this year. The company said its net income increased 71% to $325 million and adjusted earnings per share were $0.76, higher than the $0.71 estimated by analysts.

The shares of Cliffs Natural Resources Inc (NYSE:CLF) increased 5.75% to $23.16 per share after reporting earnings that outperformed the expectations of analysts, and announced the appointment of a new CEO. The company delivered $43.2 million profit or $0.20 earnings per shares on $1.52 billion revenue during the fourth quarter. The company appointed Gary Halverson as new CEO effective immediately.